Saturday, 28 February 2015

Making appointments

Things have been pretty quiet on the baby-making front this week.  Too busy having a social life! We did book our counselling appointment and I tried to find out more about what that would be like on Google. I didn't find any descriptions of what to expect, just people saying either 1) they found it helpful to think about some of the potential issues in advance and learn where to seek support,  or 2) they resented the requirement and if they hadn't thought through the implications of the decision they wouldn't be seeking donor services.

I think that there is something to that critique. For myself, I knew that I would have to get sperm from somewhere, so of course I have thought through the decision and what it means. For couples who are experiencing fertility issues, they have likely already tried for years and have had a long time to come to their decision too. So why more roadblocks?

I've never actually gone to any form of counselling, so this will be new for me. Aion has gone through quite a bit of therapy. So between her and what I do for a living I have a passing familiarity with the process and the buzzwords and whatnot. We'll see how it goes next week.

Other than that, I'm just waiting for a particular day of my cycle to have/schedule a couple other tests I need to complete.

We've avoided the sperm banks. I'm still a bit creeped out. And I don't want to make a decision only to find that for some reason I need to select another donor after all.

Oh, and I checked out our local bookstore's baby/baby-making section. Not a single resource for same sex couples. Disappointing, but I must say rather expected. I could order online, but I'm thinking of just getting something on my kobo. And of course I'll trek down to Little Sisters one of these days too...maybe once we're a bit further along the path.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

App Review: P Tracker

I've been using P Tracker (or Period Tracker) on my blackberry for the last couple years. I have only used the basic feature, allows you to enter your period start and end date, then predicts your ovulation and next cycle start date. It keeps a log of the data you enter and will calculate your average cycle. If you want you can add symptoms to the calendar as well as moods, weight and temperature. There's even a space for notes, and a toggle switch for recording if you have been intimate today. You can see what you've tracked using a calendar view or log view. You can even set it to alert you a certain time or number of days before your expected period, ovulation, or fertile window. If you want you can back up your information on your computer.

I have found this app to be quite intuitive to use and all I need in such a tracker. I use the free version, which means there are small but discrete ads at the bottom of my screen which I don't find to interfere at all with the app's usefulness (but one can buy the 'deluxe' version to get rid of the ads). My one complaint is that it is quite slow to load and sometimes slow to switch between data screens, sometimes to the point of my phone saying the app has stopped responding. t will respond if one waits long enough. That can be a bit frustrating but not the end of the world.

My favourite feature about P Tracker is that it is not obvious what it is - on the home screen it just displays as a flower called P Tracker - nothing about fertility or your period, which is good for privacy. Free is good too. I like free.

Now obviously most women (including me!) don't have a perfect exactly 28-day cycle, so the app is not going to be perfectly accurate, but it is close enough for me to give me a decent indication of when to start carrying around my products in my purse, or, I suppose, to remind me when to start peeing on sticks.  I believe it needs to track three cycles before it can start making predictions for you.

I have not tried other, similar products that exist out there, and now that I have quite a long history invested into this app I doubt I will switch. But I am curious about anyone else's experience with other apps - what do you like and why?

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Going to the fertility clinic

We had our first meeting with the fertility clinic this week. First we had to fill out a short questionnaire. I had my blood pressure and weight taken. Then I got to dress waist-down in a paper sheet and get up on the stirrup table.
The technician requested our permission for a male medical student to observe our appointment, which I gave. Aion was somewhat surprised by that, because I'm a pretty private person...but hell, he's got to learn somehow and while I'm private about people who know me I'm oddly ok with strangers. He just watched the screen and kept silent the whole time so I had no complaints about that. What he's going to go back to class and tell his fellow med students I'm not sure...hah.

So I had a vaginal ultrasound and then physical exam. For the process itself, I was quite impressed...I have had less privacy with a pap smear. Everything was done pretty much by feel and I got to insert the probe for myself which I appreciated. And lots of lube. Soooooooooooooo much lube. The doc found and measured my ovaries and uterine lining and counted follicles. She measured one cyst also, and then poked and prodded around in there and on my stomach.

Aion said she was able to see things on the screen. It all looked like a blur of dots to me. I definitely saw my one ovary. As for the rest...sure, whatever, doc. Glad that's your job not mine.

The pronouncement, once I was dressed and in the office? I might have endometriosis, but she's not sure. She said she can perform surgery to properly diagnose and if so, treat the condition, but she recommends I try to conceive first and see how that goes. I said fine, but got myself on the waitlist for surgery anyway. That way I can try to conceive and if I can't I don't have to wait as long for surgery.

As much as I'm not thrilled about the possible endo, it makes some sense (I have pretty painful periods). The doc didn't seem too concerned and thinks I will be able to conceive without surgery. I hope she's right! 

I also have requisitions for yet more bloodwork (ugh) and an x-ray of my girl-parts (super-double-ugh) which I will have to do next cycle.

Other than taking care of the testing, we need to book an appointment with an assisted reproduction counsellor, which is apparently a Health Canada requirement. That is just one hour, and once that's done and I know one more thing from bloodwork I can order some sperm. So if all goes well it looks like we'll do our first IUI attempt in April on my natural cycle.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

The missing element

I don't know where I had this idea that Sperm Banks were kind of like dating sites. I expected to be able to enter some criteria and the system woud spit out a bunch of photos of people meeting my criteria that we could sort through according to our physical preferences. NOPE. You have to make a profile and sign in and I'm not sure but it looks like the site will try to make me start PAYING to surf donors after 24 hours (irritating because this sperm is really expensive and can't I at least look at what I'm thinking of buying for free?). And then I put in my preferences and I get a spreadsheet list of characteristics, no photos. One must click and then click and then click to finally see the pictures. (One site wanted me to put the pictures in a shopping cart and 'order' them - for free - rather than just giving them to me. And once ordered I could download a PDF. Seriously? A pdf???) I swear looking to adopt a dog on petfinder is a WAY better experience.

Get with the modern internet, sperm banks?

So that's the mechanical difficulties. Then there is the general creepiness of trying to choose your donor.

1) I don't like dudes.
I'm a lesbian. I have friends who are guys. I don't look at them "in that way". I know that these are donors, I don't need to sleep with them. But it's ICKY. I'll get over it, I'm going to have to. But I was shocked to find that I felt this way. I feel dirty for looking at these pictures - I'm happily married tyvm and I don't need some dude.

2) The majority of the donors we viewed were born in 1992.
That is roughly 10 years after I was born. Those are BABIES THEMSELVES. One picture showed a guy who still had acne! This is practically statutory. Again, I know it's just sperm, I'm not sleeping with the guy. But this is making me feel like an old creepy cougar. Seriously a weird feeling.

3) Although it is nice to have so much information, it's a bit overwhelming.
These sites need to have a way to sort. Like if we could view a profile and do a quick yes or no, make a short list, then review more detail from the shortlist and keep narrowing that way.  Maybe this feature exists and I just need to look harder. But really, I don't want to be inundated with blood type and grandmother's health problems when I am trying to see if those ears + my ears = hideous.

After about an hour and a half we gave up. I need a serious adjustment to my expectations before I do that again.

(image - Human sperm: Credit Joyce Harper, UCL, Wellcome Images. [Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 2.0])

Getting started

Well, after thinking about babies for years but purposefully avoiding information (because we weren't ready). I completely admit to having very little information about this whole process. I know that we can have a baby through the miracle of science. I know that other lgbt couples have done this and I thank them for paving the road for us. Other than that I'm just starting to read some blogs and check out what resources are out there on the interwebz. I am trying not to read too much: there are professionals we are going to have to pay to lead us through this process and I am trusting them to make sure I know what I need to know.

My very first step was to find myself a family doctor. I found a doc who was near to my house and accepting new patients. Score! At my first visit I did the usual first visit stuff - personal and family history, general physical exam. I explained that I needed a referral to a fertility clinic and that prompted a gigantic requisition for pretty much all the bloodwork that fit on the one page form. And that was that.

I hate bloodwork. I'm a fainter. I have to put my head down and they need to give me juice. It's ridiculous. And there were so many vials they needed!!

It took me a few weeks to get back to the doctor for my results. Apparently things look pretty good, through my progesterone is low so there may be something that needs to happen about that. I'll find out more when I speak with the fertility clinic...on THURSDAY. That seems really soon. This is getting a bit, well, real.

But I'm not sure I'm thrilled with my new family doc. I mean, I know that for the referral he needs to know certain information about my personal sexual and reproductive history. But asking me whether there was a 'relationship' rather than just sleeping with a guy, and asking me 'who is the male' in my relationship, and other such things, are completely unrelated to my medical needs and inappropriate. I don't want to look for another doctor again, but I just may have to. We'll see...first I'll see him again and tell him that similar questions are inappropriate and need to stop. If that works, maybe I can avoid the hassle. Is that taking the easy way out? Perhaps, but sometimes one just wants to pick one's battles.

First Post!

Hello blog readers!

We're Aion and Ant, two married people-with-girl-parts who are starting our journey to expand our family by one. We are at the very start of this process.
I hope that this blog will be of interest or help to other people heading through a similar process. And I hope that soon we will be able to say we're expecting our little sprout!

Thanks for visiting.