Just wanted to say I love following your story. I'm routing for you guys and I believe this whole thing will happen soon. Hang in there. I had a question though... I thought you guys were going to use Natalie's brother as the donor. Did I miss something?
You’re right. That was our plan for many years.
But things change and life happens. There a multitude of factors that led us to the decision to not use her brother as our donor. We talked, and talked, and talked about it, and eventually we decided that there were too many variables that made us feel that our plan was no longer the best choice for us and our family.
I went through a period of some kind of grieving over the loss of a child that really would look just like Natalie and I (she looks VERY much like her brother). But after many months of soul searching I realized that nothing matters more to me than us being a family…and where that family originates from isn’t really relevant to me in the way that it once was.
So here we are.
I’m sure there will be many, many, many occasions where strangers tell Natalie that our child looks just like her, and I’m sure that she and I will smile at each other and look at our child and know that it is just as much a part of Natalie as it is me.
I’m scrolling again through the faceless numbers that are the potential father of our child.
I’m reading randomly sweet descriptions of childhood memories…
What is your earliest childhood memory?
Donor#3456:Preschool, fending off other kids from the fort I had made and acting like an animal.
Donor#4589: My first memory is from when I was about 3.5 years old and we had an earthquake near our house. There was a chicken ranch down the road and the farmer asked my mom and I if we could help get some of the chickens back into the giant barn that they lived in. They were kept in by an electrical fence but the earthquake cut off the power and the chicks were everywhere. There were hundreds of these little yellow chicks and it was nearly impossible to catch them. But the farmer gave me a couple of the chicks and my mom and I raised them until we gave them away several years later.
Donor #3459: Tasting maple syrup freshly tapped in buckets during winter in New England.
Donor #2456: Around three years old, I was riding my small bike down the street. I knew I was far from home: although only a block away it was an eternity in my mind. I made it to a neighbor’s driveway fence and he stared at me, saying,“Get home, kid.” I was so scared, I turned tail and rode with all my might back home.
I’m reading endless lists of physical features and trying to match them to my wife and I like pieces of some imaginary puzzle.
A cleft chin? A roman nose? Tall? Thin? Curly hair? Athletic?
Donor #5690 is left handed. My mom is left handed and I always loved the way she seemed to write everything upside down. I put a star next to his number.
Donor #8560 seems funny, and light hearted. He answers the biography questions with subtle sarcasm. Under the question of his grandfather’s hobbies he writes “old people stuff”. This made Natalie laugh, and she put him to the top of the list.
After repeatedly reading them all, it becomes more and more clear that it just doesn’t matter. Who we pick, how he appears on the computer screen, what we imagine he looks like…none of this really matters.
None of these men will be the FATHER of our child. None of them will teach our kids to throw a ball or ride a bike. None of them will be part of our world. None of them will be a reality.
They are DNA.
They are a means to a family.
They are an unavoidable necessity.
You would think that this would terrify me on some level…but it doesn’t. Instead I am overwhelmed with a feeling of peace.
After so many changes in what we thought was the perfect plan, we have found ourselves headed down a new road filled with calm, and complete certainty.
May I ask... When ya'll tried to get pregnant a while back how many times (in the cycle) did you try and what was your method?
There are a variety of different methods. For us, we’re trying to keep this very unnatural process as natural as possible, meaning we want to do it at home together and not be inseminated in a doctor’s office. But every couple is different, this is just what feels right for us. We are really just in the beginning phase as we have had some major hurdles and recently had to take a break from trying.
No we do not use a turkey baster. Here’s what our “tool kit” looks like, although I personally think ovulation predictor kits are highly overrated. I’ve been charting for almost a year and half…started charting LONG before we were ready to start trying so that I could really get a solid grasp of my cycle.
Here’s our process:
Let me break it down:
have donor ejaculate into specimen jar that is NOT an old artichoke jar (hopefully with his partner so that the sperm is most potent) OR naturally thaw donor sperm from sperm bank
we take specimen jar of spunk, donor leaves
we insert sperm halfway through gay sex, using an at home insemination kit and/or a basic syringe that you but at your local drugstore…the kind used to give babies medicine
we continue with the gay sex and hope to have an orgasm which up’s the odds of the sperm reaching the egg (it’s science)
lay with my ass and legs in the air for at least an hour in the hopes that those little guys are swimming to the promise land
try to ignore the fact that there is JIZZ IN OUR BEDROOM
We have had some serious road blocks in our planning so we only tried for one cycle and due to flight arrangements we were only able to inseminate once. The timing was off (not due to charting, but more so due to life events) so it didn’t happen for us.
Ideally we would inseminate 2-4 times throughout each cycle of highest fertility. IDEALLY. But we are now embarking on the journey of paying for sperm so we obviously will be using minimal sperm at first to see what works…or doesn’t.
My very first visit to the sperm bank website and THIS is the guy I choose first?
Any Distinguishing Features (Dimples, Cleft Chin, Roman Nose, Freckles, etc.):Some freckles; some moles; birthmark: mini third nipple (Yes, the doctor told my mom it was actually a very small extra nipple.)
Seriously, what’s the going rate on the nubbin sperm?
I mean REALLY? For these prices I would expect the customary TWO nipples.
We saw our straight couple best friends over the weekend.
The wife is due in March and is glowing with nothing but pregnant bliss.
The husband is beaming from ear to ear with pride, and excitement.
These are two of our closest friends.
We vacation with them, we get FAR too drunk with them, we take road trips, and day trips, and meet each other’s families. We have lived a lot of life with them.
Over the years the four of us have sat around many a dinner table starting sentences with things like “when we have kids…” and “our kids will grow up together”. And now it’s their time. It’s no longer a day dream, no longer a hypothetical time in the future somewhere. It’s now.
They’re having a baby girl.
They’re going to become a family.
It’s happening now.
Watching them meander haplessly through their pregnancy that happened with little thought or effort has been difficult to say the very least.
We can’t help but leave every meeting with them shaking our heads and feeling overwhelmed with frustration.
This most recent visit was a good one.
They sat there across yet another dinner table, in yet another city, but this time they looked different…happier, older, more complete.
I held my wife’s hand under the table as they casually discussed how little they have ready, how they had never thought of names until now, and how they had yet to even decorate the nursery.
I held my wife’s hand and held my breath a little too, and tried with all my might to imagine us on the other side of the table.
She squeezed my hand tight and gave me a look that said, "someday babe…someday”.
We are at such a huge standstill with the process of trying to start a family.
Without donor options right now, we’re attempting to focus on us and just enjoy our life. We’re so lucky to be happy, and in love, and to have so many great things in our life. But at the end of the day, something is still missing, and we know exactly what it is.
I want to at least be TRYING to get pregnant.
The word that keeps repeating in my head is trapped.
I feel trapped in this inability to get pregnant without going outside of us.
I feel trapped in the lack of options and the cost of anything that isn’t a known donor.
I feel trapped in the constant urge to ask every man I see if I can just have some of his DNA.
The reality is that if I have to be trapped somewhere in some kind of limbo, I want to be trapped there with Natalie.
I know we’re lucky.
I know our time will come.
But for now I feel a little sad…and I’m just going to let myself feel sad…at least just for today.
If you can't use a turkey baster - what are you using?
We use a needless syringe, the type that you would give a baby cough medicine with. This is the most common approach for at home insemination, but there are a few different options. You can also buy a home insemination “kit” that comes with a catheter and what not…but our doctor gave us most of what we needed.