When I made my vow of baby-making silence a few months back, I admittedly did so with a bit of arrogant confidence. The way I figured, I’d go off the grid for a month or two, get knocked up, have a little weepy celebration with my wife, then commence blogging the Little Lesbian journey. Except that’s not the way life sorts itself — in these perfect, manageable sequences. The truth is, this shit is exhausting and takes much longer than just one, magical trip to the sperm doctor. So while the wife and I keep our heads up and our glasses half full, in the meantime, I’ve decided to share a few moments that Meredith and I initially needed to experience as a unit, unaffected by a barrage of questions or curiosity. But some time has passed, and I feel we’re at a safe distance from these events that feel so emotionally personal at the time they’re happening. I guess because they are, in fact, events that are emotionally personal. So buckle up, kids. We’re sliding into the DeLorean and time-warping to the days and weeks of my first insemination appointment. A Little Lesbian time capsule for you. You’re welcome.
The weekend leading up to our probable insemination appointment I was having a bit of anxiety – shocking, I’m sure, to all of you. I wonder if I’ve even written as much about actual pregnancy as I have about anxiety. Regardless, I was anxious about the appointment, obviously, but I was also having anxiety about the day on which it would fall. I’d taken up a new position within my company just a week prior, and I was not looking forward to calling in sick on what would have been my second Monday on the job. Sure, in reality, I would be attempting to create new life and starting a family, but to my new boss and coworkers, I would just be that dick who got too drunk on Sunday and taking a hangover Monday to recover. The way that insemination appointments work through Fenway is this:
2. Using your cycle charts, determine the most likely days for ovulation (for me this is days 10 – 21)
3. Call to request appointments for every weekday during that time period (weekend appointments work slightly differently)
4. A representative from Fenway calls back to confirm dates and times
5. For every day you test for ovulation and fail – I mean get a negative – you call in and cancel your appointment for the following day
It sounds a little labor-intensive, that business of making appointments. And, I guess, considering that the majority of women trying to conceive have sperm on demand by way of their husband or partner-with-a-penis, it does seem like a tall order. But, with all the waiting involved in the baby-making process, I found it sort of nice to have something to do everyday. Plus it gave me an excuse to put things into my iPhone calendar and feel like a real adult. Samuel L. Jackson isn’t the only one who can ask Siri what’s on his calendar for the day, goddammit.
As it worked out, I got a positive on the pee stick on Saturday, meaning Sunday would be the big day in Boston. And when I say I got a positive read on Saturday, what I mean is I got six positive reads because neither I nor Meredith felt confident in the first one or two. So I continued peeing on sticks for the better part of Saturday morning until finally gathering the courage and making that phone call to Fenway.
Trying to fall asleep on Saturday night was akin to lying in bed as a kid on the night before Christmas and trying to keep my eyes closed. At 6:45 I was up again, but we still hadn’t heard back from Fenway with an appointment confirmation so, for good measure, I took another ovulation test. Remember when I was concerned with the pricey expense of ovulation kits, crunching numbers and hunting down bargains? As it turns out, when it was time to test for the real deal I was all: Give me all the world’s pee sticks and I will pee on them forever until the end of time! Anyway, within an hour the NP from Fenway called to confirm we could be there at 9:15. Game on.
Determined to make this appointment with my vagina more relaxed than previous experiences with my regular doctor, I changed into my comfiest clothes and took a xanax, which essentially made me look like a sleepy, sporty lesbian on her way to the gym. The xanax was a recommendation from the NP at Fenway after I told her during our first consultation about my traumatic pap-smears. The suggestion actually came in a list of other recommendations like breathing exercises and yoga, but somehow I didn’t foresee warrior pose bringing me much comfort once I was sitting bare-assed on the exam table, preparing for sperm to be shot into my vagina.
Meredith drove us into Boston while I played DJ with tunes like The Avett Bros, Fleetwood Mac and Bon Iver. Then, just for fun, I played “Your Song” as sung by Ewan MacGregor in Moulin Rouge, which will only be appreciated by people like my youngest sister and my friend Dana, but something I felt was necessary at the time (or always?). I felt like we were doing something epic. I felt like this was a moment when everything would change forever, taking our small, insignificant lives and making them huge. Lesbians! As parents! The earth-shattering brilliance of it all! And clearly, in a moment of such epic proportions, a soundtrack is necessary. So I tapped my feet on the dash, turned up the Michael Jackson, and took in the sights as we crossed the Tobin.
The Fenway office on Boylston is actually closed on weekends except for insemination appointments so when we got there it was quiet and dark, and when the NP greeted us in the lobby she was wearing yoga pants and sneakers. This sort of muted atmosphere instantly put me at ease for the procedure. Or it was the xanax?
During the 10 minutes it took to thaw our baby un-daddy sperm, I filled out paperwork about my latest cycle and whatnot, but before long I was sitting on the edge of the exam table in nothing but a tee shirt, feeling pretty nervous and looking a bit like Winnie the Pooh.
When the NP came into the exam room she was carrying our vial of freshly spun sperm, the catheter to insert it and my new BFF: the pediatric speculum. I’m going to attribute the sheer delight that was my first insemination to a perfect storm of contributing factors:
1) anti-anxiety medicine
2) pint-sized speculum meant for my pint-sized v hole
3) having Meredith in the room, maintaining a careful balance between warm, supportive wife and tension-breaking comedy routine
4) being in good hands with a well-trained NP who has performed thousands of inseminations on thousands of lesbians
I actually don’t know how many inseminations she’s done and it doesn’t matter because by the time she was finished, I was ready to sit up and hug her for how easy it had been. The whole process took about 10 minutes and never felt worse than a mild period cramp. I was so happy about the lack of shooting vagina pain, I wanted to jump around the exam room clapping my hands but was told this was ill-advised and instead I should lay back with my knees in the air.
As I lay there, Meredith told me I had done “such a good job” in the same way we praise Duncan for a successful trip to the vet’s office, but I mean, it really did make me feel accomplished. She also told me she got a look at the sperm as it pulled from the vial into the catheter and that it looked like melted butter. And, considering my love affair with butter, her observation served as a much better image than the slimy, viscous sperm I was picturing entering my body.
On the way home we stopped at Sonic for vanilla milkshakes and a grilled cheese. By the time we got to the house I was ready to crawl into bed and snuggle with the pups while dozing off to a marathon of Dawson’s Creek, which is exactly what I did.