Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Boys Are Back In Town

We are thinking about using a known donor.

But only once or twice - or for one or two (literal) shots - and if it happens, it happens, if it doesn't, it doesn't. If I don't get pregnant, we'll use an anonymous donor.

But there is so much to think about. Here's the situation: We have really great friends, Adam and Alec (a gay couple) who moved to Toronto last year to do their respective Masters degrees. They are coming home in a few months this summer... around the time I will be ovulating. We are not interested in doing the long-distance TTC thing, but what about the month they come home and - if that doesn't work - another month when we can fly out to Toronto (we have family to visit there anyway)? I know there is a lot to think about, but part of me just thinks it would be so easy... and cheap... and part of me thinks, a lot safer than an AD.

Adam and I have been close for years. He's brilliant, good-looking, and has an amazing personality. A few years ago, we got drunk and had the following awkward conversation:

Me: "You wanna father my child?"
Adam: "Sure, why not. I'd be honoured!"
Me: "We could do it old school. You could put a magazine over my face and just... go."
Adam: "Okay..."
Me: "I may not be as tight as you're used to, but honestly, Alec can be in the room if that would help you, you know, get there."
Adam: "Awwww... that's so sweet. You know... I don't think I'd need to put a magazine over your face!"
Me: "Awwww... that's so sweet. I love you."
Adam: "I love you too."

Yeah. Good old Gin & Tonics!

I wouldn't obviously sleep with him; I'm not interested in that. But I do think that he actually would be honoured to donate his goods. Devon and I both agree that he has some really great qualities that would be good to have in our kid, but there are a few things that we're stuck on.

Legally, I have no worries. We would make sure that all the legalities are dealt with - have him give up parental rights, etc. We would also obviously ask him to get tested and make sure everything on the medical level is taken care of too. We would make sure he has no expectations of playing the Mark to our Callie and Arizona fairytale. I want a family of three, not a family of four.

The thing I'm having the most trouble with is people knowing. I don't want people to think, "Oh, Lex has Adam's child / Adam is the father of Lex's child". I want the child to be Devon and my child. Full stop. But it's not fair to ask him to keep a secret and take it to his grave, with only his partner, Alec, knowing. I would not ask that of anyone. And sure, maybe we could call him "Uncle Adam," like any other friend would be Aunties or Uncles...but other than that, I don't want him having any further "privileges."

But I trust that if it doesn't feel right when we hash everything out, we won't do it.

He's very young, and I imagine that in a few years, he would like to have a family. I don't know if that adds another layer, but it's something to think about too.  Would I give one of my eggs to him? Maybe. I don't know. I would like to think that I would help out a best friend to help make a dream come true. I'm not saying this has to be a give-and-take thing, and that we would be donors to each other, but it's a good test.

I think my biggest hurdle is getting over the fact that people will know that Adam "fathered" my child. I fear that the child will be known as "Adam and Lex's kid" - if not to my face, behind it. But is that just me not giving my friends enough credit? They *are* educated; perhaps it's simply my own hang-up.

Other than that, I'm happy to deal with the medical and legal matters. I trust that regardless of Adam's decision, it would be a completely respectful conversation (I won't drink any G&Ts before it - or anything for that matter). I feel like it's worth putting out on the table, and, as I said, if it doesn't sit right, we won't go there.

Am I crazy to think that it might just work out?

Am I forgetting a vital part to this equation that would put a halt to this daydream?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Antidepressants and Pregnancy Research

I do a little bit of medical research for my job, so spend quite a bit of time on PubMed, an international online database of all peer-reviewed medical journals, which I've learned how to navigate extremely well for work. This is both a blessing and a curse. At some level, I love being able to follow some of the research in depression and pregnancy, and at others, there really isn't a hell of a lot of anything good to say.

I work with scientists who study and treat everything from childhood diabetes to cystic fibrosis to pre-eclampsia. My background is certainly not in science, though part of my job is to translate research findings into laypersons terms so that the media gets interested. It's incredible how much "breakthrough in cancer treatment" gets picked up immediately, even if it's not a breakthrough at all but one simple finding in rodents, while top-level immunology research that is actually helping people right now gets lost, because it's not sexy enough.

We have a handful of doctors at the hospital that research antidepressants during pregnancy and I can't help but follow their work. One of the doctor is very anti medication in pregnancy, while another is working on safe levels and another differs entirely and so on and so on. Even in the medical field, when black and white answers are the ultimate goal, there is so much variation on what is safe. The bottom line is, there is such a huge unknown when it comes to prenatal safety, because really, who wants to be in that study?

Our reproductive psych gave us a website resource that is apparently really good for "real life" stats and research on medication and pregnancy. Not the medical jargon and not the wives tails, but somewhere in between. Devon and I really want to sit down and go over it together, and hopefully find some peace in the findings. We haven't been in the same place at the same time for a while, but I hope that will change over the next week or so as a few things in our lives calm down. 

I wonder how many unreported medicated pregnancies there are - there has to be quite a bit, especially with the stigma that surrounds it. Regardless of the medication, I wonder how many women keep it to themselves because of the shame. Or maybe none. Maybe I'm just trying to figure out why I feel like I'm one of the only people in the world who has this on her mind. Or in her heavy heart. I know that's a really selfish thought, but it's my thought, today.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

HSG, easy as 1-2-3. Or 4. Or, not so much, actually.

I went for my Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) test on Thursday.

Devon is out of town in Calgary for a conference and I got a call a few days ago from the radiologist’s office for a cancellation appointment. I took it, even though I wanted her there and she wanted to be there. I had already been turned away the month before and didn’t have an appointment this month and was told to “call back and try to make an appointment for next month,” but was warned that it was hard to get in. [The receptionist told me not to have sex on Tuesday or Wednesday night and I kind of smiled over the phone. I had sex on Wednesday. Ha.]

Although I really wanted the support, I figured the important part was the results, and that this was just a blip to get there. Devon did ask me to call someone as a backup to pick me up after if I couldn't drive, so I ended up telling my sister-in-law, because the only other person who knows we're going through this was with clients. I actually felt kind of good telling my SIL. She's got four kids and has been excited for years for us to start a family. I felt like I was actually doing something worthwhile in her eyes. 

I dropped Dev off at the airport and then went to the clinic. I changed into the god awful paper gown and sat in the change room and waited, shivering, until a lovely older Scottish nurse asked me to come in. I hopped up on the table/platform and shuffled my ass down to the bottom. 

She asked me if I had gone online to read about the test. I said yes. She said what was on the internet wasn't true. That it didn't hurt. That didn't really calm me that much (and then I looked up reviews of this specific clinic afterwards and read a few horror stories... I guess that's what she was referring to).

Radiologist walked in and introduced himself. He was wearing a headlamp. Awesome. He was good at the beginning about letting me know what he was doing, but then after some frustrations, he stopped talking. He inserted the speculum and washed me out with antiseptic three or four times - which was an odd feeling of cold rushing through my body. He asked me to lie my legs down flat, and he pulled the xray machine over me. Extremely uncomfortable.

The speculum kept slipping. He kept having to turn the overhead lights back on and then opened me up further and reinserted it. He did this four times, and each time, it hurt more. He looked at me the last time and said, "I hoped not to have to do this, but it's not staying in the right position, so I'm going to have to stretch you open". Ugh. And then the dye was inserted into me.

I have a hard enough time with paps, so this was tough. On the booking form, it said it would take 30 minutes, which I originally thought was the length of the actual HSG test, but luckily the test took about 15 minutes. Would probably be more like 5 if the speculum had actually stayed. He kept telling me that I might feel a pinch and/or feel crampy. I felt both.

On the second or third time, I just gritted my teeth, closed my eyes and repeated my mantra over and over to myself: "This is for my family. This is for my family. This is for my family." 
I suppose I could've asked about the test results right then and there, but honestly, I didn't want them to be the ones telling me if there was something wrong, and I also wanted Devon to be there with me when I find out. The miner radiologist left the room. The nurse asked me to stay on the table.

I looked down and (pardon the TMI) there was a bloody chunk on my gown. Like a chunk from my insides. The nurse told me to put on a pad, in case the dye leaked out. She said I might bleed a bit and feel crampy. When I went to change, I went to the washroom and I was bleeding quite a bit. I continued to bleed a little bit for about two hours. I went straight back to work, called Devon as she was boarding her plane, and felt like I was having moderate period cramps all day.

But it was just one day. Yesterday, I felt fine. 

I went to my best friend's house yesterday. She is on her second month of trying to get pregnant. She is using ovulation sticks and had had sex already that day, and was going to again after I left. She kept saying "I could be pregnant right now. Today could be the day." And I just felt sad. The pains - physical and emotional - that we have to go through to "keep up" with the breeders is starting to hit. I hope she got pregnant yesterday. And I hope that I am not too far behind.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Baby-Making in the Making

Devon and I had our appointment with our second reproductive psychiatrist yesterday. She was lovely, and although she was late to see us, decided after the hour that she wanted more time with us, so asked us if we would be willing to come again. I like a shrink that is thorough, despite a busy schedule.

The last time we saw a repro psych, she was great, but basically said that my illness is too complex, and that she hadn't ever had a patient like me before, and she didn't know how to treat me. But nothing stopped this new doc. She spent an hour just asking me questions about my past and my present, going over the different degrees of my mental illness. She told me that she didn't have my full patient file and that she would order it, book off some time to go through it, and then see me again to figure out the best way to have me have a healthy pregnancy, a healthy baby, and a healthy me. Basically, she gave me hope.

It was actually wonderful to have Devon in the room with me and answer all of these intense questions. Although I don't keep secrets from her, I don't talk much about my past - mostly because I don't remember much (I lost over a decade of memory... a story for another post, another day) - but also because I am so not "that girl" anymore. But I felt really comfortable with the whole experience, and I appreciated the support so much. And I like that we're doing this kind of thing together. That makes me happy.

Once the shrink gets my full file (she's going to need a wheelbarrow) and analyzes it, she is going to have us back in the first week of June. The thing I like most about this, besides the attention to detail, is the fact that she wants to hear from me after she reads my file. She made it clear that she trusts "my side" more than anything.

Although our next appointment is to go over the specifics of my medication and the risks/benefits during pregnancy, she did mention that generally, the three medications in question are mostly safe in pregnancy. She said she had a lot of respect for me getting off my benzos over the last few months, and said that working with the existing meds is "doable". Obviously, there is a lot of layers to this and a lot to talk about still, but it seems doable.

It's doable!

We all agreed that getting down to the minimum amount of medication is the best method, so we will put a plan-of-attack in place soon, and get this show on the road. It has felt like there has been a lot of waiting and stagnancy, but I know that Devon and I are doing exactly what we can do. We had a good talk today about priorities, and put a bit of a life plan together, which involves potentially putting off the selling of our house this year to save our sanity. And probably our relationship. But, unlike our past plan to wait until we move before TTC, we were both clear that if we put off the selling of our house, that didn't mean we had to put off the baby-making plans.

I like this plan. 

So, it looks like things are falling into place. I don't see any reason why we wouldn't jump into the specifics after we have a medication plan. Dev and I had some weirdness around the baby (I felt she wasn't as involved as she could be / she didn't feel as though I was involving her, by rushing the process after she asked me to wait until she was ready), but we had a great talk today, and again, I feel very hopeful.

And I love that she is still on board. Another thing to feel blessed about. 

She's pretty awesome, and I'm pretty lucky.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In the Hands of a Psychopath

I don't often write about politics, but last night, I watched my country go to shit in the hands of "our" version of George W. Bush. A severely-right-winged nutter has just been re-elected as Prime Minister, but this time, with a majority government (meaning he can actually do stuff at will).

Canadian politics are probably just as confusing as that damn electoral college vote in the US, but I'll explain in one sentence how elections work, taken from a friend of mine explaining it to an American: "Take a scare crow out of a cornfield, stick a bad wig on him, and apparently Canada will elect him."

The thing that pisses me off more than the actual win is the dreary below-50% of people who actually voted. There were major campaigns to inspire young people to vote, but they did not work. We just... lost it to the generations that want multi-billion dollar fighter jets over health and childcare. Tax cuts for the rich and social services funding taken from the poor. Although Harper promised not to open the issue, I will bet all of my hard-earned money that the abortion laws are about to change.

It scares me. It scares me because, three years ago, I watched my neighbours to the south elect a man who promised change, who had some colour (literally and figuratively), and who seemed to fit the people, and as a result, their country has made leaps and bounds since being under Bush's rule. I am certainly not an expert on Obama - I know some of his policies are not ideal, and I know presently there is a lot of criticism with bin Laden's death - but in general, he seems like a pretty cool dude. At the very least, he installed hope in a country that had none, and that's a pretty damn good "least".

I am married to a woman, want to start a family, and have a chronic illness. I need to feel safe in my same-sex marriage laws, confident in knowing there are resources for my future child, and have accessible health care. Like, really, really accessible health care. I feel completely helpless and unsupported by my country. And that sucks.

Because Canada has the possibility of being something so great. And yesterday, we fell short.

If we only cared about our politics the way we do about our hockey... then things would change.

[image source: Veterans Today]