RSS

Category Archives: marriage

My Baby Story (Chapter 30:Love and acceptance)

graphics-baby-toys-897970

Just a year before my mother died, she game me some advice that I couldn’t understand. Of course today it makes perfect sense. At the time though I was 14 years old and very clueless by what she was telling me. Here was the thing…she knew her days were numbered and she wanted to tell me something she felt was important. My mom told me I was a person who had always and would always beat by a different drum. She said that I’d take a different path in life than most others and she wanted me to know it was OK. I remember thinking, “OK, what the hell is she talking about?” Honestly, she made me mad because she wasn’t being specific. “Dammit, stop talking so generally and just tell me what you mean!” G-d I was an awful 14 year old. But realistically even if she had told me what she meant I have no doubt I wouldn’t have understood and maybe have even been offended. I have no doubt she understood my ignorance but told me anyway with the hopes I’d remember (just when I needed to).

On that day she was talking to me my mom was barely able to walk let alone stand. Even so she made a point to walk to the kitchen where I was. While she was standing in front of me the grimace on her face said it all. She was in excruciating pain. However, my mom had a message to give and dammit she was going to give it. That was Momma. She continued to tell me that no matter how untraditional of a life I was to choose I was to always be proud of it and follow my heart. I remember thinking, “OK, and so what?” Listen, my mom banked heavily that I’d never forget what she told me and for some reason I didn’t. I suppose I knew it was important to her. Maybe it was because I knew she was dying? Maybe. Meanwhile, even as a snot nosed 14 year old, I stored what she said somewhere in that brain of mine. All I can say is I hope I have made her proud by doing exactly as she encouraged me to do.

Listen, all I could hear was my mom’s advice as I was going through each stage of my life. Her words allowed me to stand up to adversity, to maintain the confidence (that I had value in this world) and to have the ability to wipe myself off to continue moving forward. Her words empowered me to love another woman even though it wasn’t popular and may make others dislike me. My mom didn’t need a crystal ball to know I would have some up hill climbs in my life as a result of who I was. As much as I wished she could have been with me physically, I have no doubt she will always be holding my hand in a more spiritual way (as she had done to help me through so much in my life). More than anything though, I am most grateful for one thing and one thing only. That was that my mom gave me the strength, passion and drive to make my dream of having a child a reality. I am certain she was the one giving me all of those little kicks in the ass to keep me going so the brightest light of my life could emerge; our son, Judah.

Moving on to the real world after Judah was born I was amazed by the amount of support Carol and I had. I’m sure at first many friends and family were concerned for Judah. After all he was being raised by two moms and because of that they had the preconceived idea that he would be void of any male influence. Folks, how would that have been possible? And why would we have done that to him? Just because we are two women doesn’t mean we don’t like men. We just chose not to marry one. That was all. Meanwhile, Judah had (has) a wonderful array of uncles, male cousins and a grandfather all of which were (are) involved in his life. And then on top of that there are our adopted families who have loved Judah just as much as their own family members. It really does take a village to raise a child…any child no matter who their parents are. We are incredibly grateful (more than words could ever ever express) for the love Judah has gotten from my family, Carol’s family and from friends who in many cases helped raise me. Judah has been one very lucky boy.

OK, so now I would be remised if I did not mention Carol’s family. Listen as proud as I am of the unconditional love and support I have received from my sister, her husband and their two children, they are my family. I know them and I am used to their ways. They are mine. And the truth was Judah was directly related to them. However in mine and Carol’s relationship not being married in the eyes of the law it was uncertain to us how Carol’s family would react to Judah. Now before I can even get to Judah, I must explain the differences between mine and Carol’s family and their reaction when they first met me.

To say our two families were total opposites would have been an understatement. For one Carol’s family are Christian…from the Episcopal side. However, even though they are not church goers they do have a strong Christian belief system as their foundation. Christmas is a time for family to gather. They have traditions which are sensible and understandable. They were Southerners who took turns talking in a conversation. They hardly ever got loud. They were polite and always said “Sir” or “Ma’am”. Their food dishes of choice were black eyed peas and rice, green bean casserole and “Mama’s” macaroni and cheese. Carol and I refer to her family as “white bread” which means they are plain (in a very good way) without any added unnecessary frills. What you see is who they are. If they ask you, “How are you?” That’s exactly what they mean. No more, no less.

Then there is my family. We are Jewish in religion and culture. And as if I need to say more, I will for those of you who don’t know what that entails. We too celebrate our holidays and have our own traditions. However, our holidays usually come with tons of drama. For instance most of our holidays are about how others tried to kill us but through our perseverance we made it…we survived against all odds…we were the army of 10 in a world with armies of thousands who wanted us dead…get my point? In my family if you wanted to participate in a conversation you had to roll up your sleeves and get in there. The louder we spoke the more we were heard. And the thought of allowing someone to finish their thought was absurd. Why? Just get in there and say what you gotta say. Now, even though my mother was VERY Southern (being raised in Birmingham, AL during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s), because my father was from Brooklyn (and I spent more time with him after losing my mom), I took on more of the NY ways. “Sir” and “Ma’am” were foreign to me. Funny, though, my sister says them. I suppose her being 7 years older and having more one on one time with my mom, she picked up a little more on the Southern ways. At any rate in regards to food our Sundays usually included pastrami and tongue sandwiches on rye or pumpernickel bread. Our dad’s breakfast usually consisted of sardines and bagels topped with a ton of cream cheese.And so we refer to my family as “pumpernickel”. We are spicy and all about frills (necessary or not) and we have a tendency to cause gas if you aren’t used to us.

OK, so basically when I first met Carol’s family, I saw them like soft cotton sheets just fresh out of the dryer and I have no doubt they saw me like burlap that had never been washed. Get my drift here? AND SO I know it wasn’t very easy for them to open their hearts and to accept me. I was the epitome of everything they weren’t and somehow their family member, Carol, had fallen in love with me. OY VEY was right. OK, so they weren’t saying, “OY VEY!” Maybe “HOLY SHIT” was more like it.

I’m not sure where it all turned around for Carol’s family to finally feel comfortable with me but (in time), they took me in as if I was one of theirs….well, one of their “adopted” ones. Maybe because they could see I loved Carol? Maybe. Or was it because I wasn’t going away and they had no choice? More than likely. But whatever the reason they welcomed me. Even so, I was terrified as to how they would accept Judah once he was born. I felt Carol’s parents would be Judah’s grandparents and Carol’s siblings would be Judah’s aunt and uncles. However, Judah was not genetically apart of their family. Hell, Carol and I couldn’t even be married in the eyes of the law. That meant there wasn’t even a way to justify to Carol’s family that Judah was her stepson. Her family being very traditional I was fearful they wouldn’t see Judah as one of theirs. And of course that scared me because I never wanted our son to feel like an outsider in a family he was to grow to love.

I have to tell y’all, my worry was for nothing because once Judah was born and once they got to know our sweet little boy, they couldn’t help but to fall in love with him. We were very lucky because Judah’s kind and easy going spirit was heartwarming which made it easy for others to open their hearts to him. Carol asked her mom if it would be OK for Judah to call her Gram and her dad, Papa (like the other grandchildren). I don’t know if Carol’s mom told her Judah could because she was more worried about upsetting Carol or because she really did see Judah as a grandson but honestly, it didn’t matter. What was more important was that our son was given a huge gift…he was given the love of another family which was so incredibly special to me. After all by the time Judah was four he would share that family’s last name, so genetically or not, he was one of them.

I will never forget when Judah was 3 and we were at a family gathering at Carol’s brother’s home. Carol’s sister, Rachael, was introducing us to someone and she said, “This is my sister, my sister in law and my nephew.” Said was able to introduce us casually and comfortably as if it was no big deal. Another time Carol’s father introduced me to someone as his daughter in law. And on my side of the family my sister and her husband introduced Carol as their sister in law.

Listen, Folks, Carol and I understand we are not going to be accepted by everyone. We didn’t expect to be even when we had been the brunt of that rejection (many times during our lives together). However, it was important that we be accepted by our families. It was important for Judah to have that support. Hell, it was important for us to have that support too. I am incredibly touched and moved to have so many generations of family members who love us for who we are. Lets face it folks, if two families like mine and Carols can do it then anyone’s can. Both of our families as a result have allowed us to give the most incredible and precious gift to Judah. He will be raised knowing he has an extended family who accepts and loves him as the individual he is. In a world where he will be judged time and time again, he will have the comfort of knowing his family will never past judgement simply because of the parents he has. As a result they are helping us empower him in the road of life he chooses to take. And so far, he’s taking a very good one!

Advertisements
 

My Baby Story (Chapter 29-never mess with Bashert)

graphics-baby-toys-897970

After two months of doing the injectables I was to head to the infertility clinic to have one last vaginal sonogram to see how many eggs I had produced. Now, usually when I ovulated I’d get some soreness on my left side. Ironically, that was the side where I usually produced two eggs. And so, as we were headed to the clinic I told Carol that I was definitely feeling more soreness than usual. That made me think I had for sure produced more eggs. BUT, we couldn’t know until we had the sonogram.

When we arrived that day the waiting room was once again filled. I always looked around at everyone’s faces. I could tell who was just starting the process and who had gone through many rounds. It was always evident on the faces. After waiting 30 minutes we were called to the back and into the examining room. The nurse told me to go to the restroom to empty my bladder and then to undress from the waste down, put on the gown and lie on the table. Well at that point I didn’t have to pee, so I undressed, grabbed a gown and hopped on the table. It was another 20 minutes before the doctor came. She seemed very focused that day and not on us. It was clear she was bothered by something. Hey, folks, can be in a good mood all of the time. She didn’t say much to us and started the vaginal sonogram. We were all silent as she started looking at the monitor while moving around the “wand” inside of me. As she was looking she said,”You’re bladder is full. The reason you needed to empty it is so that we can better see things.” I really felt chastised by her. I figured it wouldn’t have been worth trying to explain that I didn’t have to go initially but after waiting for so long (and by the time she had gotten there), I did have to go. I asked her if she wanted me to go. Listen, I didn’t want to hinder her being able to see in any way, shape or form. She told me it was OK and that she needed to go ahead looking.

After what seemed like forever she finally told us what she saw. She must have realized how curt she had been previously because she was back to her usual self at this point. She told us she was disappointed to only see 4 viable follicles. She told us there were about 9 but only 4 were good. She was surprised because normally women produce a lot more while on the injectables. When she was done, she asked me to sit up and she took a seat in front of me. Aware of our money situation she knew we had no other options for the injectables. She began talking to us about IVF which is where they remove the egg/eggs, fertilize it in a petri dish and then implant it into the uterus. As she was explaining it to us I knew we were done. That was a procedure that was easily $10,000 a pop. It was not something we could do. Carol told the doctor there was no way we could do that procedure. The doctor told us she understood but also added,”Please know we never expect a patient to pay it all at once. We understand how expensive it is. We want you to know our office does offer a payment plan.” I don’t know why but every time this doctor would tell us something else about how her facility helped her patient’s, we were shocked. We couldn’t believe it. BUT, even with a payment plan that still was worrisome to us to do. It was very expensive and something we’d still have to pay whether broken down into payments or not. We already felt as if we were throwing our money out the window each time it didn’t work. But, it was on a much smaller scale compared to the IVF procedure.

Meanwhile, even though we knew we weren’t going to do IVF we were curious about the procedure. Carol asked her, “And does that mean having multiple babies?” The doctor explained that the way she did the procedure (implanting so many eggs) she statistically had a high number of women who had triplets. Well, that was all we needed to hear. There was NO WAY we could have afforded that. AND I don’t mean the procedure we were thinking about just the raising of 3 children plus Judah. One more, yes, but not two or three. And there was a huge possibility of even more. I will never forget that day. Carol and I looked at each other and told the doctor that IVF was not an option for us. We asked her if we could go ahead and do our last insemination? She knew we were disappointed with the number of eggs the injectable had me produce. However, she was positive. She told us that at least I had doubled my chances.

We made an appointment to come in the next morning for our final insemination. While returning home that day we realized Judah didn’t have school the next day (when we were to have the insemination), so we’d have to find someone to babysit him. That evening after many phone calls and no one to watch Judah, we concluded we’d just take him with us to the insemination. We had a portable movie player which we figured he could watch during the procedure. It wasn’t ideal but it was what it was.

The next morning we packed some toys and the portable movie player for Judah and went headed to the infertility clinic for our last try. Once there we explained to the woman at the front desk that we had to bring our son. She seemed used to it and said it wasn’t a problem. After waiting for about 45 minutes we were all called back to one of the examination rooms. The nurse told us where we could set Judah up and while Carol got him comfortable, I undressed, put on my gown, lied down on the table and waited. Judah who was usually curious about what I was doing never asked. He was busy watching his movie. Carol explained to him that once the doctor came he’d have to be very quiet and let Mom and Momma do what they needed to do with the doctor. Listen, Judah was always a good kid. He was never disruptive at all. We knew he’d do just fine with us.

When the doctor came into the room she greeted Judah and asked him what he was watching. Judah told her but he clearly was in grossed and not interested in anything else happening in the room. Even so the doctor told me she’d keep me well covered so Judah wouldn’t see. Meanwhile, I never cared. We were always open with Judah and in fact he had even come with me to an OP/GYN appointment. And during that appointment stood by the doctor asking her what she was doing. Was I uncomfortable? No, not at all. Not sure why but I wasn’t.

Anyway, I was nervous when the doctor started the procedure. This was it. One last and final try. Would it be bashert or was only Judah in my cards? The answer would come soon enough. After the doctor was done, she once again did her good luck ritual of rubbing my legs and wishing us the best for “it” to take. Now I must admit it was awkward when the doctor turned off the light before leaving the room. Judah liked it because he could see his movie a lot better. But after the doctor turned on the timer Judah started asking questions. What’s that noise? Why did the doctor turn on a timer? And so we just told him it was to tell us how long I had to lie down. Judah was satisfied with our answer and went back to his movie.

Once the timer went off and I got dressed, the nurse told us to please contact them to let them know where we were in two weeks. She too wishes us well and we were headed out. I have to tell you that I felt an overwhelming sadness that day. It was beautiful outside- great weather. But, I felt sad. On our way home Carol said, “Let’s explore.” And so she took one of the exits off the highway. While driving we noticed a sign that there was going to be a parade in one of the little towns. Carol asked if I was up to it but before I could answer Judah was clearly excited to go. There was no way I could say no. Plus, it was a good way to get our mind off of things. When we pulled into the town we could see people starting to position themselves on the parade route. Carol didn’t want me moving around too much. She would laugh that she didn’t want any of the sperm falling out. We found a great parking spot right next to where we could sit to watch the parade. Carol remembered that we had folding chairs in the trunk so she took them out for us to sit. Judah was thrilled. It was awesome watching him and how excited he was. I so appreciated Carol doing that for us that day. Going straight home would have been so depressing. We needed that time together as a family.

Of course waiting for the two weeks to end was incredibly hard. I had never felt the pressure as I did this last time. I also was much more emotional about it. I suppose, folks, I knew the answer but I never wanted to admit it. Sadly, just before the two weeks was up (for me to take the pregnancy test) my period started. While sitting on the toilet that day, I cried and cried and cried. It was one of the saddest days of my life. It was not meant to be. Me having another child was no going to happen and that realization had hit me very hard. I have to tell y’all. I had thought for a brief moment that I would convince Carol to do one round of IVF but I knew in my heart that wasn’t fair to Judah. I needed to stop shoving that square peg into that round hole. I knew trying to get pregnant just didn’t involve me. I had to not only consider Judah but I had to think about the person I loved the most, Carol. More than anything, it wasn’t fair to her.

Not having another child was incredibly emotionally painful. Each time a friend would announce they were pregnant, I’d have to take a deep breath (and put on my fake smile) before I could congratulate them. Jealous? HELL YES! And during my OB/GYN visits I would avoid looking or sitting next to anyone who was pregnant. It broke my heart. I suppose I was able to get through some of the pain by thinking that some how, some day it would happen. It was weird. I wasn’t sure how that was going to happen but it helped for me to leave it open. I suppose I could continue to dream, yes? Along with dreaming I also knew things happened for a reason. I wanted to know why me not having another child was to be bashert. Why wasn’t it meant to be? I knew for that answer to come I needed to give it time. Oh how that “patience” kept creeping into my life and oh, how I hated it. Not a great virtue I had but one I kept having to learn.

Right after my last insemination I had to keep busy to keep my mind off of the baby thing. And so I decided to finally start on my mom’s family tree (as I had already done my dad’s). Because my mom had died when I was 15 years old there wasn’t a lot that I knew. And so, I started with my sister who was seven years older. I also spoke to other people who knew my mom with hopes they could give me information. It didn’t take long before I was able to find (and speak to) several of my mom’s cousins. Many of them were already in their 70’s and a couple well in their 80’s. And so I had a series of questions written down to ask as I spoke to each of them. You know: who were my mom’s grandparents? Who were their kids? When were they born? When did they die? What did they die of? My questions were your typical questions. And even though I may have had the birth/ death dates of a relative I always asked the others just to confirm they were correct. It was amazing how my mom’s family were so consistent. I learned that if I got a date from one of them, it was correct. If they didn’t know, they’d tell me without even attempting.

OK, so I’m sure you’re wondering how any of this has to do with why I wasn’t meant to get pregnant. Well, I’m getting there, so hold on a minute.

One afternoon Carol was asking me about how my research was going on my mom’s family tree. I told her I had spoken to at least 5 cousins of my mom’s and had gotten tons of information. She was interested so I started to tell her the information I had gotten. Only as I was telling her about my mom’s aunts did the dawning hit. See, through this research I had discovered that my mom’s 4 aunts (and possibly 5) had all died of breast cancer. They were all between the ages of 38-40 when they were diagnosed with the disease. Carol pointed this out to me and then asked me when it was my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I told her that my mom was 42 but she had had problems two year’s prior which suggested she actually had it earlier (but she refused to go to the doctor). And then Carol asked me how old my sister was when she had her breast cancer. My sister was 37. At that point without Carol saying another word, I knew I needed to go see a doctor. Even though I had been getting mammograms every 6 months I knew that alone was not going to protect me.

On Tuesday, January 15th (ironically the anniversary of my mom’s death 22 years prior), 2008 I (and Carol) met with a breast health specialist. After a lot of talking and research, folks, I decided my best option was to have a double mastectomy. On May 5th, 2008 I had a double mastectomy with reconstruction. Five years later on March 4, 2013 after finding two possible tumors I would have to have a hysterectomy which put a final end to my dream of having another child. One day I plan to write about these surgeries but not now. I’m just not ready.

I have to tell you. Here was how I saw my entire having a second baby journey. If I had gotten pregnant there was no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t have researched my mom’s family tree for at least another few years (if at all). The baby and Judah would have taken up my time. The thought that I would have been oblivious to my risks (with getting breast cancer and possibly gotten it) was scary. Thinking about the ages of those women in my family, I had a high risk of getting it at anytime since I was already 38. The pain of miscarrying and not being able to get pregnant again and again brought me to a place emotionally where I wanted my mom. I suppose doing her family tree to me was how I could fill that void. And so, I felt not being able to get pregnant was the catalyst I needed to propel me into getting started. AND I felt strongly that my mom was at the helm of it all.

I have always had a strong belief in “Bashert”. Some feel bashert comes from G-d. I don’t at all. TO me it is more like how things are supposed to go and no matter what we do, we can’t change it. You know when you line up dominoes one perfectly behind the other and then you push the first one over? What happens? One falls onto the one behind it forcing it to fall which was course is known as the dominoes effect. Well, each domino can only fall in one direction. I could hope for it to fall in a different direction but the domino in front could only make it happen. And so that is how I see life in many ways. I wanted my life to go in a different direction but that was not how the “dominoes” were meant to fall. Was I happy about it? HELL NO? But I couldn’t force my life in a different direction no matter how hard I tried and I certainly did try hard. ALSO, sometimes we need a little coercing from our loved ones especially those who are no longer with us. They sometimes seem to have the power to give us the little pushes that no one else can give us. And for that I am so incredibly thankful.

Listen, if I had had another child and had not been interested in doing my mom’s family tree, would I have gotten breast cancer? Could it have been caught early? Who the hell knows? BUT because of my belief in Bashert, I do believe I was in some kind of danger. I will never know exactly (the danger) but that doesn’t matter to me. It doesn’t matter because I know in my heart the truth. I strongly believe because of my sister’s bravery and my mom’s guiding love I was given a second chance at life. It was by NO MEANS IN HELL what I wanted but there was NO WAY IN HELL I was ever going to fight against what was meant to be.

With the hopes of having another baby behind me it was time and important that I focused on my family. I had a child that I was incredibly thankful for having. He had and has filled me with great, great joy. It will be that joy that I will share with you in my next and final chapter.

 

My Baby Story (Chapter 28- one last try)

graphics-baby-toys-897970

A week later Carol and I were once again driving to the infertility clinic in Columbia, SC. This time though Carol was clearly concerned. As I have said in the past. She hid any of her fears or worries from me. However not on this day. The thing was she knew from what the doctor had said at our last visit (that if we didn’t get pregnant on the Clomid) then we’d take the next step (which were to do the injectables). Well, Carol had already checked with our insurance company and found out the injectables were not covered like the Clomid was. Here was the thing. Our insurance coverage had changed. If this had been when we were getting pregnant with Judah, it would have been covered. So on top of all of the usual infertility worries we were also frustrated that if we had possibly tried this earlier we would have had better coverage (or simply gotten pregnant without all of the problems we were having). But, easy to say..what do they say, “Hind sight is always 20/20?

OK, so Carol knew there was no way we could afford taking the injectable route. It bothered her too. She knew I wanted another baby more than anything, however we had agreed (before even starting with having another kid) we were not going to allow ourselves to get in debt over it. BUT, that didn’t matter to me anymore. When I had agreed to that I had hopes I’d get pregnant on the first try like we did with Judah. I never imagined we’d be in that predicament of trying multiple times. And so when Carol told me we couldn’t afford it, it upset me in the most frustrating way. Dammit! I wanted this. It wasn’t unfair! And plus, still reeling with the Clomid in my system that wasn’t helpful either in regards to my emotional state. I wanted to get pregnant and all I wanted was for it to happen. I suppose I got sucked in and at that point I was willing to do what ever necessary to get pregnant. Listen, it wasn’t Carol’s fault. I agreed with her. BUT, there was just that other maternal side of me that just wasn’t ready to hear the truth and to give up.

When we arrived at the infertility clinic it was close to lunch time, so the waiting room only had two other couples. One was a lesbian couple and the other was a bi-racial couple who had the most adorable child with them. I laughed and whispered to Carol, “Hey, if they have triplets, you think they’d mind at least giving one to us?” Carol knows I have always wanted to adopt a minority baby. Oh who am I kidding? I’ve always wanted a black baby. Even when I was a kid! In fact I used to have this baby doll that had been chewed by the dog (no more arms), I had cut her hair and drawn on her face with permanent marker. My parents were so embarrassed for me to take it anywhere so they took me to buy another doll. It was 1974 and I’ll never forget that trip to the store. My momma took me. Now at that time all dolls were typically white. And even at that age I noticed. Meanwhile, I never really liked any of them. I thought they all looked the same and none of them seemed pretty to me. Well, during this trip to the store I remember walking down the doll isle. My mom was certain I’d never be able to choose as there were SO many choices. However as I walked down that isle I saw no choices. Well, I didn’t want any of them until I walked by this one lonely doll. I was drawn to her. Her name was Zuri and she had the most beautiful black skin. Without even looking at my mom I rant to the doll and yelled, “Momma, I want her!” Now, let me tell you just a little bit about my momma. She was raised in Birmingham, AL in the 40’s and 50’s. She grew up in a wealthy Jewish family where black (or as my Momma referred to them as “Colored”) nannies raised you. And now her little red headed white child has chosen a clearly “colored” baby doll. WOW! I can’t imagine what went through her head. However, I want y’all to know my mom NEVER said one word to me. Instead she said, “If that is the doll you want, then we’ll buy it.” Now folks, my mom did try to show me other dolls. I won’t lie. But, I was a very persistent kid and aside from that Momma could see there was NO changing my mind. I do laugh because my parents where not the most open minded to those of a different color. I LOVE the fact that they wanted a new doll for me and that was what I chose. Awesome, yes? And if you don’t believe me, my sister can attest to it. I loved my Zuri doll! Here has been the best part too. When Judah was around 3 he wanted a doll. And so Carol and I took him to the store to pick one out. I couldn’t believe how many choices there were. I also hated the fact how the isle was sexist towards girls. Come on folks. My son will probably be a dad one day and he has to know how to be one. What not a better way than for him to have a doll and learn? Anyway, Judah went up and down the isle unable to decide. It was clear none of them tickled his fancy. Well, none of them until one seemed to have jumped out at him. Judah pointed and said, “I want the brown one.” Carol knowing about my Zuri doll smiled at me as I did to her. It was neat that our son had followed in my footsteps. And so we got that doll for Judah without any hesitation or reservations. We asked Judah what he wanted to call his new baby (as it was unclear to us if it was a he or she). Judah told us it was a boy and he was calling him “Toby”. Now, I thought that was neat because Carol loved that name and considered it as one of our choices if we had another baby. Pretty damn cool our kid was.

Anyway, back to my story. After the remaining people in the waiting room were called back, it was finally our turn. I was nervous and still upset about not getting pregnant from our first insemination. When the nurse called us back and placed us in an examining room, she clearly was sensitive to our plight. The kindness in her eyes said it all. About 10 minutes later the doctor came into the room. She sat down in front of us and told us she was so sorry that our first insemination didn’t work. However, she was positive. She told us she had a good plan for our next try and we needed to stay positive. Folks, those little moments were so incredibly special and appreciated. I just can’t stress that enough especially for those of you who may have not gone through any infertility. Now, I won’t lie that during those moments I couldn’t hear what the doctor was saying. I just wanted her to make me pregnant so all of the extra stuff what hard to hear. But, now looking back I could see where those kind touches actually did help tremendously.

As the doctor was talking to us she told us her new plan. Well, just as Carol surmised, the doctor suggested that we do the injectables for two cycles (to allow enough time to really produce more eggs). Then, we’d do our last insemination. As the doctor was explaining this to us Carol was shaking her head; no. The doctor stopped to ask her what was wrong. Carol explained to her that we were in a difficult position that wasn’t her problem. Carol explained she understood the doctor was creating the best plan for us which we appreciated but there was the reality involved of having to pay for it.

The doctor listened to Carol and then said,” We are here to help the two of you to get pregnant. And any problems or concerns you have we need to discuss them. We are a team.” OMG folks! Did we just hear her correctly? First, did she say she was there to help US get pregnant? Listen, I know I was on infertility medicine which made me more emotional but damn, all I wanted to do was to cry and give that doctor a BIG FAT hug. And then the next thing was we were astounded to hear her say how she was there to help us. Amazing! Sadly, we weren’t used to that kind of treatment. This doctor and her staff were clearly understanding and sensitive to the stress emotionally AND financially. AND they were there to make both as easy as possible. The reality was the cost but they were going to do whatever possible to help. To me that placed this doctor and her facility on a tremendously tall pedestal. I know I keep repeating myself but truly this was an amazing facility in our eyes. Dr. Gail Whitman-Elia was special.

The doctor asked Carol what her concerns were. Carol told her that unfortunately our insurance wouldn’t pay for the injectables and so there just wasn’t anyway we could afford it. Carol felt bad and starting rambling, “When we went into this whole thing, we had agreed we would not go into debt over it. We promised to not take away from the son/child we had.” I started to cry as Carol was talking. It was hard not to hear the reality of it all. When you want to get pregnant, you want to try whatever you can. It was so easy to go overboard financially. Infertility gets expensive and often one doesn’t realize it because you are going from one goal to another feeling as if you are so close to getting the baby. I suppose it can be compared to gambling. It’s when you look back that you realize how much money has been spent. BUT knowing that could happen Carol and I went into it with our eyes wide open.

It was at that point the the doctor stopped Carol. For one I was getting upset and this facility always seemed in tune to keeping the patient as stress free as possible. I must tell you the doctor never made us feel guilty for not being able to afford doing any procedure she suggested. She understood. In fact she agreed with Carol and complimented us for not taking away from Judah. She even said, “That’s commendable and smart.” However, the doctor felt there may be some options that had not been exhausted. She recommended letting her nurse (who was in the room with us) contact our insurance company to see if she could get them to pay for the injectable. The doctor explained that sometimes explaining to them that it is medically necessary then possibly they would do it. Carol and I were shocked. The doctor told us that it was worth a shot and she even said that if anyone could convince them it was her nurse. So, of course we agreed. It couldn’t hurt that was for sure.

The doctor asked that we stay put in the examining room for a little bit while they called. She told us it could be a good 30 or 40 minutes but to hang tight. Before the doctor left the room she asked us, “If you are able to get the injectable would this be the direction you’d be willing to take? We just want to make sure if we take the time to do this that you would want to take this route.” We didn’t hesitate to tell her that yes we would want to take this route. But Carol (with memories still very embedded in our brains from the last infertility clinic) said, “Yes, but only if the insurance will pay for the injectables.” The doctor repeated what Carol said and she and the nurse left the room.

It was a good 30 minutes before the nurse came back to our room. She didn’t have any news yet but told us they had not forgotten about us. She told us the person they needed to speak with at the insurance company was out to lunch and they were just waiting for her to call back. Folks, I thought I was going to go crazy sitting there. Waiting was not an easy task for me at all! Carol, during this time started preparing me for the worse case scenario (if they could not get the insurance company to pay for the injectable). Carol did not want me to be hopeful and then devastated if it didn’t happen. She knew me well and knew that nothing she said to try to prepare me was going to work (even though it was worth a shot on her part). I would be devastated no matter what.

Another 30 minutes went by and Carol looked at me and said, “I just don’t feel so positive about this.” UGH! I hated her negativity! But, I knew that too was her way of trying to prepare me. After waiting a total of over an hour the doctor and nurse returned. I tried to read their faces to see if they had good or bad news for us but I couldn’t tell. My brain started going crazy with thoughts. OK, if it was good news they would be smiling and the fact they weren’t then it wasn’t going to be good.

The doctor immediately started telling us the update. She told us the insurance company would not cover the injectables. She began explaining why which of course I tuned her out. In my head I began thinking how our dream was over. But before I could get too deep into thought the doctor touched my leg (to get my attention) and told us they had another option for us. Option? What did she mean? The look on Carol’s face was total skepticism. I know she was thinking, “Yea, right.” The doctor explained she needed to leave to do an insemination but that her nurse had some good news. As soon as the doctor left the room the nurse began explaining to us how they had another couple (who had been trying to get pregnant-obviously) who had donated their injectables back to the clinic. That couple understood how expensive it can all get and they wanted to give back to another couple (who maybe couldn’t have afforded it). And so they would like to give those injectable’s to us. Folks, Carol and I were speechless. Did we just hear correctly? They wanted to give it to us? How did we deserve that? REALLY? I thought I was going to fall to the floor I was so overwhelmed and SO HAPPY. This place was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! They really did care about their patients and created an environment where other patients also wanted to help. We had not expected that in a million years. If our insurance wasn’t going to pay for it then that would have meant we’d have to do the next insemination (with out the help of increasing my egg production) and hope for the best. But to have been offered such a gift was beyond words. We were very very touched and appreciative to say the least. I laughed because all Carol could say was, “WOW!” Over and over and over again.

Since we had promised the doctor that if we could get the injectables we’d proceed, the nurse told us she needed to give us a tutorial on how to use the injectable before leaving that day. And the reason was because we would be going home with it and would start the process at our next cycle (I mean my next cycle). Before the nurse was to begin with her instructions Carol and I really needed to know if that couple (who had donated the injectables to us) had gotten pregnant. We needed to know they had gotten their gift. The nurse told us that not only were they pregnant but they were already 15 weeks along and just found out they were having twins. Folks, I thought I would have been jealous hearing that but you know what? I was actually thrilled for them. Nothing more calming and reassuring than to know they were celebrating and not grieving. It made us feel relieved when using the medicine they had donated.

OK, here was the other thing. When the nurse started explaining how to use the injectables, the reality of what they were set in. OMG! I would have to give myself shots?! And they would have to be done in my stomach? OY! I wasn’t so sure about that but I knew I couldn’t back out then. The nurse explained when we were to give the shots. I had to take my temperature and at a certain point the injectable had to be given in my tummy area. It has to be given about a half a finger away from the belly button to be exact. Yeah, that made me cringe too. A SHOT IN MY STOMACH! HOLY SHIT! Yea, that was what I was thinking in my head. The nurse kept reassuring me that it wouldn’t be bad because the needle was very small and thin. She told me one thing that would help would be to ice the area before injecting and then I definitely wouldn’t feel a thing. Well, she was right. I honestly never felt it. BUT, if you thought I gave myself the shot, you are crazy. At first we had a friend who was a nurse do it and then Carol took over. And every time Carol injected me I’d say to myself, “Come on little eggy’s! Work your magic and produce many!”

Listen, even though this infertility clinic was amazing it still was an emotional ride. Each new procedure was difficult to accept. We’d always ask why us and why wasn’t it working? AND all of the waiting was even harder. Knowing this was our last and final insemination there was a multitude of emotions attached to it. For one there was a sense of relief. No more options to think about, no more thinking about the cost and most of all no more waiting. Living our lives with out having to pee on a stick, take my temperature, count down the days was a wonderful and relieving thought. BUT then there was the other side (if it wasn’t going to work). The sadness of never having another child. I have to tell y’all that was an EXTREMELY difficult one for me to think about because I wanted another kid so badly. So as the countdown began to our last and final insemination, it was hard to not have all of these thoughts rushing into my head. However, just as my partner, Carol, had done from the beginning (and through out every aspect of our lives together) she tried to keep me focused with living in the moment. Needless to say that was an uphill battle for her. In my heart I could feel something wasn’t right and somehow we were fighting against our life’s bashert. Only time would reveal the truth.

 

My Baby Story (Chapter 26- A new direction)

graphics-baby-toys-897970

OK, so Carol and I tried the home insemination a couple of times but it just didn’t work. Funny enough even though I was sad about it, I’m glad we did try it. It was certainly an adventure for us and one we can definitely cross of our bucket list.

Here was the thing. I was turning 37 and I knew my odds of getting pregnant were definitely decreasing. We needed an infertility clinic but NOT the one we had gone to previously. Oh hell no, folks. After those two times we felt we had given them a fair chance to redeem themselves. This go round it was important we find an infertility clinic who would treat us like human beings instead of like ATM’s. We wanted one who did have lesbian clients. On top of that Carol and I came to the realization that if we were going to do it again we really wanted the same donor as Judah. For whatever reason it was important to us. We knew the sperm bank no longer had our donor and to ask the bank to see if he would give again would have been costly. The bank would have made the donor go through the same testing as he had done initially and we would have had to accrue that cost. SO, we needed to look in a different direction and one that was more conducive to our pocketbooks. But, how would we find more of our donor sperm?

As we were trying to figure things out Carol caught a show on NPR about a kid who had been conceived through donor sperm. Carol was frustrated with the program because this kid seemed to have a lot of other issues that didn’t have anything to do with him feeling he was missing out on having a father. However, the kid only being18 years old was very young and that seemed to be where he was able to place all of his problems. The kid through out the program kept referring to his donor as “his father”. It was clear he was missing something in his life and needed to fill a void. And so, the kid with the help of his mom started a website called, “The Sibling Registry” which would allow him to find other families who had used the same donor as him. His ultimate goal in creating this site was to eventually find his “father”. Here’s the thing. There are issues (for some) with calling the offspring of those donors “donor siblings” just as their are issues with calling the donor “father”. A father to many is someone who is present in a child’s life and not just someone who “donates” a sperm. Donating a sperm in my mind doesn’t grant you that title nor should it. It’s about being present in the child’s life. And so some see calling the offspring (donor siblings) in the same way. They are connected biologically but that is it. I suppose some feel using the word “sibling” and “father” is too intimate of a term.

Now let me say this. Many donors want to remain anonymous and make that request when they donate. In fact when we picked our donor it was important to us to chose one who did not want to be identified (ever). Those donors who want to remain anonymous don’t see themselves as the parent but only as a way to help other singles/couples to have a baby. The other part to this is that donors also don’t want to be contacted by an infinite amount of children and then begin a relationship with them. The donor does not see them as his children. In fact the donor usually have their own lives and have started their own families. So the sperm banks do not disclose the name of the donor as long as they have requested to remain anonymous. It becomes a closed file. However, in the case of this 18 year old boy, he had high hopes the donor would check out the site and possibly contact him directly. Legally though, I’m guessing that would open a huge can of worms.

An so, how the “donor sibling” site worked was you’d place the number of the donor (the number assigned from the sperm bank) and the sperm bank name in the search engine. In some cases there were many already registered under that donor. If nothing came up for that donor it meant no one had yet registered that donor. In that case a person could register the donor with hopes they’d hear from other people (in time) who used that same donor. Now of course there was a charge to register. Nothing is free, people!

Aside from all of that there are other reasons Carol does not like the “sibling registry”. I suppose in many ways she feels it demeans her as the other parent. It suggests to the child they have a “real father” and “real siblings” which null and voids who actually raised them. And I can see her point. It is the people involved in the kid’s lives that make the family not the ones who so happen to be biologically related. However, I see it a little differently. I feel the reality is Judah was conceived by a donor whose sperm also got other women pregnant. And in our case there were eight other women (that we know of thus far through the donor sibling registry). Because of the reality of how Judah came to be born he will want to know. I think that is just human nature. I compare it to kids who are adopted. There are just some kids who want to know about their biological parents and that’s understandable. I don’t see that as demeaning Carol as being Judah’s other mom in anyway. I can see how scary it can be for the parent BUT, that was one of the reasons I wanted Carol to adopt Judah. She is 100% his other mom and no one can take that away. The reality is some children need to search outwardly to better understand the special family they already have. To me the reality of the situation can’t be taken away. A donor was used and from that other children were born. I’m guessing Judah will be curious and possibly want to meet the other kids who were born from the same donor. Or maybe he won’t. But, I feel that’s his decision.

Now Carol does feel strongly about telling Judah the truth and about it being his decision whether to meet the other “donor siblings”. Where Carol and I disagree is she feels we don’t need to tell him about the “donor siblings” until he asks us. And only when he asks do we tell him. Listen, there’s no doubt in my mind Carol and I have a smart kid but come on. To extrapolate that far in regards to thinking on his own that the donor had other children is something that I feel won’t be realized until well into his later teens. I suppose what worries me. I never want him to feel we ever hid anything from him. I feel we should tell Judah about the “donor siblings” just as we shared with him about the donor. Bits at a time and what he can understand at that time. One should never wake up one day with that kind of surprise. I don’t think that would be fair to our child. I also feel once he is a teenager (with all of the hormones and such) that wouldn’t be a terrific time for that realization to hit. In many cases they are already so vulnerable. And so, if we talk to him before hand (in bits and pieces), maybe he’d have a better foundation by that time.

In terms of the donor Carol and I have always agree. Since Judah was young we have spoken about the donor (age appropriately). Our kid isn’t stupid and understood at 3 years old that two moms couldn’t make a baby. He knew there had to be a male participant somehow. In fact when he was almost 4 he once asked me, “Momma, how do we make babies?” I was surprised because he had already asked how he was created and he knew (there was a donor). I suppose Judah noticed my confusion on my face and he added, “No, Momma. I don’t mean how two women have babies. I know that. AND I don’t mean how two men have babies. I know that too. I am asking how a man and a woman have a baby.” Gotta love kids!

Anyway, we have a large packet with detailed information about Judah’s donor. That is always available for him to see or to just ask questions. In fact just the other day Judah asked, “Did the donor like baseball like me?” and “Did the donor have curly hair like me?” And of course we answered him. However, I feel he asked because we made him comfortable to do so. We started giving him the information when he was young which gave him the comfort to continue to ask for more information. I feel we need to do the same with the fact Judah has donor siblings.

Now as you could see, Carol was not fond of the “donor sibling” registry. So, why in the hell would she be on their site? Good question. The fact was the site’s purpose was multifaceted. Aside from the obvious- finding donor “siblings” and it being a sort of support system to mothers who had children with the same donor, it also was a way to find other vials of sperm from the donor you wanted. Many woman over purchased and bought way too many vials. Their reasoning? Well, as you saw with the infertility clinic we used. They request the woman go through at least 6 inseminations. The other reason is the woman may not be sure if they wanted more children. So in many cases they purchased more vials than they needed.

And so, when Carol heard about this site on NPR even though she hated it’s premise she knew it could be the perfect place to find more sperm from our donor. Without my knowledge Carol went to the site. When she searched for our donor’s number and sperm bank lo and behold there were a few people registered. They had used the same donor and had children by him (obviously or they wouldn’t have been registered). Anyway, Carol was able to find out about the other kids born to our same donor: girl/boy, age, and area of the country. Through that we had discovered Judah was the oldest kid- first one born using this donor. The families who used “our” donor and conceived their children were either lesbian couples or single moms. As far as Carol saw in the “sibling registry” no straight couples used our donor. That of course didn’t matter to us. Some of our best friends are straight married couples. I just had to put that in there for humor sake. We get that often, so I thought turn around was fair play.

Alright so because Carol really wanted to get sperm from the same donor (and to surprise me with that news of being able to get it), Carol put her feelings aside about her dislike for the site and she e-mailed one of the couples she saw in the donor sibling registry. It was a lesbian couple who had two children from “our” donor. Carol e-mailed them and introduced herself. Not comfortable with the idea of sharing too much information, she did tell them we had a son who was conceived with their same donor. Of course all Carol cared about was asking them if they had any sperm to spare. Sounds like the 1930’s song, “Brother can you spare a dime.” Well, lesbian’s can you spare some sperm? Sorry, just my twisted humor added in here. In all seriousness, it would have been rude to just jump in and ask if they had extra sperm to spare. So as we Jews like to call it, Carol “schmoozed” with them first. Not something Carol likes to do anyway, so good for her.

Now let me explain how one buys and sells sperm. Stay with me here, because it can get confusing. First let me say this. The vials of sperm are not sitting in any of these women’s freezers. No, not at all. The sperm has to be stored in a reputable sperm storage facility which typically is held in the same place it is purchased until needed at the place you are being inseminated. Not only is that the law for liability issues but it also guarantees the quality. Can you believe we’re really talking about sperm here? Crazy and weird, I know. And so an individual may own a vial of sperm but it is always stored in a sperm bank or infertility clinic. Got it? Now, if the individual wants to sell a vial to someone else (because they no longer need or want it), they can. It is called transferring of ownership. The sperm bank charges a fee for the transferring, however the payment of the vial is done privately between the old and new sperm owners.. But as I said, the sperm never leaves the bank until needed to another bank of choice or infertility clinic.

To break this down a little bit more: “ownership” means: The vial of sperm is owned by the person who buys it (duh) and it is registered in their name at the sperm bank. Now of course there is a fee for the sperm to store the sperm, so the owner is responsible to pay that monthly storage fee (until it’s used, sold to another owner or until it is asked to be destroyed). If the owner chooses to sell it, they contact the sperm bank where it is being stored, both the seller and buyer fill out paperwork (which states the sperm ownership is being transferred) and then the sperm bank places it in the new owner’s name. Now I bet you are wondering how much all of this costs? Good question. First of all, it depends on the sperm bank. For us the transfer of ownership wasn’t cheap (even though it’s all done on computer). We paid $100 at that time. OK, now that you are up on how it all works here was where our story got interesting.

The lesbian couple returned Carol’s e-mail and told her they did indeed have extra vials of sperm they could sell. In fact they had a whopping TWENTY vials they could sell her! Alright folks, Carol’s mouth fell to the ground when she read how many they had bought at one time. To put it into dollars let me do the math for you. The cost of twenty vials times $200 (the cost per vial when they bought it) equaled $4,000. However, we know they had more than the twenty vials because some were used in the insemination procedure to get pregnant. But, since we can’t know that number, I’ll keep it at twenty vials for example sake. Another cost was what the sperm bank charged to store each vial of sperm per month. Now, at the time we had contacted the lesbian couple who purchased the twenty vials they had already been storing the sperm for five years. At roughly $10 a month per vial it cost $200 a month for storage. So the storage costs for a year was $6,000 and $30,000 for five years. Just adding up the cost of the sperm and it’s storage fees for five years the women put out a minimum of $34,000. And that didn’t include the cost of their procedures and tests. I have to tell you folks. That blew our minds. For us it was expensive to spend $2,000 to get pregnant with Judah. We couldn’t have imagined spending $34,000. At that cost one could have had IVF OR have adopted. Feel free to check me on my math. That is not my place of expertise.

Meanwhile, truth be told, Carol was thrilled to have found a couple who still had sperm from the donor we wanted. Who cared how many extra they had. The fact was they had extra. And so, before talking to the lesbian couple any further, Carol wanted to talk to me. She was excited to have found another route to get vials of our donor and couldn’t wait to tell me the news. AND when she did tell me I was beyond thrilled too. I couldn’t believe it. But, once my head came out of the clouds I started to think, “OK, how did she find the extra vials and what was going to be the cost?” There always was a cost.

I asked Carol where was extra sperm located? Really what I meant was how did she find it? But in classic Carol form, she answered me literally and told me it was at the sperm bank. Well, no shit Sherlock. All sperm is at the sperm bank. Meanwhile as thrilled as I was with knowing she had found our donor’s sperm I knew something didn’t smell right. I knew our donor was no longer active at the sperm bank so, how in the hell were there vials available? OK, what was going on here? Carol knew me well and knew I’d ask many questions. I think she had hoped just maybe I wouldn’t have. Folks, Carol doesn’t wing it, so I’m not sure how she thought she was going to pull that off. The bottom line was she didn’t want to tell me how she found the extra vials. The reason? She didn’t want me to go on the “Sibling donor” registry or contact any of the woman who used the same donor as us.

With my pushing she in the end had no choice but to tell me about it. But when she finally did I had to promise I would not contact the woman or go on “The Sibling Registry” site. I was really mad. I didn’t think it was fair. I had a right to know about “The Sibling Registry” site and to see it for myself. After all Judah was my kid too. It wasn’t just her decision. Even though it really upset me I promised (for marital peace) that I wouldn’t contact the women or go onto the site. Just know though, that didn’t keep me from arguing with her about it. To this day even though I continue to disagree with her about it I have yet to go to on the site. Hell, I only know how it works from what Carol told me. As far as being in contact with a few of the other families? I am. That came about through them contacting me on Facebook. I have enjoyed getting to know them on a different level than just sharing the same donor. But on another level I have enjoyed seeing updated pictures of their kids and hearing about them. One can’t help but to compare knowing they all had the same donor. I’ve even caught Carol doing that as well. Meanwhile, it has been fun to see how the parent/parents have also influenced the child which has made the “donor siblings” different.

I was a little upset with Carol when she told me she had not asked the lesbian couple about how much they wanted per vial for the sperm. My worry was they’d want way too much and we’d have to start all over again looking. Our excitement would have been for nothing. And so Carol wrote the lesbian couple to ask them their price per vial. A few days later when they responded, I must admit I was flabbergasted by how much they wanted. Listen after having dealt with our infertility clinic who seemed to have nickeled and dimmed us and after dealing with the sperm banks who did the same thing when these women wanted to charge us so much I was angry. Gosh, I understood that the sperm banks and the infertility clinics were a business and even more so I understood how the lesbian couple would want to also get some of their money back. I got it. BUT, I suppose that because this was such a sensitive area where emotions could run high (especially when a woman wasn’t able to get pregnant) it just all seemed so callus.

The lesbian couple asked for $400 per vial. They felt because the donor at that point had earned his doctorate, they could then charge the “executive” rate which was double what they had originally paid. My heart sank because I knew as much as we wanted that same donor, there was no way in hell we could afford that amount per vial. I asked Carol if she could please explain to them that we just couldn’t afford it and if we could possibly please pay them $200 per vial. Listen, we had decided that we were only going to try two more times and then call it quits. So, we only wanted two vials. And I suppose in my mind since they weren’t needing the vials anymore at least offering what they had paid originally was fair.
Carol disagreed with me. She felt they had a right to ask what they wanted and if we didn’t want it that was our problem. But, having no other alternative and knowing we really wanted that same donor I felt desperate to try to negotiate with them. Plus, since I wasn’t allowed to contact the women myself, I had to beg Carol to do it. And so, she did. They replied fairly quickly but not with the answer we wanted. They felt their price was fair (because the donor had gotten his Master’s degree) and that was the amount they wanted. Of course I was upset. It was something I wanted very badly and I hated that we couldn’t afford it. However, what really upset me was something else they said. They also wrote that they’d give us time to think about it but by a certain date they were going to have all of the vials of sperm destroyed (since they didn’t need it anymore). WHAT? Are you kidding me? They’d rather destroy all of it than to at least sell us two vials for $200 each? Two vials! That was all we wanted. Listen, if we could have paid the price they wanted, we would have. We honestly couldn’t have afford it. Meanwhile, just tell us thanks but no thanks. Their response to me felt very mean and uncaring. I just didn’t feel they needed to add the part where they were going to destroy it. Anyway as much as I wanted that sperm there was NO way we could have paid what they wanted. Carol wrote them back and thanked them but let them know we just couldn’t do it.

During this time Carol received an e-mail from a woman who had also used the same donor. She had one child- a boy. When Carol would read her e-mails to me she seemed so kind. I encouraged Carol to ask her if she knew of anyone else who may have some extra vials of the same donor. Carol was hesitant but did ask her. To our surprise this women too had extra vials. Wow! We had another chance to possibly get the same donor! And so we asked her how much. She had three extra vials and she offered to sell them to us for $200 per vial? I couldn’t believe it! It was amazing! Carol told her we only needed two and so our chance to have the same donor became a reality. We couldn’t believe it. It felt as if we had won the lottery. Well, not that we had ever won the lottery but if we had, this was how it would feel.

Carol and I hated throwing money out the window which was how it felt when we were trying to get pregnant (again) and it wasn’t working. We already had a child and we felt it wouldn’t have been fair to take away from him. Carol and I did the calculations and figured out we could afford to give it two more gallant tries. The IUI procedure would cost $500 a piece so it would cost us $1,000 for two procedures. Then, there was the cost of the sperm which would have added $400. Because my insurance paid for all tests, we were fortunate to not have to pay for that part. So, our cost would be around $1400 and some possible change. We felt we could spare that without taking away from Judah and so we went for it.

Our next and most important step was to find a new infertility clinic. We knew it would probably mean we’d have to travel to another city but at that point we were more than willing. And so another one of our journey’s began in a new direction.

 

My Baby Story (Chapter 25- Anyone got a turkey baster?)

graphics-baby-toys-897970

I never thought something like that would have effected us as it did. Weeks went by and Carol and I were still upset about it. It took Carol longer than me to move on. We needed time to decide what we wanted to do. Our doctor told us if we wanted to do another insemination we’d have to wait a few months so my body would get regulated again. That worked out just fine because needed that time.

A month later as we were still grieving our loss, we were surprised to receive what looked like a bill in the mail from the infertility clinic. OK, what now? Listen, the way the infertility worked everything had to be paid upfront. So what could we possibly have owed? Had they not filed one of my tests with the insurance again? What was the fucking deal now? Carol opened the letter hoping maybe it was a “I’m sorry for your loss letter”. When Carol opened the envelope and saw what it was, she was irate. Would you believe they sent us a bill for our last insemination? Now remember that was the day we couldn’t pass go until our storage fee was dealt with and until we had given the receptionist payment for the insemination. SO, how in the hell did they think we owed them? The crookedness of the place was beyond words! And now I will call them straight out crooks. Thieves! Another thing that really grabbed our goat was their lack of sensitivity. It had only been two weeks since our miscarriage and here they were sending us a bill from the insemination that it occurred. Meanwhile, we didn’t even owe them that money! I was furious. This facility had done nothing but caused us angst and stress. Yes, they gave us Judah which we are incredibly thankful but holy shit it came at an incredibly HIGH cost. What we had to endure in return was insane. I had had enough.

I sat down at that very moment and wrote my doctor a letter with a copy to the medical board. I explained how our experience had been at his clinic. I wrote about the receptionist’s treatment toward’s us and how she was refusing to file all of our preliminary tests with our insurance company. I wrote him about the situation with the storage of the sperm and how we were trying to be double charged. Lastly, I told him about the bill we had just received and explained to him there would have been no way we could have had the procedure done with out having paid upfront. After all the receptionist would never had let us have an insemination without paying her first. And then I supplied a copy of the bill which was sent to us along with our receipt from paying for that very insemination. Well, guess what? Would you be shocked to know we never heard from the doctor or the board in regards to the letter I sent? I’ve got to tell you. THERE WAS NO WAY IN HELL we were using that facility again. AND we made a point of sharing our experience (as I’ve done here) with everyone who would listen. Have they changed? Can’t tell you. We never stepped foot inside their place again.

Another four months had passed before Carol and I started talking about trying again. We were each concerned with bringing it up to each other because of how painful the miscarriage had been. I was also pretty darn sure Carol wouldn’t have wanted to do it again. Listen, each time I was the one who approached Carol with wanting a baby. In some ways I felt guilty for causing her that pain when we had the miscarriage. SO, I just couldn’t broach the subject and possibly do that to her again. No way! And so, that was why I was surprised when one afternoon Carol came to me and said,”I want to do another insemination.” Folks, I can’t tell you what it meant to me to hear her say that. And even more so to my surprise she was more driven than ever for us to have a second baby. It really meant a lot to me and her desire to go for it again was incredibly meaningful to me. On a side note here. Her strength was quite sexy…it looked very good on her.

Now, I hadn’t realized when she had come to me saying she wanted to do another insemination that she had already done a ton of research and had devised a new plan for us. I wasn’t used to that. After all it had always been me with the plan. Now that the shoe was on the other foot, I wasn’t so sure about it. But, Carol was the sensible one. She would have never suggested something that we couldn’t do. HOWEVER, folks, I was NOT prepared for what she came up with.

First, let me back up a minute. Remember that we won that Rosie O’Donnell cruise? Well, we had met another wonderful couple (two women who had one child and were expecting another). They had done their insemination at home by having the sperm shipped to them. They told Carol about it and apparently she never forgot about that idea. And so, Carol posed to me that we do our insemination at home. Folks, to say I was totally OK with it at first would have been an over statement. I honestly, wasn’t for doing it and was very skeptical. Doing it at home seemed so far fetched. OK to get just a little graphic here. By doing it at home that would mean Carol would perform the insemination and the only procedure option would be the one where the sperm would be placed in my vagina instead of in my cervix. I was concerned because I knew the procedure (of placing the sperm in the vagina) wasn’t as successful as the one where it was placed in the cervix. I had a barrage of questions for Carol. She stopped me and asked that I hear her through before making a decision. She had already done the research so she wanted to explain it all to me. Carol started by telling me how the sperm would be shipped to us in containers called dewars. Dewars were basically oversized thermos bottles. She told me the dewars ship frozen sperm specimens in “dry” or “vapor” which allows the sperm to last a good 7 days from the time it was shipped from the bank. If we decided to do multiple inseminations, the sperm would arrive in two separate dewars so that the one not being used would remain frozen until used. By this point my head was spinning. Could we really do this?

Carol continued to explain things to me. The dewars come in a box that protected them during shipping and they were approximately 11 in. square by 25 in. tall and weighs about 24 pounds. In order to have a dewar shipped to our home, we would have to make sure our state would allow it and then have our doctor sign a small stack of legal papers assuring our sanity and ability to return the dewars. Apparently, the dewars are VERY expensive as we would have to put down a $500 deposit on each one we received which would be returned once they received the dewar back. While doing her research Carol discovered there were only a small number of sperm banks who would ship to your home. After she looked at a few of the banks she narrowed it down to one she felt would be best for us. I was concerned about a sperm bank that delivered to your home and the safety of it. Carol told me all sperm banks had to abide by very strict FDA laws. This meant the sperm bank had to disclose health background of the donor (just as we had gotten from Judah’s donor). But instead of $200 per vial which was what Judah’s donor cost us (for the particular category we chose), all sperm at this bank were $50.00 a vial. And to our surprise they provided as much information about the donor as we had received from Judah’s donor. The difference with this sperm bank was the donor did not have to go through any genetic testing which was why the cost was cheaper. However after Carol called them, did weeks of research and contacted a couple of friends who were doctors she felt confident it was safe. And most of all she felt this bank would provide hearty sperm. We can’t forget about that can we? NEVER in my life did I ever think I’d be concerned about getting “hearty sperm”. OY VEY this was crazy and we knew it.

I have got to tell you. A home insemination seemed weird. OK, not that it wasn’t weird in the doctor’s office but at home it seemed even stranger. Carol pleaded her case. She talked about how romantic we could make it and how we wouldn’t have to be in a sterile, uncomfortable environment as we had been in the past. She knew I hated that. Also, I hated seeing Carol so frustrated for not being able to give me something I wanted so badly- a child. Taking the route of home insemination Carol would be able to do the procedure and in many ways it would be more “natural”. Knowing that Carol and I would be literally making a baby together with no other party present was something I saw very special. AND so, that reason alone made me agree to do it. I was insane but what the hell? Most people thought that of me anyway, so why not go for it.

By the time we agreed to do a home insemination it had been four in a half months since my miscarriage and my cycle was finally back on schedule. Our first step was to get the plethora of paperwork filled out from the sperm bank (we had chosen). This required both us and our doctor to complete an assortment of forms. Then we had to pick out and order “our” sperm. Once that was done and the sperm bank confirmed receiving all of our paperwork we were able to begin our sperm search. OMG! Saying “sperm search” just made me imagine a sperm (looking similar to a cartoon version of Frank Sinatra) holding a microphone singing, “Strangers in the Night.” See what sperm searching does to a lesbian’s brain? It makes us go places we never wanted to go.

Anyway after looking on the sperm bank’s site for over two weeks we couldn’t seem to find the right donor for us. Listen, it was hard enough the first go round with Judah. Why we thought this was going to be any easier for us, I don’t know! We got discouraged. We didn’t want to just pick any donor just because I was going to surge (ovulate) soon. For god sake we were picking out half of the genetic pool for our potential child, so we couldn’t rush it. However after missing one month’s opportunity to inseminate we weren’t so sure this particular sperm bank had the level of sperm we wanted. Listen, we loved the donor who we used for Judah. He was perfect. His personality and medical history matched perfectly with all of the things we wanted. Judah’s donor received almost a perfect score on his SAT’s so he was smart. He and his parents spoke multiple languages. He was good at sports and especially in baseball. He was a baritone singer and his mom an alto – they were musical. Then there was the fact that his aunt and uncle had been in a concentration camp. So, the next donor we were going to pick had a lot to live up to in comparison to Judah’s donor. How was that even possible? Well, it wasn’t going to be if we were going to continue to compare the two. We had to let go of the idea of getting the same donor so that we could pick another one. OY! I never would have thought donor picking would have become so difficult. How lucky many people are to be able to find their mate and make babies the old fashion way. However, I don’t need to tell y’all but if Carol and I were able to do that we’d be two VERY wealthy women.

As she had done the first go round Carol spent many late nights searching for the right donor. Because the sperm bank posted new ones continuously it was not uncommon to see new guys pop up (no pun) on the site. After a good month’s search, Carol finally found a donor who satisfied the both of us. We really liked he had features similar to Carol- dark brown hair and green eyes. We had looked for those qualities with Judah’s donor but none of the sperm donors at that time had them.

Finally, we chose a donor. And this time because it was one with Carol’s features we were actually excited about our selection. OK, so I supposed we never really let go of the fact we couldn’t get the same donor as Judah. Here was the thing. We knew what our previous donor produced in Judah and even though another child would most likely be different, it still was nice to know Judah and another child would be totally related. By choosing two different donors I had dreams where the children would have fights about who had the better donor. One kid yelling, “But, my donor had almost a perfect score on his SAT’s! What did your donor make?” If they both shared the same donor however that wouldn’t have been a problem. But as the reality set in that if we wanted another child we’d have to get another donor, we realized it was about us as parents. And once we picked out a good donor it was us who made our kids related. Biological schmological. Blah!

Happy and excited with the donor we chose we purchased two vials. This way we could inseminate twice during one cycle to help increase our odds. When we ordered the two vials it cost $100. The cost of Judah’s donor 4 years prior was $400.00 (for two vials). We gave the sperm bank a credit card number. They not only charged the cost of the sperm but also for the $500 (per dewar) deposit which would be taken off once the container was returned. Now here was the best part of the $500 charge. Carol had to call our bank to let them know we were approving a $500 charge. Because it was a large amount and one we rarely made, we had to contact our bank to let them know or they would have put a stop on it. AND lord knows we wouldn’t have wanted that! Listen, it was nice to have such a conscientious bank but how do you explain there will be that kind of charge from a sperm bank? Um, I could just see the face of that person on the phone with Carol and the snickers that followed after their conversation. Oh folks, you just don’t know how many laughs Carol and I had over just wanting to get pregnant at home. It was beyond hysterical.

Now let me say this. One could purchase the sperm directly on line from the sperm bank. You know exactly the same way you’d purchase a dress you want on line. The sperm could be done the same way. Just press the one you want, add it to your shopping bag and then checkout. Voila! Sperm ordered. HOWEVER, Carol felt a lot more comfortable to call the sperm bank and do the transaction by actually speaking to a human. I would say we are old fashion that way but that seems a bit off considering we are ordering sperm.

The woman Carol spoke to on the phone was very nice and informative. She helped guide Carol on the how to’s of insemination and where to purchase the paraphernalia needed to do the procedure. She also explained how the shipping of the sperm would be done. Then, we had to tell her the date we had to have the sperm at our home (which would be when I was at the peak of my ovulation cycle). She explained they weren’t responsible if the sperm didn’t arrive on time- that was something we’d have to handle through the shipper as it was their responsibility. It made me so nervous but all we could do was hope all of the stars would line up and it would arrive as planned. After Carol hung up with the nice lady at the sperm bank she proceeded to look on line to order the paraphernalia for the insemination. Of course that was not something the sperm bank provided. Thank G-d for the internet because Carol had no problem finding it and ordering. Once that was complete all we could do was to wait. Oh hell! There was that word again! W-A-I-T! You would have thought I had gotten used to it but not a chance in hell did I!

Just as I had done before I counted down my days for the 15th day of my cycle. Carol and I had decided we’d inseminate twice on the 15th day. In order for that to happen though it was important our sperm arrive on time (which was planned the evening before our first insemination). The day the dewar (with the sperm) was to arrive we were SO nervous. Would it get there that day? Carol had been tracking it the entire time and discovered a slight glitch. She could see that it may not make it to us until the following day. OH HELL NO! Sorry, but that was not going to happen. Carol was one step ahead though. She contacted the shipping company (helped that she worked for the same company) with plenty of time to get that package on a truck and to us on time. She explained as best she could without stating exactly what the contents were that it was crucial we got it by a particular day. The shipping company promised to have it to us by 5:00 in the evening (which was still the evening before our first insemination). We were partly relieved. Of course we’d feel fully relieved when the dewar arrived.

Well, it was as if we were waiting for a long lost relative coming for a visit. In anticipation we kept looking out our window to see if we saw the truck. We didn’t want any chance that it would miss our home. And folks I can guarantee you that if it had, these two women would have been running the truck down. At any rate it was literally a nail biting moment. When we heard the truck pull up, we were thrilled! One would have thought it was the Publisher’s Clearinghouse saying we won lots of money with how excited we were. As stupid as it may have sounded, we were jumping up and down that our sperm had arrived.

When the delivery guy walked out of his truck carrying a fairly large box, I thought I was going to pee in my pants with laughter. It was huge! The box was so big! Because we had ordered two vials the gentleman took out two big boxes. I don’t know exactly what I found so funny except that it seemed like over kill. Listen, folks, the vial that was in the dewar was only about the size of my pointer finger, so was it really necessary for the box and dewar to be so big? Did it really need SO much protection?

As the delivery guy was getting the boxes out of his truck I wondered if he even knew what he was delivering to us. OK well, it didn’t take a brain surgeon to figure this one out. In all of my excitement I kind of yelled from our front stoop to Carol (who was still inside our house), “Our sperm is here! Our sperm is here!” Needless to say, Carol came running outside telling me that I didn’t need to announce it to the world. Honestly, I hadn’t realized I was. Listen, folks, it’s not often you get two lesbians so excited to see sperm.

OK, so maybe our intimate moment of trying to get pregnant would not totally be private but it was definitely more private than the infertility clinic. And lets face it folks it was going to be a lot m-o-r-e entertaining. Bottom line though, how weird was it to order sperm on a website and then have it delivered to your home? I’d say it was quite weird!

The next morning was when we were going to do our first insemination, Carol took Judah to preschool a little early. She then returned home to get everything ready. OK, now here lies where it really got comical (as if it hadn’t been already). All I could do was to lie on the bed and wait. Yes, folks I really was “laying” in wait. Anyway as I was lying there, I watched Carol. Folks, she was hysterical. She was clearly nervous but was trying very hard to not show me.

OK, so first, she cleared her dresser to make it her prep area. Even though she had studied the instructions for the last few days and had them fairly memorized, she still provided herself with a written instruction sheet which she set on her dresser. She kept reading each line of the instructions out loud over and over again as if she was practicing the procedure in her head. She had even waived her hands around once as if to be doing the procedure in the air. It was funny watching her. Well, sort of. At the time I was getting annoyed she was taking so long. I mean really.

After her in air medical procedure practicing she had placed a box on the bed. I asked her what was in it. She in a curt tone said, “It’s the paraphernalia I need to do the insemination but please be quiet so I can concentrate. I’ve already lost my place once.” Alllllllrighty then. Quiet I will be. And so as I was lying there, I started thinking about what she meant by PARAPHERNALIA. Gee, what was in that box….IT WAS PARAPHERNALIA. Yeah, well folks. Keeping quiet was not easy for me. I had to keep myself occupied somehow. Meanwhile, when I was done thinking about the PARAPHERNALIA, I went back to listening to Carol who was talking to herself. Would you believe she was only on number one of the instructions? I had been lying there for 20 minutes already. Each time she’d start to read, she’d loose her place and start all over again. It was insane. Finally, when she was done rehearsing (for the hundredth time), she opened the box of PARAPHERNALIA. In it was a box of disposable surgical gloves as well as the device she’d need to squirt the sperm inside my vagina. The care at which Carol took to reach into the box to pull out the “paraphernalia” was like she was in outer space. OK, so no, I haven’t been in outer space but man if we had been playing charades, she would have won the best outer space imitator. I did get frustrated by her slowness. I tried hard not to say anything to her but DAMN people! At the rate she was going I’d never be inseminated. So much for the “romantic feel”. Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer and I yelled, “Carol, if you continue at this rate of slowness I’ll be 100 years old before you inseminate me.” Carol apologized and told me she was just nervous and wanted to make sure she was doing it right.

Finally, Carol took a pair of surgical gloves out of the box and put them on. I smiled at her and said (as she slapped on a glove), “I suppose this is the epitome of playing doctor, huh?” Carol knows when I’m nervous I have to crack jokes and of course this particular morning I did not disappoint her. After putting on the gloves she opened the package with the device used to inseminate me. She started laughing hysterically. I wanted to see so she turned the package towards me. Folks you wouldn’t believe what the package read. OMG! In a million years you would never guess the name of the device. Are you ready? It was called, “The Inseminator!” All Carol and I could imagine was Arnold Shwartzenagger doing a commercial for it. “Hi, my name is Arnold and I’m going to pump you up!”

Anyway with her surgical gloves on and “The inseminator” in hand, Carol acted out a little commercial which was a cross between an Arnold Shwartzenagger character meets Saturday Night Live. I can’t tell you what a fly on the wall must have thought about all of this craziness we were doing that day. Once we were able to wipe away our tears from laughing so hard Carol got back to business. Well, she got back to business but neither of us could remain serious about it. It was all so funny and weird at the same time. We felt as if we were in a movie because it just couldn’t have possibly been real.

The best part was when Carol opened the dewar: the container that held the “golden” sperm. The instructions said it was crucial to be very careful with how the “specimen” aka sperm was retrieved from the dewar. It had to be removed slowly. When Carol opened the lid I felt as if I should hear sci-fi music playing in the background. Smoke was coming out from the dewar as Carol reached in for the metal handle to pull the vial of sperm out. OK folks, it was taking Carol so long to pull out the vial from the dewar it was insane! I was certain they didn’t mean to go as slowly as Carol was moving. Lord it took an eternity for her to pull it out of the dewar.

OK, now imagine this folks. Visualize smoke coming out from the dewar while Carol looks for and grabs the metal piece and slowly pulls it up and out. You do realize there were SO MANY openings for puns here but I won’t go there or did I? Anyway, we couldn’t wait to see the vial that was attached to the end of the metal piece. As big as the dewar was and as long at the metal piece was we anticipated the vial must be at least the length of our hand. OK, yes, we knew the vial of sperm was only as small as our finger but the build up of waiting for it to reach the top of the dewar made us think, just maybe, our vial was bigger.

Once Carol pulled out the metal piece which had the vial of sperm attached, I could only speak for myself and say that I think I did pee in my pants for laughing so hard. Seeing the size of the dewar was so big, having all of the smoke coming out and then having such a long metal piece that went on forever until this tiny, small vial appeared? Folks,we literally fell over with laughter. Anyway, once the vial was out, Carol had a certain amount of time to thaw it. Yep, she had to thaw it. I bet you’re wondering how one thaws sperm, aren’t you? Well, let me tell you. One of the methods was to place the vial under your armpit to allow your body heat to melt it. Lovely thought, yes? Not something one does every day that was for sure. Well, the look on Carol’s face as she held the small vial of sperm and then put it under her armpit to thaw was absolutely classic. Folks, I swear I shouldn’t have had any urine left in my bladder after laughing so hard but each new part of the process just kept sending me over the edge with laughter. I just couldn’t help it. This entire thing was crazy!

Carol kept the vial of sperm under her arm for a designated amount of time. While waiting I remember her asking, “So, whatcha want to talk about while we’re waiting?” And of course that was all we needed to start laughing again. Now, I bet your asking yourself, how does one know when the sperm has been thawed? Well, that would be an excellent question and one Carol and I would never be able to answer. Carol made sure to follow the instructions by having the sperm under her arm for a specific amount of time but after that we had no clue. It wasn’t as if the semen in the vial appeared more “liquid-y” or as if we’d suddenly see sperm swimming around yelling, “We’re ready!” All we could do was to trust we did it correctly and move forward. Once we felt it was thawed Carol gave me the go ahead to get ready. That meant it was time to remove my clothing from the waist down and place a couple of pillows under my tush to elevate it during the “procedure”.

When I was ready, I looked over at Carol and said, “I’m ready.” She was no longer laughing or even smiling. Her face was VERY serious. She was scared shitless. Through all of the joking and weirdness of it all, we wanted another baby more than anything. And this was our chance. It was our chance to make one in the most “normal” way possible which was incredibly important to us.

While lying there with my butt up in the air I could see Carol fiddling around with the “inseminator”. What the hell was she doing? She’d tell me she was going to start but then she’d stop. It was taking forever! The pressure was too much for the both of us. And at that moment we both freaked out. I started yelling at her to hurry up and Carol was yelling at me that she was trying. She then started yelling that I didn’t have enough pillows under my ass and she started shoving more pillows under me with one hand all while holding “The Inseminator” with the other hand. I started to worry about the sperm. Had Carol properly prepared them without having damaged them? So, while she was shoving pillows under me, I was yelling about the condition of the sperm. Meanwhile, Carol yelled, “How the hell do I know. I followed the instructions but it isn’t as if sperm are my expertise.”

It was total chaos and insanity until Carol yelled, “Stop! I am going to do it!” We both shut up. With the instructions by Carol’s side she told me she had to inject it slowly so the sperm wouldn’t get injured or come out of my vagina during the process. As she was injecting the sperm in me, she suddenly said, “Oh shit!” OK, not a good thing to say just as you are injecting me and so much is riding on it. Apparently, some of the sperm had come out of my vagina and landed on the towel under me. At first Carol forgot I had a towel under my bum so she had thought the sperm had gotten on our sheets. And lord knows how those lesbians feel about sperm getting on our sheets. Oh no. Carol wasn’t concerned that what fell out was supposed to be in me. Instead, it was all about those sheets. We really were something out of a TV sitcom. No doubt!

Once Carol was done inseminating me, she told me I had to lie there for 30 minutes (with my butt still elevated) as she started cleaning up. Um, hello Carol! What about the romantic part of this? Clean up? You can do that later. We have a baby to make here. Didn’t she say it was important for the woman to orgasm after being inseminated and especially during a home insemination? Then, what the hell was she doing? So basically, bing bang thank you ma’am? What the hell? Remind me again why “WE” chose to do the insemination from home? Oh, yes, it was for our own privacy so that we could possibly make a baby more like other (straight) couples did. That would have required Carol to lie next to me and you know…to have adult “playtime” together.

Mad at Carol’s lack of passion (for lack of better word) I asked her to come lie down next to me. I had hoped this would have stimulated her and well, you know. Well, Carol rested her head on my arm clearly relieved it was over. She lifted her head to give me a kiss and then she rested hers back down on my arm. The both of us let out a big sigh of relief that our first home insemination was complete. Seconds later I asked Carol a question but she wouldn’t answer me. Now remember, I was lying with pillows stacked under my butt so I wasn’t able to turn to look at Carol to see why she wasn’t answering me. But, when she wasn’t answering me, I tried to turn just a little to see what was wrong and that was when I heard a very familiar sound. Folks, while Carol was lying next to me she had fallen asleep and was snoring away. Man, I would have loved to have thought her being exhausted was from us making long, passionate love to one another but that wasn’t the case. Instead the love of my life was lying right next to me sleeping like a baby because of all of the mental stress of the insemination.

Well, maybe the home insemination wasn’t the romantic moment I had hoped for but you know that no longer mattered to me. As I had to lie on my back for what seemed like an eternity with my ass in the air all I could do was chuckle at all that happened that morning. The experience was priceless. When I looked over at Carol as she slept I realized what a special partner I had. And even though the home insemination didn’t turn out as I wanted it to, it was still a special moment between me and Carol. The way we had laughed that morning was something the two of us had not done in a very long time especially since having our miscarriage. That in itself made that time special for us. We laughed, we cried, it was a HELL of a lot better than “Cats” that was for sure!

Two weeks later, I took a pregnancy test and unfortunately we were not pregnant.

 

My Baby Story (Chapter 22- Guess what I want?)

graphics-baby-toys-897970

OK, so I realized after all we had been through to get Judah I would have been TOTALLY NUTS to even suggest having another child. So call me totally nuts because yes, I wanted another child. I suppose I was glutton for (more) punishment. However, I loved Judah and I enjoyed being a mom. I wanted another baby! Here was the thing. I wasn’t sure how to talk to Carol about it. After all I had promised her I only wanted one. But, I lied. Honestly, I wanted several more but I knew that would definitely have been pushing it.

I still remember the look on Carol’s face when I told her I wanted another baby. At first she ignored me but the next time I brought it up she just replied, “Oh, yeah? And I want a million dollars.” As you could see the thought of another kid didn’t go over too well with her. For one she was concerned she was too old. She being 9 years older than me and already seen as the grandmother to Judah she was not totally convinced having another one was a good idea. For me though I could feel my fertility clock ticking. I was already 37 years old. If we were going to make a decision we needed to do it very soon. I kept bringing it up to Carol. I just needed to let her soak in the idea. I knew she’d come around. After a few rounds of bringing it up Carol then started returning my comments with questions. Questions like: And where would we go for the insemination (not wanting to return to where we were before) and could we afford it?

On the flip side Carol didn’t want to take away my dream to have another child. I suppose there was some guilt in that she herself couldn’t provide that part to me. So, even though she had many reservations she agreed to try for another baby. I was thrilled and very nervous at the same time. The entire process was going to start all over again. Once again we had some decisions to make. Where would we go to do the insemination? Would it be possible to get the same donor that we used for Judah? And if we couldn’t would be able to find as good of a donor? I have to admit all of the questions made me so frustrated. Dammit! I just wanted to get pregnant. I didn’t want to have to think about all of the details. The one thing Carol and I agreed on was I was not going this round alone. Carol was going to be apart of it.

During this time when we were trying to figure out what infertility clinic to go to, a friend of ours happened to mention she knew the infertility doctor that we had used to get pregnant with Judah. The good one. Not the woman. I used the opportunity to tell her about our first experience and how we were told they would not inseminate a lesbian couple. Our friend felt things had changed and she went straight to her friend (the doctor) to ask him. He told her he had no problem inseminating same sex couples. Well, I’m not sure if their facility changed or it was the fact we just had an inside contact that helped. Now before deciding whether we’d return to the same facility I had to know if that female, nazi inseminator doctor was still there. AND if she was, I wanted to make it clear she was NEVER touching me again.

Just as I had done the first time, I decided to start with speaking to our OB/GYN. And so I made an appointment. This time though Carol came with me. When we met with our OB, she was thrilled to hear we were wanting to try again. We spoke to her about some of our concerns with the infertility clinic we had used and wanted to know her opinion about some things. She spoke to us candidly about her own experience with the infertility clinic and she gave us some valuable information. While talking to her Carol and I still hadn’t decided what facility to use. Our OB/GYN felt it would be easier and more convenient to use the same one we had used with Judah. She made some very valid points which we considered in deciding where to go. I knew this go round would be different because this time I was NOT going to go through it alone. I was not going to have any interaction with the woman doctor who had been so horrible to me. The other thing was I was NOT going to hide my identity. This time Carol was going to be with me every step of the way. And honestly, I suppose that was what made this attempt to get pregnant so special. Now Carol and I could share it.

Since it had been almost five years since we had gotten pregnant with Judah we had high hopes the facility we had used had changed. Listen, we weren’t totally thrilled at all with going back to them but our choices were limited. We had to take the chance. HOWEVER, Carol made me agree that we weren’t taking any crap. If anything came close to the behavior of what happened before, that was it. We were going to complain! And so I called the infertility clinic and got an appointment with in the week. I suppose knowing a friend of the doctor helped.

Gosh, I’ll never forget the day Carol and I had the appointment. They were in a totally new building and when we walked into the lobby the waiting room was packed. I’ve got to tell you we were the ONLY same sex couple there. However, maybe we’d see others during our next visits. We went to check in by signing my name on the paper at the front window. After sitting for a few minutes the receptionist called me back to the window. She asked how we were going to pay for our visit that day: cash, check or credit card. Wow! How quick to assume it would be coming out of our pocket. It was funny because even though that was an infertility clinic there were may women who after they were pregnant kept seeing the doctor. So, I’m sure they were used to filing insurance. Anyway, when I told her I had insurance she started the whole rigmarole as to how insurance doesn’t usually cover infertility. Carol could hear her talking (as she was still sitting in the waiting area) and came up to the window to help me. Carol told her that our insurance did cover all preliminary infertility tests. I could tell the receptionist was not believing Carol and only through our pushing did she finally make a copy of our insurance card. I was pissed. Here we go again with same kind of crap. Nothing like having a room full of people waiting and the receptionist is arguing with us about payment. The receptionist handed us back the insurance card and told us to take a seat in the waiting room.

After a 30 minute wait we were able to see the doctor. During our appointment the first thing the doctor did was to go through all of the statistics of my chances to get pregnant. But this time because I was older so my chances lowered considerably. Carol reminded him that I had gotten pregnant with Judah on our first try. He was surprised I had and fumbled through my medical files to confirm that. He told us that was VERY unusual and to not expect it again since I was older. OY! THESE PEOPLE ARE A BALL OF NEGATIVITY, AREN’T THEY? Just what I needed to hear. After the doctor reviewed all of the basic information he then began to explain the next steps we’d have to take. First he’d have to do a full examination of me. WHAT? WHY? I had an OB/GYN and I had just had my yearly exam with her. Carol asked him what kind of examination did I need. After he went through his schpiel, Carol said, “You mean the same kind of examination she gets at her OB/GYN every year?” He stuttered a little bit and then agreed it was. And so without giving him an opportunity to argue, we told him we’d have our OB/GYN send over a copy of my last exam which was just a couple of weeks prior to our visit. That way there’d be no reason to do it again. The doctor seemed taken back by our forwardness. We could tell he wasn’t used to having patients like us (and I don’t mean just of the lesbian kind either).

The doctor agreed to look at my records from my OB/GYN and if everything looked good he would for go doing an exam. Now here was the absolute best part. Are you ready for this? The doctor then tells us that he will need to exam Carol. OK, STOP FOR ONE MINUTE HERE! You need to exam Carol? Why in the hell would he need to exam her? It wasn’t as if he needed to see if her sperm count was sufficient! For goodness sake she was my partner who had no ability what so ever to get me pregnant which was why I was in this doctor’s office in the first place. The look on Carol’s face when he told her that was priceless. Carol looked at the doctor and with a smirky grin asked,” Why in tarnation would you need to exam me?” Want to know what his answer was folks? He said, “Well, just like in a male and female couple I exam both of them.” Carol laughed (out loud). She looked at the doctor while leaning towards him and said, “Why would you need to examine me when I have nothing to do with getting her pregnant?” Again, he seemed shocked with our forwardness. We could tell he was not quite sure how to answer Carol’s question. But, he finally said it was because we were a couple so he needed to make sure Carol was healthy as well. I knew there was NO WAY in HELL Carol was going to be examined by that doctor. And so, knowing Carol had also been to our OB/GYN with in the last few weeks, I suggested our doctor also send over Carol’s file. The doctor clearly was not happy with us. He tried to say there were tests he does that our doctor would not have done therefor he needed to do the tests. And so, Carol asked, “Like what?” Folks, I’ve got to tell you. Carol has never been a person to so overtly challenge a doctor nor to go against their suggested medical opinions. HOWEVER, this guy was an idiot and there was no way Carol could refrain herself. The doctor answered, “Well but I’m certain your GYN wouldn’t have tested you for AIDS.” Without missing a beat Carol said, “OK, that’s different but it doesn’t require for me to have a full GYN exam. Isn’t that just a blood test? Can I have that done here?” The doctor finally agreed to have our OB/GYN to send over both of our records from our last exam and for Carol to do an AIDS test in his office.

Once we had gotten it resolved that our OB/GYN would send over our records, the next thing the doctor discussed with us was the course of action he wanted to take for an infertile woman of my age. OK, once again. I was only infertile because I didn’t have the sperm. I SO HADN’T MISSED THEIR NEGATIVITY! First, he suggested me going through several ovulation cycles to make sure I was ovulating. Then, he wanted me to have a vaginal sonogram to make sure the follicles were a good size. And then, he wanted for me to have a procedure where they would extract my eggs and then look at them to make sure they were healthy. All of that would put our insemination if all went well in about 8 to 9 months. AND aside from the time, not all of those procedures would have been paid for by our insurance so we would have had to accrue those costs. Basically, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? As concerned as I was with wasting that much time I once again got angry at all of the testing they wanted to do. How much money so many of these women put out is insane! I understand wanting the best chances to get the woman pregnant but the doctor is not looking at the individual patient. Well, Mister Dr.- my situation didn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out or so I thought. But no talking to the doctor nor his staff would get them to understand. As the doctor was talking about doing all of the tests I stopped him. I told him we were not willing to invest that much time or money into it. I told him I was healthy and if it was meant to be for us to get pregnant then we would. I made it clear that I wanted to go ahead and have the insemination as soon as we could without all of the extraneous tests. The doctor was speechless after I told him. Listen, whether I got pregnant or not, Carol and I were NOT willing to go into debt over it. Well, not having anything to make a counter argument I was happy the doctor agreed to our wishes. He told me since I had thyroid issues he did want to look at those numbers and make sure they are at a certain level before being inseminated. OK, now that made sense to us. He told us once my levels were at a good point we could do the insemination. He then told us we’d need to go to the part of his office which houses the sperm to open an account. That way when we ordered our sperm they could store it for us until the insemination.

As we were walking out of the doctor’s office to head to the place where the sperm was stored, the receptionist called (yelled out for) us. Would you believe she wanted us to pay for the visit? Now that would have made sense if we had not had insurance. She continued to tell us as we were standing at the door and she was in her reception box area that we owed her $200 and something dollars? It was funny because Carol was so taken aback that she looked at her and loudly said, “WHAT? Why?” I pushed Carol closer to the receptionist because I hated this was going on while there was a full waiting room for all to hear. The receptionist started explaining as if we were two total idiots that we had to pay for our visits and should have done so before we had seen the doctor. OK, was this woman an idiot herself? We had given her our insurance card to copy. We had contacted our insurance company before coming that day to make sure what they covered and we gave the receptionist all of that information before seeing the doctor. But, apparently the receptionist didn’t understand and so Carol repeated it to her again. I couldn’t believe it when the receptionist demanded that we pay her. Carol rubbed her eyes (which was her sign that she was beginning to get agitated) from under her glasses and said, “Ma’am, did we not just discuss this? Our insurance will cover this visit.” The receptionist proceeded to tell us that we’d have to get in touch with our insurance company and they’d have to reimburse us. She told us that was between the insurance company and us. Now wait a minute. We were going to an infertility clinic which was an umbrella under the Medical College of Georgia. And when we contacted them before even making an appointment we were assured they took our insurance. SO, what the bloody hell was going on here? That wasn’t how insurance companies work. No way in hell was our insurance company going to reimburse us. PLUS, (we discovered later) what she wanted us to pay was much more than what the insurance company negotiated with them. So, the insurance company wouldn’t just simply reimburse us. That was crazy!

Carol asked the receptionist, “Are you telling me you don’t file with our insurance? And if so, how can’t you when you are a state run facility?” The receptionist argued with Carol and honestly it made no since what the receptionist was telling us. It seemed so crooked. Carol asked for the office manager to speak with. Well guess what? We were speaking with the office manager. Of course we were. Why would anything in that place go smoothly? OY VEY! After going around and around the receptionist/manager told us that she’d file it will the insurance but when our insurance company refuses to pay we’d have to pay at the very next visit. Carol and I had our doubts on whether she’d even file with them and then tell we’d have to pay at our next visit. After literally 30 minutes of putting out that fire, we headed over to their storage facility. The crazy part was the storage facility’s office was in the back of the doctor’s office but to get to it you had to go outside and walk to the back of the building. Why should we be surprised? That was one fucked up place.

Carol and I were surprised to see the receptionist in the sperm storage place to be the same woman who was there when we first got pregnant. Meanwhile, I’m not sure why because she was quite a character too. It must have been a prerequisite to work there because there wasn’t a one of them that seemed sane. The receptionist recognized us when we walked into the office. In fact when she saw us she said, “You know you still have sperm in storage here from five years ago? Oh and by the way you owe us for five years of storage fees.” HOLY FUCKING HELL! I COULDN’T BE LIVING IN REALITY. THIS PLACE WAS FUCKING RIDICULOUS!

Here was the thing. When I had gotten pregnant with Judah we still had another vial. So, they asked us what we wanted to do with it. Because we knew we wouldn’t have been able to pay them for the storage costs and we didn’t think at the time we’d want to have another kid, we told them to destroy it. In fact it was the very women who we were talking to who we told. The receptionist remembered typed in our name into the computer and looked up our file. When we told her that we had told them to destroy the vial, she asked us if we had signed anything asking them to destroy it. We told her no that no one had told us we needed to sign anything. We were only told to call to tell them what we wanted to do with the extra vial (which was what we did). The receptionist got very annoyed with us. BUT what was new. We seemed to do that to the people at this facility. She then said, “Oh, you can’t just call us to tell us to do that. We have to have it in writing.” We told her we had only done what we were told at the time to do. Finally, she had had enough and she told us we could NOT have sperm sent there (or have an insemination) until our account was cleared out. The receptionist started pressing buttons on her calculator next to her computer. While she was doing that I turned around and whispered to Carol, “I feel like I’m at a garage sale with her damn calculator.” Carol laughed. I suppose my point was I felt the place to be so low end. It was all about the money and me as the patient seemed to have gotten lost. Finally, when the damn receptionist was done with her calculations she said, “You owe us $535.00 but we can call it an even $500.” She added, “Once you pay that in full we can go forward with your insemination.” Well folks, I could feel my blood starting to boil. I was pissed. Listen, don’t get me wrong. I was thrilled to find out our other vial was still there. HOWEVER, I was infuriated that we had told them to destroy it (and NEVER had we EVER received a notice about it). Meanwhile, Carol didn’t see any other alternative and was willing to pay it. The problem though was our insemination was going to cost $500 and if Carol payed for the storage costs of the sperm, we wouldn’t have had the money for the procedure (which the insurance did not pay). I knew Carol was willing to pay it just to be done with the crap. But, I told her no and I told the receptionist we’d get back with her. Of course she made sure to remind us that if we didn’t take care of that balance we wouldn’t be able to use their facility. Yes, bitch! I got that, ok? I was so steamed! Carol couldn’t figure out what I had up my sleeve. As soon as I got home I contacted our friend who knew our doctor. She gave me the doctor’s e-mail address and she told me to tell him what had happened. She also said she’d talk to him. I explained to our friend that we weren’t wanting to screw them out of any money but that we really felt as if we weren’t being treated fairly. Listen, Carol and I didn’t mind paying something for our sperm that had been stored. But, we felt paying $500 was way too steep.

A couple of days later I received a call from our infertility doctor’s nurse. The first thing she needed to tell me was that my thyroid levels were too high. They were going to have to increase my medicine. I’d then have to wait three weeks before being tested again. Meanwhile, I was accustom to dealing with my whacked thyroid levels so I had expected it. But, I hated the wait. The other course of business the nurse wanted to talk to me about the situation with our sperm at their storage facility. I explained to her what happened and how I felt we were not being treated fairly. The nurse was very nice and remained neutral about her opinion on the matter. I told her we would be willing to pay $200 for it. She told me she was going to check and she’d get back with us. And since I had to wait for my thyroid levels to go down anyway, we had time to wait to hear back. Listen, of course we wanted that vial. It was the same donor who conceived our first child. But the reality was there was no way in hell we could have afforded the $500. That was just the reality of our situation. A couple of days later the nurse called me back. She asked if we could pay $250 for the vial of sperm. Folks, were we at a car dealership? Here I was having to negotiate for sperm? Are you kidding me? I pointed out to her that either they would take the $200 from us (which would pay for some of their storage costs) or they’d get nothing (which wouldn’t pay for any of their storage for all of those years). I refused to negotiate. At the same time I new I was playing a risky game. They could tell me no and our chances to have had the same donor would have gone down the drain. I did explain to the nurse that we just could not afford anymore than the $200. I thanked her for her time and appreciated her being the “middle man” to attempt to negotiate.

Well, another couple of days went by before I heard back from the nurse. AND to my surprise she told me they would accept the payment of $200 for the sperm. I was shocked and happily so. The nurse also told me that we’d have to go to their storage facility to pay it (in full) with in the next two days. Yep, can’t forget… they wanted their money. Can’t pass go with out it.

Carol and I didn’t want any chance they’d change their minds so we went down there the very next morning. No surprise that our lovely receptionist was there. She clearly was not happy that we weren’t paying her the full $500. But, you know what. I didn’t give a shit. In some ways I wanted to say to her, “Nana nana boo boo!” But, don’t worry, I didn’t. In fact I was over the top very nice to her. After Carol gave her a check for the $200 I couldn’t believe the woman was put off when Carol asked for a receipt. At first she tried to tell Carol that her check was her receipt. BUT, that wasn’t what Carol wanted. She wanted to show that we had zero balance on our account. We knew this facility all too well and we certainly didn’t want to show up for our insemination to discover they hadn’t wiped out our balance.

When we left that day after paying for “our sperm” Carol laughed and said, “You know MaLea, nothing we do can just go smoothly. Everything we do just has to be memorable, doesn’t it?” And for the next few minutes we got a good laugh over all that had happened. Listen, we had to laugh because crying was not an option.

 

My Baby Story (Chapter 18- Out of the mouths of Babe)

graphics-baby-toys-897970

There was no doubt in my mind that some of our closest supporters doubted us as parents. After all here we were two moms raising a son. The model was always a mother and a father, so the concern was how Judah would become a man without that male influence in the home.  First of all, it wasn’t as if our son would be void of any male role models. He had a wonderful grandfather, uncles and male cousins along with friend’s of ours. Meanwhile, I know many children who had a mother and a father (me for one) and the father was hardly ever home. AND when he was he certainly didn’t spend any time with the children. But to some that was better than not having a father at all. Well do you know what I say to that? Bull Crap! Meanwhile we knew though the proof would have to be in the pudding. Judah would have to be the one to show them he was as normal as any other kid.

Listen, Carol and I were raised by heterosexual parents as most of us were. We both had a mother and father. However, our fathers were not involved in the raising of us. That wasn’t their job. I had a father but I really didn’t know him that well growing up. As kids the father was the parent to fear and the one to stay out of their hair when they were home. And so, technically we had dads. They lived with us. But emotionally my dad was not there. It’s difficult to hear people excuse how even an absent father was better than no father. Let me say this. I am not here to convince anyone to accept my family nor am I going to ever prove my existence. Let’s face it most who feel that way are usually backed by their religion so changing their minds has always been mute. HOWEVER, when one’s opinion crosses the line and tries to change or keep the laws from allowing me to be equal then that has always been a different story. That I will fight.

Listen, I get that having a mom and a dad have been what people have been familiar. That has been the model to immolate for many generations. So, when new models have emerged (throughout history), it has frightened people. Funny how change tends to do that to people. Change- such a simple word that causes not so simple reactions.

Here let me give some examples. First, if you just look at history you can see how when new concepts and ideas were introduced it made people scared. Hell, imagine the poor fellow who was the first one to have said the earth was round. Lets just say he wasn’t so popular and in fact people thought he should be put to death. Because of people’s religious convictions they thought the concept of the world being round was evil and so it justified why the man (who introduced the idea) should be killed. Here was the thing. The idea the world was round contradicted everything people believed and so it was easier to ridicule the person who introduced the new concept than to try to understand it (let alone to maybe accept it over time). The bottom line was fear (of change). And in the fear it stifled a group of people causing them to not only be resistant but hateful too.  It also caused many sensible people to conjure up crazy untruths to scare people in keeping things the same.  

Another example was during the 1800 when only white men could vote. Just the thought of a woman voting brought on a huge wave of anger, resistance and hatred. That hatred seems to come out of that fear every time. A woman allowed to vote back then was outrageous. Many felt if women were allowed to vote it would have been at the hand of the devil. In 2012 it seems laughable. Come on. How could a woman voting cause such fear? Where was the logic? But once again their religion was used to justify it. It was amazing how powerful their fear was. And when people were afraid they tended to spout and accept irrational ideas in order to keep change from happening.

Each time a new group has come forward and demanded their own equalities, the same fear surfaces and the same kinds of illogical ideas have been spatted to try to keep change from happening. AND even more so out comes the hatred. Dammit the same thing happened to the blacks during the Civil War and during segregation. The minorities are different each time through out history but the same irrational excuses spawned from fear (usually fueled by religion) was used to justify why another should be oppressed. Amazing how history repeats itself- different people but the same scenario.

Anyway, my point was the same fear used through out history is the same being used against the gay and lesbian community. The illogical fear that we want to somehow “take over” and “convert” people is absurd. No offense but our “condition” doesn’t spread and we have no need to prosthelytize. I promise you. We aren’t wanting to take over the world and to wipe out heterosexual parenting. On the contrary. Why would we? Some of my best friends are heterosexual parents. Hell, our parents were! The bottom line has always been we just want to be parents like anyone else.

When Judah was four years old I entered a writing contest with an organization in Atlanta called “MEGA family project”. It’s a wonderful organization that provides workshops on all kinds of informative issues like adoption, making sure we have legal documents to secure our estates to our partners and so much more. The other part of the organization was also to create relationships between same sex parents so we’d have a support system in raising our kids. The winner of the contest (and their family) would win a Rosie O’Donnell cruise to the Caribbean for 7 days. I had never won anything in my life but I loved to write, so I thought I’d at the least give it a try. Plus, I knew I had a story to tell. Hell, how many folks out there could say they were Jewish, a lesbian, living in a small Southern town and raising a son?

So, I wrote the essay and honestly, forgot about it. Several weeks later I was riding in the car with a family friend. Just as I was telling her about the essay I had written, my cell phone rang. Lo and behold it was the director of the MEGA family project.  I couldn’t believe it. She was calling to tell me I had won the trip. I laughed with Carol saying I probably won because I was the only one who entered. But, whatever the case may have been Carol and I were so excited. We couldn’t wait to tell Judah about the cruise and how many of the kids on the cruise would have same sex parents. OK, so we were a little excited about seeing Rosie O’Donnell but honestly, we had a more important reason. We were so excited for Judah to see all of the kids who had two moms or two dads. For weeks leading up to our trip we kept talking it up with Judah. We had expected him to be thrilled to be around other kids who also had same sex parents. But, he wasn’t impressed at all. Instead he was more interested in talking about riding on the big boat and going to the beach. That disappointed us but we thought he’d change his mind when we’d actually get on the ship.

When the date of the cruise arrived we were beside ourselves. We arrived a day earlier and spent the night with my aunt and uncle who took us to the ship the next day. As we were boarding the ship we immediately started to point out to Judah all of the same sex moms and dads. We were surprised when even then Judah didn’t care. He was only interested in the big ship and knowing when we’d be going swimming. Carol and I were baffled. How could he not be interested or at aw like we were? There were so many families like us and it was amazing. The feeling Carol and I had was just like when we were kids and we saw Disney World for the first time. It was exciting and thrilling to be around others who were like us. Through all of the hardships we had experienced it was an awesome thought that for 7 days we could be like any other family with out having to defend or explanation. No one was going to stare at us or ask us any crazy questions. OK, so Carol and I did get seasick for a couple of days which was yucky but aside from that it was a nice trip. We met many wonderful couples who we still correspond with today via Facebook.

We learned a lot from going on the cruise. One thing we learned was we are definitely NOT boat people. But that’s another story. More importantly though, there were some nice family activities and the most memorable activity was a panel discussion which was made up of first generation teenagers conceived and raised by same sex parents. The purpose was to allow same sex parents to ask them questions about what it was like to be raised by same sex parents. You know things like: What did their friends think? Were they bullied? Well, there was one question I had never thought about and I have never forgotten since that day. An audience member asked the kids on the panel, “Do you feel as if you have to be exemplary in everything you do because if you aren’t others would say it was because you have two moms or two dad?” WOW! What an amazing question and one that got me thinking. With a panel of 12 or so teenagers would you believe all of them answered, “YES!” BUT, even so they didn’t mind. They knew they needed to show the world they were OK and to do that they had to always be on their toes. It was just part of their life. They loved their lives and under no circumstances would they trade their parents. They loved their parents just like all kids do. They were so wise and they gave me a perspective I couldn’t know. I learned a lot that day.

When we returned from our cruise Judah couldn’t wait to get back to preschool to tell his friends and teachers about his trip. All Judah could talk about was how big the ship was and that was what he wanted to tell his friends. I was excited to pick Judah up from school on his first day back because I wanted to hear what he told everyone about his trip. And so as I had always done on our drive home I started asking him questions about his day. When I asked him what he told his class about the cruise he answered, “Momma, you were there (on the cruise) so why do I have to repeat everything?” I told him I’d stop and for most of the ride home we were quiet. Just as we were almost home Judah broke the silence and said, “Momma, can you believe that Megan (a girl in his class) has a mom and a dad?” And that was when it all hit me. LIGHT BULB (back to the GRU character on Despicable Me).

How dumb of me! The fact was Judah had two moms raising him and that was his normal. TO be on a ship with other kids who had same sex parents wasn’t different to our kid. It was what he knew, so why were Carol and I always pointing it out to him? I’m sure he was clueless as to why we kept pestering him about it. In reality it was both me and Carol who were at awe by seeing other families like ours because that was not how we were raised. Our kid could have cared less. So what? After all it wasn’t anything he hadn’t seen or known. It was his world.

AND so I looked in my rear view mirror at Judah after he told me about Megan’s parents. I smiled at him and said, “Why yes, Judah she does have a mom and dad. Why do you say?” Judah just smiled back at me and said, “No reason. I just thought it was different.”  Out of the mouths of babe!

It took my (at the time) 4 year old to open my own eyes so that I could see (and understand) his world. It is a work in progress though as I have a lot to learn. Meanwhile, I am proud to say my kid embodies all that is good in change and because of it, he will never know fear.