things speed up

Suddenly the process is on fast forward. I'm terrified of turning my back on Jen for a second, only to turn back and find her nine months pregnant, in labor, holding our 2 year old child.

And yet, all that we've increased is the rate of information gathering. While we've talked about sperm, placed phone calls regarding sperm, read frequently asked sperm questions, priced sperm, and argued about sperm, we still have no sperm. There is no way in hell Jen could be pregnant. But we're indisputably closer to being pregnant than we ever were before.

Jen's told me about a language that had lots of words for women in different stages of pregnancy, but no one word for pregnant. Women were one thing when they had just concieved, something else when they were a few months in, something else nine months in. I always thought that sounded nice becuase it seemed less horrible to miscarry. You didn't do it wrong, you didn't lose a baby. You were x but not y. You were truly x. Not simply a failure at y.

Now I realize the way this works. Acknowledging conception and pregnancy and birth as a process and not some unfathomable chunk of a woman's life ruled by fairy tales or miracles.
It is work that takes a long time and is difficult to do properly.

I hate that I can't just make sperm or magic some out of an orifice I never noticed I had. I hate that we'll have to save lots of money and spend it all buying sperm that will never be as likely to make a baby as sperm fresh from the source. I hate that we can't just fall into bed and wake up a family.

But I love that I get to learn what this really is. I love that instead of just magicking up a family, we get to really build one.

Its hard. We're charting Jen's fertility. Part of this involves recording her temperature every morning before she has gotten out of bed. Before she's even sitting up. Which means I have to be up even earlier and able to locate the thermometer and pen. I don't mind getting up early, I usually do anyway, but now its not a choice.

We're also charting fertile mucous. Jen doesn't like to talk about the mucous, but it's important, and she's monitering that on her own. The mucous is actually not even the most disturbing possible thing to chart. Some people actually break out a speculum and look at their partner's cervix on a regular basis. That sounds horrible on an immense amount of levels and I know I've chosen the right girl when she says that I will never fucking ever under any circumstances come eye to cervix with her.

We'll also chart some results that the extremely expensive clearblue easy machine Jen ordered will give us. I don't exactly know what that is supposed to tell us, but all of this together should give us some picture of when she's ovulating. After a few months of this, we'll be able to decide what days are appropriate for inseminating.


Its not time yet, but Jen's kind of gotten obsessed with picking sperm. I'm sort of obessessed too, but not AS obsessed. Its the fun part of all the data collection. What is the other half of this baby?

Sperm selection is fraught though. Jen and I are pretty good at communicating, good at working through problems instead of attacking each other with them. But even for us, this is a tough one. What do we each want our baby to be? Why do we want these things? Do we even know? Can we talk about those reasons aloud? Without revealing parts of ourselves we've worked hard to keep hidden? Its sort of like the drama that comes from being in a prom limo with someone, but like, if you were going to be in that prom limo for eternity. SHOULD WE GO WITH THE SUV LIMO? WOULD A PARTY BUS BE BETTER???!!

My line in the sand is skin color. I am brown. Olive toned. Tan year round. I often get comments about my skin color, ranging from the complimentary "You have such nice a skin color" to the disturbingly ignorant "How did you dye your skin that color?" Being a person of mixed race is a big part of my identity, and very much affects the way I am able to move through the world, and informs my world view. It is something I am proud of, and I feel I have a lot of information to share regarding this subject. I think being multiracial is something that marks me as part of my nuclear family, and I'd like my child to have that signifier too.

Jen is sympathetic to those things, but MUCH more concerned about motility. She wants the sperm most likely to get her pregnant, with appearance taking a backseat to that issue. She thinks it will be ok as long as the baby has dark hair and dark eyes. She's worried that some donors I like for their olive toned ancestry will actually end up producing a baby that looks nothing like either of us. I remind her that as half the child's genetic material belongs to her, it can't help but look like her at least a little...but she's still wary.

These are difficult conversations to have.

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