The sperm bank is releasing a slew of new donors, but most of them probably won't be ready in time for our next insemination in june. They did let us have a sneak peek at the first two guys who will be coming onto the market - one seems like an ass, but smart, and the other seems really sweet but was a mediocre student. His father was valedictorian though and went to MIT, so we have to hope he's got some smart genes in there somewhere. Plus, he likes old english sheepdogs. *I* like old english sheepdogs. We'll go with him.

The most important thing is that this donor is healthy, young, and this sperm hasn't been frozen for a long time. But I would be lying if I said he was my ideal donor. And I feel really horrible and shallow because my main reservation is cosmetic. He didn't do exceptionally well at school, but I felt there was an emotional openness to his communication that was appealing and intelligent in its own right. He loves to travel, which is a really positive trait that speaks of other great qualities like curiosity and friendliness and lack of timidity. But he's blond.

As the non-carrying partner, I have to align myself with the donor. I look for places where I overlap with him. With this donor, the very positive qualities this person clearly has - friendliness, enthusiasm, confidence, aren't things I lack at this stage of my life, but they aren't qualities that came naturally to me, or what I would list first on an accounting of what I like most about myself. My list would be less sunny, more inwardly focused. I am happy but only because I can critically analyze my surroundings, only because I can spend time withing myself, imagining. This guy doesn't seem to have to or want to do that sort of thinking. And I guess I just feel like the blondeness is the external signifier of this outgoing person's difference from me.

Outgoing. That's what it is. I object to him being naturally outgoing.

I realize this is ridiculous. Getting Jen pregnant is the goal, and the raw material of this guy's genes presents absolutely nothing to object to. Being outgoing and friendly are not negative qualities. I just see them that way because they have been hard for me to attain. And I know that all those years I spent being uncertain of myself made me miss out on a lot of great opportunities. Prime example - I could have TOTALLY been hooking up with girls in high school. But no. I was a pussy. I shouldn't pretend that's a plus.

And anyway, I'll have years and years to make the child anxious and analytical, and I'm sure living in New York City will help with that too.


the genius plan.

I love the L word and Jen hates it with the firey passion of a thousand suns. Sunday nights when it airs, we inevitably decamp to our own corners, to feed our own guilty pleasures. Jen on one couch, curled up with a book that probably has a dragon illustration on the cover or maybe a gryffon, and me on the other couch, panting after my next glance at Jennifer Beals.

The L Word just wrapped up its fifth and penultimate season, and to stave off withdrawal, I decided to go back to the beginning. I got a season 1 dvd from the gay library where I volunteer and popped it in one weekend morning before Jen was awake. I do love to taunt her with my L Word, but I know there's only so far I can push her before she breaks.

The series in general focuses on the lives (and loves and libidios and ludicrously bad decisions) of a group of LA lesbians. The characters I am most interested in (and attracted to) are Bette and Tina, a committed couple who have broken up and reunited several times over the 5 seasons, and who have a child together. I like the angst, I think they're pretty and I love that they have a kid. But as much as I am Bette and Tina centric, I didn't realize how much of the first season, and in particular, the pilot episode, focused on their attempts to get Tina pregnant.

In this episode, Tina and Bette have been trying to get pregnant with ICI at home using fresh sperm for 6 months. Still not pregnant, they have decided to step it up, and are shown collecting the donor's sperm and driving to the doctor's office for IUI. The doctor checks on the sperm under a microscope and has to deliver the sad news that their donor's sperm is non-motile. They then spend a lot of time over the rest of the episode (which spans the course of a month) trying to find another donor. It all culminates in an attempt to rope a young, hot, artsy guy into a threeway to get his sperm. But he backs out when they tell him not to wear a condom, on to their seed stealin' ways. Bette and Tina then proceed to have extremely extremely hot sex and reaffirm their love and connection to one another.

People often criticize the L word for this scene, *I've* criticized the L word for this threeway scene, but watching it again, being in a similar position to Bette as I did so, I saw a lot more truth in it than I had previously. The character of Bette, as a non-carrying partner, is not solely responsible for providing sperm, but in a way, somehow being the conduit of the sperm is her only role in the conception. She's an intelligent, controlling woman, and she takes that role lightly at first - assuming that this, like the other things she's tried to accomplish, will be done, and done well in short order. But as things progress and she can't sweet talk or cajole or boss the sperm into magically appearing, she gets kind of desperate. She's so proud when she finally does come up with a donor for them, and crushed when he's not what Tina had in mind. Finally, she'll do whatever it takes to get Tina pregnant, even if it means sharing her with a random dude that neither of them is too sure of. Its a stupid move, and perhaps uncharacteristic for someone painted as so smart and composed, but its also a testament to her desire to make a family with Tina. And I can relate. I fantasize about making sperm appear for Jen.

In the threesome aftermath, before the hot sex, Bette says "That was...CRAZY."

And Tina replies "I thought it was a genius plan."

And that's how inseminating goes. It pushes you past the limits of what you previously saw as the logical boundaries of your relationship. As a lesbian, you have to move past those limits to let the idea of sperm to enter the picture in the first place. And once you have, its a constant renegotiation of those limits. So maybe some strange and otherwise untenable solutions seem like a great idea. Would we use an asian donor? Would we be open to co-parenting with a man we know well? a man we don't know well? Would we spend $200 a vial on sperm? $300? $600? Jen and I have answered most of those questions already, but now that we're going IUI, we do have consider new donors again. I'm pretty certain the search won't end in a threeway, but I don't exactly know where it will end.

Sometimes I allow myself to think past the conception process and imagine actually having a child, and what questions people might ask. I especially think about what my family will say. How did I pick a person to fill the biological gap that represents me? I am them. How did I decide? There's a process of course. Criteria and availability and timing issues. But I don't know if any answers can help them see our eventual choice for the genius plan it will have to be.


brief injury.

The new doctor asked Jen to have the basic checkup stuff done at the regular gyn. before they go ahead with the bloodwork and HSG for her next cycle. She called the gyn. to schedule it and the receptionist was apparently incredibly rude, telling her that the doctor wouldn't see her unless she is pregnant. We have heard that this doctor only accepts patients who are pregnant or trying to concieve, but that does include us and she has already accepted Jen as a patient. Jen's been going there for over a year. If there's a new rule about this or something, there are lots of other ways to convey the information without making Jen feel even shittier about not being pregnant yet. That really hurt her. It hurt us.


I've been quiet. Things got stressful. Emotional. Personal. I didn't really want to share.

We didn't inseminate in March. Because although it seemed like Jen ovulated in Feburary, she never got her period. So there were 45 days between periods. Partly, we were wondering if she was indeed pregnant, or pseudo pregnant with something possibly very injurious to Jen, like an ectopic pregnancy. I was so worried about her. She was sick, unrelatedly sick with all the viruses New Yorkers constantly pass around to each other, and I was convinced that every shiver, every feverish cold sweat was a harbinger of doom. I care very much about having a baby with Jen but not at the expense of Jen herself.

Anxiety built. I googled things to clarify and that made my brain explode with a thousand terrifying theories. We became short with each other. Our hot sex cooled. I yelled at Jen because I love her and cried because I was angry.

While I was scared of Jen having some horrible complication or disease, Jen was scared of losing her period, and her fertility forever. I didn't think that was likely the case, just like she didn't think my theories were at all founded in reality. It was like I was saying "I'm terrified you're turning into a warewolf! I'm scared for you!" and her response was "Silly! I'm not. But we really should have my growing desire to bite humans on the neck with my pointy teeth and drink their blood looked into..."None of it was really based on anything except our fears and the mythologies that each of us were clinging to.

Even as I write this I know Jen thinks about this differently. I know she thinks her fear is more founded in reality than mine. I don't mean to mitigate her concern over her fertility, or make it into silly imagination play. I just...I don't think there's evidence to lead us to the conclusion that she's infertile.

So. We didn't inseminate. We snarked and cried and grew as people and waited until TODAY, when Jen had an appointment with a doctor who could weigh in on the issue. It was just a consultation, but I'm viewing the outcome as very positive.

Presented with the information we had compiled about Jen's cycles and our insemination attempts, the doctor didn't automatically think Jen's infertile or going through menopause or any of that. He does think we should be more agressive in our insemination practices, doing IUI inseminations in his office, as opposed to ICI at home. Before our next insemination (which should end up being in June), Jen's going to have some blood taken and undergo a few tests, including an HSG, which means that they'll inject dye into her fallopian tubes to check for abnormalities or blockages. The HSG is supposed to be rather painful and Jen is scared. But generally, people seem to have an easier time getting pregnant in the cycle after having an HSG test, the dye having paved the way for the sperm to get where they need to go or some more sciency version of that concept.

The doctor is setting our timeline now. Certain tests on certain times in Jen's cycle and so on. Jen seems to be a little forlorn at the loss of control of the process. I on the other hand am relieved that this is in a doctor's hands. I like experts and authorities, and I have to admit that I can't fake my way through this one.