Fumbling Towards Here

America Like Me*

Posted by dakota on November 5, 2008

…To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening…
A tall, slim tree…
Night coming tenderly
Black like me.

Langston Hughes, Dream Variations

I cannot express the level of elation I feel at the result of this election.  I called my mom on the hour while mulberry and I watched the returns on television.  My mother, a Black woman, an immigrant, a true Hillary pal, and among many things a tireless community organizer, cried tears of love and belief in Barack’s win.  Mulberry’s dad, a white man, a boy born and bred from the far west, a true supporter of strong women and family first, and one of the many who had traveled to Nevada to support the Obama grass roots efforts, blew us kisses of joy via telephone tonight.

Tomorrow I know there is still so much to do.  And tomorrow mulberry and I must still fight the insurance company.  Tomorrow we must still figure out how we are going to navigate the minefields that are both our current job fronts.  Tomorrow we still need to reconfigure our finances in addition to determining how we are going to fit in the gym and more mindful eating.  Tomorrow we must still find ways to navigate our frustration and impatience regarding our still unrealized dreams of family.   But tonight, the shift inching us toward a better place for these children we all so want feels real. There was no (fake) so called Bradley effect undermining our confidence in each other as a nation.  No sinister drawn-out battle to the steps of the Supreme Court.  Tonight I am wrapped in a cozy blanket of pride for my country.  And tonight we were shown again how the world can change again in an instant.  There is a current saying in African-American communities inspired by this election which goes like this:

Rosa sat so Martin could walk.  Martin walked so Obama could run.  Obama ran so our children could fly.

Tomorrow there is more work to be done.  But tonight, my arms are flung wide.

Posted in gratitude, life | 6 Comments »

Freeze Frame

Posted by dakota on September 19, 2008

The Greek goddess of wisdom and war called to deliver the news to us today.
Well, one of the embryologist’ named after this goddess gave us a call, but, anyway I thought it apropos we get the news from her since this process seems to require preparation for elements of wisdom and varieties of war.
Corpuscular combat.
Doctor duking.
Insurance impalement.
Patience.
Love.

Both embryologists I spoke to were kind, very competent, and answered all my questions with just the right amount of humor and compassion.

I started writing this post earlier this afternoon but it felt very technical and jumbled.
So I got rid of it.  Here is the distillation:

We have four embryos.
I am elated that four have made it to today.
A little sad that they are now just frozen in time.
Today they feel like babies somewhere I can’t reach.

We are eleven days away from knowing if we have a pregnancy.
I really want a baby.
You know?

I looked up freeze frame and I found two descriptions:
* An optical printing effect in which a single frame image is repeated so as to appear stationary when projected.

* The image on the screen stops, freezes and becomes a still shot.

The two are related with a nuanced difference– one appears stationary but is actually moving (like a possible pregnancy in a tww) the other is a snapshot of a held moment  (like a cryopreserved embryo).

Posted in embryos, insemination, ivf, waiting | 8 Comments »

Sunnyside Update

Posted by dakota on September 16, 2008

The embryologist called to say we had seven mature eggs– four fertilized normally and one abnormally. The abnormal one had a triploid set of chromosomes. He said this happens in one in twenty. I haven’t really processed any of this (as in focused on the genetic abnormality) but I am going to say that I think four fertilized eggs is damn good news.

Wednesday or Thursday we find out if they decide to grow into embryos.

Posted in ivf | 10 Comments »

Welcome To The Next Day

Posted by dakota on September 16, 2008

Seven eggs retrieved and, bonus, mulberry finally surged so we did an insemination today too!

Although they were extremely Monday morning busy, everyone from the phlebotomists to anesthesiologist to embryologist was very kind and encouraging of my procedure today. Dr. NoCharm had very little time to offend since the anesthesia was so effective I was out pretty quickly. Just as we had hoped. And the medical assistant said I didn’t snore. You have no idea what a gift that is for everyone. Unlike anything resembling hope, we had to charge a whopping $1200 on the credit card as the anesthesiologist was out of network and freezing embryos is apparently not covered by our insurance. Certainly hoping to recoup some of that.

Our original plan included me having egg retrieval followed by mulberry having embryos transferred to her. We had no idea how cycle sync up was going to happen successfully since we were two weeks off from each other. We were also concerned that she may have another anovulatory cycle this month since it was day twenty and our monitor was still reading low fertility for her yesterday. Ironically we sync’d naturally (even though many drugs were involved on my part) and she was ready to ovulate on the exact day of my retrieval. Our slightly new plan has a slightly new twist. We now have three days to finding out what kind of embryos we have and two weeks to discovering if we have a pregnancy.

Thank you all so much for the support and love. It is truly no small thing and I could feel it as we moved from room to room today. Even though I am sore and sleepy now, I have to say, I am also feeling pretty happy about what mulberry is calling our convergence. Two possible entryways to the family we so desire. Not a bad deal after all.

Posted in egg retrieval, insemination, ivf | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

When Tomorrow Comes

Posted by dakota on September 15, 2008

This week had a number of themes which for various reasons have left me exhausted, headachy, happily surprised and horny.   I’m too tired to explore these tonight so for the moment I’ll just hit the headlines as it were.

Mulberry and I have successfully completed nine days of injections with the cherry on top trigger shot last night. The trigger was a bit nervous making — more for mulberry than for me since she was the one administering it.  One needle.  One shot.  One night only.  She did great.  And all in all, it all wasn’t so terrible giving myself the other shots. Having a cute cheerleader with blissfull furry friends always helps of course. Who knew?

Tonight I feel bloated and uncomfortable. For last several days, however, I have felt headachy and more aroused than a three-testicled tom cat. Even with so many things going on, I have not been able to keep my mind/hands off my lovely spouse who has been waiting for me to arrive home from work at one a.m., well past her bedtime, to help me with the injections. Is it just me or have others experienced this heightened state during this process as well? No Dakota, just you. Moving on.

Tomorrow the doctor I dislike and described in a recent post is the one who will do the retrieval. Monday is our REs day off and she will actually not be in town. In her sweet and humane manner she called me and expressed her regret that she couldn’t come in herself because she has a lecture to deliver to residents. We had been hoping for a Tuesday or Wednesday retrieval, but she fears it will be too late by then. She also noted that I will be under conscious sedation so I will basically out of it for the procedure anyway. Between my streams of tears, I heard her to mean you don’t have to deal with him anyway and he’s very good at this technical part so you are in good hands. I have decided to chant for him–for his skillful retrieval of my eggs and for both of us to tap into our highest selves tomorrow. Small steps for big dreams. I have done harder things I remind myself.

So tomorrow it’s seven follicles, two women, one doctor and twenty minutes with no commercial interruptions. I’m slightly nervous but eager to get this part over and hoping for good results. It is again one a.m (my bewitching hour) and poor mulberry is again up waiting because she fears if she goes to bed without me, I’ll just stay in the living room and be up half the night.  She’s right.   I’m signing off.

Posted in ivf, medication, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

Moving Day

Posted by dakota on September 8, 2008

Since my girlfriend is insane (very sexy and sweet but) definitely insane, we are moving both our blogs to wordpress. All I did was mention that wordpress seemed cool. Even with all the templates, the column for writing seemed too thin on blogger. Maybe we should consider moving. Then whompt techno girl brought us over.  WordPress does seem to have more publishing possibilities so away we go.

Hope you come along.

You can now find me at http://fumblingtowardshere.wordpress.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

The Hokey-Pokey

Posted by dakota on September 6, 2008

You put your right foot in,
You put your right foot out;
You put your right foot in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey-Pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about!

It is done. Day one. The F.ollistim and M.enupur injections have been administered thanks to the lovely mulberry for making sure all the items were out as we fumbled with the instructions at midnight. Shenandoah and the kitties looked on. (The kittens didn’t stay long though. Nothing to attack and destroy) The L.ovenox I had to take last time definitely hurt more than these. I hear the trick is to inject slowly.

I’m happy we’ve started again. Me tonight — next week insemination for mulberry.

Last night I dreamed we were all moving to a new apartment. As we moved through it, it got more beautiful and spacious. We weren’t sure if we could take the place because it would be temporary until we found our permanent home. And someone else was living there who wasn’t completely set to go. She wanted to leave some things there. Then we noticed a lovely view of the ocean from our living room and knew we had to take the apartment.

The other day mulberry was looking at a charm necklace that said “what if the hokey pokey IS what it’s all about?” Made us laugh. We’re just two faggots as Shenandoah would lovingly say.

Tonight I feel hopeful we just might get this family off the ground after all.

Anyone have a large inexpensive beach front apartment you want to unload?

Posted in ivf | 7 Comments »

STAYCATION

Posted by dakota on September 4, 2008

On this the week we thought we would have begun our IVF protocol had the insurance company not denied us coverage, Mulberry and I are instead having our own version of the current trend in U.S. vacations — the staycation. While staying in our own lovely apartment that we barely see each other in, we’ve splurged for a cool couples’ massage at a spa, had manicures/pedicures, gotten some loving in, eaten tasty treats from a local chocolate boutique, dined at our favorite gluten-free risotto restaurant, found a new mac and cheese joint, and met, shared a meal and had warm conversation on the steps of the Brooklyn Museum until the late late evening with the unquestionably sweet, fierce, and fabulous L. and H. of babypants.

I am still trying to get my sweetie to a yoga class. First class is only ten bucks. She says she’s game, we’ll see. She’s trying to get me to walk more. It’s free.

My relaxed blissful mood was dampened a bit when we went to our RE’s office and the doctor who I don’t like was the one on call. He is the one who upon meeting me, did not introduce himself, went straight to the computer to adjust something and proceeded to ask me questions that he should have found in my file since I had been a client for over six months. “How many pregnancies have you had?” “Four.” “And how many children do you have?” ” None.” “Ok.” It was the nonchalant reminder of my history he invoked that lit tiny angry embers in my heart and left me in a bad mood for the rest of that day.

“You’ll have to come back on Friday, ” he told us. “We don’t think mulberry will be ovulating yet, but we just want to check again to make sure we’re on track.” He was fine this go round. He introduced himself. Shook our hands. But after leaving the doctor’s office, I still had that feeling of frustration which may be evidenced in my choice of dvds picked up on the way home:

John Q (a man frustrated with insurance company’s refusal to cover his son’s necessary care, basically takes the hospital hostage); Terminator and Terminator 2 (self-explanatory); and finally, Hurricane (a movie based on the real life of a man who at the height of his career, was wrongfully convicted of a crime for which he is incarcerated for twenty years)– the snap out of it Dakota remember the world we’re living in / inspiration movie.

So while we were recapturing the bliss and tasting four different kinds of mac and cheese (who knew?) and having a scrumptious dinner prepared by Shenandoah and her girlfriend, Peppermint, our RE (the one we really like and appreciate) called with the news that IVF has been approved for me but is still under review for mulberry.

I know I should be happy — and I am — there is no way we could afford this out of pocket. This is an important new first step. I guess I am more relieved than anything, but I am acutely aware today that we’ve got quite a ways to go here. And although our plans are altered, we are doing our best.

What am I worried about? Things I have absolutely NO control over. If we get lucky we get a healthy pregnancy/baby and good to great embryos to implant later for another healthy pregnancy/baby.

If we are NOT lucky we need five more rounds of tries for mulberry before an IVF may be approved and we’ve only a total of seven more samples of the donor we’ve selected as my stand-in for mulberry. Only one guy of my ethnicity on the whole cryosperm preserved continent of North America, who is (bonus!) also a musician like me. He’s not giving any new donations. So when we’re out of him, that is it.

If we are NOT lucky, for a myriad of reasons beyond control and desire, we may never get to the embryos we’ve saved for later.

Sigh. I’m re-reading this and I just want to say I am a lot more fun in person.   Really.  I am.

Posted in doctor, ivf, vacation | 6 Comments »

In Case You Didn’t Know

Posted by dakota on August 27, 2008

Mulberry and I are again contemplating next moves –this time in the wake of our insurance company’s blow to our plans. The plan re-organizing coupled with Mulberry’s nausea and intestinal discomfort from the birth control pills she was taking and the heartburn and chest tightening she is experiencing from the ineffective asthma medications have, to say the least, further stressed matters. I am usually an upbeat, confident, non-swearing kind of dyke but I have been none of these in the last few days. I have felt defeated by my physical limitations, clueless, and financially retarded. Where I started to feel the most powerless, Mulberry traded places with me and started hunkering down and told me she was not ready to give up this easily. I mean the woman can’t breath but she’s ready to fight whomever. She also still managed to come through for her community organizing buddies who needed her talents to enhance a small event they were hosting. She actually had to perform a song and she did it. She was a bit worried at first of course about her breathing capacity, but in the end she did it lovingly and movingly. That is the kind of woman she is. She shows up for her friends and does her best to meet her obligations with competence and grace. It is in times like these I am struck with awe at my beloved’s tenacity of will and focus even with personal adversity. Today I am feeling grateful. Still clueless, but grateful.

Our talking is filled with anger about the situation, tears, cluelessness, strategy, respect and love love love. As grateful as we are to have each other, we have also been talking about how we both are so appreciative to all of you for your support. We started blogging to find community and to flesh out the myriad of feelings creating a family can sometimes thwart with confusion and disappointment or sometimes bloom with welcome surprise. We’ve only just started, but we feel the unmistakable sense of community with you. Certainly we have supportive friends in our lives, but we also feel so grateful to you who drop in, read, and may nod your head in silence and sometimes comment in friendship and support. This undertaking would be so much harder without knowing you are out there with us and we with you.

I don’t write as often as I’d like. My work days often bring me home well past one a.m. And I am for better and for not, a muller (there is no such word, I made it up but you know what I mean)– I have to mull over my thoughts and feelings for a while before I can articulate them. But on this one I need no extra time. Just want to reach out and say, thanks buddies. Thanks so much for being here.

Posted in gratitude | 7 Comments »

One great thing. One infuriating thing. And there is swearing in this post

Posted by dakota on August 20, 2008

I met my beautiful new baby cousin today. Her mom, my cousin, completed what she deemed a three year pregnancy and just returned from abroad to pick up her little girl. My aunt pulled me aside and said she had never seen her daughter so happy. I had to agree with her. Although my cousin has not really slept in two weeks, she was — I hate to use a cliche but–truly glowing. At a little under two years old, the little one is brilliant (uh of course), strong willed (duh another family trait) and just a love. We spontaneously decided to drive over and have her meet my mom as well. It was a veritable love fest! My cousin whispered to me as we parted, “You and mulberry better hurry up. She needs her baby cousins as playmates.”
Sweet. Incomparable to the news I would be punched in the stomach with as I drove home.

While for the last few days I’ve been trying to gather my feelings around our new plan of action, the insurance company has thrown in a new twist. They’ve denied our claim for mulberry’s IVF. They say she has to have supposedly tried six (!) times before they would allow it. Does that mean if she had a husband with viable sperm and they had been trying for six months she would qualify? I don’t know. I do know I am furious and disappointed and and and it smacks of heterosexist garbage! Although my feelings are mixed because of my own issues (feelings of guilt, loss) we along with our doctor should have the final say on what is the best plan of action for our family.

We are waiting for our doctor to contact us regarding this. We talked about the possibility of our doctor making a case for needing IVF due to advanced maternal age. Mulberry brought up that if this case is successfully made, it may backfire on us if we want to go back to IUI with her at a later date.

Then I started thinking, insurance companies try to deny people with cancer vital services they need so why would they act differently here? I just want to step out of character and say SHIIIIIT! F*CKING A**WIPES ! I hate them all.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »