Friday, May 13, 2011

"Sometimes it's feast, others it's famine."

Right now I'd say I'm straddling the fence.  In my mind, Ashley and I are severely in debt--with our plans to move out of our apartment and into one that currently only exists theoretically, one we'll build at her parents house, then there's the baby making liquid we have to buy.  (Truth be told, if we could make babies the old fashioned way [and, yes, that is how I'd like to address that situation], I wouldn't mind if it took us several attempts before getting positive test, but at $500 a pop, I am praying for quick swimmers.)  In addition to all that, I've racked up a little credit card debit.  Typically, the credit cards I have will have a balance of a $100 or a little more.  Currently, it's more than $1,000.  That may not seem like much to most people, but I'm panicking.  And I can't say anything to Ashley because part of that balance includes her engagement ring I bought her a few weeks ago (and will be giving it to her tomorrow night).  Oh, oh... then there's school.  But I won't keep going down that road...

With all that "famine" going on in my head, I am nervous.  It's not constant but rather comes in waves.  Most days when Ashley says to me how she can't wait to have a baby, I smile and say that I can't either.  The there are other days when all I can think of is how we're going to pay for it and say, "Well, it's not time just yet."

About a month or so ago, before we had decided for sure to start trying to make a baby, we sat down to dinner with some of our friends.  Baby making has been a topic of normal conversation for us for a while and when it came up that night, our friend told us about a book called "Confessions of the Other Mother," a book that gives you an idea of how non-birth mothers feel about their children.  After hearing about it, I decided to buy it.  I'd been struggling with ideas myself of how I may feel and how I was feeling about the idea of having a child.  Don't get me wrong--I wanted it.  And still do.  But I was more practical about it and less excited.  Ashley even brought it up to me one day.  Crying, she told me that she wasn't sure if I wanted it like she did and that she didn't want to end up doing this without me.  It really hit home for me.

One story in "Confessions of the Other Mother" described a non-birth mothers experience trying to define her role as a parent and her struggle to accept herself as neither being a fatherly figure or a motherly figure but just a parent.  I find myself often asking what role I will play--will I be more motherly or fatherly.  At least with this book I am able to guide myself through the confusion and remind myself that regardless of traditional "roles" I will be a parent.  Just as I complement Ashley in our relationship, I will complement her in our journey as parents.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Constantly Outted

The other day when I was hanging out with my mother for Mother’s Day, we went into a little toy store in my hometown that she wanted to check out.  One of her daycare parents owns it so when we went in there mom immediately struck up conversation.  We both looked around and before we left, mom said to the owner “you know Ashley is going to get pregnant soon.  She is using donor sperm.”  Although I appreciate her support in this process, it totally caught me off guard.  I mean, if I was in a hetero relationship she wouldn’t feel the need to blurt out “she is going to have lots of sex to make a baby.”  Why would you have to explain the means by which you are conceiving? 

That little incident with mom the other day got me thinking about the whole thing.  I am sure that everyone that I come in contact with in the next year will ask about the father and my response is going to be… hum, that is a tough question.  I don’t want to have to explain the donor sperm thing at every turn but I guess I don’t have much of a choice.  Kristen is the other parent, unequivocally, but somehow that isn’t an acceptable answer for the question at hand.  I suppose I just need to come up with a simple, quick response in order to avoid any further questions like “how does the whole process work?” or my personal favorite, “Why not just go have sex with a man?”  This is going to take some thought…

- Ashley

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ashley's opening statements.

First off, let me say that I am not really one for blogging.  I just always feel really strange about broadcasting my life for all to see.  However there is a part of me that wants to be able to share this journey into lesbian parenthood (and parenthood in general) with others.  I feel like if there were more “two mommy families” that people hear about on a day-to-day basis then we may eventually have a better shot at things like marriage or two mommies on a birth certificate… I know, I am dreaming big!

Anyway, Kristen gave you a pretty good idea about who we are.  I guess I am a bit of a type A personality, over-achiever.  That is why I am certain that my ovaries and uterus will out-perform many other women’s and I will get pregnant on the first shot… well, I wish that was the case anyway.  In reality I am concerned about what will happen if we cannot get pregnant right away.  The cost of each vial of donor sperm is more than either of us makes in a week which makes it a bit of a financial concern.  And that whole over-achiever thing gets in the way because I always feel like I have to be the best at everything… get it right the first time.  I suppose I have a fear of failing at getting pregnant.  That is a really hard realization to come to because it is one of those things in life that I have no control over.  Although, I have done my research and can tell you the lifespan versus travel time of thawed donor sperm, the timing of egg release in relation to the LH surge, and even tricks to thin your cervical mucus… I mean, if I can’t orchestrate exactly how this whole thing is going down, I sure as hell am gonna control the rest.

I guess the other big thing that is weighing on me right now is the donor sperm thing.  There is this whole unknown realm of baby daddy.  Like, if my child were to pass the donor on the street, would they feel some sort of connection?  It is also really strange to think that a child might have the same mannerisms or characteristics as their biological parent that you have never met.  And we spend all this time working on picking the “perfect” donor when in reality we are still playing the odds on whether we will get a healthy, well-balanced child.  Who knows… I guess I just have to trust that whatever is out there (God or otherwise) will guide me through this process.

- Ashley

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 8, 2011 - Mother's Day Introduction

May 8, 2011 - Mother's Day Introduction

It seems only right that this idea come into conception on a day dedicated to mothers.  As if the universe is somehow in cahoots with Hallmark.  And Ashley.

As we sat down to breakfast this morning, Ashley had the bright idea of starting a blog about the adventure we're beginning next month--the adventure of trying to have a baby.  People have been talking about becoming parents for centuries, from conception to the time their children are grown with families of their own.  Being a parent is nothing new, though we are constantly seeking to learn something new from those who have made the venture before us, hoping for a shinny secret to raising the perfect child to rise from between pages and pages about what to eat and what not to eat during pregnancy.  But what Ashley and I have found is there is surprisingly little information for gay couples who want to become parents.  There are online forums and discussion groups and so forth, but there are only a few books and, as we have come to discover, they may be out of print or otherwise difficult to come by.  So while I cannot promise to solve any problems for future lesbian couples contemplating parenthood, I can provide a look into our experience--the happiness and the arguments, the confusing emotions that have already come and are likely to continue, the joy in our success, the sadness of our failure (which I hope to be brief, if anything).

To begin what will probably be a long, winding road, I should introduce the characters of this very real story.  First, there is Ashley, blonde with wide green eyes, she is not as cynical or as hopeful as she may often appear but more skeptical of people's true intentions.  She works too much and wonders if she's ever doing enough.  By her side is her mother and father who will, undoubtedly, play an important role along the way.  Ashley's mother, Debbie, is owner of a day care center and has been in the business since Ashley was very young.  Ashley's father, George, is a hardworking man with a soft heart and tough skin.  They have played a strong role in Ashley's life and she credits them with providing her the best childhood one could have.  I think it's a bit of a stretch, but I think it's sweet that a she gives them so much credit.  Oh, yeah, and there's me, Kristen, blonde and green-eyed with a much quieter approach to life.  I tend to listen and contemplate things before making decisions.  By my side most often will probably be my aunt, Brenda, who brought me into her home when I was 15, after my mother and I had a few long months of heavy disagreements, and Jorge, one of my best friends for the past 10 years who has a good--though often sad--heart.  There will be others but these will be the most regular.

Then, there's the short story of how we met and came to where we are now.  Briefly, Ashley and I met at a party where neither of us knew very many people.  I may have had too much to drink at the time and may have been acting a fool.  I may have thought I was being smooth, but Ashley didn't.  Somehow she talked herself into going out with me despite her first impression and after our first date it was obvious (for me, at least) that it would be the first of many.  Since then, we've had disastrous fights, devastating and fundamental disagreements, and we've had brilliant moments, days full of laughter, love, and tickle fights.  I have to admit, I love that last one a lot more than she does.  We moved in together after dating just under a year and we had to come to terms with our differences which were bigger than we thought.  I'm sure it's not just us--that everyone goes through this--but realizing that our histories, our families, were so different was our biggest hurdle and is still an issue we confront now and then.  Through all of this, we have talked about our future, like most couples, and knew that children were going to be included in our plans.  It was just a question of when.

Ashley's currently working on earning her BA and I am going to be going back to school to pursue an MSW.  We don't want to wait for the "right moment."  If I have learned anything in life, it's that there is no such thing as a perfect time for anything.  There's a lot of debate that can be made on the fact that I'm 25, Ashley's 27, we're both going to be in school, and etc, but this is path we've chosen.  Whether it's difficult or not, whatever we experience along the way, we'll share it here in hopes of opening a door for others in a similar position.

- Kristen