Saturday, December 27, 2014

LesDecision: How do Lesbians Decide to Have a Baby?

I never wanted to have a baby, and being a lesbian made that easy.  I was not susceptible to the dreaded "whoops moment."  I knew I would never need to drive feverishly to Walgreen's for some Plan B.  Despite the minor complications of being a lesbian- parental shame, lack of equity, institutionalized biases- this was a big bonus. Luckily, my maternal instinct was absent (or hiding).  As a college athlete who had invested tons of time into my physique, I could not imagine what a baby would do to it.  I refused to battle the stretch marks and cave to abs- not-of-steel.  My future did not hold muscles that would be loosened and softened by an alien that would invade my body for almost a year...a year!  My vanity was not the only impediment.  I had the fortune of hearing a family member talk about giving birth and "pooping on the table."  I was forced to listen to her birth story from the first stabbing contraction to the ripping of her...well, you know.  That was enough.  I would enjoy my gay lifestyle.  I imagined trips to Provincetown and South Beach, dressed like an L-Word character in a tailored white summer suit and $400 designer sneakers.  I reveled in how it would feel to bathe in my disposable income. I threw my head back and dreamed of driving a sexy Jeep, outfitting my ultra-modern apartment with framed canvases and Bose surround sound, and finding that special someone who would join me- sans child- in these escapades.

Then, I had an epiphany.  Actually, she found me and, honestly, did not like me much at first.  For the purposes of this blog, I will call her Tommie.  We met at a bar.  She had just returned from a year of military service in a combat zone.  She was in love with someone else.  I guess I grew on her.  Time passed and we started a life together, and it was good.  It's been almost exactly ten years since that January 4th night in the bar and a lot has changed.  For example, we just found out that we are (hopefully) having a baby in August.  How do lesbians decide to have a baby, you ask?  That is the crux of it- we decide because we must, and for us, this was a very calculated decision.  We don't have accidents and the condom just doesn't break.  

We actually decided to foster teenagers before the process began.  I volunteered to be a mentor for True Colors, LLC and we met our foster children through them.  These adolescents showed me how to be a parent; they led the way, and I learned to be reasonable and to listen.  As co-parents, Tommie and I were "on the same page" about many things.  I started to think that we could do this.  I hit 30 and I yearned to be a mother.

Like many bookish lesbian couples, we began to read a lot about "les babies" before we embarked on this sometimes crushing journey.  We visited our favorite book store, Everyone's Books, and stocked up.  Where else could we find an entire section devoted to lesbians having babies or tree houses for adults?  Tommie and I gathered what would be our lesbian baby bibles: Homebirth in the Hospital, The Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception and Birth, The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians, and the quintessential Taking Charge of Your Fertility.  Some of these are now absent from our bookshelves.  At each baby bump in the road, I decided to engage in a ritualistic purging of any items related to baby-making.  It was just too hard to have them around.  I am sure I misplaced or donated at least three baby naming books.  We talked endlessly about a potential birth plan.  We watched The Business of Being Born.  When lesbians decide to have a baby, it can be grueling.  We partook in online sperm shopping.  It's basically a very expensive version of  We tried some swimmers from Fairfax Cryobank.  We naively thought we could make a baby at home.  "Fuck the statistics," we shouted with glee!  We experienced several unsuccessful tries.  

We broke down and looked for fertility doctors.  We had few choices.  There were the boutique-y ones who operated out of single, but sometimes, unsuccessful practices.  Also available were the Eli Whitney assembly line-type establishments.  We tried both and each had its share of inconsistencies, i.e., a shaky, 70-year old doctor prying open my cervix with a cold, torturous metal set of clamps with handles because the catheter "just wouldn't go in."  When it came down to it, though- the business of having a baby- we chose the place with the highest success rate: UConn's Center for Advanced Reproductive Services. We purchased some new contestants (#12881) from California Cryobank.  We made the most of our health insurance and jumped to two cycles of IVF.  And here we, that's not a Rorschach Test.  It's...

EMBRYO (AKA "Eggbryo")




We are basking in this new bliss and so are two of our friends!  That is how this blog was born.  Two of us, the non-birth mothers, decided to capture and share our stories.  I am Belle.  My blog co-parent is Schneider. Welcome to our new and growing world.

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