Monday, January 29, 2007

Newton's Third Law

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Newton's law popped into my head when I was thinking of people's reactions to our news that we want to have a baby. The law would have to be changed to read, "For every action, there is an equal OR opposite reaction." In general, people have been incredibly supportive. Our families and coworkers have had very positive comments.

E and I are both a little introverted, so our circle of friends isn't extremely wide. We each have a small circle of friends we've known for years, and we have friends we've developed as a couple over the last year and a half. Like our families, most of them have been supportive, offering babysitting and dogwalking services. Last week I told one of my closest friends, whom I've known for over 10 years, of our plans. She's a bit of an eccentric and has no children by choice, so I should not have been surprised by her response. She said she has no idea why two intelligent, competent women who work with children all day long would want to bring a crying infant who grows into a crying teenager into their home. At first, I was taken aback. I thought that even though she didn't want children, she might understand that we did. In hindsight, I know it is part of her humor and her honesty, which I have always liked.

So, that led me to Newton's Law (abridged). Equal reactions: our excitement sent out and returned. Opposite reactions: our excitement sent out and not returned. Which will we get as we have our child and watch it grow? Will people embrace us? Tolerate us? Have disdain for us? We live in a very accepting community in a more accepting day. Whatever outsiders give us, we will raise our child in a home and family (immediate, extended, family of friends) that gives an equal reaction to what we put out.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

random thoughts from a coparent-to-be

The process...
It seems every day is another day of exploration. It also becomes less amazing to me that we can actually make this happen and more amazing that people make families by only having sex. I am grateful that we have to jump through so many more hoops. We have had so many excellent conversations that I really don't think we would have had otherwise. Where do we stand on religion? How do we feel about money? How will we make sure our child is part of both of us? Which one of us will take care of what tasks? How will we share the burdens? What will happen to our relationship?

One of the things I have always loved about E is that she asks a million questions. In some ways it is her defense mechanism...keeps people from asking too much about her. When she first started asking me questions, I was flattered. As our relationship grew, I realized that it was how she balanced me. She didn't do it intentionally. It is who she is. After I had spent a lot of time with her, I started asking questions, too. We have ended up in this great place where we have conversations that go on and on because we keep probing and thinking and talking. In this situation of trying to make a baby, it has saved us. Whomever we talk to...doctors, lawyers...we have a list of questions.

The lawyer...
It is reassuring that we can put some legal protections in place. I can't imagine how devastated I would be if anyone tried to take my child away. Essentially I have no absolute guarantees that my child will be my child. I am not the biological parent. I cannot adopt the child. However, we are working hard to make sure we are putting as many safeguards in place as possible...guardianship, a coparenting agreement, and my last name...all evidence that what we intended was for this child to be ours.

I am very excited to start trying to have a baby. We have covered every base we can think of. It will be incredibly difficult, rewarding, and scary, but I cannot wait to be a family. E is an amazing woman. She is loving, smart, kind, and beautiful. She will make an excellent mom. She will make me an excellent mom. I am confident our child will only make us stronger and fill our house with even more love.

The blog....
While we are very excited to share all of this news with our family and friends, it also makes us a bit nervous. How will we feel when it takes us multiple attempts to get pregnant and we have to semi-publicly face that failure? What if we get pregnant and lose the baby? How will we handle everyone knowing? Many couples don't share that they're even trying to get pregnant. Many women never discuss that they're pregnant until they are 12 weeks along and it's a pretty sure thing. In undertaking this blog we have passed up that privacy. Scary.


the gifts would be better

Legal Issues

Our state does not allow second parent adoption for same sex couples. So, in our quest to be prepared for this most excellent journey to parenthood, we met with a lawyer today. We went to the attorney because we are both vulnerable in this undertaking --- M is vulnerable because she has zero legal standing when it comes to our child and I (E) and vulnerbale because M has no legal standing ... which means I that I could be left as a single mom. I do not want to be a single mother and M wants legal rights.

The lawyer described it as disaster planning. She said that everyone is in love now and thinks it is a wonderful idea, but life happens and it is better to be prepared. We will plan to be together as a loving couple and raise this child in our home and be a family, but if for some reason that doesn't work...we have a plan and we both have rights...just like if we were married.

By the way, it would be so much freakin easier if we could just get married....and the gifts would be way better. I never thought it was a huge deal that we couldn't get married, but now I am flaming mad that we have to spend $$$ (I mean thousands of dollars) to create the same legal protections as a heterosexual couple who runs off to Vegas and gets hitched and then pregnant.

So.........this is our plan

1. Guardianship: We will apply jointly for M to be the legal guardian of the child and we will have this in place prior to birth. So from the womb and beyond she will be able to make all decisions for the, medical, etc... Two drawbacks: no social security benefits and it could be revoked.

2. Co-Parenting Agreement: We will enter into a legal contract and file it with the court that we are Co-Parents and intend to create and raise this child as a couple. It will outline our intentions, what we believe our rights should be, and what would happen if we broke up (joint custody, etc). It is similar to a pre-nup.

3. The child will have the same last name as M.

4. All of our wills, power of attorneys, etc... will be updated to reflect our wishes so no crazy family member (not that either of us have crazy family members) could come back and say that one of us doesn't deserve the child.

The hard part about this is it makes you think about what would happen if we weren't together. M has been in my life everyday for the last 3.5 years. She has made me laugh everyday, even when we were just friends joking about students or on the hard days. She makes me think, feel, believe, and trust. I know that life happens and things change....we have both been around that block, but I would never bring a child into a relationship that I didn't believe in 100%. We will plan for the worst case, for the sake of the future child, but we will hope for our best.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

It's in the snow bank

1. Well, my mother has a complaint about the blog. She thinks it is too impersonal. But, she also likes to know what is going on with the entire process.

She asked, " where is the little blessing being kept [the sperm]???Please tell me it's not in the frig! "

No, Mother it is not in the fridge, it has to remain frozen so M stuck it in a snow bank outside. Only kidding, it is at the doctor's office being stored at $75.00 per quarter.

We love the blog. It is a great way to keep everyone informed and up to date with our progress. So, Mother, if you would like to talk more about it, then give me a call and we'll talk.

2. We won. Yes, we have beaten the system. M and I work for the same employer and we each have single health insurance plans. Our employer does allow domestic partnership and we could be on each others plans as well. So, we contacted HR and said we would like to join each others plans. They gave some "it is of no benefit to you or us to create to family plans at this point." We pushed a little, called the health care provider directly, asked a few more pointed questions and voila... I will now be on M's plan and double our fertility coverage! Woohoo! We are very blessed to have any coverage at all and to be able to double it is wonderful.

3. M was very sick this week and stayed home for 2 days. During that time she called some lawyers. We have an appointment next Wednesday to meet with a lawyer for some advice. We are also going to work on our health care directives this weekend.

I told M a while ago that I needed some things to make me feel comfortable carrying this child, some of them were emotional, some financial, and some were legal arrangements, and she agreed and had some of her own. Every step we take to make sure we are ready (as ready as you can be) makes me feel excellent and more confident. It is hard to be patient, but I know that it will be a much more enjoyable experience if we are both ready and we don't rush it.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Is this your first?

I went to the doctor's to have my blood work done. Our fertility clinic requires the basics....HIV, rubella, etc... testing prior to any procedures. I am not great with needles...not a total wuss, but sometimes they can't find my veins and they poke the crap out of my arm. Luckily, my bloodsucker was very good. When I sat down she read the lab test title: Prenatal. She asked, "Is this your first?"

I almost fell out of my chair. This is something I ask, I am not asked that question. It was a wild feeling of someday I will hope to respond with, "yes." I gently told her I was trying to get pregnant, but I hadn't done it yet. I am sure she assumed I was a straight woman with a husband at home.

I wonder what it will feel like to truly be able to say, "Yes, this is my first." It is an exciting feeling. I am very thankful to have M on this journey with me. She didn't go with me to the blood test and I missed her, but it was fine. M is this great mix of excited and confident. She knows that she is ready, she knows that it will be great, and she knows that it will be hard. She is prepared for the journey; she is prepared for the struggle.

She is an endurance type athlete who isn't afraid of pain. She knows when to push herself and when to relax and take a break. She is one of the best people I know, and I couldn't imagine going on this journey with anyone else. It will be our first. And, she will protect me from bad bloodsuckers.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Congratulations! You're the new owner...

Well, big day...we bought sperm!! Woohoo!!! Really, it just makes us's a silly notion. We had spent hours going over the donor profiles to find Mr. Right. A couple days later he popped up as "only a limited number of vials of this donor's sperm are available." What??? But, but, but....we want him. So, even though we're not ready to start the process yet, we decided we'd better make the purchase before there was none available and we had to start all over again. We got our account at the cryobank, gave the doctor's office permission to order and waited to see how many vials we'd get. The doctor recommended 3-4 vials to save on shipping. We got two. We figure it's better than none. Even if we have to do it all over, choose, order, pay shipping...we still have a couple shots with this guy. We have read about and talked to several women who were one hit wonders. Our fingers are crossed that we can accomplish that feat as well.

We also started contacting lawyers to find out what we need to do to get as much legal protection as possible. We've only gotten information from a couple whose fees range from $500 to $7500. Good Lord. The problem is that even with the most expensive documentation, in our state if I adopt the baby no guarantees exist. I think we should go with guardianship, which gives plenty of legal protection for medical decisions, school paperwork, etc. but provides no statements or even implications of financial responsibility. E wants to make sure that I am 50% responsible for this child forever. It's the situation of "I love you, I trust you, I want to spend forever with you, but if you think you're going anywhere, you'd better know that you're still paying half...if I let you live." I completely agree. I hope that we can just draft some additional paperwork that holds us both financially responsible. It's the not-so-fun part...fighting for rights, planning for what happens if something bad happens...but it's life. We'd rather be ready for it than blindsided.

Another successful shopping trip...


Thursday, January 4, 2007

i want my mtv

Our choice of an open donor was reaffirmed last night when we watched True Life on MTV. The episode was about teenagers with gay parents. For the most part they were typical teens...sometimes happy, sometimes angry...and like all teens, changing moment by moment. As a group, they did not seem to have any special challenges because of their families.

One young man interested us because he had lesbian parents...and very much wanted to know his donor. They had used an open donor, so their son had the opportunity to make phone calls and one face to face contact. Initially, their son was disappointed and angry that he was only guaranteed one face to face contact per the agreement made when the women chose the donor. However, he signed the form and received the man's name and phone number.

It seemed that he wanted to establish a relationship with the donor. He loved his moms but said he had wished he had a father in his life...that while he had father figures in his life, he wanted to know the real one. He labored over making the phone call. He was nervous, anxious, and probably a bit afraid of what the donor might say.

When he finally made the phone call, he and the donor had a short conversation and subsequent conversations over a few months. However, he had never met him when the show was made and seemed very content with that.

E and I were convinced that it was very important to have an open donor. Children have to have an identity. While this young man was well adjusted, happy with his life, and appreciative of his loving parents, it was vital to him to know his donor's name and have some connection. We would never want to deprive a child of knowing their roots...of having the chance to know who they're a part of. We were also impressed with the lesbian couple. They encouraged their son. They were supportive of him the entire time. They could have been uneasy, jealous, or indifferent. Instead, they were full of acceptance and love...and so was their son.