Tag Archives: baby prep

Life is Not Like Will & Grace

Or for that matter, like any movie or television show you ever see about a single gal looking to have a munchkin. One would think: girl goes to doctor, girl acquires sperm, girl makes baby. Not so much.

This whole process of looking to make a little family of me and a gay-by is actually going to take a lot longer than I thought. Like, I wish I started working on this three years ago when I was thirty, longer. That kind of longer. First, an annual exam to get the go-ahead from my regular doctor- check. Then a referral to a fertility doctor to perform the procedure. Check. An hour-long consultation. A meeting with a counselor to discuss whether I’m prepared for my plans. A battery of bloodwork and ultrasounds for me. Assuming those all go well, a battery of bloodwork and labs for the donor. Then the donor meets with the counselor alone. We meet with the counselor together. We both hire attorneys and draft an agreement. The hospital’s attorney reviews and approves or denies the agreement. The ethics committee approves or denies the procedure. A six-month waiting period to use the frozen sperm once it’s been cleared twice. And then, if the moon is the second house and Mercury aligns with Mars, I will have my own little munchkin ten months and however many tries later.

All of this has become the most unexpected complication for me. Apparently, if I was using bought sperm from a stranger it would be easier- all the donor’s testing and clearances and legal would already be handled. But, I’m not sure I would want that. There’s a lot to be said for knowing that the person providing the other half of your baby’s DNA makes you laugh, and can play the saxophone, and remembers bizarre and obscure architectural terms.

All of my free time during the day lately has gone into making appointments and talking to financial counselors and insurance reps. I started this all pretty Zen. I would try to have a baby. If it didn’t work out, it wasn’t meant to be and I’d have a few more years to look into adoption or foster parenting or whatnot (as I do know that becoming a parent in some form is important to me down the road, if biologically is not an option).

But now? I’m a little, ahem, crazed.  I have a few weeks until I get my own test results and the doctor, hopefully, tells me everything’s in working condition. Or, as he mentioned, if we need to hurry. And that is the part that scares me. If it will take 8 months to jump the hoops and figure out if BC can be my donor, but the doctor warns me I only have 4 or 5 months left. What then?

I have never been a real age-phobe. I’m getting older. I’m still cool. Deal with it. But now, every day some medical specialist is talking about my expiration date like I’m cheap milk and I think it’s causing a minor mid-life crisis. Did I waste my life up until now when I should have started breeding in high school? Why did I spend all those years trying not to get pregnant for free so that I could spend all this time and money now? Should I just pull out a plastic cup and a turkey baster at happy hour and try at home so I’m not wasting time?

And the crazy part is, I’m probably fine. There’s nothing in my medical history or my family’s to suggest I couldn’t do this all easily whenever I get around to it in the next few years. But the system is set up to create panic. And the people in a fertility clinic are used to working with people who have established problems to begin with, so everything is pathologized.

I’m taking deep breaths. I’m being patient. I’m not broken. But if I sound a little frazzled until the end of the month, this is why. I’m waiting to get permission to have a kid. Which is scary. But also, sort of pisses me off.

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Eighties Problems in 2010

When I was a little girl, I spent a lot of time reading my mother’s magazines- Redbook, Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, Parents- I read them all. Thanks to them, I was probably the world’s youngest Erma Bombeck fan, found out the truth about Santa Claus, and was the only kid in my neighborhood with an in-depth knowledge of the evolving science surrounding HIV. One of the core themes of the era, featured in every magazine, seemed to be the struggle to “have it all,” to be “superwoman.” Working women were burning out, melting down, and to read the hysterical coverage, would never be able to juggle all the balls they had in the air without heavy medication and a full staff.

Now, I’m no mother, but I’d like to be. My sister just gave birth to my darling new niece on May 30 and is in a full-on swoon, in love with this baby, who I’m hoping to go cuddle this month in person. At a party this weekend I got to make baby talk with two expecting moms. And my, my, my- I want one yesterday! Toddlers in the park distract me beyond conversation. My refrigerator is wallpapered with my friends’ baby announcements and holiday photos. And while my cynical self always rolled my eyes a little at the Ally McBeal biological clock obsession, I am starting to wonder when a dancing baby will start doing the cha-cha across my desk.

Yes, it’s bad. Casa de Eleanor has full-on baby fever.  And I’m not even trying to get pregnant yet. But hey, why not buy curtains that might look nice in the baby’s room?  I mean guest bedroom.  I’m sure the constant updates on my new niece are leading to a little of the frenzy, but I mean, look at her:

I dare any woman who has ever wanted to raise a child to look at this baby and not ovulate spontaneously. I get three or four texts of her adorableness daily. And yes, bitter old broad that I am, I squeal at each and every one with glee.

But then, I get flashes of all that Supermom coverage I was inundated with as girl. Becoming a single mom will mean that, yes, I will need to hold down my job. And keep the house clean. And parent. Bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. Like most people I imagine, there are days when just getting myself  fed, washed, dressed, and out the door seems like a challenge. The carpet could be vacuumed a lot more often. Oh, and I should be writing on my novel every minute that I am awake instead of watching a Ghost Whisperer marathon on t.v. or scanning Facebook to see what my friend in DC had for dinner.

I can be pretty hard on me. I could always be a better friend, a better employee, a better writer, a better volunteer. And despite my firm belief that people manage to raise children the world over with less stuff than we do in the U.S. and that most babies are just as happy to bang a spoon as to play with their own baby laptop in a McMansion, I do wonder, can I be enough? Because I’d like not just to be a mom, but to be a good one.

 So, in the interest of getting there one day, I make a little more effort. Just because it’s just me doesn’t mean I shouldn’t eat some fruit or veggies instead of cereal for dinner. Maybe those new curtains can wait while I save up for a car all my own. And maybe, every now and then, I could go a little easier on myself. That might be a good habit to get into now.

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Filed under Daily Life, Family, Soul Searching, Working for a Living

Me and My Llama

Am I the only person haunted fairly frequently by the “Me and My Llama” song from Sesame Street? The one where the girl and her llama are “going to the dentist to-day-ay-ay-ay”? Maybe so. Regardless, it was the first thing that popped into my head as I brushed my teeth this morning. Because, today I went to the dentist, albeit sans llama.

For those of you with longterm excellent insurance, this is probably no big deal. You probably go every six months like clockwork, have your cleaning, and head out the door with a sparkling smile and a new toothbrush. But this girl? Well, it’s been a while. OK. It’s been eight years. EIGHT years.

The last time I popped in to get my chompers checked out, I had a temporary job that came with dental insurance. And the dentist berated me for not going every six months, made fun of me for being not-so-hot at the x-ray thing, and I may have, um, thrown up on him a little. Overall, it was not my most shining moment.

My current job has great insurance- the kind I feel lucky for every time I hear Congress debating healthcare reform and cringe a little for not using mine more regularly for maintenance. I’ve had the dental insurance alone for almost three years and paid a lot in premiums not to use it. But, one of the things on my pre-baby checklist is getting the ol’ cuspids in working order, so with a recommendation from BC, I headed out to see just how bad the news would be.

And, well, it’s not great. It turns out, I should have had the wisdom teeth yanked years ago, so that’s two that have to go. Plus another four in the back that I ground down over two break-ups and law school. Oh, and next week, a root canal. I think they just decided to throw in the root canal for free once I agreed to send the dentist’s great-grandchildren to Harvard on my dime. It didn’t help that the whole time the dentist kept raving about BC’s teeth- they’re perfect, apparently. My best friend is clearly sucking up to the dentist.

But, actually, it’s not so bad. I have insurance. And many Americans don’t these days. I used to be one of them. So, while I’m not looking forward to spending lots of time eating soup and smoothies and my entire spring wardrobe budget on teeth, it could be a lot worse.

Me and my llama will be spending a lot of time together.

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