OK, this is dicey territory and possibly includes too much processing, but hey, that's what blogs are for, right? I initially decided this stuff was too personal to document, but it's the important stuff, and probably the most real, so here it is.
I posted a couple of days ago about the logistics of my recent endeavor, but I couldn't bring myself to do more than hint at the emotional work involved. What a bizarre, challenging, draining, exciting and affirming few days.
First of all, I was welcomed with open arms into the home of my brother and sister-in-law. Having such an extended stay with them without M around was sort of a strange experience unto itself, and to be honest, one I was nervous about. Don't get me wrong, I am crazy about both of them and feel they are Good People to the Nth degree. It's just that usually, when one visits in-laws, the spouse or partner is there to act as a buffer, conversation starter, and/or whatever other lubricating influence is needed. Anyway, any anxiety I had going in was quickly obliterated. Despite my rather unconventional and potentially-awkward-making reason for visiting, KD and his wife were as warm and welcoming as ever and we had hour upon hour of easy conversation and fun outings, all squeezed in around KD's hellish work and hobby schedule. Had my schedule allowed, I would have been content to stay a month. Not saying THEY would have enjoyed that, but I would have. ;-)
My reasons for explaining all of the above are two-fold: (1) To impress upon you how amazing KD and his wife are so you will understand just how lucky M and I are to be taking this process on with them in our corner, and (2) To illustrate the conflict of emotions I experienced off and on throughout the week, and acutely on my first night there. On one hand, I was having this wonderfully enjoyable and restful vacation, and on the other, I was embarking upon the scariest single action I have ever taken in my entire life. Possible TMI alert here... So on the first night, we had the first of several "business meetings". We selected an appropriate container, I gave KD the oral medicine syringe I bought for this purpose, and he went to... well, prepare the materials for the meeting. Once finished, he delivered a loaded syringe to me, at which point I had to hold it in my hand and step across a threshold of inexplicable gravity. I was in no way prepared for how challenging or frightening this would be. At the same time that I was dealing with all these crazy, unexpected emotions, I was beating myself up for having them. This is what I want, isn't it? Isn't this the reason I took a week off work and flew halfway across the country and asked KD and his wife to bend over backward to accomodate me? More than that, this is the thing M and I have been talking about for years, and the reason we asked KD almost a year ago to do this for us, and why since then I have been furiously planning, temping, charting, researching... right? To have it all come down to that single moment where I had to insert a syringe and PUSH THE PLUNGER myself - to have everything reduced to that single, irreversible action - and then for me to find myself... well, scared, was beyond overwhelming. The "point of no return" feeling was intense. (In hindsight, I ovulated so late that really, the chances of that insemination producing anything close to a "point of no return" are slim to none. I can only say that looking back on it, though.) It turned out that I did not ovulate the next day, or the next, or the next, which means that insemination was not properly timed and, in one way, this makes it a waste. In another way, I think it was one of the best things that happened while I was there because it gave both KD and I the opportunity to get through the unexpected emotions of the first time in a space where the consequences didn't really matter. I'll try to limit the TMI factor here by just saying that due to inexperience and nerves on my part, I have a feeling that first insemination would not have worked, even if the timing had been perfect. I didn't know what I was doing, I was shaky and anxious, and it certainly showed. Fortunately, by the time we got into the right place in my cycle, we were pros, if I do say so myself.
I think part of what scared me so much was how consciously I had to take that step toward parenthood. Part of me feels I should have seen that coming as I have been aware every step of the way how much more conscious our process has been than the average heterosexual couple. But see, with me having to so actively create my pregnancy, I feel it will be harder to escape blame if, god forbid, things don't go well. If my pregnancy is very difficult or even dangerous, I can't fall back on the subconscious feeling that my becoming pregnant was ultimately natural and/or unavoidable. Does that make even an ounce of sense? I tried to explain it to M and I'm not sure I did a good job then, either. I guess my thinking on this is that if M and I were a heterosexual couple that could get pregnant simply by having sex - a totally normal behavior that we do in our relationship anyway - then I would be able to look at our pregnancy as ultimately inevitable (even if it was planned), because c'mon, it was bound to happen eventually, right? Further, the pregnancy would be the product of a totally normal, everyday activity. (Intellectually, I know this is totally BS. There is no real requirement, or even expectation, that heterosexual couples must reproduce, and pregnancy is largely preventable if you are careful, so referring to any pregnancy as inevitable, even in straight relationships, is inaccurate - BUT, I'm just talking about the human ability to rationalize, and I think we all know this need not be based in reality, only available excuses.) There is no way to look back upon my road to pregnancy and use words like "inevitable", "natural", or "bound to happen eventually". No, we took conscious, tangible, out-of-the-ordinary steps to become pregnant, and if there are negative consequences to come from that, somehow I feel we will be more liable for bringing them upon ourselves than the average heterosexual couple. Hmm, I'm still not sure I'm making sense here, but that's the best I can do for now.
OK, so fast forward to Friday... After several days of very disappointing ovulation predictor readings, I FINALLY caught a hormone surge indicating I would ovulate in the next 24 to 36 hours. Woo hoo! By then, we had two inseminations under our belt and I was significantly calmer and more sure-handed (no pun intended). I felt really good about that one, and the one we did the next night. By the last night I was there, our business meetings were easy and casual, to the point where the three of us sat around a chatted for a few minutes with a loaded syringe sitting conspicuously on the dresser waiting to be put to use. It was pretty cool. Again, are M and I not the luckiest people in the world to have KD and his wife involved in this with us? :-)
I am so consumed by all of this and I'm finding it really difficult not to talk to people about it. I have a couple of close friends who know, but we really are trying to keep all of this under wraps as much as possible. Not talking to my mom is possibly the hardest part, but looking forward to the day I'll be able to surprise her with unexpected good news is keeping my resolve up. KD has discussed all of this with a few of his close friends, and I'm glad about this, especially now that I have met more of them. They are great people and I'm glad he has them to joke with, because the stress of it all will kill you if you don't have someone close by to laugh with. I went to lunch with one of his friends while visiting, and she is very familiar with what I am going through, having just planned and acheived her own pregnancy within the past couple of years. She described a feeling of sitting at work, shortly after learning she was pregnant but before she and her husband had announced anything, looking around her and being stunned at the ignorance of her co-workers. She said she constantly felt like yelling, "Hey, this totally amazing thing is happening to me and you don't even know about it! How can you not know? How can you not be aware of this huge, incredible thing that is going on in my life?" I feel that way now. This process has been so intensive so far, with all the talking and planning and traveling, and it feels so strange and unbelievable that people are looking at me every day and have no idea. I feel like I *must* look different somehow, even though I know that is impossible. There is an intense dissonance there, between how I am thinking about myself and my life right now, and how everyone else around me is. They want me to come to work and open my mail and fill up my gas tank and play with my dog as if I'm not in the middle of a hugely emotional and possibly life-altering event. And to them, I'm not. It's very strange and I know it will only get worse once I get a positive pregnancy test. I don't think we'll be able to keep it a secret for as long as we might like.
Lying in bed immediately after our first insemination, I started to worry that I might be scared up until I took my pregnancy test, and after if I had a positive result. But over the course of the week and three more inseminations, each one more positive and affirming than the one before, I am back in a place of feeling ready and oh so anxious. I really, really hope I'm pregnant. This is not to say that I won't get scared again. I will, I'm sure. How can I not? I'm just... ready. I'm expecting to find out either way sometime around 11/4, possibly earlier if it is positive. In the meantime, I'm looking for opportunities to fill my time and keep me from counting down the minutes until I can find out what our immediate (and long term) future holds.