Let's Go Shopping for Sperm! Day 1 at the Fertility CenterAela Mass
With the widest smile on my face, the first thing I said to Sara after we were officially pronounced wife and wife at our elopement was, “And then that happened.” The words weren’t planned. They more so just fell out of my mouth. Not at all romantic, not loving, or endearing — not anything I ever would have suspected I’d say on my wedding day, not me, not the one who so often picks my words with intent. But, alas, those were my words. Today, after our first appointment with Fertility Center 1, Sara smiled at me and said, “Let’s go shopping for sperm!”
When we arrived at Fertility Center 1 (we have a separate appointment with Fertility Center 2 in a few weeks to decide which place, doctor, staff, nurses, etc., we want to take this journey with), the woman at the front desk seemed confused about who Sara was and why she was there — she even pointed to her and asked, “Does she have an appointment?” Even though we were certain a fertility center would have experience with lesbian couples, we weren’t thrown off by the woman’s confusion. Stuff like that happens often — good or bad, like it or not, situations like this are unavoidable with same-sex couples. In fact, I used to date a woman that other people often confused as my sister on more than one occasion, even as my twin once. You just get used to it and chalk it up as a learning tool for others. So I smiled at the receptionist and said, “No, she’s my wife.”
Shortly after we met with the RPA, Operation Information Overload went into full effect. About six minutes in, I wished I was recording the appointment. I couldn’t believe how little I remembered from school about basic female anatomy! And I certainly knew nothing about all these new terms being tossed our way: TDI screening, sonohysterogram, hysterosalpingogram, FSH (Ooo, Ooo, that one sounds familiar!). After the RPA went over our many different options, most of which I haven’t even been able to fully process yet, she sent us on to our “fertility case manager.”
As of yet, our whole in-office experience was still a little surreal. I remembered some advice an old friend of mine gave me the night before when I expressed my fears about this day. She told me to have fun, to enjoy the entire thing, and to let go of my fears. Well, my type-A personality was paying too much attention to everything we were being told that none of my fears had a chance to surface! But I kept thinking, “Remember to have fun. Remember you’ll never have this moment again for the first time. Enjoy it all.”
And then the girl with the lime-green nail polish walked in. Our fertility case manager.
OK, this girl might have a little too much fun, I thought.
Green nail polish? Where are we, a nightclub? How old is this chick? Did she even graduate college yet? Is SHE a mother? How am I supposed to take advice from, share intimate details with, and spend the next however-long-it-takes with someone who looks like she belongs in a teen magazine and not a doctor’s office?
I suddenly found myself judging the sh*t out of this woman. Did I seriously just refer to a medical professional as a “chick”? I’m fairly conservative (OK, boring) with my fashion sense, but I know enough to know that neon is a doable fad in the real world. So why not in a medical office?
After I allowed myself to stop judging this woman for her young appearance and lime-green fingernails, I realized she’s actually quite smart. She answered all of our questions, made handwritten notes for us to more easily sift through some of the more pressing information, showed Sara and me how to begin to choose our donor (or as my wife likes to call it, “shop for sperm”), and set us up with our next appointment — which, by the way, is tomorrow!
We’ve been so prepared for every little step to take months and months, but as serendipity would have it, in order to begin my “month of monitoring,” I need to be on the third day of my menstrual cycle, which happens to be tomorrow. I’ll get some blood drawn to check my FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels and they’ll take a look-see at my ovaries via ultrasound for volume and potential follicle counts. I wasn’t expecting to go back so soon or have anything else done until after Sara and I visit Fertility Center 2 and decide which place we want to use. Tomorrow’s appointment, though, is a simple enough step we can take even if we don’t decide to see this journey through with Fertility Center 1 and the woman with lime-green fingernails.
Read more of Aela’s writing at Two Moms Make A Right