Our Donor, Fun Facts About Choosing

Being gay, Holly and I have had a different conception experience from most heterosexual friends or co-workers we have, which is both cool and daunting. It’s cool because we have a little bit more of a story to tell, but it was daunting at the time because we didn’t have more than one set of friends that had done it the way we were planning, through IUI by using a sperm donor, and that made the whole thing so unknown. What’s cool about living in 2016 is the internet can tell you a lot about things like IUI, or IVF, or other conception opportunities, but all the research I did personally came up with a distinct heterowash to it. That is to say, many of the perspectives were of heterosexual parents with fertility issues, and as our Reproductive Endochronologist Dr. Kumar said at our first consultation with him, the only fertility issue we have is that we don’t have one half of the reproduction tools.

Enter California Cryobank, which is the largest sperm back in the United States and popular from coast-to-coast. Now, you might ask, how does one select a sperm donor with which to make a baby. Its really like shopping online, but for a person’s sperm and not for food items. But really, the process is pretty much the same. Holly and I sat down one night last November and talked about what we were looking for in a donor. We decided we were looking for someone with our shared heritage, European with some Swedish, French, maybe even Scottish or Irish in them (strictly for the red hair), who was taller than I am, but not a 50 foot giant, with a math smart brain (something we both lack) and overall clean family genetic history. We thought this was not a lot to ask, though you might think the opposite, but when we plugged these wants into California Cryo’s search options, there were a flood of choices that popped up. I think we combed through their donors for three weeks at least, looking for just the right one and going back and forth on a few. We narrowed it down to a list of 3 each and then swapped to see our other’s chosen donors and discuss why.

For me, this is the funny part, because naturally you’d think I would look for a donor like myself, because I wouldn’t be the biological parent of our child so I would likely want someone who is like me to make sure my “me-ness” is represented. Wrong. I found 3 wonderful donors that were exactly like Holly, but in man form. We both found that pretty funny, and still do. Finally we settled on a donor, with red hair, calculus level math skills and a dry sense of humor like my own. Best of all, his mom is a teacher, and so is his sister, much like the teacher I want to be, which was a bonus plus 10 points. In January, when we had finally decided to pull the trigger on this IUI business, we did all the pre-tests and what not with our RE’s office through Kaiser and then called to order our little swimmers. Of course you all know we didn’t succeed with the first IUI, but with the second, same donor, we did.

Funny things about this donor, he has two daughters of his own, so it was almost perfect for Holly because she wanted a girl from the jump, even following a Chinese calendar for insemination so that we would be sure to get one (looks like it worked). Also, and this is a little creepy but in a good way, his childhood pictures look like they could be related to me. When you purchase the childhood pictures option from California Cryo, you get one early, one middle and one late childhood, toddler, elementary and early middle school ish. He has a whole mess of freckles and my shade of red hair in all three, but its the facial features that really match. His toddler picture, up next to mine is eerily similar, which is wicked in the grand scheme of things, because this baby will likely have some of my features as represented through our donor.

Since there’s always a down side to things, here’s the things I didn’t like about choosing a donor through California Cryobank:

  • The “membership” packages they offer, with access to things like baby pictures, extended family history, writing samples, voice recordings, are only 90 days and are EXPENSIVE, especially if you don’t want to hear your donors voice or see his shitty (or wonderful) handwriting.We opted for ala carte choices that best fit us, but to each their own.
  • Every year they have a promo code that lowers the price of these membership things, and of course when we were looking to get one, no existing promo codes worked and they hadn’t come out with this year’s one yet. Word to the wise, get pregnant in not January.
  • We only bought the one vial per-time of our donor’s sperm for each IUI, because it was a lot of money to buy and store and we just didn’t have it at that time (and figured we wouldn’t need it because they would have more vials). Suddenly he became quite popular and now there’s nothing left, so that sucks but maybe advice for the future: BUY IN BULK.
  • Relating to the point above, they now have a financing option to help families buy more at once and store, through monthly payments. Would have gone with that if we had known it was an option.

Cool things about California Cryobank are that they offer a donor matching service, where they can match a donor to your partner, or husband, or ideal mate, so that you get the best match for you and your family, of course for a higher fee. They also list celebrity look alikes for each donor, which can be comical when you don’t always recognize the name and then google the name, find the picture and laugh because of who it is. Worthwhile experience there. We also liked that once you register a pregnancy with them, they will notify you if more vials for your donor become available, and you can also participate in the donor sibling registry, which lets you have the opportunity to connect with half siblings that used your donor all over the country (world?).

As this was a lot of information, I’ll let you all digest that. But know, if you have any questions, curiosities or just wonderings about this process, please feel free to get in touch with us. There’s a contact page somewhere on this blog, and we’d love to share more of our experience with you if it helps you gain understanding of how to go about this yourself. That’s the whole point of starting this blog for me, so that other queer families don’t have to go through the struggle to find information like we did. If we can do that, then its all worth it in my book.

Next time we’ll cover: Granny activities and other things you do when your spouse is pregnant. See you then!

Third Trimester Catch-up

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I kind of suck at this blog thing, but in the weeks to come, as I go back to work and school, oddly enough I promise I’ll do better. Its been 3 ish weeks since I last updated the world on this glorious pregnancy, so lets do a little catch up and see what’s been going on the last little bit here.

I went to Oregon! My Aunt Stephanie was getting married, and then so was our family friend Lissa, so I headed up to the greenest state I’ve seen in a while to participate in the joyousness of love and marriage. It was gorgeous, I wish I could articulate in this blog exactly how much, but it made me envious of everyone that lived there because my home state is a disgusting shade of dying yellow-brown almost all the time now.

Before I can really wrap up exactly how beautiful and wonderful that little 4 day weekend trip to Oregon was, I must mention my tumultuous pathway to arriving there, though. I’m sure many of you followed along on Facebook as my flight was delayed, then delayed more, then cancelled outright on Thursday night. You may have even been awake with me as I finally got on stand-by to a flight to Sacramento that would “hopefully” also get me on stand-by to a flight to Portland, which ended up taking off at almost 11pm that night ( I arrived at the airport at 5:30). Heck, you might have even followed my adventure from my live Facebooking/Tweeting while using my awesome and free (because they felt bad) Southwest Wifi as I didn’t even set technical feet in Sacramento, and was then whisked away to Portland, arriving there at 2:30 am. I am so fortunate my glorious parents were willing and flexible enough to keep up with me the whole time and drive the hour from Salem, where we were actually staying, to Portland and back to pick me up, thus making them saints in my book. We finally blew into Salem around 3:30, where I promptly took a shower to rinse the awful flight experience off and then crashed hard.

Whew! That was exhausting just to relive.

But now that we’re done with that: Steph and Mike’s wedding was so sweet. Aunt Laura had found a waterfall about an hour from Salem in this large park of waterfalls, beautiful as you can imagine, and they were married by a clergy member in front of the waterfall and 97% of our immediate family. The next night, my parents and I went to a wedding for our family friend Lissa, which was also very sweet, very rustic and we all had a grand old time. The day after that I shot back to LA after spending an adventurous afternoon with my cousins and brother in Portland sampling beer and nabbing some awesome donuts from Voodoo Donuts. I wish I had gotten a picture, but they were truly as good as I had heard.

The weekend after we got back and the final week of July, I embarked, with the help of a few friends, on painting my brother’s former room, now becoming the nursery for our beautiful baby girl. Here are some fun “process” shots of that adventure.

That bottom one there is my wonderful friend and Gamma Rho Lambda sorority sister Noelle doing a stellar paint job outer edge of the door. She really came through in a pinch for me, as did Anatt, who came just after Noelle left and stayed until that evening helping me put the finishing touches. All in all, it took 3 total days, once I edged, painted and touched up the room (several times). One thing I took from the whole experience, Frog Tape is the best, cleanest edge for painting tape I’ve ever used in my life. Highly recommended. The walls are a light gray, with a darker gray accent, nice and neutral for the eventual time when we leave my parents house and they’ve got that room as an extra once again (instead of having it pink).

Later on that week, while Holly was on vacation, we took a trip down to our friendly neighborhood Ikea store to pick up some baby furniture.

The left one is the crib mattress we “stole from a woman walking down the street” as I put it. In truth, Holly’s amazing bosses have actually held onto this mattress for us since their youngest ditched the crib for a big girl bed several months ago. They rock for keeping it, and as a result we have one less thing to buy! On the right is us escaping with our haul. As we were loading the car, I was struggling to lift the heavier items and Holly, although she was doing her best to help, has a big baby bump that complicates that effort. Some nice stranger man came up to us and asked if we wanted help and then proceeded to aide our loading process. I was so grateful I couldn’t stop thanking him as he walked away. Good thing there are decent people out there.

Three days later, most of the furniture got assembled and I’m saving those pictures for our final finished baby room post in a few weeks (because it isn’t quite done yet).

Yesterday, Holly had her 28 week check-up with our OB who is surprisingly (not that surprising) pregnant now herself, how cool! At first they couldn’t find a heartbeat with the fetal doppler (though the heard a kick really loudly!), so they brought in the portable ultrasound machine and we got our first look at Baby Hutchings in 8 weeks. No pictures, sadly, but we saw one good sized head and a cute little smooshy body. Baby is head down already, though she might not stay that way because she still has plenty of room to move. Doctor also gave Holly the go-ahead to attempt to get off Zofran (the anti-nausea meds), though she doesn’t have to if she doesn’t want to, but with a 5:30am wake-up call every day to take her pill, I’m assuming she might want to.

Fun facts about the 28th week of pregnancy:

  • We are finally in the 3rd Trimester, 11 ish weeks to go!
  • Baby is the size of an eggplant, or a bowl of cereal, weighing in at just shy of 3 lbs and measuring at almost 15 inches long.
  • She’s fattening up, which is good because right now she’d look really wrinkly if she came out, so in this case fat is good. In fact, her weight will triple (or more) before her birth.

Mommy (Holly) is reporting being tired, out of breath often, lots of pressure in her lower abdomen as baby remains head down, and more times with swollen feet than not these days. However, the good news is baby is growing and maturing right on target and the doctors seem pleased with that. We are going to schedule our 3D ultrasound sometime in the next couple weeks, before my work and school really have a chance to get into full swing, so those will be fun pictures we’ll have soon.

I go back to work on Monday 😦 which is both sad and exciting. I can’t wait to see my kids and my co-workers, but I am also going to miss spending almost every day with Holly and sweet little Ella. I’m sure in a few months I’ll get over it because Holly’ll be done working and I’ll be nervously awaiting that water to break and our baby to make her appearance.

Anyway, lets wrap up this wrap up with a teaser for next blog. The title is going to be “Our Donor, Fun Facts About Choosing”. Bet you can’t wait for that one huh? Until next time.

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