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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Feeling Grateful for Celebrity Lesbian Moms

cat cora, lesbian moms, famous lesbian moms
Cat Cora.  Winning at everything.
Recently there has been a fair amount of mainstream buzz about NBC news anchor Jenna Wolfe and her girlfriend having a baby girl. Six months ago, Jenna casually announced her pregnancy on the air, while subsequently publicly coming out. I guess in this case, the two pieces of news went hand in hand, since viewers were obviously going to notice that she was pregnant and sans husband....

gay dads, NPH, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka
Let's not forget gay dads.
Especially, NPH.  I mean, look at this.
Anyway, I'm feeling grateful for the lesbian moms who have traveled this road before us and shared their stories with the world. Tens of thousands of suburbanites rely on Jenna Wolfe to give them their news and now this household name is having a baby...with another woman. It's possible Jenna is the first lesbian mom these people have ever "met." Every lesbian mom who chooses to be in the public eye gives me a bit of hope that my future child won't be the only one at school with two moms. His friends' parents won't flinch when I introduce myself as his mom and then introduce them to my wife, Kate. In a perfect world, it would never occur to him that his family is any different than any other family.

So to the pioneers who have gone before us- those living their lives outwardly and proudly- thank you for paving the road, one little bit at a time, for families soon to come.

Kate's Perspective:
I think that Meg...
nailed it

iphone, appledisco ballI also want to point out that I grew up in a time/region that gay lifestyles weren't all that visible. I also spent a lot of time working in theater so my vision may have been a little askew. I knew, maybe, a person or two who I thought were gay, but no one lived an out life.  I don't even think I saw two same sex people holding hands as partners (IRL) until college.  The idea of  actually being able to live this way, marrying someone AND having a family never crossed my mind until 2007, also the same year the iPhone was first released- it was a year of discovery my friends. And now I'm married and we are starting a family.  I want to expand on big ups to the gay and lesbian moms and give the highest of gay fives to those that made all of it possible and"normal".

gay high five
Literally Googled "rainbow high five".

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why We Choose To Blog

Meg's Perspective:
Are you wondering why we chose to share the details of this otherwise personal process with, well, basically anyone with a computer and internet access (or mooching off of internet access)
For more please visit my tumblr: (end shameless plug)

I’ll admit, as the pragmatic half of this duo, I questioned how wise it was to embark on this blogging adventure. In the end though, I think it will be a cathartic process for us, an easy way to keep our friends/family up to date on the process, and perhaps most importantly- a resource for other couples who will take this journey after us.

When we started thinking about making a family, we had many, many questions and since this is 2013, we naturally turned to the interwebs for answers. Considering it’s 2013, it was harder to find blogs with personal accounts of the two-mom insemination process than I would have thought. There are a fair number of blogs about heterosexual women experiencing infertility, which is at the same time similar and completely different from what we’re about to do. So I agreed to let Kate blog about all this...and as it turns out, I’m even blogging myself.

Here are some other lesbian mom-to-be blogs we’ve found entertaining and educational:
snl, kristin wiig, target lady

Kate’ perspective:
I agree with Meg that there isn't enough lesbian perspective out there, in a mom-to-be way.  I also think the bog makes it easier to keep friends and family informed of how things are going.  There are going to be some topics that are easier to blog/talk about than others, but I think it's the best way to tell everyone the full story.  I think most people are used to just hearing me tell long-winded stories and I can vouch that I probably forget 42% of everything that happened, locations sometimes change and somehow Tina Fey
tina fey, 30 rock, oprah
becomes a part of the discussion.  Nothing wrong with that, but Meg's POV usually helps to clear those up so.... voila.  Also, Tina Fey stays in. Always.

wicked, kristen chenoweth, idina menzelThere are so many things we want to know.  Others who have gone through the process.  What were all the steps like?  How did you know which donor to choose?  How do you tell people?  How do you tell the child?  What should we tell the child to call us?  What if my child comes out and doesn't like showtunes? These things matter, people!

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Like My Men Like I like My Beer: Chilled and In a Six Pack

Since we have a little downtime while we wait for things to-ahem-cycle
titanic, gif, titanic gif
....I thought I’d talk a little about choosing a sperm donor. This will be one of many posts about making the decision, as it’s not something we’re taking lightly.

Meg's perspective:

First of all-some people use known donors, some choose unknown. Kate and I talked about using a known donor, such as someone related to me so the child would be somewhat genetically related to me. I don’t have any biological brothers and my male cousins are a little young to be saddled with such a life-long decision. Plus, it would feel weird me that my kid was also my 2nd cousin. We considered asking my step-brother, who fits all of our criteria: tall, athletic, smart. But then we imagined Christmas with his kids and our kids...and how we would explain that they’re both
the heat, melissa mccarthy, gif
step-cousins and half-siblings (?!?!). Ultimately we decided against even asking him and his wife to consider it. (PS: Hi Dave! This is probably news to you!)  We considered a number of our male friends, but assumed they would want to be involved as parents, and we’re not interested in that. We are also aware of the legal considerations one needs to take when using a known donor, including the donor signing away his parental rights and agreeing to be tested for just about every disease in the world. Plus, in order to be inseminated by most doctors, the sperm has to be frozen, so the donor would have to go through a sperm bank. Are you seeing dollar signs? Because I am.

For all of these reasons and more, we’ve decided to go with an unknown donor, which means we’ll be combing through sperm banks for...what exactly?
golden globes, amy poehler, george clooney, gif
Do we care if the donor is strongly religious and therefore probably donating in order to populate the world with more Catholics/Baptists/etc? Do we want our future kiddo(s) to be able to seek out the donor when the kiddo turns 18? Do we pay extra to see baby pictures of the donor? Is it totally vain of me to eliminate a donor because his handwriting is atrocious??

Someone who looks like me, the non-bio mom? Or just someone amazingly tall, handsome, naturally thin and very smart? The kid is never going to be half genetically mine, so does it matter if he/she looks like me? Do we pick someone with my ethnic background?

As you can see, right now we have more questions than answers. We recently got together with some friends of ours who successfully got pregnant using donor sperm and are expecting their little one soon. They’ve been kind enough to share their experience with us and it was so helpful to hear about their journey. It’s kind of crazy that we get to/have to choose half of our child’s DNA. It is an undeniably huge responsibility and I think it’s safe to say we’re both a little worried about making the right choice. Does anybody out there have any advice for two future moms-to-be who seek a sperm donor?

Kate's perspective:
arrested development, buster gifWhile I'm mostly here to contribute comical nuggets, gifs and a womb, I do actually struggle with this topic. Honest to God we have discussed (mostly joking) going to a decent Boston bar (in the financial district for a better shot at "smart sperm") taking a few shots and ... well, you see where this is going.

The process is so odd and surreal. You're looking at profiles like you're shopping on Amazon.  

So, do we want tall? But not too tall. Blonde hair like Meg's? Brown like mine- I mean auburn... Shut up.  College student or adult that has established himself? To quote Meg as we sat at Panera after our first appointment at the clinic, "I want him to be smart but not super smart. No PhD in philosophy, cause those guys piss me off."

I will give bonus points to any donor that:

A. Makes references to "Drop Dead Gorgeous"
drop dead gorgeous gif, allison janney

B. Sites Aaron Sorkin as the greatest writer of all time.

west wing, gif, aaron sorkin

C. Exhibits sassy wit.

Do I care what he sounds like? Not unless he has an amazing singing voice because this child is gonna know showtunes. 

There's so much to consider and so much pressure as you are basically designing your child. Should he have athletic ability since I can barely walk without falling down?

Should he have a ridiculous sense of humor so we can spout "Will & Grace" quotes back and forth? Should he have tan skin so the child doesn't have to experience the feeling of blinding people on the first warm day of summer? sperm banks do Super Saver Shipping?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

CMV, CVS & OPP: We're Down With Them All

If there’s one thing most people know about me (and this is Meg "speaking"), it’s that I’m terribly impatient. After our last appointment, we had to wait a full week before calling in to find out the results of our blood tests. I realize this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of waiting- I hear the “two week wait” is truly agonizing. That's the two weeks between an insemination and being able to take a
ain't nobody got time for that, hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife
pregnancy test. I’m sure you’ll all have the pleasure of hearing me lament about that later.

Anyway, a week after our initial appointment, Kate called RSC to find out about our blood tests. I still can’t believe I had to have blood tests at all, as the non-bio Mom. I guess it’s important to make sure I’m free of infectious disease just in case we contract a disease later from our baby. The blood tests give us proof that we were initially disease-free. We were assured this was just a precaution and very rarely happens. Anyway, we “passed” this first round of blood test and learned a couple things that will impact our sperm donor choose.

#1- Kate has a positive blood type, which means our sperm donor can have a positive or negative blood type. That’s good as it keeps our options a little more open.

good morning vietnam, robin williams, acronyms
Seeing as how the V.P. is such a V.I.P.,
shouldn't we keep the P.C.
on the Q.T.? 'Cause if it leaks
to the V.C. he could end up M.I.A.,
and then we'd all be put out in K.P.
#2- Kate and I are both negative for CMV. If you’re like me, you have no idea what this means or why it matters. According to, Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that infects people of all ages and is usually harmless to people with a healthy immune system. Most people have been exposed to CMV at some point in their lifetime without realizing it. Something like 80% of women in the United States have had CMV and would therefore test positive. Oddly enough, both Kate and I are negative. What this means is that we have to choose a sperm donor who is also negative (aka: has never had this extremely common virus). That narrows our options considerably.

#3- Kate has slightly low Vitamin D levels. Don’t we all nowadays? No biggie- we stocked up on
tina fey, amy poehler, highest of fives
supplements with a buy-one-get-one coupon from CVS (Chuck- aren’t you proud of us???)

Kate's Artist Rendering of Fallopian Tubes
So our next steps are to get a few more tests that need to happen at a certain point in Kate’s cycle. I can’t even remember what they are- something about how many egg follicles are visible and if her fallopian tubes are free flowing. None of that is medically correct, but close enough. Those tests will hopefully occur over the next 2-4 weeks. Assuming we get the green light on all of those tests, we’ll go forward with choosing a sperm 

ron and tammy, parks and rec

donor (Kate: don't you worry, we're gonna blog the crap out of that experience) and hopefully do our first insemination in...October? November? Stay tuned....

Monday, August 12, 2013

Uter-me? Uter-us.

Where did we leave off?  Ah, RSC New England (the fertility clinic we chose).
A previous fertility clinic we looked at had sent us paperwork that told me the work-up that needed to be done on my "internal valves" so I had already done 80% of the tests before I walked in the door- I can be an A+ student from time to time.  I had sent in my dissertation of pre-appointment paperwork they had us fill out and they even called us to tell us they received it.  Nicer than applying for a job.  We had our first consultation appointment with RSC on a Friday in August.  I was beyond nervous.  I don't get nervous- really.  We arrived early- it's how we do (if Meg has anything to say about it).  We killed time sitting in the car while I played Candy Crush (it's a problem- I have 3 games going on 3 devices) until it was time to go in. When we walked in there were several other couples in the waiting area.  We all glanced at each other, but in such a way that we never made eye contact.  But then, after checking in with the delightful staff (who also complimented my boxed hair dye color- well done Clairol), we sat down and I started looking at everyone in the waiting room a little closer.  Mostly what we saw were (presumably) straight couples.  All looked a little nervous or just erred on the side of forced preoccupation with magazines that they never turned the page of for 15 minutes.  Meg looked at me, leaned over and whispered something into my ear.  We were both thinking the same things and you (mostly me) can't help but laugh. The first thought that popped into my mind while looking at the men in the room:

We learned, while sitting there, that you go upstairs to be inseminated and down the hall to... "deposit".  I kind of thought it was a missed opportunity for a joke on "Stairway to Heaven", but this wasn't my show so... whatever.  Then I saw a man come around the corner and slam a stack of magazines on the counter.
sue, SNL, kristin wiig

Turns out he was the office manager dropping off the mail. Did your mind go to a dirty place? Mine, too.

We went back to the doctor's office and began to go through all of the paperwork I had filled out in advance and mailed in. We were impressed that the doc had obviously taken the time to familiarize himself with our chart before we arrived.  He had deduced (genius man) that no matter how hard we tried, Meg and I couldn't make a baby on our own and he seemed happy to help.  What I noticed was that he spoke about our situation as if we were no different that a man and a woman.  In a good way.  I know it sounds odd, but it's amazing how many awkward pauses and slightly ignorant questions I have encountered along the way.  We went over family medical history and I saw we were approaching the weight section.  I held my breath.  The doctor touched on the subject stating that he would like me 9 lbs less by the time we started procedures, of course I should continue on my weight loss track, but was in good health otherwise.
   jim carrey, ace ventura, VICTORY
snuggie, celebrate, celebrate good times, come on

George Takei, gay, happy dance, celebration

We then moved on.  Don't get me wrong- he touched on the importance of healthy weight, but he didn't shun me and tell me that it was never going to happen.  We went through all of the steps that need to happen before the first insemination.  It was a laundry list of tests and procedures, but he said, "I want to make sure you are fully prepared and your body is able to be impregnated.  I don't want you to waste money on sperm if your tubes are blocked or miss the window because we haven't perfectly timed your cycles."  Can you believe it?  An honest, frugal doctor.  I'd marry him if <insert obvious reasons>.  He then went through the next tests he wanted to run.  Endocrine blood tests, infectious disease blood work, genetic carrier screening, and on and on. Remember when people just hooked up in the back of a car?  He then looked at my wife and said, "I want to run a couple panels on you as well."  I was afraid he wouldn't be able to get any blood as it had all rushing from her face.  Meg - 3 tubes of blood (and one pee test).  Kate - 9 tubes of blood (no pee tests).  We were then "debriefed" by a nurse as far as next steps.  Sitting in the car after 2 hours of emotionally exhaustive (in a good way) prodding our initial thoughts were: 
1. Phew.
2. No one batted an eye when they saw we were 2 women. AWESOME.
3. Do we start looking at men online (sperm banks)?
4. This is for real now.
5. We gotta write a blog about this.
6. Do we want Panera for lunch?


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Square Peg, Round Hole

About 9 months ago we began Operation: Baby Makin' (hereto shall be referred to as OBM) with a fertility center recommended by a colleague. Granted she is straight, but I decided what the hell it's Harvard and called to make an initial appointment.  I asked if the institution has a history of working with same-sex couples.  I was told yes.  I was then asked how long I had been attempting intercourse to get pregnant.  I paused... hoping there would be a guffaw and we'd move on.  Nothing.  I responded, "Ummmm, never?".  Let's just say the conversation went downhill from there and I declined to set up an appointment.  I then started researching alternative insemination clinics that knew that "gay" did not just mean happy.  I found one nearby in Arlington that seemed to be primarily for same sex couples.  I made the appointment and went in. Unfortunately, they weren't friendly (their nurse gave me the same
no skinny jeans, what heavy women should not wear, stop it, why are they in our size?!
look I give a heavy woman wearing white 'skinny' jeans- and I can say that because they are my people), compassionate or very informative (handing over a thick folder of pamphlets does not a consultation make).  It was the consultation equivalent of a "Wam, Bam, Thank you Ma'am".  And the award for making artificial insemination more awkward goes to...

Major Buzz-kill <salute>
After striking out twice, we took a break for a bit.  We had both just started new jobs, we had to buy a second car (ugh) and I was traveling a lot for work so it got backburner-ed.  We then started to see our friends begin their family-making journeys- through fostering or the AI route.  We had a good apartment, stable jobs with decent salaries, Batman's teeth seemed to be ok (you don't know financial debt until you have to have a cat's tooth pulled) and I wasn't getting any younger.  Side note: I had wanted to carry for a while and Meg breaks out in hives at the sight of an abnormal bug bite so growing a human inside her may push her off the Ativan charts. More on that another day.  I did further research into fertility clinics for same sex couples near Boston and came up with some options.  We, along with another same sex couple we're friends with, attended an orientation at the very gay-centric AI clinic in Boston, Fenway Health.  This was an amazing experience- to walk into a room full of lesbian couples/families and be able to speak freely.  It was there that we were informed that there was a restriction this individual place had that stopped our process.  BMI.  I'm not going into great detail about this here, as this blog is about our journey to becoming a family, but I want to touch on this for any women who are overweight and want to have a child who may stumble upon this blog.  BMI is a major factor in certain clinics allowing you to use their services.  BMI is calculated through height and weight.  Fenway Health requires you to have a BMI of 40 or less.  I have struggled with being overweight since I was 5.  It was never at the fault of my parents or for lack of trying to lose. By the time I was 18 I had reached a weight that was almost immobilizing.  After a long battle with insurance I was granted Gastric Bypass.  Over time I lost a little under 200lbs.  What I didn't know was that my body would plateau and adjust to the change thus causing me to gain back a significant amount of weight.  I've battled this daily.  My diet is restricted and my health, other than the # of lbs on my body, is phenomenal.  My weight had caused me to miss out on so much in life and this number was about to rule out our chance at a family.  I had been working with a weight management facility and I continue to, but I needed a place that would work with me and not just turn me down because there was a chance that I would sway their success rate.  Fenway Health is simply a gay friendly facility that offers insemination.  It does not cover midwifery, gyno or delivery.  Nor does it offer any preliminary services to "test the pipes".  Furthermore, it doesn't have assistance if simple AI doesn't work to get pregnant.  It is an amazing organization for our community and offers lots of guidance and support, but we needed a little more. This takes us to about a month ago.

Gold Star for Realistically Laughing at My Jokes
In my search I came across a fertility clinic close to where Meg and I both work- which is important since it would not be unusual to stop in twice a month once the process is underway. RSC - New England has a cheesy looking pride flag on their website- I excused the cheese and gave them points for the effort.  I sent them a message for more info and the response was beyond my expectation.  They were warm, open and (bonus points) funny.  The nurse even laughed at the terribly awkward jokes I make when I'm uncomfortable.  She broke down every step of the beginning process in granular detail which is fantastic when you will most likely not know what to expect.  They mailed me more paperwork than it would take to buy a house, but this started to make it feel real.  Baby steps. <see what I did there?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

It All Begins With An Appointment

OK kids.  Let's discuss the birds and the bees.  I grew up Catholic so my view is that intercourse isn't needed and our version of birth control is prayer.  But let's add a little color to it.  How about a rainbow? (gay puns will be aplenty in this blog) When a woman and a woman meet and really love each other and they have a savings with a semi decent APY and live in a state that legalizes something that even a queen (I'm speaking of the one not dressed in drag) agrees is a human right come together with an anonymous tube (#science) and procreate.  That's our version.

cats, cats of instagram
Baby Makin': Let Me Google That For You

I met my wife in 2008 when I moved to Boston to run a box office for a theater in the city.  Let me set the scene. My now wife, Meg, was an intern, I was the's not as scandalous as it sounds, but this makes for a better story!  We were married September of 2011 and both agreed we wanted a family, but outside of our 20lb cat Batman (I call him Fatman, see left) & Tucker (not pictured as the only pic I have at the ready is of him almost crying because he ate the fly he was chasing and was then confused where it went) we had never scratched the surface beyond names we loved or the fact I was going to raise said kid exposed to hefty daily doses of showtunes from womb to whenever they move out from under my roof.  We are finally in a place in life where we have relatively well paying jobs that don't require the skills of MacGyver  to survive on the daily- lookin' at you non-profit arts jobs.  And are ready to support the life of something that can barely support itself- lookin' at myself.  Before Meg I would have probably lived off of Panera Asiago Cheese bagels & Trader Joe's $3 Chuck merlot.  This decision, to start the Curtis Posse, began with a lot of research. I kind of laugh at because I am not the researcher in our marriage.  Meg can take a task, parse out the phases, make lists and timelines to meet each step, track a budget and deliver on time.  I come in with appetizers, wine and technology needs.

I sat down to begin the process and then it hit me.  How does one even begin this?  What are the words I am even going to Google?  Is this going to totally turn my Gmail ads/Facebook ads into the digital marketing equivalent of sketchy van offering free candy?  Don't look at my Google history- not just because of the journey I took in researching, but you would be disgusted by all the words I have to Google how to spell.  Including disgusted.  I started out looking for blogs by others who had gone through this process.  And, although, there are a lot I wasn't getting all of my questions answered.  So, this is one of the main reasons for this blog.  I hope we can answer the questions others may have as they begin their journey to baby-dom and I hope that y'all will follow our story.  I also hope to make people laugh, get a book deal and possibly meet Tina Fey.