Reproduction vs. Romance in Another Context

Yesterday, I accidentally went on two dates.

In this post, I'm going to describe the dates... then consider whether dating is simpatico with pursuing co-parenting.

The first one, a breakfast date, I completely forgot.  He emailed as I was still in my pajamas and thinking about going for a run.  I waffled for a minute, but then hurriedly threw on my running clothes in case I wanted to go afterwards, brushed my teeth, washed my face, put on a touch of mascara, and ran out the door.  Not my prettiest look.  I did warn him.

Anyway, once I arrived at the cool little breakfast place near Lake Merr.itt, we started talking and gradually warmed up into a fairly good rapport.  He has beautiful eyes and a very nice smile.  I was feeling a bit self-conscious but it helped once we warmed up and started laughing a lot.

After breakfast, we walked down to the nearby Farmer's Mar.ket and cruised around talking.  Two highlights: he loves Ore.gon and his father lives there; and he initiated touching our hands together at the end under the pretense of showing me an exercise he did in a workshop.  We agreed to meet again this week.

Oh, and one caveat:  He said in his profile he wants to meet women 28 to 35 (he's my age), I imagine because he also says he wants kids.  I flirted first with a comment on one of his pictures, then he initiated communicating.

The second date I actually had in my calendar.  We met, oddly, at another restaurant near Lake Merr.itt for  their afternoon happy hour out on the deck.  When I saw the guy, my first thought was, "He does NOT look like his pictures!"  I went back and looked at the pictures again afterwards and see the resemblance, but they definitely place him in a super positive light.

So I'm thinking, "No," right off the bat, but we can still have a pleasant drink and chat.

We ended up having two drinks, as it was such a perfect summer-like day to be hanging out in the sun, and he was easy to talk with.  At the end, I found myself considering going on a second date, but, in retrospect, I think it was the wine talking!

Quite an unusually full day...

Later, I found myself imagining how these guys, especially the first guy, would feel if I told them about my co-parenting plans.  They clearly stated in their profile that they want kids.  And if, by God's grace, I become pregnant, I only want one biological child.  *As I write this, I see it's similar to dating when trying to become an SMC in other ways, as well.

Also, considering the idea through their eyes, this clearly complicates the family constellation and would affect our lives as a couple.  It may just be too unusual and complicated for them to understand, let alone accept.

I'm not sure how or when I will communicate with someone I'm dating about my co-parenting plans.  I think I'm in the camp that I will tell them when it organically comes up and feels important to share.  Because I don't want to live life from a place of trying to control all the "what ifs."  Who knows what may or may not happen in any of these scenarios?

I do feel strongly that I want to try a few times this year, as my window is closing (if not already closed).  I want to give one more whole-hearted try, adding injectables to the mix.  It doesn't feel good to think about putting these plans on hold.

How would you handle things if you were me?


Big Step Forward

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on the discussion about the line between romance and reproduction. I definitely related to the experience many of you shared about choosing a donor based on attraction (or whether you could see having sex with him :).  I do think there is something primal about creating a child and joining genetically with someone.

In my real-life co-parent considerations of the moment, it is a bit of concern to me that I don't really feel a strong primal attraction to the East Coast guy, at least not physically.  I'm sure part of it is his age, as he is significantly older than me.

But I think I'm feeling a lot along the lines of what Sunflower wrote in the comments about personality, getting along well, and being pleasant looking - plus there's this very strong resonance or "on the same wavelength" factor that makes it very easy to imagine co-parenting with him successfully.  Financially, he is in the middle of a career transition and not as strong in that area as I would like.  But he has an impressive (to me anyway) career history and is actively moving toward future opportunities.  Also, he is married and has a wonderful "homestead" living situation including land, growing his own food, chickens, etc.

All this to say, I'm moving forward to the next step with him!  He is flying out here in a couple of weeks to spend a few days, mainly with me but also with friends he knows in the area.  I'm nervous!  I'm still not sure about the wisdom of choosing an older co-parent.  I wonder if this will affect my abilities to conceive.  I know it increases the risk of autism, which is worrisome, as well.

But, as you probably know if you've been reading for a while, I have a strong spiritual side, and this situation just keeps flowing forward.  It "feels" the most right at this point and seems to have a life of it's own, if that makes any sense.  I'm not having to work to move it forward.

Sooo, we were clear this trip is about getting to know each other better and in-depth, discussions about co-parenting details and issues.  It does not indicate a decision to move forward; that decision is still up in the air.  But it still feels like a big decision!


Where is the line between romance and reproduction?

As I've continued to meet and talk with potential co-parents, I am noticing a feeling of resonance and chemistry more so with some than others.  And I'm starting to wonder if I'm giving that feeling too much weight.  Does it really matter when it comes to trying to conceive and parent together in a non-romantic scenario?

For example, with the East Coast guy, I feel a lot of positive connection and comfort when talking to him.  We are totally on the same wavelength in the way we communicate, the language we use, the way we "tune in" to what the other is saying, etc.  I do not feel physically attracted in terms of wanting to have sex with him, but I definitely feel a lot of chemistry and find him somewhat attractive.

With the therapist who lives in San Fran.cisco, I feel less resonance, but definitely a sense that we are on the same wavelength, have similar values, and speak the same language.  Physically, I am the least attracted to him.  He is very short and fairly slight of build, not unattractive, but not really my type looks-wise.

The guy in L.A., who I Skyp.ed with for the first time this morning, has the most primal attractiveness for me.  He's not "hot" or anything but quite easy on the eyes, boyish looking, dark brown hair and green eyes.  Out of all the candidates, I could most easily imagine having sex with him.  But the conversation was more challenging.  I like him and think he would be flexible and fairly easy to work with and co-parent with in most ways, but he's not as "tuned in" or empathetic in his communication and tended to talk for long periods of time, didn't ask me many questions, etc.  Yet, our conversation had depth and reflection in it.  He's clearly thought a lot about being a parent and cares deeply about his son and other people in his life.

Of course there are other important deciding factors, such as financial stability - for ttc and child rearing purposes I'd like them to be more financially solid than me, which may or may not be fair but is true.  And  their community and family situation plays a role in what kind of life our child would have while with them.  There are many facets to the decision.  But right now, my mind is focused on this issue of primal chemistry.

There are a couple more specific points that come to mind around this topic:  one, this primal attraction may somehow play an evolutionary role in whether I will become pregnant; two, I'm joining with this person genetically and want to feel we are a good match.

So where is the line between a dating candidate and a co-parent candidate?  In this one area, are the screening processes similar and should they be?


Trip Wrap-Up plus Co-Parent Update

The rest of my Oregon trip went pretty well.  I took some of your advice and told my mom what I wanted to tell her about my job, without waiting to be asked.  She started to become negative and ask questions through the lens of judgment that it's not a full-time position, but I steered the conversation back to the positive point I was trying to make about how I'm beginning to get hours on the college side or things, in addition to the middle school program.

I also got to spend time with my niece and nephew on Monday and Tuesday because she watches them individually on those days.  I made playdough characters and banana bread with niece J and played dollhouse and kicked a ball around with nephew E.  they are so dang cute!  Then, I took off for home Tuesday about noon.  It was good to get back but also a bit of a transition from spending a lot of time with family to being in my own space again.  

I had a discussion with my housemate about how I feel like he rarely initiates conversations.  It came out that he's got resentment about some money I've been slowly paying him back.  I'd like to make a big payment and pay it down.  I'm tempted to take the money I owe S and give it to my housemate (He loaned me some money last month because we weren't reminded as usual and I missed my timecard cutoff and thus received no paycheck).  

Would that be morally reprehensible?  I clearly still have anger towards him for blindsiding me again after we had spent a couple days together at the hotel during my conference.  He ended things again just a few days after that.  Total BS.  I don't care what he thinks about me, and part of me would really like to stick it to him in this way.  But spiritually and morally, perhaps not a good choice, and I'm afraid I might regret it later. 

On a happier subject, I met with another co-par.ent today for lunch.  Candidate #2 in my original co-parent post.  He is definitely short.  But has a nice voice (I don't know why that matters!) and is clearly a highly intelligent and caring person.  We had a good conversation and it was easy to talk with him.  I felt a sense of trust.  Not quite as much resonance as with the East Coast guy, but we're definitely on a similar wave length.  Our co-parent views so far are simpatico, except he had an idea that we would take several months to get to know each other.  

Um, no, that would not work for me.  I'm clear on that front.  I told him as much, and he said that wasn't what he imagined but it wasn't a deal breaker.  I suggested we could take a more intensive route to getting to know each other by talking two or three times a week and getting together once a week (we're both available Saturdays).  So, we'll see how that goes. 

Then, I'm also Sky.ping with a fourth candidate down in L.A. tonight around 9 p.m.  He is divorced and has a three-year-old son.  They both are cute.  He wants to have another child but doesn't want the pressure of rushing to find a "soulmate" to marry.  But even though he lives in the same state, it IS the longest state in the Union!  I believe I would need to move down there if I became pregnant.  

I find I'm more willing than I would have anticipated to move to where a co-parent lives.  My roots here are not deep, though I've made some nice friends and community connections through groups.  I guess it shows where my priorities lie.  I wouldn't move, though, until I was well into the pregnancy.  Why aren't there more good candidates here in the Bay Area?

Speaking of which, I'm Sky.ping again with the East Coast guy tomorrow.  Unfortunately, I have a feeling it might be our last conversation.  Resonance can only go so far in the face of impracticalities.  And to wrap up another loose end:  I never heard from or contacted Candidate #1, the Chinese professor.   I think it was clear to both of us that we did not click.  

Sooo, the process continues!  I'll let you know how my Sky.ping goes...

p.s. Some of you asked what are rat cupcakes.  Well, you have to get in my four-year-old nieces head to really understand that one!  Basically you catch rats and put them in the cupcakes, which we did lots of rolling out and pounding with our elbows and mixing and adding stuff to, etc., before sticking them in the oven to bake. :)  Don't think too literally and it works better...


Trip Check-In

I'm sitting in my brother's house in Oregon.  Today, we're all (except my parents) going to the coast.  A couple things are standing out for me again with my family culture:

  • There is a lot of drinking, especially among certain people (my brother-in-law and brother-and Dad but he wasn't at the barbeque last night).  This happens even when it's not a "party" just a family gathering, which says people are looking for a reason to tip a few back.  Of course this affects the quality of interaction and feeling of the gathering.
  • The depth of conversation is not what I would enjoy.  My sister - even though we had a short conversation not long ago about this - didn't ask me anything about things that matter to me, such as dance, theatre, community work, friends, etc.  Nobody asks about these things.  They'll ask about dating and men sometimes.  My brother and I talk about work and family, and he knows about my efforts to become a mother, but with my sister and parents I feel invisible a lot of the time.  Or I'm valued for being an Aunt and a creative person, but not for what I'm doing in my life back in the Bay Area.  Even if they can't relate, I think they could ask.  I ask them about business developments, Junior League, and other things I can't really relate to.

Anyway, it bugs me that I care about this still after all this time.  I think when I don't have time to myself to get grounded, then I feel more affected by this stuff.  Writing it out is helpful.

But I am loving the time with my niece and nephew (4 and 2  years old).  They are so incredibly imaginative and playful.  Yesterday/last night we played with bubbles, made rat cupcakes, sang songs, played hide and go seek, etc.  I was tired at the end of the night but it was so fun.


Oregon and Family Complications

Thank you for your condolences about my purse. I'm actually sitting in the DMV right now waiting to replace my license.

 My trip to Eugene is shaping up to be a good one. Tomorrow night I'm meeting my brother and sister out at a worker party to celebrate completed construction on a new mixed-use (commercial/residential) building downtown. I don't know if I've mentioned that my family is in the property management and development business, so there's usually some "under construction" project or other that is visited and talked about and generally woven into everyone's consciousness.

Anyway, then Saturday my brother, sister, niece and nephew are heading over to the other side of town to attend the 4-year birthday party of my cousin's daughter at a pizza parlor.  I appreciate how my brother and sister have been making the effort with this side of the family, who are technically "my" relations through my birth mother, recently attending my grandma's funeral with me, etc.

It's a bit strange because their biological mom is married to my dad and all her relations are technically "their" relations, but because we grew up together and I called their bio mom "mom," everyone acts as if we're all related for the most part.  So, in a way, it's not fair to them that I get three sets of relations and they've for the most part had two.  But, on the other hand, my "mom" (their bio mom) and I never had a close relationship so my bio mom's family has compensated with that for me.  Anyone else have this level of family complication?  Probably so.

So, all that said, we're doing the bday party Saturday, going to the coast Sunday, I'm' hanging out with my mom and niece on Monday, and trying to get a few workouts in at the athletic club too.  It's a full few days!

I'm staying with my brother and wife the first two nights, then parents the second two.  I'm a little nervous about staying at the parents because I haven't stayed there in a  year and a half, since the incident with my father that was one of the catalysts for starting this blog (he said my life had no meaning, blamed me for getting let go from my job, and was just generally disparaging, leading to a period of depression and subsequent reclaiming of "my life").  He did apologize but I've stayed with my brother since then.  So we'll see how it goes.  Maybe a test for my inner boundaries.

I need to get out the door, so I'll write more on the co-parent later but wanted to report that I'm in the "realism" phase now with the logistics and barriers to the situation.  It would be incredibly difficult with trying to conceive and involvement with the child with him so far away, and to compound the matter, he told me that he hasn't gotten much work in the last year.  He's in transition working to build a career as an inter-faith minister, as well, which I respect, but it makes the situation less doable.   Very sad about this.  I'll share more later.

Off for the big drive!  The rain let up so that's good - thunder and lightning last night was insane!


Twice? Really??

I'm in shock.  My purse/bag was just stolen for the second time in two weeks.  I'm so angry.

The first time was my fault, because I dropped it in the grocery store parking lot.  It had my ID, bank card and some other random stuff, plus $150, which kind of sucked.

Tonight, I guess I was also an idiot in leaving my over the shoulder book type bag in the front seat when I went in to my theatre class.  I almost brought it in with me and of course I'm kicking myself now.  No cash this time, but my expired license, social security card, and new bank card were in there.  I guess they must have picked the lock because no windows were broken.

Now I have to jump through a bunch of hoops before my road trip to Oregon this weekend.  I don't think I'd mentioned that yet here... I'm going to visit family for a few days.  I missed my niece and nephew and wanted to get away for a while too.

Anyway, I guess things could be worse.  What does this mean, though?  What's the universe trying to tell me?


Candidate #3

So I just got done Skyping with "Candidate #3" on my initial list a couple posts ago.  The one who is 60 and lives in Vermont.

OMG, I love this guy for a co-parent.  He kicks "Candidate #1"s ass, at least with regard to what I would want.

We have so much similarity and resonance, it's coming out our ears. And I completely respect what he does for a living - he f'ing does contracted peace training and mediation internationally in Africa, Vietnam, etc.  He was recently ordained as an Interfaith Minister.  He "homesteads," which I'm imagining means they grow their own food and raise some livestock (and they have a tenant).  He's open-minded, flexible, calm, highly intelligent.  I think I could even get past his age... but why does he live in f'ing Vermont!

More details later...

Candidate #1

First co-parent meeting went down last night.  This was "Candidate #1," the Chinese, gay college professor/researcher.  He was attractive, smart, and kind.  But.  I didn't enjoy aspects of communicating with him, and, considering we would be communicating a lot and he will be communicating with the child as well, I wonder if that is a negative.

Basically, he doesn't respond when I'm speaking in terms of any of the non-verbals or warmth/affirmation.  And, in general, he didn't verbally acknowledge what I said either, other than to comment on his own experience.  I often felt "on the spot" and kind of insecure, like I was trying to keep his attention and work hard to get through to him.  He says he's lived in the U.S. for half his life (he's 44), yet he still had a strong accent and didn't get some of the nuanced references I made, so maybe that's part of the issue?  He did ask me a number of questions, which showed interest.

On the more positive side, he doesn't seem to be a control freak or possessive and had no problem with the child spending more time with me in their early years, unlike the co-parent I talked to a year and a half or so ago.  He's in excellent health and is interested in theatre, opera, art, literature, and tennis/swimming (he teaches/researches literature).  We left the meeting saying we would email and talk again soon.

I'm speaking to the older guy from the East coast later this afternoon and will post another update after that.

Quick question for those of you who have taken DHEA:  I've only taken it for three days and my breasts seemed to get some internal soreness right away and my bbt went up several tenths - did this happen to you?  I remember my temps went up in the luteal phase when I was on it before, but this seems really fast.


Moving forward?

I went to the Kai.ser RE doc yesterday.  It started out in frustration, as he gave me the "your old and your chances are low" speech.  :-(  Yeah, after several years of trying, and researching, and reading other people's journeys, I'm well aware of that doc. 

He did the antral follicle account and it hadn't changed in almost two years, so I guess that's positive.  The number wasn't great though: about 9 follicles. 

I expected him to strongly recommend IVF, but he didn't.  He did say it had the highest chances, but that the chances were so low for me at this point that I may not want to make that level of financial investment.  I think it was around 15-20%.  I'm counting myself in the 40-42-year-old range because my tests are generally good, I've lived a healthy lifestyle, and I'm still in the first half of my 43rd year.  He said he didn't think I would qualify for shared-risk programs. 

In any case, I can't move forward financially with IVF on my own.  So in discussion, he thought the best option for me would be a flare protocol medicated IUI.  I found this information online:

"GnRH agonists (lupron®) have been the standard for ovarian stimulation in IVF for the past 10 years. However, traditional "long" protocols where the agonist is administered for 10 days or longer, followed by gonadotropin stimulation, may be a poor choice for the poor responder. This initial pretreatment with agonist may remove endogenous gonadotropins from the system and "suppress" the response of the ovary so that adequate stimulation is impossible. Problems with this long protocol led to the so-called flare protocol whereby the agonist is started on the menstrual cycle concurrent with the use of gonadotropins. Unfortunately, standard doses of agonist result in elevated levels of androgens, LH, and progesterone, in the follicular phase, before ovulation. These effects are detrimental to oocyte quality and endometrial receptivity. A modification of the flare protocol by pretreating patients with birth control pills and lowering the doses of agonist to "microdoses" has eliminated the negative effects of the flare and resulted in a better recruitment of oocytes and indeed significant improvements in pregnancy rates." 

The Resolve link for this article written by a well-known doctor in Colorado, School.craft, is here:

This is talking about IVF, but I guess it's similar for medicated IUIs?  I want to bring up the modification part to my doctor but am hoping he's aware.

So assuming that where we're headed, he wants me to take these next steps:
  1. Start taking DHEA again, dose of 25, three times a day.
  2. Get my thyroid tested again on my new dose in about a week (giving it a month to alter levels). *He feels my levels were really wacked out (5.7 or something) when I was tested in December, which was not the message I got from my doctor at the time.  I remember feeling really lethargic in the fall and this explains a lot.  My levels were better when taken a few weeks ago (3.8) but still significantly higher than they want.
  3. Figure out the sperm source.
  4. Take another one-time injectables class.
I am taking these additional steps:
  1. Returning to heightened fertility diet consciousness.
  2. Taking baby aspirin.
  3. Taking Vitex.
  4. Going back to taking a prenatal vitamin.
  5. Maybe taking iron. *I tend to be low on iron and I understand this is important to fertility.  Anyone know about this link or have a good source of information?
Ahem.  Going back a bit to number three in the doctor's list of steps....  Yeah, that tricky sperm source thing.  Perhaps I sound emotionally disconnected around this right now.  Maybe I am.  But I feel strongly that I want to make one more big push for a biological child.  At least as big as I can manage all things considered. 

Using S as the source would be the easiest, since he is listed as my partner.  I was partially honest with the doctor by telling him that we have been fighting and things are uncertain.  S may consider giving a last "donation."  But this would not be emotionally healthy for me at this time, and I don't want to parent with someone I don't trust. 

Next option is donor sperm.  Less chances of success, more expensive, but, still, I'm grateful to have that choice.  The doctor is on board with that too. 

The third choice is a co-par.ent.  I don't know if I've talked much about my adventures in that realm on this blog.  A year and a half or so ago, I explored co-parent.ing with a couple of people from the co-paren.ting website.  I really like the idea of parenting with someone else and sharing the responsibilities on all levels: emotional, financial, logistical, etc.  It's a more doable option for me, all things considered.  So there are three people I've connected with this week:

  1. A 42-year-old man, I think Chinese, who works for a well-known local university, has his  PhD, and seems like a nice, balanced person.  He is gay and after a 12-year partnership broke up, he decided having a child was his highest priority.  I'm meeting with him on Friday.
  2. A psychotherapist (around 50 I think), partnered but his partner (female) does not want a child but looking forward to being an aunt.  He's quite short at 5'4' but I don't think I care about that.  He seems very intelligent and thoughtful but perhaps somewhat controlling - like he wants things to be exactly even.  One of my previous co-par.ent candidates was like that and it didn't work for me at all.  We are in the process of setting up a meeting.
  3. A 60-year-old on the East Coast; has a female partner, lives in intentional community.  I know, he's probably too old (sperm health, parenting longevity) but we share values/worldview and I could totally see it working.  Except he lives on the East Coast... This really doesn't make sense, does it?
The tricky thing with a co-par.ent is that I would need to convince the doctor that they are my partner if we do IUI.  Otherwise, we could possibly do a home insem.ination but I've never done that and am scared of the logistics etc.

So if I can move forward cycle after this coming one, likely starting the second week of May, then that is what I plan to do.  There are factors yet to be determined, but I'll keep moving forward if at all possible.

* Brief request for donations:  I have some donated medicine, but if anyone has extra gonado.tropin (folli.stim) or ago.nist (lu.pron) medication, I would really appreciate it.