Our personal story of how we how we made our second baby as a lesbian couple. All the decision we made resulting in our tiny bundle of joy.
For our first baby journey into lesbian baby making, we had a plan and pretty much stuck with the plan and got pregnant on the first try. For baby #2 we definitely had more ups and down and had to adjust our plan based on circumstances outside our control.
How we made our baby:
Family Planning: I would Carry + Unexpected Consequences
Sperm Donor Challenges with a Happy Ending
Insemination Plan: Do the exact same thing as Tara (Chlomid + HCG Trigger)
Set Sperm Delivery Date
Went through Fertility Treatments (Clomid + HCG)
Round 1: Got Inseminated
Testing Craziness and the Dreaded BFN
Round 2: What to do with 1 follicle and our last vial of sperm
Unexpected Amazing News
Round 3: Conception!
If you need a refresher on acronyms or what our options were, please take another look at How Lesbians Make Babies – and all your questions should be answered!
1. Family Planning: I would Carry + Unexpected Consequences
We knew a couple things gearing up for baby #2: I would carry and we wanted our kids to be fairly close in age (under 2 years apart). With that timeline in mind, plus the thought that it might take me a couple rounds to get pregnant we decided to start trying in June. We used the same Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) as with Tara and set up that first appointment with our RE for April. There was one thing I hadn’t considered that was uncovered in the appointment – to get pregnant I would have to stop co-nursing. This was something I hadn’t ever thought about or considered however because I stopped ovulating while I was nursing, there was no way I could conceive until I started to ovulate again. The easiest and fastest way for me to do this would be for me to stop breastfeeding. This caught me totally off guard and was super devastating… but after thinking about it and our overall family plan I (we) decided to stop nursing Auggie in June (when he was 4 months) and would try inseminating that cycle.
2. Sperm Donor Challenges with a Happy Ending
Changing the sperm donor plan
Choosing sperm is seriously the hardest! Since it was so stressful last time we decided to actually start this process early this time around and started looking in December 2015. With our first donor, we went with an open anonymous sperm and we definitely wanted to do the same for baby #2. The original plan was to use a Filipino donor when I got pregnant… we search literally every sperm bank that delivered to California and had a whopping 4 donors to pick from. And we ended up not liking ANY of them… so we talked about it and decided because we loved our first donor so much we would just use him again.
We made the decision to use our same donor right before Christmas. He had 25+ vials left… we thought great! Let’s get through the holidays and have new FSA money and we can buy in January. The first week of January rolls around, we go to buy the sperm and there are ZERO vials left. I thought this was a mistake… it couldn’t be! I called CA Cryobank and asked what happened and they said sperm can sell out overnight. They couldn’t give specifics of who bought it (obviously) and said unfortunately there wasn’t anything they could do immediately. The only thing they could offer was putting us on the waitlist if someone sells vials of our donor back or for 1700 they could contact the donor and see if he was willing to donate again. If he agreed (and there was no guarantee) it would take close to a year before his sperm would be available to purchase because of the mandatory donor holding period. These options both sounded horrible and I cried pretty hysterically to poor Reno from CA CryoBank on the phone. He apologized and added my name to the waitlist.
Finding a new donor
After a couple days of mourning, we started the search again, this time looking for a donor that had ample sperm available for not only this insemination but future babies as well. We went through the same decision-making process we did the first time around and ended up finding another donor we were super happy with and purchased 8 vials of sperm (which came out to $7K+). It wasn’t our first or second choice, but we were at peace with it.
A chance at hope, even more heartbreak, and a miracle
A few weeks later Tara received a call from CCB but she missed it. She texted me to call them back and I did. They had 2 vials of sperm of our donor available to buy. I was thrilled, said yes, of course, we want to buy it! As I walked to get my wallet and the customer service person pulled up the form on their side, another customer service person sold those 2 vials of sperm to another waitlist family…. I’ve never been so angry of 30 seconds in my life. The feeling that 30 seconds could have literally changed our lives and was taken away just like that was even more devastating than the original news. I was at work in a conference room and it took me a good half hour to compose myself enough to walk out of the room without crying.
Fast forward a couple months – Auggie was born, we were happy and had pretty much given up on our original donor. The week before our first meeting with our RE we get another call from CCB. They had 2 vials of sperm and we bought it immediately! The whole experience was a total roller coaster, but in the end we ended up with two vials of sperm from the same donor as we used for Auggie!
If you are thinking about buying sperm, have the money and want more than 1 kid – BUY EXTRA! If we would have known then what we knew now we would have foregone fancy dinners and extra clothes to pay for that sperm and not have to go through the emotional craziness we did.
3. Insemination Plan: Do the exact same thing as Tara (Chlomid + HCG Trigger)
Because Tara got pregnant on her first try, we all (RE, Tara and myself)agreed it would be best to follow the exact same protocol: 50mg of Chlomid for 5 days starting on cycle day 5.
4. Set Delivery Date
I stopped nursing at the beginning of June and started my cycle 2 weeks later. I went in for my follicle scan and had 9 follicles visible (they like to have 10). Based on ovulation on day 15 we set the sperm to be delivered 11 days later (sperm is in nitrogen and stays good for 7 days).
5. Went through Fertility Treatments (Clomid + HCG)
On day 5 of my cycle, I started taking Clomid and took it for 5 days. On day 11 I went back in for another vaginal ultrasound to see how my follicles were responding to the Clomid. I had 2 follicles that were big enough to be viable for pregnancy (which was good – you want at least 1, hopefully more). I was instructed to take the HCG shot as early as possible on day 13 for a day 15 insemination.
6. Round 1: Got Inseminated
Our insemination day was a Saturday so I dropped the sperm off the day before. We went in for our 10 AM appointment and it took less than 10 minutes for the insemination. They inserted a tiny catheter into my uterus. I had a tiny bit of cramping that subsided after 30 seconds or so. They inserted the sperm and said we could lay down for 10 minutes if we wanted to, but that part was totally optionally and more of a tradition.
7. Testing Craziness and the Dreaded BFN
I thought I was experiencing SO many pregnancy symptoms. I was moody, tired, had tender breasts, and cramping. Those supposed symptoms plus my over eagerness to see the BFP led me to start testing so early – 8 days post IUI. I got a Big Fat No (BFN) and then two days later tested again and got another BFN and started to get super anxious and stressed. It’s hard because it the very first thing you do in the morning and getting the BFN pretty much ruined my day, for over a week. Because I was also taking progesterone my period didn’t start I was holding on to the slight chance I was pregnant, but a blood test confirmed I was not pregnant.
8. Round 2: What to do with 1 follicle and our last vial of sperm
After chatting with our RE we decided to head straight into another cycle. We followed the same protocol and when we went in for the follicle scan we only had 1 lonely follicle. They say you only need one follicle to make a baby… but because we only had 1 vial of sperm left, with one lonely follicle… I was feeling stressed and uneasy. We talked it over with our doctor and decided that because I was so stressed about it, it would be better to skip this round, up my clomid and try again next cycle.
9. Unexpected Amazing News
On the way home from our RE’s office, we received a call from CA Cryobank – someone had sold back more vials of sperm and they were available for purchase! We (of course) were thrilled and purchased them. This also helped to take the pressure off the next cycle, which was really great from a mental health/stress perspective for me.
10. Round 3: Conception!
Like I mentioned, we upped my clomid and the result was 2 mature follicles with another that was almost mature. This paired with the fact that we had more than 1 vial of sperm left me feeling super positive and hopeful for this round.
I had learned my lesson from round 1 and decided I would hold out as long as humanly possible before testing. I made it 13 days. I started with the cheapie testers from Amazon and saw a super faint line. I tested 2 more of the cheapies and showed Tara and she saw the line too. Then we tested was a ClearBlue Digital and got “Pregnant” which made it official! I went the next day for my blood test which triple confirmed it! We were officially pregnant with baby #2, due May 19!