Sperm Banks and Associated Questions

So another thing about October is that Dr Lady and I hope to find and secure some new sperm. Yes, we’re dropping our known, cheap-as-beer donor in favor of an anonymous, super-fucking-expensive donor. I don’t know what’s wrong with us, either.

But we do have good reasons. We’re planning on returning to the RE and doing the whole dog-and-pony show for our last tries, but this RE – and every other one I’ve researched – requires a six month quarantine of any known donor sperm. Which I get, at least in a CYA fashion, but seems ridiculous to us when we’ve had him tested and been using him for over a year. Six months would have been okay if we started this process back in May, but we didn’t know whether or not we’d even be here then, and I think we were already starting to wonder if using a different donor might be a good idea.

I’m sure we could still find a way to use him if we really wanted to, but honestly, I’ve changed everything but the donor in this fertility equation and I’m curious to see if that would make a difference. Plus, we had a sperm analysis done way back in May that came back less than stellar – not awful, but could definitely be better – and our donor said he’d clean up his diet and stop drinking every day. Which would have gone a long way towards helping. And he did – for a short while. Sooooo.

Plus, there are a ton of legal benefits to using an anonymous donor. And since we’re in a more financially stable place than we were a few months ago, it just seems like a good time to try.

Which leads us to my questions. I’d looked at banks a few times in the past, kind of as a passing curiosity, but now that I’m doing it for real I feel very lost. First of all, there are way more banks out there than I remember finding the first time. How did you narrow it down?

Then there’s IUI vs ICI – which we’ll talk to the RE about, but I’m already trying to suss out the difference now. It seems implied that IUI has a slightly higher success rate than ICI, but I cannot for the life of me find Real Factual Info about this. Do any of you know?

I’m sure this is more of a personal preference thing, but I’m really curious as to how you ended up selecting your donor, too. There are certainly some ways to narrow it down, but everything they write about themselves and everything the staff writes is always so positive and they start blurring together a little bit. Have you noticed any telltale descriptors that are warning signs? Does acquiring baby photos help at all? What helped you select a donor?

Also, this isn’t a question, but jesus fucking christ those vial prices. $650+ for one vial? I can’t even.

And last but not least, anything you think I should know about finding and selecting a donor would be super helpful. I’m such a noob at this. Thank you!! <3


Filed under TTC

N Steps in October

When I first started this blog, it was called the N Steps, a riff off of the n=1 self-experimentation rage that was sweeping the internet around that time. The blog was supposed to be about both my own self-experimentation and self-optimization as well as an acknowledgement that it would take n steps to get there – an unknowable, uncountable, perhaps even infinite number.

Then it became a book blog, then a food blog, then an overall this-is-my-life blog, and finally more of a TTC blog. But right now, I want to bring it back full circle to the core concept of the N Steps: always seeking to improve life in any number of small, manageable ways.

To that end, I’ve made a list of goals and aspirations for October. Some of them are every day goals, some of them are weekly, and some of them are just things wot I would like to do this month. To hold myself accountable, I’m going to check in here at the end of each week and see just how far I’ve gotten.

And holding to the core of the N Steps, I’m not aiming for an unbroken streak or anything so unyielding. Each and every time I do something counts, so if I miss a day (or two), every other day still matters.

These are the steps I want to take for the month of October.

Daily Steps:
– Write 1500 words
– Practice drawing for 30min
– Move my butt, either through Crossfit, running, or biking
– Practice French
– Practice mindfulness
– Adhere to the Whole30 (no alcohol, no grains, no added sugar, no dairy, no beans, but lots of greens, tea, eggs, sweet potatoes, avocados, chicken broth, etc)

Weekly Steps:
– Practice ukulele for 2-3 hours
– Cook a real, sit down dinner
– Lift something heavy twice

Monthly Steps:
– Acquire a job
– Reach out to at least one new social group
– Hit up local events (point for each one)

I took my first step yesterday, actually, before October even started. I found a meet-up group that looked like it could be fun and RSVP’ed for a meeting this weekend. Here’s hoping they’re not weird. :)

Overall, my steps in October will bring me closer to my goal of finishing this first draft, but also of rounding out and stretching other creative abilities (drawing, music). It will also realign me with my health goals and get me closer to where I want to be when our TTC break is over.

Now I just need to finish writing this cover letter…


Filed under goals, happy things, n steps, progress

TTC Break

Yup. It’s time for another break.

The pneumonia kind of killed this cycle, but then I was expecting something to happen so I’m not bummed. I’m giving it another week before calling it completely, but I had a ton of time to think while I was laid up and out of it.

Some of those thoughts were in direct response to finding out we aren’t moving to France right away. Relief. A second shot. The time to try going back to the RE and giving it every last thing we got.

Some of those thoughts were in response to the general malaise and lack of direction that has crept into my life. I did everything I could to find happiness again but didn’t find it. I had a sort of come-to-Jesus moment when I realized how I was holding this space open and empty for TTC in my life – this big what-am-I-doing, what-is-my-purpose type space. I kept hoping I could fill it once we succeeded and had a kid, but that’s… that’s a little messed up.

I’ve struggled with finding a purpose beyond being a writer, a meaning and a passion that would fill that hole in my life, for the past… well, ever. I let myself lean on TTC as a crutch for the past two years and I think realizing that now is not our time has been so hard because it means facing that hole again.

So taking a break also means staring that emptiness down and finding a way to fill it. Be it a new career, a new hobby, a new community – something that will help me become a better person, to learn and continue growing and help the world, without losing my time to write.

I just… have no idea what that could be right now. But that’s part of the fun, right?

So the plan right now is to break until January. I’m going to try and get my diet back in line so that the doctor won’t chide me when I go back. We’re also going to look for a new, anonymous donor, because obviously this one hasn’t been working, but also because if we do IUI, the clinic requires a six month quarantine from a known donor.

This will give us 2-3 tries, hopefully, because if all goes to plan and Dr Lady gets this fellowship she’s applying for, we will be gone by April. But if not, I am going to be done after March. That’s the line I am drawing. I will be able to say we gave it our best shot and I will also be able to say that I have an end date.

After that we can talk about her trying, but there are so, so many problems tied up in that that I don’t want to get into. Suffice to say, if this last hoorah doesn’t work, we’re looking at a 2-3 year wait before we even think about trying again. Which… I’m a lot more okay with than I was. I think no one expects us to have a baby anymore, which is weirdly helpful.

In the meantime, I need to find some life meaning. Any tips?


Filed under depression, simply informative, TTC

Not Dead Yet

Actually getting better.

Saw the doctor on Wednesday and got a chest x-ray. Turns out I had pneumonia. It probably started as flu, and then pneumonia just slid right in. Started antibiotics that evening. By the next morning, I wasn’t coughing nearly as much. I managed to keep sleeping through the morning, which had been impossible before.

This morning, no fever. After eleven days I almost can’t believe it. I still have a cough, but that’s going to take a while to recover from.

A few days ago, I couldn’t imagine not having a fever. And now I don’t, finally, and it’s so hard to wrap my mind around. This sickness kicked my ass, hard. I don’t know who I am or what I’m doing anymore. My anniversary happened while I was sick, and autumn, and we found out about France, but processing all of that – not so much.

I need to look for a job. I need to clean the house. I need to figure out what the hell we’re doing TTC-wise. I need to figure out what’s happening with my life.

But maybe not today. Today I can just focus on recovering.


Filed under Uncategorized

Fever Day 7

Went to a walk-in clinic on Saturday, but that did little good. Doctor was dismissive and condescending. I should know by now, but I’d had a decent experience at that specific clinic in the past, so had hoped…

They did take blood to check for an infection. But we won’t know about that for a few days.

Dr Lady wants me to go to the regular doctor anyway asap and I agree. This doesn’t feel like it’s going to go away. It feels stuck on – like I had a real virus at the beginning complete with increasing temp until my temp broke and started going down – then it got stuck at 100.

I am so, so tired, but I can’t even sleep. I’ve lost five pounds and have no appetite and I’m just. Done.

I was looking forward to finally being able to plan once we knew about France – one way or the other – but this is just day by day dragging on forever.

I’m hoping maybe one of you have had experience with prolonged, inexplicable fevers before. Dr Google is less than helpful, as usual.


Filed under Uncategorized

What is This Madness

Day four of fever. I have had colds before and I have had flus, and this is neither. It’s like literally, just a fever. Plus some headaches and joint pain and chills, but that’s all after the fever really gets going, so appears to be strictly fever-related.

Not even that tired. I actually have to take nyquil just to sleep at night. Gave up on trying to nap during the day.

To add insult to injury, we found out that the possibility of moving to France in November is a no-go. We were waiting for this guy in the lab to get a job somewhere else, which looked like a sure thing because he placed 1st in the job exam – but apparently that wasn’t enough. So there is no conveniently vacant spot for Dr Lady to fill.

Thankfully, that’s not the end. Dr Lady can make a spot by applying for a grant in November – which was our original plan anyway before this other one came up in July. Just, the July plan seemed more like a sure thing – already funded, guy’s got a 95% chance of leaving, etc. So we honestly don’t know the chances on the grant. But, like I told Dr Lady, at least this is on her own merit, not sitting around hoping someone else does the Thing.

To be honest, I’m relieved. Between the depression and aimlessness and our failed last cycle and now this neverending fever, the thought of organizing everything and packing up in six weeks seemed insane. I mean, we could do it. But I am kind of glad we’re not.

Right now, I’m just really glad that I know where we’re going to be for the next four months. I can finally plan beyond the end of September. This changes a lot of things for us, makes a few things possible while closing off others, but at least things can finally -be-.


Filed under Uncategorized

TTC Cycle C, CD 4: Got the Fever

I think it really says something about what TTC does to you when you wake up and temp after days of bleeding and your first thought when you see a feverish number is not oh lookit I’m sick but MAYBE THIS MEANS I’M PREGNANT?!

I just took my temp again to be sure and the thermometer made a horrible, anguished beeping noise it’s never made before. And lookit: 99.7. Woo.

My second thought, of course, is that I’d better get over this damn quick because I ain’t gonna have nothing messing with this cycle, thank you very much.

At least I caught it at the start, so now I can overdose on vitamin C and what have you before it gets too much worse. Assuming it’s not ebola. Just have a very slight cough, the fever, and woah fatigue, so I’m also going to go sleep for a few days hours. Also was so cold last night that I had to put two fluffy blankets on, turn the a/c up, and cuddle a heating pad. So.

Anyway, currently practicing positive thoughts and trying not to stomp on my fragile little dream, so I’m going to just not think about how this could mess things up and instead, take some zinc and garlic, drink some green tea, and go right back to bed.

At least there’s tons of chicken broth in the fridge for when I wake up.

What are your favorite ways to shorten a fever?


Filed under simply informative, TTC