On Thursday, December 17th at 5:30am, someone shook my shoulder suddenly. Since I’d been thinking about it the night before, I woke up in an instant to see what her response was. As I rubbed my eyes open to adjust to the lamp shining in my direction, Maya leaned over with wide-eyes and a look of disbelief on her face. Her hand quivered as she showed me the pregnancy test stick. Pregnant? Pregnant?! Maya was pregnant! I voiced, “Oh my god” even though neither of us could hear. The next several minutes were a back-and-forth conversation going in loops.
“Am I pregnant?”
“Oh my gosh, you’re pregnant.”
“I am pregnant!”
“Is this for real?”
“This is for real!”
I took the pregnancy stick from her and leaned against the head of the bed, with my back to the wall. I let out a deep breath and enunciated “Wow” slowly as I stared down the word “Pregnant”. A size 10 font was telling me something that shakes people’s worlds left and right and upside down (up!). It was telling me that my world was about to change. With tears welling up in my eyes, I got up on my knees on the mattress and hugged Maya as she stood by the bedside, examining my response. Both the kittens were at the foot of the bed, fast asleep. Regardless, I petted each of their heads and showed them the pregnancy stick. The moments after that are a blur. We both snuggled under the covers again and tried to go back to sleep. We were silly to think we could.
At 8AM, Maya woke me from an excitable nap. She had called the fertility clinic to let them know of the pregnancy test results as part of their protocol. They asked her to come in within the hour to do blood work. All morning, I was processing a thousand different scenario and parts that would have to be worked out.
If this is a viable pregnancy, when is the baby due to arrive?
Which of my million names would we give to this one child?
When will we share with family since they know we’re on this journey?
Is Maya going to have a healthy pregnancy or will she experience loss due to a miscarriage?
Will we be in a permanent home by then?
What would be a cool way to announce to the public that we’re pregnant?
What do I want to share in this blog?
After the doctor’s appointment, we both went home and did some work. Again, we were silly to think that we could focus. At 11:00am, I took a quick nap on the blue recliner with Jersey snoozing on my chest. Just minutes after I closed my eyes, Maya woke me up for a THIRD time and it wasn’t even noon yet. She signed three numbers to me: 96.4. The doctor’s office had called again to let Maya know of her beta hCG levels to indicate the hormone levels of her pregnancy. They also requested that she come in again on Monday (96 hours after the first blood work appointment) to see the status of her hormonal levels again. With giddy feelings, Maya and I had a busy weekend of errands, shopping, cooking, and cleaning to prepare for the winter holidays. We eagerly waited until Monday morning so to go to the clinic for the follow up blood work appointment.
Like last Thursday, Maya was in and out as their first patient of the day. We went home and waited. The morning passed by. We had naked burritos for lunch. We waited some more. While I was cleaning up the kitchen, Maya ran upstairs because the phone rang. Moments later, she came back down and signed three new numbers: 737. Her beta-hCG levels had more than tripled! These numbers told us that Maya has a viable pregnancy at this time and the numbers are steadily increasing. The fertility clinic scheduled for her to have an ultrasound on Monday, January 5th. One thing I’m always going to remember is when we calculated an estimate of when the baby would be due if it continues to be a healthy pregnancy which is August. Maya pouted in a weirdly joyful way and signed, “I wish we were having a September baby because then I could walk around with a newborn and a PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks).” She signed this with a skip in her step, as she wiggled her shoulders back and forth like a woman who owns the room and owns who she is. Needless to say, we were over the moon.
This is all. This ends our ASL TTC Series. We hope we shared a thing or two that may help you with your journey. Thank you for joining us for the ride! To continue following our story, check out our Instagram page @thearielseries! Yes, our baby is here with us and we’ve been sharing lots about our lives with our child on the IG page.
Onward with big love, and as always, have at it.
All these words and definitions have been gathered throughout our own journey in figuring out how we wanted to become parents together. The language we used (or serves as relevance) in the following glossary came from a variety of resources and people we came across during our journey.
Anonymous Donor: An individual who provides a sperm donation anonymously under the condition that recipients and offspring will never learn the identity of the donor. We’ll discuss on this more in another section of this series.
Artificial insemination (AI): A deliberate introduction of sperm into a female’s cervix or uterine cavity for the purpose of trying to conceive by means other than sexual intercourse.
Assistive Reproductive Technology (ART): A procedure or procedures that involve surgically removing eggs from a woman’s ovaries, combining them with sperm in the laboratory, and returning them to the woman’s body or donating them to another woman. These procedures do not include treatments in which only sperm are handled (via artificial insemination) or procedures in which a woman takes medicine only to stimulate egg production without the intention of having eggs retrieved.
Big Fat Positive (BFP): A positive result on a pregnancy test; this abbreviated phrase is typically used in online forums.
Big Fat Negative (BFN): You guessed it. A negative result on a pregnancy test; this abbreviated phrase is also typically used in online forums.
Columbia Fertility Associates (CFA): Established in 1978, Columbia Fertility Associates is a fertility clinic in the DMV metropolitan area. They have three locations: Washington, DC; Bethesda, Maryland; and Arlington, Virginia. Patients who choose CFA are receiving fertility care services. CFA is the fertility clinic Maya and I chose to receive fertility care services.
Donor-conceived: An individual who’s existence was dependent on the process of a sperm donation for a family wanting to have a child of their own
Days Post Ovulation (DPO): You might see the usage of “DPO” in a variety of forms, usually accompanied by a number 10dpo means 10 days post ovulation. Or you might see it end in a different acronym — 3dpt (days post trigger) or dpiui (days post IUI)
Fertility Clinic: Fertility clinics are medical clinics that assist couples, and sometimes individuals, who want to become parents but for medical reasons have been unable to achieve this goal via the natural course.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG): a hormone produced during pregnancy. As a prescription medication, HCG is used mainly to treat fertility issues.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): A form of artificial insemination, IUI is a procedure in treating infertility or queer couples who cannot conceive on their own. Donated sperm that has been washed and concentrated are placed directly in an individual’s uterus around the time their ovary releases one or more eggs so to be fertilized.
In vitro fertilization (IVF): A a complex series of procedures, IVF is a practice used to help with fertility or prevent genetic problems and assist with the conception of a child.
Known Donor: A known individual who provides a sperm donation who can be a friend, non-genetically related family member, or of non-blood relation. They can work with your licensed fertility clinic in donating their sperm for your TTC journey. We’ll also discuss on this more in another section of this series.
Open Identity Donor (Open ID): An open identity donor is one who has agreed to at least one form of contact with any donation-born offspring once the child turns 18. This option is becoming quite popular among sperm banks across the United States. It enhances transparency and opportunity for open-communication among families, children, and sperm donors. We’ll also discuss this more on this in another section of this series.
Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE): A licensed medical professional who carries out and prescribes a variety of fertility tests and treatments, including intrauterine insemination (IUI), which is more commonly called artificial insemination.
Reciprocal In Vitro Fertilization (RIVF): A fertility treatment where the embryos are made using Partner A’s eggs but are put inside of Partner B’s uterus to carry. This means Partner A (the egg donor or genetic mother) is genetically related to the child, and Partner B (the carrier or birth mother) is biologically bonded to the child through pregnancy. This is cool because it can allow for queer couples to both be intimately involved in the procreation process of having a child. Now, this procedure is sickly expensive. Hopefully you got the moolah or incredible insurance!
Sperm Donor: A provision by an individual of their sperm with the intention that it be used in the artificial insemination or other fertility treatment of a female-identifying or queer-identifying individual so they may be able to conceive.
Trying to Conceive (TTC): An attempt or attempts to become pregnant. We care to use this phrase for a journey like ours because it is never a guarantee one will successfully conceive. Maya and I know this from experiences that have happened to a sibling. While it is nice to use absolutes when one embarks on journey in becoming pregnant, it is important to remind ourselves of the possibility that trying to conceive may not always result in actually conceiving.
Trigger shot: A hormonal injection used in fertility therapy; a trigger shot usually contains a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). It is HCG which triggers an ovary to mature and release an egg. We did not get this.
Two Week Wait: The 2-week wait refers to the period between ovulation and when an embryo implants. More specifically, it’s the time until your body produces enough beta-hCG (i.e., the pregnancy hormone) to be detected in the urine or blood when you take a pregnancy test.
Diagnostic ultrasound, also called sonography or diagnostic medical sonography, is an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures within your body. The images can provide valuable information for diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases and conditions. Most ultrasound examinations are done using an ultrasound device outside your body, though some involve placing a device inside your body.
Zygote: A single sperm and a person’s egg cell meet in the fallopian tube. When the single sperm enters the egg, conception occurs. The combined sperm and egg is called a zygote. The zygote contains all of the genetic information (DNA) needed to become a baby.