The Baby Making Budget

I’m going to do a lot of personal sharing on this post. Not to elicit shock or anger or sympathy, not for advice or for critique, but simply for the purpose of sharing. Yet another beauty of blogging under a pen name.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading. So much so I’ve added a library to the blog with the names of the books I’m reading and reflections and thoughts as a review both as a woman TTC and InshAllah/B’ezrat Hashem (with Gd’s help) after I have a child. I’m reading lesbian conception staples; The Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy and Birth by Kim Toevs and Stephanie Brill and The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians by Rachel Pepper and frankly I’m scared out of my mind that I’m too poor to have a baby.

I don’t make a great deal of money as a non-profit professional and freelance writer. I babysit and teach Hebrew school to supplement my income and for extra cash. While I live in Brooklyn rather than Manhattan, where the rent is more affordable, my bills still mount and most months I barely break even. Sure we have enough to get groceries, enough for transportation and enough to hang out with friends but we’re not living in the lap of luxury. Like most people I know, I have large student loan debt that I’m currently whittling away at. Not to mention those 18 year old credit cards they were handing out on the campus of my university freshman year (still not sure how that was legal).

I left the for-profit sector for non-profit almost three years ago and while it’s been rewarding on a personal level, it’s taken a real toll on my finances. My parents are saints, but they’re not wealthy, though they help when they can. Leah* on the other hand doesn’t have these problems. While she’s a student and working towards an advanced degree and therefore has zero income she has no debt and her folks are well-off. Her bills are easily paid and her bank account doesn’t give her headaches.

I suppose this means that we’re well off and that our bank accounts don’t dip, but we’re not married and we keep separate bank accounts. Our bills and lease are in both our names and I lean on her in times of financial crisis because she’s my partner. So I know that while we traverse this path to mamahood we’ll be fine. Still, I can’t help to worry. I’m 33 years old (if I were 5 years old I proclaim 33 and a half). I have fibroids. I’m “overweight”. I’m not getting any younger. The time is now! I can’t help but wonder,  how the fuck are we going to pay for this?

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Ovulation Woes & Prayers for Peace

So month two of tracking my cycle and it seems that I’m not ovulating.

No spikes in temperature

One dinky faint as hell line on a OPK Kit (last month) only once

No fertility mucus

No nothing…’cept the midpain which could just be gas?

So I suppose it’s time to take the next step and find myself a fertility specialist.

Of course, these small woes are nothing in comparison to the tragedies that have rocked the world this week. I am praying for comfort and peace to the people of Iran in the wake of the earthquake this week that killed hundreds. I send prayers of healing and comfort to the people of Texas in the wake of the devastating fertilizer plant explosion. I send prayers of hope, comfort, healing and peace to the people and city of Boston in the wake of the bombings at the marathon.

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Operation Baby Body Prep: Me vs. Fibroids

It’s been almost one months since my last ultrasound which confirmed my uterus was free of fibroids. While I’m definitely not in the clear,  not having fibroids in the cavity is definitely a relief. Still, they could be problematic so I’m trying to do what I can to make them smaller naturally. I’ll be completely honest, I’ve not been doing a great job at avoiding some foods. Passover is a holiday filled with wine and food in excess and there’s this sale on gelato at our local grocery store. Still, I’m not one to look back and mope about what I coulda shoulda woulda done. I’d much rather think about tomorrow and treat every day like a new start.

So I’m back to the drawing board and researching foods and other factors that can contribute to fibroids and foods that can help with fibroid shrinking.  I thought I’d share some information I’ve been gathering for anyone else who may also be experiencing fibroids while TTC.

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Charts, Mucus, Saliva-Oh My!

Last cycle marked the first full cycle I diligently charted. I set my alarm clock for 6AM both workdays and weekends. Gingerly turned off the alarm and picked up the thermometer, removed the plastic case with my fingers and placed the thermometer into my mouth. I closed my eyes and tried to breath normally and calmly hoping to not alter the accuracy of my reading. Once the little beeps sounded I’d use my phone’s light to check the reading and record it into the 4 fertility apps on my smartphone.

I’ve been reading that it’s good practice to use two or three methods for tracking fertility because there are so many variables to BBT readings. I can attest to this, since I watched my temperature pretty much stay around the same for my entire cycle. It went up, sure, but it didn’t spike and instead of falling right before my period, it stayed up. Immaculate Conception?

Today, I’m home sick so this could have something to do with my rising temperature. Because of the fibroids hurdle I’m vigilent about any other potential potholes and decided, right when my apps told me that I should be surging and wasn’t,  to make my first big investment in the TTC process( you know besides those expensive ultrasounds). I purchased ovulation predictor pee sticks. They cost $50 for a box of 20 sticks that you’re supposed to use every day for no longer than 30 days. I’m hoping, since I have a relatively short (25-28) day cycle to get to use them this cycle as well. I started peeing on sticks twice a day on the days my apps told me I’d be surging/fertile…but I never got two lines. On the last day of my “surge” according to my apps I got a faint second line so I guess that’s good?

I recorded when I felt what I assumed was midpain and every day after that point I’d stare into the crotch of my underware looking for fertility mucus. There was never any so I’d stick my fingers as far into myself as possible in hopes that it was up there…but, no. For my entire cycle I produced no fertility mucus.

So before I start freaking myself out that I’m not ovulating-I have a friend in this situation and it’s been hell for her and her partner-I’ve decided to give another method a try-the Fertility Lens. In addition to charting again for this cycle and checking for mucus and peeing on sticks I’m buying a fertility lens. I’ve also been researching what I can eat and what I should be avoiding to produce more mucus.

I’d really like to keep my pussy sexy and not medical-I’m not ready to purchase a speculum yet. I don’t want to have my partner examine my cervix daily to tell me if it’s open or closed or covered in mucus. So any tips or tricks you have would be great. Am I taking my temperature wrong? Are the pee sticks a waste of money?


The Wonderful World of Pinterest

I signed up for a Pinterest board under the Jewy-est name I could muster-Rachel Stein. Of course, Rachel isn’t my real name, but Pinterest won’t let you sign up with “fake” names so Rachel it is. This anonymous blogging thing is getting…tricky. When I’m not blogging on Two Immas I maintain a really active, really fun, really public Pinterest page, but I find, much like Facebook, that once you start Pinning pictures of rings or a baby people start asking if you’re pregnant or getting married.

As I’ve said previously, I’m actually a quite public person. I like to share my life and my life experiences and do so on many platforms. Though, when it comes to my personal life, the life I share with my partner, I remain quite silent. Mostly out of respect for my partner’s wishes, but also because I do think there’s something special and private about this time in our lives, the process of becoming a mother. Especially as we continue to jump over conception hurdles. It’s not as prevalent in the LGBTQ Jewish community as it is for my straight sisters, but once you’re in a committed relationship (usually marriage) the expectation in the Jewish community is that you’ll soon be pregnant. While it’s more expected for straight couples, it can be just as difficult.

I’ve had many private conversation with my married friends who are Jewish and some of them have withdrawn a bit simply to avoid the inevitable question. If you opt for grape juice over wine for Shabbat dinner you get questions. If you’re eating more or less, the questions come. They’re not intended to be hurtful, but when you’ve been trying and you’ve run into bumps along the way the questions do hurt.

There’s something great and theraputic about sharing this experience, reading the experience of other women who’ve gone through the conception process that I need in my life. While more of my friends are on the same path, talking to them about the process is, well, awkward and I’m not sure why. It seems lately that the most comfortable conversations I’ve had about the process is with my friends who are doulas or midwives and my friends who are straight and TTC. Hence this sight and other online communities. I’m finding that while the process of TTC varies between straight folks an lesbians, the stumbling blocks of fertility questions and reproductive woes are the same.

In fact, I recently sent a personal email to a  mothering community I found online. I was instantly drawn to it, via Pinterest no less, and started clicking through the site and almost liked them on Facebook until I realized how hetero-normative the site was. Not only was there a “Dad’s Section” rather than a  Partners Section, the site lacked any information (from my preliminary browsing) about the conception process for lesbians or the adoption process for LGBTQ people. All of the other information I found was informative, even more detailed information than on some LGBTQ focused-conception sites and it got me thinking-do the two really need to be as separate as they are?

Sure an article about sperm health may not be important for me and my partner, but if we’d stayed on the known-donor track it may have been. I don’t really care about the best positions for conception, but tracking my cycle accurately is something I care about. It’s true that I feel more comfortable on LGBTQ conception sites than I do on hetero ones, especially when it feels like the site is unwelcoming to lesbians parents, but there are a lot of ways that the process is the same and there is much to learn from one another.