The Things Tina and Bette Didn’t Explain

Showtime 2003I suppose Ilene Chaiken is more accurate.

So remember when T and A make their first baby? They’re at home with Marcus Allenwood’s sperm, they drink some wine and have hot sex and then the crew comes in while T is laying with her hips up and Alice gets Marcus Allenwood’s love juice on her shirt.

Then-BOOM! They’re pregnant and happy dykes.

Okay, okay. I know what you’re going to say. They lose their little boy and it’s heartbreaking and the way that Bette deals with it is by fucking Carmen. (Not to be confused with Shane’s Carmen next season).

But then, Season Two opens with Tina about 6 mos pregnant with their second kid.

You know what. Fuck you, L Word and Fuck you, Ilene Chaiken. How about a real glimpse of what it’s like for dykes to have babies?

What about maxing out credit cards to buy sperm? What about getting denied health insurance coverage? What about paying out of pocket for services? What about the times when it doesn’t work?

Because that’s what it’s really like when lesbians have babies. I know two women who are official LUPL (Lesbian Urban Pregnancy Legends) One miscarried (and now has a beautiful daughter) and the other has a beautiful son. Only these two women, in my entire lesbian community have gotten pregnant on the first shot.

The real world of lesbian pregnancy is a big, scary, lonely world filled with hetero-normative chat rooms dedicated to the perils of TTC. It’s about maxed out budgets, stress, and insurance companies and fertility clinics who either stumble over the word “same sex” or “lesbian” and instead make you feel like if you just fucked a guy you’d be covered.

I’m serious. I asked my insurance company that question.

Clearly I’m in my bitter phase.



Well, at Least I Can Have a Beer at our Super Bowl Party


So I’ll start with the easy stuff, how things went this cycle.

On January 2nd I got my period conveniently after our raging NYE Party. I vowed not to drink anymore. Perhaps because I consumed my weight in Prosecco the night before and felt like death warmed up. It was the only resolution I made.

The following Monday I called our sperm bank and ordered our sperm. I cried a little as the $1000+ left my account but felt optimistic. We’d finally decided on a donor, well Leah did. He’s a twin and he’s had successful pregnancies. Win-win!

We waited patiently for my period to end and on day 11 of my cycle I went into our clinic for monitoring; 3 large-ish follicles, two on the right side and one on the left. For the next few days I woke up early, took two busses to Park Slope for vaginal probing and blood drawing until finally, on Thursday I was told to order the trigger shot and go in the following day at 9:15AM for insemination.

Leah couldn’t come with me on Friday because she couldn’t get off work, I was shocked that I wasn’t upset or frazzled by doing it alone. I felt confident and happy. I hoped to be an Lesbian Urban Legend, that one about the couple who got pregnant on the first try.

I got to the office and plopped down another $1000 on two credit cards.

9:10 AM

Text from Leah: “I’m sending you made love and millions of kisses, my sweet girl.”


My response: “Thanks, baby!!! They’re thawing it out now!”


Text from Leah: “I’m sitting in rounds thinking about fertilized eggs and babies and my lovely fiancée. Keep me updated! I love you so much.”


Text to Leah: “I’m in the room!”

The nurse came in and dropped off our sample and I sent that picture to Leahdonor

As I waited for the nurse to come into my office I prayed. I prayed for insemination and I prayed my own personal prayers to G-d. I prayed for my friend who were also on the TTC journey. I prayed for the safe pregnancies of my friends who are due this spring and summer. I prayed that G-d listened to my ache for motherhood as he listened to the prayers of Sarah, Rachel, Leah, Rebecca and all of the women of the Torah before me. And I prayed tehillim.

The nurse came in to tell me that my partner and I forgot to do things, like verify that neither of us had any infectious diseases. I reminded her that my partner worked in a hospital and that we’d faxed all of her verification and that I’d already been tested for everything under the sun. I could feel myself getting frustrated and tried to calm down. I agreed to another blood draw and a culture. She told me she shouldn’t even be inseminating me, but that she would.

Hell yeah, she would! They thawed our sperm! It was going in me.

The actual procedure didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. It felt similar to when I had saline injected into my uterus to confirm that I had no fibroids growing inside of my womb. It took about 2 minutes and when she was done she propped up my hips and told me to leave when I felt comfortable, but to stay put for at least 20 minutes.

At 10:09 AM I reached over for my phone and text Leah, “Sperm in!”

I put in my ear buds and the beautiful music of Moshav whispered in my ears. Around the 10 minute mark I felt an incredible vibrating from my body and by the end of 25 minutes I was pretty sure that I was pregnant.

The next day we both went to the clinic and were in and out more quickly. Leah got to hold my hand while they inseminated me and I didn’t feel a thing! She kissed me all over and whispered love into my ear.

We felt good that we’d potentially conceived a baby on Shabbat and settled into the rest of the weekend.

The first week of waiting was fine. My temperature kept creeping up and up which made us both feel confident.

I was sure that I could feel slight cramping and told myself that it was the fertilized egg making its way to my uterus. I checked every book I had to try to determine how long my eggs would live, how long the sperm lives, how long it takes for the fertilized egg to travel from the tubes to the uterus.

I felt like I had to pee more and when I told Leah I wanted chocolate brownies she told me that I was pregnant.

I wanted to take a test, but many women get false positive tests with the trigger shot so we had nothing to do but wait.

Week two, this week, has been utter hell.

My temperature dipped slightly on the 24th day of my cycle and went up slightly the following day. I convinced myself that the temperature drop meant that the egg had implanted. The day after it plummeted and at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, January 28th I got my period, 26-day cycle.

I left work stone-faced and numb. I text Leah the news and cancelled my dinner plans with a friend. I came home, fed our cats and went to bed. When Leah came home we talked about next steps and I felt fine. I hadn’t cried yet. I didn’t cry until the next morning in the shower listening to Ingrid Michaelson, “Keep Breathing”

But all that I know is I’m breathing.
All I can do is keep breathing.
All we can do is keep breathing now.

Which is all I can do now. And at least I can enjoy a beer on Sunday.