My straight friend recently initiated the IVF process, only to end up pregnant a week before her first cycle was due. I very much doubt this will happen to us but she urged us to go to the doctors to be referred to the Women’s and get the process started. After all, it will take months and it’s best to check that A is actually fertile.
We made an appointment at the doctors. I made A practise what we were going to say and promise that she would do all the talking. I don’t know why I was nervous about it; as she pointed out they were hardly going to banish us from the office in horror at the thought of two women being in a relationship. As it turned out, the doctor was lovely and supportive and referred A to the nurse for blood tests and wished us ‘the best of luck’. I had to stop from hugging her as we left.
In the past A’s had polycystic ovaries and irregular periods, which can be a barrier to pregnancy. However, it doesn’t make it impossible and there are things you can do to improve your chances. We bought a book, which is pretty good at spelling out what you need to do clearly. After we’d read it (or rather I read it and Alison told me to ‘just sum up the main points’ while she was playing Angry Birds) we decided she needs to:
a) Do more exercise.
b) Take Folic Acid
c) Stop eating so much shite.
Trying to be a good girlfriend, I offered to do the same. Yoga is my only real exercise and I could do with toning up. I decided to walk to the shop for chocolate and leave the car at home.
I also vaguely remember reading somewhere that some PCTs might not do donor insemination on a gay woman in a relationship with fertility problems, preferring the partner to try first. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. If it turns out that A would have complications then I’ll just have to man up (so to speak) and have a go myself. I quite like the idea of people standing up for you on the bus and making my girlfriend run out at 3am when I have ‘cravings’ for the Closer magazine and beef Monster Munch but weighing it up against the PAIN and the idea of having your fanny ripped apart then I really would prefer to adopt.
I know this is silly and millions of women for millions of years have given birth across continents and civilisations and managed perfectly capably – often crouching in mud huts with no medication (like at the beginning of ‘Roots’) but it doesn’t stop me from worrying about how TERRIFYING it all sounds. The idea of a bikini wax makes my eyes water and it really hurts when other people brush my hair. Seriously, what’s up with adoption?I’m sure that if men gave birth they’d have found a more humane way of doing it.
I have whole-hearted admiration for women who give birth. Just like I have whole-hearted admiration for Jillian Michaels and Tina Turner in Mad Max and those women of the telly who run down mountains in slingbacks made of tyres, waving sticks:
I just don’t particularly feel the need to join them. Y’know?
Saying that if Jillian Michaels was my birthing partner, I could be persuaded to change my mind.
We recently read Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to be a Woman’ for book group. It’s brilliantly funny and erudite and there’s a whole chapter devoted to her experience of childbirth entitled ‘Why You Should Have Children’. I read out the following extract to A expected her eyes to pop out of her head in horror:
“The pain was transformative – like going from agnosticism to evangelism in a single hour. The sky was suddenly full of God, and he had biblical pain for me. The breaks in between contractions were like licking a dripping tap in a burning house – a second of relief, but, when you turned back, it was so hot that the moisture burned from your lips; the walls had gone up, and there had never been a door or window in the first place. The only way to get out was to somehow turn inside out, like an octopus, and fly out through the magic doorway in your bones”
She shrugged and said, ‘I expect you get over it’.