Friday, November 27, 2009

My swimmers

Well I haven't written anything in weeks, and really there hasn't been a lot to write about. However today, I met with my Doc for the results of my sperm analysis and I'm FERTILE!!! Hahaha.

It's weird because I've just always assumed (for some strange reason) that I was infertile. The whole DES thing (see previous entry) gave me an excuse just to make the assumption. I think it helped with the pain of realizing that I wouldn't have kids, that I wasn't fit or able or allowed to have children, according to society, my family, maybe even myself. So it made it easier for me just to assume that I couldn't.

Flash forward to present day, it's a whole different world and so is my life. I live with an incredible man that I love and adore, we are steady and stable and happy, and the thought of raising a family with him makes me want to burst. Somehow all this gave me the impetus and courage to find out, another step towards a goal that, the powers above willing, we will realize.

It was interesting to see the information you get in this type of test. Volume (5mls, where 3-7mls are normal), good sperm (55%, anything over 30% is good) and bad sperm (45%) and number, and this one I was really proud of 85 million, where anything over 20 million is normal. WOW! Let me tell you, I walked out of there with my head a little higher, hahaha.

I also debriefed my GP on the conditions of the lab I went to, hopefully he can spare future patients. He asked if there was any 'material', I had to laugh. I said with the exception of my iPhone (scroll, scroll, scroll) NO! There wasn't even any paper towel, let alone 'material', lol.

Anyways, it was nice news to get. It made me feel a little closer to the patter of feet in our house ;).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Makin' Love to Dixie

Ok, so as you can probably tell by the title of this entry I had an interesting experience yesterday.

First a little bit of history; my Mother took a fertitlity drug called DES in order to overcome miscarriages, of which she had had 3 before giving birth to me, her first born.

A side effect in male offspring can be fertility problems, and while I have always known this, I never had it checked. To be honest, only recently did I actually realize that having a biological child was a possibility. When I came out (over 20 years ago, yikes!), gay guys simply didn't have kids, unless it was the traditional way, and I didn't see that happening :) so it wasn't that important.

Fast forward to present day; as the love of my life and I are now looking at having a family, it's become a little more important. I visited my doctor and briefed him on what we were thinking about, and since he was already aware of the DES thing he referred me to a clinic to have my sperm checked.

I'm not sure how it works in the rest of the world, but in Canada, at least in this case, the test is 'conducted' in a lab where all kinds of tests are run, blood tests, urine samples, etc. It was a little unsettling thinking about saddle up to the counter and presenting my health card and requisition; the lady behind the counter's first language was not English and she was very loud and I had just watched her berate some guy for 5 minutes for not having his proper health card.

While I was in line waiting, I saw a guy come out from behind the curtain, well dressed about my age, holding his bottle of "stuff" in his hand. He didn't seem to even notice or care and simply dropped it on the counter, the receptionist looked back and yelled "3 weeks, 3 weeks". He walked out. Strangely I felt some kind of secret bond with him, and even though he didn't even see me, it gave me a bit of confidence.

Now I am in front of her, she asks for my health card (which was luckily the proper one) and the requisition. She keys me into the computer then hands me the bottle (aka Dixie), kindly leans in and under hushed breath says "Go into the bathroom behind the curtain and come right out". Phew. No big scene, I was past the first hurdle.

I don't know what I expected to see, maybe a quiet room, a bench or even a chair, the possibility of porn (even straight) had entered my mind, a magazine, a TV if I was lucky. Nope. None of the above.

It was a tiny bathroom with paper thin walls right next to another bathroom. Only a toilet and a sink. Not even any paper towel, only a hot air hand dryer! And dirty. I mean it was where everyone went to give any kind of sample, the floor was crusted and it was lit with tubular fluorescent lights. I could hear everyone in the waiting room, the lady at the front desk berating her latest victim as well as the toilet flushing and door opening and closing in the bathroom next to me and all I could think was, 'Make this one quiet Todd'!

The idea of pulling up something on my iPhone did cross my mind, but I thought, you can do this!

Well it wasn't too long before I was able to finish the job, remarkably. Truth be told, I've done worse things in worse places so it wasn't all THAT hard, but bizarre just the same. And all in the name of medicine and the pursuit of a little one?!?

I firmly placed my sample inside the palm of my hand and dropped it as far behind the desk as I could reach. She was on the phone, so I waved my hand and said "Yes, 3 weeks!". Phew!

So who knows what the results will be, and to be honest I think I'll be okay no matter what. And even though we haven't decided who will be what, it's still good to know whether I can or not.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Are these feelings normal?

Ok, confession time. Coming back from any great vacation is hard, the drag of reality, work and responsibility. It's always a little hard for me. It was interesting too on the 'baby' front. The vacation seemed to take us away from real life and thus from our plans for becoming dads.

When we got back, I had to stop myself and think...WHAT ARE WE DOING? Like, having a baby in India?!? At what cost? The travel and inconvenience, and all of this BEFORE we even get the little one in our arms. It gave me pause, wondering if, given all the road blocks, we really needed this. If I really want this. It seems like so much work.

And then I come back and settle back into life. I slowly start reading 'my' blog list, hearing about all the others that are going through what we are trying to do, and feeling the love and disappointment and excitement and anticipation of all the entries. It got me feeling again, and brought my head back into the space where I was before we left.

Yes, I do want this. I want to hear the pitter pat of little feet in our house, I want to hold and mold a little life in my arms. Bigger picture.

But, it was interesting. This whole process is so SO different than what most couple's experience. It's like you are constantly questioning. Why you ask?

1. Because you can. It's not like one of us is pregnant and like it or not we're going to have a little one here in 9 mos. We've got ALOT of steps to take before we get anywhere near that point.

2. Because it's NOT an easy process. The cost and inconvenience, the questions it brings up in me, about me, Matt, us, and yes then even arguments.

I was running downstairs and Matt I were having a discussion, and it just hit me, Oh F--- I wish one of us was just pregnant right now! That, being pregnant, would at least eliminate some of the indecision, decisions and other stuff that make an already difficult process, harder. Me in you, you in me, together we'll be as happy as can be, or at least we're going to make the best of it cause the decision part is already made.

Our girlfriend Cheryl thinks it's great that we are going through all this. That it will at least totally inform us about what we are about the take on, and truly confirm that it's what we want. And in a way I guess she's right but it can still be a drag at times.

Does anyone else out there in Blogland ever feel this way? Especially you that have been/are going through surrogacy or adoption or some other alternative way of having children. These feelings are ok, right? We want kids, and I guess it's about keeping our eyes on the goal.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chicago, Amsterdam and Kylie

Well, what a crazy weekend we had! Long story short, I had some business to do last minute in Amsterdam and Matt and I decided to make a weekend of it.

As we already had planned to see Kylie in Chicago (yes, she was coming to Toronto but Matt wanted to see her in a smaller venue) on Wednesday it kind of worked out. So we flew to Chicago, saw Kylie (Australia's Madonna) and then flew out the next day and spent the long Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in Amsterdam.

Here's a photo of Matt in line for Kylie. We have a Kylie shrine in our house, I think most gay Aussie men, and certainly ones living abroad, have one. Matt might be a little more obsessed than most, so let's just say that he was in heaven on Wednesday night.

Our flight on Thursday didn't leave until 4pm so we did get a little retail therapy in, this is a picture of me on the rainy streets of Chicago desperately seeking the nearest Banana Republic (we succeeded shortly after this picture was taken).

Matt's always happy shopping.

Me getting cheeky with the Lego man in some mall.

Amsterdam was great. We stayed at a wonderful historic hotel in Dam Square called the Grand Krasnapolsky. It had an amazing winter garden room where we had brunch.

When we first arrived in Amsterdam and got off the train Matt says "It's so European!", I loved that. Didn't let him forget it either. Here's sexy Matt on a canal.

We did hit the Red Light district, which was a lot of fun to see. We didn't get into any trouble as we were there for such a short time we didn't want to waste a minute. I was able to shoot a photo of a 'lady of the night' in one of the red lit windows as we walked by (which you're not supposed to do, but I couldn't resist). Let's just say, something for everyone, what an interesting experience.

The best was probably Anne Frank's House, which was actually her father's business, where they hid upstairs for 2 years. It still has the same wallpaper, all the furniture was removed at the request of her father (he was the only one that survived), which made it almost more stark and dramatic.
For some reason as a child, the story of Anne Frank haunted me. I had nightmares about it, and I can remember laying in my bed at night and planning on where I would hide if the Nazi's came. Strange the things you think of when you're a kid.
It was a very moving and emotional experience, I didn't sleep well that night. I highly recommend it, but buy your tickets online first (you'll thank me for this).

More shopping, this time EURO shopping! We hit this store called Sissy Boy - we knew it was for us. I wanted to buy a scarf as all the Euro boys seemed to be wearing them. Matt told me to stand under the sign with my new get the picture.

All in all we had a wonderful time, beautiful city, warm friendly people and nothing else to do but visit museums, eat, drink and be merry.

That's our news, we're looking forward to catching up on all our bloggers updates. Cheers.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dykes with Tykes so Gays with Babes?

We live in a downtown neighborhood, and one of the things that drew us here was the diversity. The area is called Leslieville, but is also affectionately known as 'Lesbianville'. Our street for instance has a whole gaggle of lesbian couples with children.

In the morning you can see them piling their children into SUVs and minivans, weekends are always filled with little voices and laughing and every summer they plan our Street Party. It's got balloons and clowns, games, contests and even yoga demonstrations. Every year we donate money but always seem to find ourselves with something else going on that weekend and never really make it to the party.

Well, let me tell's going to be alot of fun getting to know our neighbors a little better! I can't wait to see their faces when we are first spotted strolling down our street with a baby carriage. Yes, one of the GAY couples have joined the club ;).

It's funny how you see the world differently when you become a part of something that you've always been an observer to. I remember when we got our first dog Kozzie, suddenly I better understood all the love and affection that people have for their animals. And strangely, all dogs seemed a lot cuter all of a sudden.

Now my partner Matt has always been ga-ga for dogs and babies. We could be having a deep heart to heart conversation about something really important and a chihuahua or a stroller goes by and he's pointing and cooing and staring. It used to frustrate me. I'm starting to understand it.

So, yes, I AM excited to embark on this new adventure. I can't wait to be knee deep in baby world, and thank goodness we are living in a time and place with this is not only possible but acceptable.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Oh Dad...

I seriously contemplated not posting this one as I really want this blog to be about positivity and excitment and energy but then I figured, nothing in life is purely positive right? So here goes...

Sometimes my family frustrates me. My parents are 67 (Mom) and 69 (Dad) and are the type of couple that met when they were 19, got married, had kids and a successful life. Sometimes I think they think they have the ONLY equation to a happy life. I love them to death and they have come such a long way when it comes to me and my 'lifestyle' but sometimes the old ways just come out. a conversation with my Dad yesterday I was giving him an update (on what must seem like a process out of Star Trek to him) on our journey, and he's very supportive. Then he says to me;

"I just hope they give you some kind of course to prepare you."

Well the first thing I think is "Who the hell are THEY". The clinic in Mumbai? The Egg Donor? People who already have children?

I calm myself down and ask him what he means.

"I just hope you guys are ready for a baby. It's not like getting married, which is fun, it's alot of work and responsibility."

"Ya, Dad. Of course, but who's ever ready, right?"

"I just think two women would be better suited to have kids, cause you know us men. You and Matt wouldn't be able to take off for three days or four days like you do now you know? Isn't there a course they offer so you know what you're getting into?"

And at this point while I understand he's just being a concerned father, I ask myself "really who is ever prepared?" I mean fudge (not the real word I want to use) if I'm not ready at 40, preparing to embark on this huge and expensive undertaking on the other side of the world then something is wrong. And to be frank if anyone knew exactly what they were getting into, who'd ever have children? Anyhoo, I calmed down and tried to go back to understanding where it was coming from.

But you know, you really only want to hear positive stuff, encouraging stuff, upbuilding stuff from your parents, not doubt which can have it's way of creeping inside your head. And yes, maybe this goes to a deeper issue of often being made to feel like different, outside the norm, not ready, not able, not supposed to be allowed into whatever clique or lifestyle choice you want, but when it happens, especially by the ones you love the most, it still sucks!

Having said all that, I did understand where he was coming from and took it all with a grain of salt. And then on my way to the mall later that day I noticed a sign that made me laugh, and I decided to share it with you all.

"Eggspectation" is a breakfast chain here in Canada. And nothing is going to deter us from doing everything in our power to make our little family grow. I can't wait!

PS Thanks all the comments and advice guys! One thing, can someone enlighten me on how to email bloggers directly? I am sure this is obvious but it eludes me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The EGG hunt

Ok, it's been years since I couldn't sleep thinking about what the Easter bunny would bring but lately I just can't stop thinking about eggs! I find myself seeing young girls in their 20s and thinking about how lucky they are, possessing something we want and don't have!

Seriously though, we're at the point of trying to figure out who, how, when, where and how much for our egg donor.

Do we approach a family member? It's kind of awkward, my sister is 38 so not the best candidate and Matt's family is all in Australia and he doesn't have lots of contact with them. And even then it would have to be a female cousin since he's only got a brother. Cousins he barely knows because he's been in Canada for 10 years!

A friend. Not sure. Most of our girlfriends are def over 35, it's just how our social circle is. Plus we don't want someone too close (if they aren't family).

An acquintance? Perhaps, there is one girl we have in mind. She's a masters student and very sweeet. She's in the middle of a very heavy term so we haven't had the chance to ask her (and thought an email seemed a little impersonal, lol) . It's a HUGE committment for her though, so is it right for us to ask her?

Then we have the agencies. In some ways this seems like an easy, albeit expensive solution. We'd go with a donor from South Africa, fly her over to Mumbai and go from there.

And then there's the question of expense. Which one is the safest and more reasonable? And should I even be thinking about money when it comes to my child? Unfortunately that does figure in here for us. This is a big committment, in more ways than one.

We're thinking of approaching Matt's health insurance company (who covers both of us as a couple) to see if they would cover a donor's fertility drugs. They cover them for straight couples trying to conceive. It's worth a shot.

And of course, there is the option of the Indian donor, which is by far the easiest and cheapest way to go. Haven't ruled it out, but we are leaning towards a caucasian donor.

Not sure how to approach it, and frankly it makes our heads hurt. Still very exciting though :).