Getting Pregnant With Michelle Tea: Detox, Hormone Shots, And Dogs
I just don’t think I’ll have too bad of a time with the progesterone shots after being in a relationship for years and years with a trans guy whose shots I administered. I remember how shocked I was at the ease with which the needle slid into the muscle -– like butter, I’d thought.
Marco didn’t even lie down for it, he stood at the bathroom sink with all the implements laid out on the porcelain -– the tiny glass bottle of hormones, the syringe and the needle, the little squares of alcohol wipes. There really isn’t a difference -– his were Testosterone, mine will be Progesterone, but the needles and the injection sites are the same. When I run into Marco at the end of my trip to New York he tells me to just find the fattiest place, and shrugs. He’s been doing it forever now, no biggie.
The day after I return from my trip to New York City all the drugs arrive. Because I have to sit at home all day waiting for FedEx, I have Bananas come over to my house for a RADAR meeting. I tried to have the pharmacy waive the signature, but because it’s such an expensive purchase they won’t do it. Plus, some of the meds have to go right into the freezer, so I need to make sure I’m around to do that.
The package comes just a little before Bananas shows up –- Dashiell’s Follistem, the drug that will make her ovaries produce a bazillion eggs, is in the fridge, but everything else is scattered all over the living room floor. I pulled all of my vintage Pyrex containers out of the kitchen cabinets and am trying to store the abundance of syringes and needles and alcohol wipes in a classy and organized manner.
“Wow,” Bananas takes in the scene. “It’s like creepy baby Christmas in here.” Rodney the dog gets involved, clambering over purple boxes of Vivelle and green and white boxes of Menopur.
“Get off your brother,” Bananas swoops down and grabs him. “When you get abandoned after this baby is born, I’ll take you.”
I make a mental note to never forget that Bananas has said this. On the one hand, Rodney is such a deep, serious part of our family, I can’t imagine him not being around. I can’t imagine who Dashiell would be without Rodney -– as witches have their familiars in the form of cats, so Dashiell has this wild, white terrier-Maltese mix. Rodney is his spirit animal. Taking care of him is one of his life’s purposes. That’s just the way it is.
Then there is the way that Rodney barks and barks and barks. What will that be like with a sleeping baby? When we are beyond sleep deprived and just need the thing to quiet down and snooze for a minute? Will Rodney hear a skateboarder five blocks away and go bonkers? Will the baby wake up and sob? Will I sob? Will Dashiell?
What about walking Rodney every day? What if his walks and the baby’s naps don’t match up, and I have to bring the cranky baby out into the world, or have to deal with Rodney pawing at me with his ghastly dog claws til I take him outside? Can I handle walking Rodney, who pulls at his leash and does everything he can to eat every bit of feces -- dog, human -– in his path, while carrying or pushing a kid? What if I have a C-section? How long will it be before I can take him on his walks?
Sometimes I enjoy the way Rodney gives me a reason to leave the house each day. I could easily tumble headfirst into my computer and not even realize the sun has gone down. With Rodney, I have to go to the park. Most days I bring him to the one closest to our house, where I have learned to clock to tweets of hummingbirds, a squeak that sounds like the twisting and scrunching of a piece of plastic. In addition to hummingbirds there are tons of butterflies, and kids learning about plants in the adjacent community garden. I eavesdrop, hoping to learn something, too.
“Spiders aren’t pollinators, spiders are predators,” the teacher explains. Got it.
On days when I have more time, I take Rodney to the actual dog park a bit farther away. These trips have socialized him to the point that dogs he used to relentlessly bark at, to the extent that we’d have to leave because it was so annoying, he now pals around with and tried to hump. Rodney, as it turns out, is really humpy.
All these big dogs he used to have such problems with -– pit bulls and German Shepherds, rottweilers and Rhodesian Ridegbacks –- as it turns out, he just wants to have sex with them. Mostly the mostly gay men who take their dogs to this park are cool with Rodney being so amorous, but sometimes the dog owners get annoyed with Rodney’s persistence in the face of their dog’s resistance, and I feel like my dog is a sexual predator and we leave.
But back to my burden -– while it’s often pleasant to take a break and walk Rodney to a park, sometimes it is stressful, and annoyance, a burden. What will it feel like when there’s a baby to be tending to? I can’t imagine. But then, I can’t imagine any of it, the unforeseen myriad of ways my life will change.
I wonder how serious Bananas is about taking Rodney if shit gets too hard. Even knowing that we have a lead on an alternative home for him makes me feel a strange sort of relief. Though now, typing it all out, I can’t imagine ever agreeing to say goodbye to our good bad dog. And if I feel that way, Dashiell must feel that way times 20.
I watch the video about how to give myself my Lupon shot and it is truly no big whoop. The needle is super tiny, and comes already attached to the syringe. I draw up only a little bit from the bottle, being sure to wipe both the bottle and my skin down with an alcohol swab. The shot goes into my belly –- anywhere below my belly button, beneath the "smile" made by the crease above my pooch. I take a pinch of skin and stick the needle in. Plunge the Lupon out. It takes less than a minute, and Dashiell looks at me like I’m a wizard. I do like feeling capable, and I’m relieved that this particular med is not so stressful.
Meanwhile, the goose chase for getting myself off meds continues. The Russian therapist tells me I must talk to a psychiatrist. She also tells me I’m being too negative, scaring myself with Internet research. The Russian Therapist! She’s still annoying.
I’m actually not being too negative, nor am I scaring myself. I think it’s fine to look into the experiences other people have had getting off Citalopram. I know that might not be my experience, but still. I want to know. It seems useless to argue her. I don’t want to pay money to argue with a therapist, even if it is only $20. Shouldn’t she be exploring my fears, rather than telling me not to have them? I know from my attempts at being my own bad therapist that telling myself not to have a feeling doesn’t actually make it go away.
I set up a calendar for coming off meds. For one week I’ll alternate every other day between 40, my full dose, and 20. After a week of that I’ll alternate 20 and 10. After that, a week of 10 and nothing. I work it out and write it down on my meds calendar.
I know I don’t have to quit the Citalopram this soon. Who knows if I’ll event get pregnant this round, and if I do I have a few weeks to get off it, that time before the embryo makes the placenta and starts really living off me. At the very least I could wait until the transfer. But I hate having this big change hanging over my head.
And who knows how the meds are going to affect me. What if they make me crazy? Better to be off the helper pills now, when I’m "stable." Plus, as I begin to add all these creepy chemicals to my body, it feels good to be taking one out.
I run my detox plan past my sister, who had to come off meds to have her own kids. She gives it her stamp of approval. All this running around between doctors amounted to nothing, I should have just checked with Madeline in the first place! Who needs a doctor when I have my sister?
She thinks that if I stick to that schedule I shouldn’t feel any of the weird side-affects people report when they quit cold turkey -– flashes of light in their heads, or nausea. I feel proud that I have finally figured it out, and oddly psyched to embark upon this new chapter of the baby adventure.