Getting Pregnant With Michelle Tea: Updates And The Psych Eval
All day I’m on the horn with the fertility clinic setting everything up. It feels like we’re finally at the start of the end -– we got our plan, I’m fibroid-free, and Quentin is setting up his various appointments on his own end. Blood tests, psych tests and multiple "deposits" – I’d feel terrible about making him do so much work if he hadn’t just spent the last nine months jerking off in my kitchen. I think this will actually be a breeze after scheduling ovulation visits in between protests, drag shows and grad school applications.
I think the birth control pills have made me gain a whole new kind of weight –- not the weight I put on for good baby luck or the weight I put on after that because I couldn’t slow my 10pm-cookies-on-the-couch roll. I love making late night cookies for Dashiell. She asks in this sneaky way, like she can’t believe she would ask me to do something like make cookies at nine o’clock at night, and then when I say yes she just can’t believe her good fortune and treats me like I am a miracle, a unicorn, a miraculous cookie-baking unicorn.
And when I actually walk into the living room with a plate piled high with chocolate-chip cookies and a couple glasses of milk, she loses her shit. It’s way too fun and plus chocolate-chip cookies are amazing and I make them really good.
So I’ve been used to more and more of my clothes not fitting around my belly, but since getting on the birth control it’s like my arms and shoulders have gotten bigger, too. Gone are the days of fitting comfortably into the gold-buttoned blazer I thrifted in the little boy’s section.
I try to figure out how I feel about my new-ish body. I hate hate hate not being able to fit into my clothes. I love my clothes! To put on something I’ve felt great in and it suddenly looks terrible makes me feel like something bad is happening, a conclusion I’m trying to resist. When stuff actually fits me, I kind of don’t think about it, or at least don’t care.
I know enough hot people of every body type to not trip out too much, but still. I guess I was attached to the way I looked before this happened. People are telling me I look healthy, which makes me wonder if I had perhaps been looking un-healthy. Or if that is just a culturally acceptable way to tell someone they notice they’ve put on a pound or twenty.
I read a comment on the blog that distracts me from tripping out about my clothes fitting and has me instead tripping out if people who I actually know are leaving mean, anonymous notes. Jeez! This is why I only read the comments once a week, on the day that the blog is posted only.
I’ve been putting my life up for public consumptions for decades now, and ever since "Valencia" got blasted by a lesbian food writer in the San Francisco Chronicle, and someone defaced my book party posters by saying I look "old," and wrote on the lesbian bar bathroom wall that I had a big ego and complained on Craigslist (pre-Facebook, people!) that I didn’t speak for them and on StrapOn.org (oy vey) that I was offensively skinny, I learned to sort of turn away from public opinion about what I put in the world.
It’s tricky. Avoiding negative feedback only really, truly works if you avoid positive feedback, too. You either sort of ignore all the commentary, keep your head down and work, or your ego and hence your moods are at the whim of what a bunch of strangers think about you. Which is a horrible way to live.
Still, it’s nice to know your work is getting out there, so I have controlled peeks and make sure not to take any of it too much to heart, the good or the bad. So why am I tripping out about this one comment? I think because they used 12-step lingo, and something in their wording suggested maybe they know about my life off the blog. Creepy!
I spend much of a day spinning out about it, and it all makes me feel so exhausted -– my body, the comment, the efforts, LIFE, that I fall into what me and Rhonda call Victorian Fatigue and slump down onto my bed. Victorian ladies were always getting fatigued, weren’t they? Just needing to lie down or faint or something? Rhonda and my friend Esther calls it Classic Female Overwhelm. I lie in my bed with Rodney, missing Rhonda terribly. Why’d she have to up and move to Los Angeles for?
Quentin shoots me an email letting me now where he’s at his appointment, and he asks if I’d be okay if he wrote a little bit about his experience being our sperm donor. I love nothing more than the idea of Quentin’s amazing story out in the world, and even if I didn’t, it would be mighty rich of me to ask anyone not to write about me, even peripherally, AFTER ALL I’VE DONE.
I tell him I will sleuth around and see if I still have that old This American Life contact I used to have. I never got on the show, but I was making pitches to them for a while. One great idea I had was a story about how differently the world treated me when I walked around with my new fake Louis Vuitton bag I’d bought on Canal Street. Of course people treat you different when you look like you have money, was more of less the reply. But I had never looked like I had money before! It was such a revelation! It’s so frustrating to try to pitch articles to the middle class.
At the café where I bring my computer to work when Rodney’s barking makes me want to die, I get totally distracted accidentally eavesdropping on some ladies talking about childbirth. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, through I have no qualms about it. I LOVE eavesdropping. I used to write down one-sided conversations I overheard as found poems and use them as teaching tools for creative writing classes.
Anyway, the ladies were talking about how hideous Western labor is, how some friend of a lady was given an ulcer medication to induce labor, how fucked-up induced labor is. Their voices rose and fell, audible to inaudible over the roar of the café. I turned my attentions to the task at hand –- helping some friends of mine find a sperm donor of their very own.
Scrolling through my Facebook page I make notes of guys who are in their late twenties or early thirties, who I think my friends will find cute, who I think are great people and, most importantly, who I think would maybe do it. I send all the names to my friends. I have a fantasy about starting a queer sperm exchange, where great fags and queer guys with sperm can sign up to donate some jizz to needy queers looking to get pregs. DON’T STEAL MY IDEA!!!!! If someone wants to fund this start-up I will gladly go into business with you!
I go to the clinic one morning with Dashiell, to get her genetic testing done. She’s Ashkenazi and needs to be screened for Tay-Sachs, as well as whatever other dreadful things they test for.
“I hope we get to see Dr. Waller,” Dashiell says, her crush on our fertility doctor still in affect.
“I doubt it," I tell her. We’re just hitting the lab, then meeting up with Dr. Posh to get our psych evaluation. Wait, no –- It’s not an evaluation. Is it? It’s more like a check-in. A check-in with a psychiatrist. Sounds like an evaluation to me.
As Dashiell sits in the blood-draw room with a tourniquet around her arm, who flies by but Dr. Waller.
“Hi, Dr. Waller!” we both gush like goons.
He gives us a big smile. “Hello, there.” He keeps walking, off into an ultrasound room to stick a wand up some lucky lady’s vagina. Why are we so into Dr. Waller? Is it the weird, tiny, diamond-shaped glasses that makes his head look somewhat like a fish? Is it is undeniable swagger? The Jewishness of his voice? Maybe we’ll never know. Maybe it just that he is the gateway to us having a baby. It’s so heterosexual of us I could just die!
Next it’s over to Dr. Posh’s office. I realize how much I expected her to look like Victoria Beckham when she arrives looking nothing at all like Victoria Beckham. No. She looks like a middle-aged lady with some lesbian leanings and a head full of wild curls. She wears round glasses and has a copy of "The Lesbian Parenting Book" displayed face-out on her bookshelf.
Me and Dashiell hold hands nervously through the interview. Even though we are both getting lezzie vibes from Dr Posh, it’s still nerve-wracking. I worry that she will be discouraging or condescending or fear-mongering. That she’s going to make Dashiell feel like an egg donor and me like a lady bumming an egg off some young hottie with a killer set of ovaries. That she’ll make me feel like I’m just a surrogate, with no right to our baby (this is, after all, how I’ll be viewed legally, until I adopt our baby.) In general we both fear a vaguely soul-crushing and anti-gay bad time. But mostly it’s fine.
The doctor asks us about our history together. I begin telling her how I started inseminating on my own, with Rodney, and she interrupts me.
“Your time together,” she says.
“I’m telling you about our time together,” I said, and swiftly bring Dashiell into the story. That’s the only hiccup. From there we talk about our relationship with Quentin, what we know about him, the conversations we’ve had. We learn that the paperwork they require Quentin to sign adequately removes his rights to his sperm and its offspring, so we don’t really need to seek out a lawyer. She asks if Quentin has told his parents.
“No,” we shake our heads. “He might at some point, but he doesn’t have plans to.”
“I’m going to advise him to tell them sooner rather than later,” Dr. Posh says. “Usually the news is taken better if it’s received at the start of the process.”
I guess it’s the psychiatrist’s job to advise what’s best for the emotional well-being off all involved, but as none of us –- Dashiell, me, Quentin -- really want to accept that these biological grandparents are involved, none of us want to think to much about their emotional well-being, either. I just know that if and when these folks learn about our kid, we’ll deal with it. And my optimistic nature can imagine a million ways that having an extra set of grandparents could be a blessing.
Dr. Posh tells us it sounds like we’re both on the same page and are communicating really well. She asks us to have Quentin make his appointment with her -– we needed to have ours before he could have his. And she bids us adieu.
“We aced it!” Dashiell says inside the elevator, giving me a high-five.
“It wasn’t a test!” I giggle, because it sure felt like one.
“We aced it!” Dashiell repeats. She will repeat this throughout the day, administering high-fives as needed.