Mothercare Competition Winner | Insem 6.30pm
We’d had it pencilled in the diary for three months. Our first insemination. In fact we hadn’t pencilled it in at all: there was just an ominous unmarked weekend on the calendar; a question mark by Days 11 and 13 on my chart; a pair of affectionate parentheses in my diary, embracing nothing. There’s an element of trying to be discreet – when I jot down the time of my next dental appointment, I don’t want Brenda on the surgery reception to glance across and see…well, what? What would you write? “Man we met on internet coming to masturbate into cup 6.30pm”. Clearly that’s far too convoluted, but the five-syllable “Insemination” doesn’t seem much shorter – “Insem 6.30pm perhaps? At least its obscurity would tick the box for discretion – it sounds like a business meeting with a software company.
It was fortunate I’d been at work during the designated day. Despite occasional surges of excited panic, my mind had been distracted from the evening ahead. My partner, however, had been at home, which was useful in the sense that she was able to review the instructions and put together a checklist, scatter a few candles about in our bedroom for ambience, and place a specimen cup in the spare room (with a bottle of water and a tube of Smarties as light refreshments). Meanwhile without the distraction of work, her brain had been free to muse on our plans. “What are we doing?!” she asked, on my return from work and I felt the bile of panic rise.
There were two things going on here.
1. We return to that ‘man we met on Internet coming to masturbate into cup 6.30pm’, but with the added entry of ‘Insert product of said masturbation into me.’
2. To continue in diary entry style, ‘Sacrifice next 20 years of life to child/ren
At that moment, an hour before our donor was due to arrive, it all felt so rushed. It felt like we had just decided on a whim, to have a baby, and having recently read that your nine months start from the first day of your last period, I realised that I was feasibly already two weeks pregnant, and we hadn’t even done it yet. I had to remind myself that we’d talked about this. For, ominously, nine months, we’d talked about this. We had to rely on the fact that whatever panic we felt in this moment, we’d made a careful, considered decision.
The familiarity of the sound of the doorbell was strangely comforting, amid the chaos of my mind and the impending awkwardness of “when he arrives”. Unfamiliar with the etiquette of receiving a sperm donor, since we’re English, we resorted to the offer of a cup of tea, which, to our relief, was gratefully accepted. Thence an hour of polite conversation before he suggested perhaps it was time he got on with it.
Meanwhile, leaving him in privacy upstairs, the two of us headed down to the kitchen and nervously completed a week’s worth of housework in about fifteen minutes (‘nesting ‘, I’ve decided, is actually just a fevered release of nervous energy encountered by expectant parents).
Anyway, just as we got the iron board folded back up, he popped his head round the door and was ready to get off home; we all knew it was advisable not to leave the stuff lying around cooling down for long. My partner put the sample bottle down her bra for warmth while I prepared to be bedbound for an hour or two, by gathering personal possessions like someone about to be deposited on a desert island for ten years. I arranged myself on the bed, with my hips propped up on a pile of pillows in a position which I very much doubt is listed in the Kama Sutra, and my partner used my tummy as a handy table for her list of instructions. I closed my eyes and waited to feel the squirt of the syringe, but when it happened, I felt nothing. I opened my eyes and we smiled at each other in nervous collusion. After twenty minutes lying on my back, I rolled over and did five minutes on each side, and then on my front, like an obedient sausage turning itself on the grill.
Then, nicely browned on all sides, I watched as my partner snuffed out the candles and, exhausted, we settled down to sleep. Somewhere very nearby, a million or so little beings had just woken up and were starting to have a look around…
Winning article: by Lindsey, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom 2012
Mothercare Competition Winner | Two mums personal journey
When I met Caitlin in January 2010 I couldn’t help but fall for her. She was originally from Scotland and her charm and the way she made me feel so special and the only girl in the world was immense! She already had 2 sons, Brett and Ashton whom she had via a clinic by artificial insemination. This cost her a fortune but she wanted to be a mother so much.
We became inseparable and moved in together in March 2010. The boys became like my own, they didn’t get on with Caitlin’s ex and their father was an anonymous donor. They called me mum from months into us all living together. In August 2011 we had our civil ceremony with our closest family and friends...I felt the happiest girl alive!
Thinking back I had an extreme urge to have a baby of my own from around October 2011. The feeling was so strong and I told Caitlin that it was time to look at the options available to us. We found the Pride Angel site in December 2011 and spent hours trawling the sperm donors on the site and looking at information about how to do 'home insemination'. Caitlin had always found the insemination at the clinic too 'clinical' so we decided to try ourselves. We found an ideal sperm donor and after a few messages back and forth decided that we really wanted him to help us.
I felt uncertain about meeting our potential donor but Caitlin arranged to meet him to find out more. He was a kind, caring and genuine man. His sister had problems conceiving and therefore he wanted to help those people who can’t have children themselves. He told us to let him know as soon as we knew when I was ovulating and we could arrange to meet him for the sperm donation. I bought the deluxe home insemination kit, we did a few tests runs before the big day.
I used ovulation sticks to monitor my most fertile days and it was whilst we were away at a family resort (on our last day there luckily!) that we got the smiley face and I was ovulating! We contacted our donor straight away and arranged to collect the sample.
That evening we used the speculum, syringe and syringe extenders. We bought a special lubricant which helped the sperm live longer and move quicker. It was so tense at first, we couldn’t quite believe how far we had come since we first met. We managed to relax in the comfort of our own home, surrounded by candles and a few cheeky drinks :) After the insemination I lay with my bottom in the air against the wall for 20 minutes. I climaxed twice, legs still up the wall. (this is advised as gentle contractions in your uterus can help the sperm along into the cervix)
The 2 week wait was horrendous. I went through a rollercoaster of emotions... sad, angry, excited, worried...
On the day of my due period Caitlin was worried about me, we were both so stressed and just needed to know the outcome. So... we did a test. There was one dark line across the test instantly and we needed a vertical line for a positive. Caitlin wouldn’t let me see it until the full 3 minutes was up!
As we uncovered the test after 3 minutes Caitlin had a massive grin across her face. She had snuck a peek just before. There was a line making a cross = positive. We could not believe it. After one attempt we were pregnant!! I screamed my head off and Brett and Ashton rushed in, we told them and tears streamed down their faces. I could barely breathe and couldn’t believe it. The day after we did further tests just to make sure...all positive.
I am now 4 weeks pregnant and couldn’t be happier. We are already buying baby stuff and making plans for our new arrival! We would always recommend the Pride Angel insemination kits. We believe the syringe extenders were vital in getting the sperm in exactly the right place.
Thank you Pride Angel!! We will keep you updated on the progress of our baby bean.
Winning article: by Rachel and Caitlin, Derbyshire, East Midlands 15th July 2012
Do you have a personal story to tell us about your journey towards parenthood? then contact us at Pride Angel.
Mothercare Competition Winner | Mittens, Booties and decisions
Imagine a pair of mittens, and bootees to match, tiny and all furry soft and with paw prints on the palms and soles. And in the half-price sale. Of course we bought them, but this time they were not just a gift for one of our many breeding friends (someone‘s popping one out at least once a month or so now). No, we bought them as a symbol – a symbol of our decision-making process about whether to have a child. If one day, someone else’s child wears them, it will be because we decided not to do it. For now though, the jury is out…
It’s the suddenness of prospective parenthood that is most disconcerting. After fifteen years of sorting out your sexuality and looking for love and, once you find it, a bit of time settling down, rings and vows and all, by the time the question of kids even crosses your mind as a vague and rather complicated option for a lesbian couple, you’re suddenly aged thirty-four and starting to think actually, if we’re going to do this, it needs to be soon. Do straight couples actually really think it through? Or is it just what you do, once you’ve been working a few years and you’re married with the three-bedroomed semi and the Ford Focus? I don’t honestly know, but my guess is, when you’re gay you think it through a lot harder.
You question your motives: is it selfish to want a child? Do we just want one because our friends have them? Because we think we could do a good job of it? Because now we’re civil partnered, what’s next? You question the morality of the method: is it wrong to have a child by artificial insemination when so many children need adopting? (I’d follow this principle when acquiring a cat – but does the morality change with a child?) To what extent is it genetic engineering when you select a donor who looks good on paper? (Don’t even ask what makes a donor ‘look good’ on paper.) And is that selection process actually any more engineered than a straight person selecting a spouse which whom to breed?
And then once you’ve convinced yourself you’re okay with the whole sperm donor idea, what then? A series of weird discussions (We know – we’ve had them) about which of your friends or friends’ husbands you would most like to impregnate yourself/girlfriend. Do you ask the one who’d be least freaked out by the whole prospect, or the one who looks healthiest and still has a good head of hair? And when you ask him, how exactly would that conversation go? Seriously, I’d like to know.
Frankly, it’s going to involve some uncomfortable discussions, but on the other hand, that whole donor bank thing of a complete stranger with blue eyes, brown hair and an A’ level in computing appeals even less. Our recent discovery of the Pride Angel website has introduced a more attractive option of finding a sperm donor who we can meet and develop some sort of (albeit unconventional) relationship with, but who is otherwise unconnected with us personally, and this is the option we’re currently working on.
But for now the mittens and bootees, with the fur and the paw prints, are on a shelf in the wardrobe, waiting patiently for the possibility of any paws close to home that might one day fit inside.
Winning article: by Lindsey, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom 12th December 2011
If you would like to share your story with us, why not enter our next competition to win £150 Mothercare vouchers, closing date is 1st December 2012
Speak to us for more information, just contact us or enter your article by email: email@example.com