Posted by: chicagoshells | March 10, 2012

The Dominant Voice

So today was our second insemination.  I can already see how, for those who have been at this awhile, this quickly becomes a routine.  For me, after all this waiting, it’s still pretty incredible that we’re finally doing something.  It did already feel familiar (although the clinic is closed on weekends except for inseminations.  So while yesterday was busy with a full waiting room, today it was just Trouble and I hanging out by the locked door until the one “community health worker” got there to let us in and thaw out our swimmers).  We double-checked the donor number on the paperwork and looked at the stuff under the microscope again (“They’re still kind of waking up, but they’re moving”).  We went in and propped Trouble’s hips up on the same number of pillows.  The health worker (I’m going to have to figure out a better way to refer to these women.  It’s weird– they’re not doctors or nurses and are mostly, in fact, volunteers, which is pretty amazing) again talked us through exactly what she was doing as she inserted the syringe (a little more difficulty today, although still not too bad for Trouble, which is all that matters).  I pushed the plunger.  We hung out for awhile while Trouble turned her body back and forth on the pillows.  Got up and left.  Ho-hum.  Might have just made a baby.  No biggie.  Yeah, on second thought, maybe I’ll never feel that’s it’s totally routine.

As we were leaving, we saw our file on the desk in the room just outside where the insemination was done.  I opened it.  Yeah.  I’m that girl.  Pretty much nothing of note…Trouble’s temping charts, the contract we signed with the clinic, the dates and times of these first two insems, “ICI” written in large letters and highlighted.  And a little yellow post-it note that read “Shells is the dominant voice but Trouble is the one inseminating.”  That made me feel…strange.  I asked Trouble if she thought it was a negative thing and she responded “I think it’s just kind of…factual.”  She’s right, of course, and there are good reasons for it.  As the non-bio-mom-to-be, I already feel on the defensive sometimes, like I need to assert my place in this family we’re trying to create.  It’s why I’ve done nearly all the communication with the clinic and the sperm bank.  It’s what I need to do to feel like I’m a part of all this– Trouble is providing the body, I am providing the organizational skills.  This clinic specializes in getting lesbians knocked up.  The program was started just to do that.  They’ve dealt with hundreds of lesbian couples over the years, and surely I can’t be the first non-bio-mom to be the more vocal of the pair, right?  Still, I can’t shake the feeling that “dominant,” in this case, is some sort of judgement.  I need to remind myself that Trouble doesn’t LIKE to talk– it’s not like I’m interrupting her or talking over her.  Mulling it over, I’m thinking that it might not be the “dominant” that bothers me so much as the “but.”  If it had read “Shells is the dominant voice and Trouble is the one inseminating,” that would strike me more as factual, simply a note of which of us was which.  The “but” makes it seem like it’s a strange, unusual thing, like I’m somehow usurping Trouble’s rightful place as the dominant voice.  I don’t know…I’m 100% sure that I’m making too much of this, but I can’t help projecting into the future a bit…”Shells goes to Mommy and Me, but Trouble is the birth mother.”  Like anything I do as a parent will somehow still not make up for the fact that my child won’t share my genetic material. 

I realize that all of this is a little much to be focusing on when the child in question, BEST case scenario, is a newly fertilized egg and, much more likely, still won’t exist for awhile.  But I think right now it’s actually easier to focus on parenting fears than to focus too much on this whole two-week-wait business.  I’m determined not to drive Trouble crazy by symptom-hunting.  I’m not going to angst if she takes a bath or drinks a soda– it’s just not worth it.  I’m actually feeling grateful that I have a hellish week at work coming up next week, because at least that will take my mind off of what might or might not be happening in my wife’s body.  And if part of keeping my mind on other things means musing over the semantics of a hastily written post-it note, so be it.




  1. Nothing wrong with being the Dominant voice…that’s me in my relationship for the most part. My life is a quite person unless she’s around close friends or family and I could talk to a brick wall. Take it as a compliment : ) Good Luck to you two! I’ll be looking forward to your results!

  2. Oh, I’m the dominant voice, too. Hmm…I can see how that wouldn’t be such a good thing in a medical chart. Maybe they’re making the note more to remind themselves that they need to ask Trouble questions, too, and not just you–more of a way to pay attention to you both? In any case, hopefully you’ll have a good reason in a couple weeks to be out of there and onto different medical personnel for the next 9 months anyway!

  3. Weird note. On the other hand, as the dominant voice and the Uterus In Question, I’m a little envious. It would be nice, sometimes, not to be both. (But you and I both know that it would take one hell of a dominant voice to be bigger than mine. So.)

  4. I’ve just found your blog and it’s so odd – I could have written about 60% of your posts almost word for word (though not the car accident – ouch)!

    Excited for you already and fingers crossed that it’s first time lucky for you (we’re a few months behind you – hopefully – and are waiting for our first Doctors apps and tests).

    Really nice to read about people going through the same thing as us.

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