By Tiffany and LaToya Rose
In our second installment of QTWoC Chronicles, Tiffany and LaToya Rose are a Black American lesbian couple based in China and attempting to conceive their first child with a known donor. The duo documents their lessons in life, love, and travel — exclusively on ELIXHER!
It’s been nine months since you saw us last. In the lesbian world, that’s a lifetime! For our Sapphic sisters, it’s enough time to buy a house, get married, and start an organic granola business. But in reality, in these past 244 days, things haven’t moved at warp speed for us.
As you know, our main focus this year has been to expand our little tribe. A perfect opportunity presented itself when our friend/donor, Derek, suggested a family trip last winter. In the spirit of twofers, we were excited because LaToya was due to ovulate mid-trip and we were headed to the Middle East.
We know you’re thinking: Two lesbians and an unmarried man traveling to the desert to make a baby? What?!? And you’d be right. That’s exactly what we intended to do. This was definitely unconventional, but perfect for our unconventional life. We’ve never been ones to dance to the beat of “traditional” society. No reason to start now.
But let’s take a step back and tell you about Derek, our known donor.
Derek, Gayby Daddy or DD (it’s a nickname from his niece). We have a number of monikers for the special man in our lives. For most lesbians the process of selecting a donor is an anonymous one, involving lots of paperwork, a genetic background spreadsheet, and highly expensive vials of sperm from an unknown donor.
From the beginning we knew that we wanted a known donor. Someone that we could connect with. Someone whom we could look at our child and say, “She has my warm eyes and his button nose and million dollar smile.” We wanted to be able to ask personal questions, to really get a sense of who our child might be. You can’t get that from a genetic diagnostic print out. Enter Derek.
Derek was our obvious choice. We’ve known him for a few years now. He’s smart, funny, kind, witty, a world traveler, and let’s be honest, he’s quite handsome! He’s “family” in every sense of the word and he doesn’t want kids of his own. Most importantly, Derek is biracial (African American and Korean). As we mentioned in our first entry, we met and fell in love in Korea. To us, Derek was the perfect puzzle piece to our love story.
We asked…awkwardly, of course, because honestly is there ever an easy way to say, “Can you give us your sperm please?” Happily, he said yes and he’s been our “Gayby Daddy” ever since.
On February 13, 2015, the three of us set out on an adventure to explore the Arabian peninsula and make a baby. We spent weeks sand dunning in the desert, sleeping under the Arabian stars, road tripping to Oman, taking in the opulence of the United Arab Emirates, bonding with each other and waiting for the much anticipated ovulation day. Sure enough, surge day happened when we spent the night in the desert in Oman. So with hopeful hearts, we inseminated three times. We wondered was that the day our son or daughter would swim his or her way into existence and our little tribe would expand from two to three? We were hopeful.
Unfortunately, the universe pissed in our bowl of Fruit Loops. Even with symptoms, we tested two weeks later to find a big fat NEGATIVE (BFN). Trying to conceive or TTC is not for the faint of heart. The TTC journey is filled with hopeful highs and extreme lows. Not to mention it’s not the beautiful, romantic moments seen between Bette and Tina on The L Word. The reality is a not so sexy process of two lesbians trying to make a baby. For us it’s been: “Hold your legs up!” “Don’t laugh.” “Ahh…you spilled some!” And “You’re doing it too rough.”
On a serious note, it can be emotionally and financially exhausting. Those of you going through the same journey understand our pain. Pain, like most emotions, demands to be felt, and we allowed ourselves to feel it.
We dusted ourselves off and visited our fertility specialist just to make sure all was well in Toya’s wombdom. The doctor gave us the green light, said it was just a matter of insemination frequency, and that we shouldn’t start to worry until we’ve inseminated six to seven months consecutively with no results. Due to distance and our out-of-sync work schedules, inconsistency has proven to be our arch nemesis.
Time waits for no woman, and the Roses are no exception. Derek was accepted into Harvard grad school, which brought about a paradox of emotions for us. We were over the moon excited and proud of him for fulfilling one of his life goals. However, that meant he would be 7,285 miles away from us, making TTC almost impossible.
We sat down and had an emotion-filled pow-wow via FaceTime. We decided on a plan of action which included starting Clomid, a drug used to induce ovulation, and spending the summer in the U.S. inseminating. With hopeful hearts and literally all our eggs in one basket, we flew to the states. We spent the summer traveling, celebrating our second-year wedding anniversary, and reconnecting with friends and family. We were able to inseminate mid-July. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful once again. When we realized our Scorpio baby was not in the making, we weren’t distraught but definitely disappointed. And more importantly, we feared that this would be the end of having Derek as our known donor.
Back to the drawing board.
Fast-forward to December, it’s been five months since our last attempt. Derek has adjusted well at Harvard, and we’re back to the expat life in Shanghai. We’ve taken a short hiatus from baby-making. This is necessary. We are just enjoying each other.
Of course, TTC is always on our minds but we’re making sure it doesn’t consume our lives. Trust us, for those of you thinking about TTC or currently in the process, after a few BFNs you need to take a step back and just breathe from it all.
As the saying goes, “You can have it all, just not all at once.” Despite everything, we’re so thankful for a happy marriage and an adventurous life together. Looks like expanding our little tribe is going to take longer than anticipated.
That’s the way the lesbian cookie crumbles, and that’s okay.
Live, love, and travel,
To learn more about the Roses and their musings on motherhood, marriage, travel and more follow them on Twitter @thisisournormal, on Tumblr at thisisournormal.tumblr.com or visit their website thisisournrml.com.