Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Journey Through SL Pregnancy

Did you know that you could become pregnant in SL? I've known for quite some time and always laughed at it, until Thor. Actually, He and i both were of the mindset that it was silly and ridiculous to do such a thing in SL. But life, both Second and Real, has a way of making you eat your words.

After Thor and i were married in SL things changed for us on this particular issue. We had talked quite extensively in the past regarding our personal RL stance on children together, and the fact that i was unable to have any more. That really wasn't an issue between us, He was ok with that from the very start. What was an issue was that my earlier RL pregnancies were filled with complications and void of love and support. He wanted to change that, or rather change my memories and replace the old pain and painful with new happy and loving ones. Have i mentioned how wonderful of a man He was?

So we began to look around and see how things were done. The first thing we decided was that we wanted to take our time and find a way to do this in SL to most closely parallel RL. And we did. We found a couple different options. There are two conception HUDs in world that simulate a woman's ovulation cycle, fertility, and chances of becoming pregnant. One worked on a key phrase being typed repeatedly at certain times by the couple. The other... *blushes profusely* worked with xcite. Why do i blush? i've been in world over 2.5 years and in that time i maintained my SL virginity. It was simply not something i was interested in or really understood. Thor never pushed, but then we had RL. Even after our marriage it wasn't an issue. But now, to do this pregnancy correctly it was definitely an issue. Well, a hurdle i was going to have to over come.

This particular HUD used RL statistics. It took into account the ratio of a woman's chance to conceive after intercourse, her ovulation cycle, fertility, birth control, % to fail, etc.. It even considered such things as sexual climax and where on/in the body it occurred. Obviously in RL certain types of intercourse would not result in pregnancy. It was all rather fascinating and technical, but was exactly what we were looking for. So off He drags me to xcite. That was an experience for another blog, lol. But needless to say we acquired all the items we needed for my first foray into very adult side of SL as well as the needed xcite HUD to interact with the conception HUD for me to be able to "conceive" a child.

I read all the instructions thoroughly. Configured everything precisely. Chose not to use the birth control option, after all we were TRYING to become pregnant. Again, the rest of that part is personal and private. But i will say this much about my SL husband and RL soul mate. That first experience, knowing how uneasy and nervous i was going to be, He took every step to make things comfortable, peaceful, relaxing, and yes as silly as it might sound to some of you very very romantic.

We didn't tell anyone of our plans. We wanted to wait. And we waited. And waited. And waited some more. Well, there was lots of trying mixed in with the waiting of course. It took about 6 weeks to conceive, which is an eternity in SL. And felt like an eternity in RL too. Funny when you want something so badly the waiting for it seems to take forever. But on August 19th the pregnancy test read positive. I had finally conceived. YAY! We were so excited. I think we were both crying. The whole process had become one of deep emotion, self exploration and healing.

Next was the actual pregnancy and birth. Now over the course of my pregnancy i've gotten a lot of questions from friends and strangers on how all this works. So i thought i should share a few technical details here. An AV does not actually become "pregnant". It is not a spontaneous occurrence. It is not scripted in the programming of basic SL as a form of AI. There is no real SL reproduction as far as AVs are concerned. The entire pregnancy from beginning to end, how ever the couple/individual decides to go about it, is completely role play supported by scripts, props, HUDs, etc.

A woman's (or neko, furry, dragon, vamp, male, etc..) growing belly during pregnancy is nothing more than a change of shape. A series of custom shapes are made for the expectant mother to wear. She changes one each week for the duration of her pregnancy. There is a "talking tummy" which lets the mother experience things such as cravings, "feeling" the baby move, hearing the heartbeat, and yes even morning sickness. It also allows the mother and others to talk to the growing baby, read to him/her, sing, etc... And would you believe this "tummy", which is nothing more than an intricately scripted invisible prim a mother wears throughout the duration of her pregnancy is ALSO xcite compatible. It offers things like allowing the spouse to rub the tummy, give massages, and more goodies that i will let an expectant couple discover on their own.

The baby, is a prim baby. A couple goes to a maternity clinic and places an order for a custom designed baby. They can specify name, gender, hair color and style, eye color, skin tone. They can even add things such as ears and tail, fangs, wings, make it completely furry, a dragon, a mermaid, or what ever species the parents may themselves be. The more complex the customization naturally the longer it takes to make the baby. At the clinic the mother will order her custom baby, order her custom pregnancy shapes, schedule her check up exam (yes they DO weigh you), and schedule her delivery. The delivery is role play with specific animations, and the detail of the role play is highly dependent on the delivering mother/couple and how much they want to submerse themselves in the role play. Once the baby is "born" it comes with an interactive HUD to take care of the child, feed the child, sing, rock, change, bathe, etc.. The clothes and colors of the outfits can even be changed by the HUD interface.

The average SL pregnancy lasts 2-6 weeks. Thor and i, again wanting to parallel this as close to RL as possible chose a much longer gestation at 3months. Never did i ever imagine in starting this that i would end up a widow and a single mother in SL. Never did i once suspect that i would finish this pregnancy on my own, without Him. He was my soul mate, my forever. There was no drama big enough in SL or RL to ever break us up. After His RL death i could have stopped the pregnancy. Canceled the order. Put my original shape back on and be done with it. But you can't just do that in RL. And, this was something He was so excited about. Something that He wanted so much.

So, on November 19, an anniversary date for us (we started dating on the 19th, we got married on the 19th, we conceived on the 19th) our child, a little girl that's part neko will be born. Kaylia Ciana Bishop, her name a combination of both mine and Thor's RL names and the middle name a part of a dear SL friend. Her name was chosen by the two of us, together, shortly after conception.

This particular journey has been one of love, tenderness, joy, self discovery, and healing, as well as tremendous loss, sorrow, and pain. The pregnancy itself may not be real, but the emotions behind it most definitely are. This was not a whim, a flippant decision, but rather a deep emotional commitment between the two of us to share something together that RL would not allow.

As always, i love You, Baby. You will always be in my heart and memories. And i still have the picture and notecard of You reading Your silly fairytales to her. If anyone ever tries to say You were intimidating, a hardass, etc... well, i have picture positive proof otherwise. *grins* i love You so much!

sierra sugar
~in loving memory~

For more information on SL pregnancy, programs, pricing, etc. visit Bundle of Joy, in Schweet. It is by far the best and most thorough clinic in all of SL. SLURL included below.