Monday, January 24, 2011

Waste not thy gifts in profitless waiting for the gods' descent

Just after my last post, Heather told me she had gotten her period.

A few hours later, she called me and said the bleeding was very light and maybe ...

Waiting at the station

Sunday was two weeks from our first insemination.  We've spent all of the intervening time either distracting ourselves or willfully ignoring any signs or symptoms.  When Heather's stomach acted up, we talked about fiber and protein and too much pizza-- but both with "Baby baby baby baby" buzzing through our heads.  I want to believe... but I'm scared to.

We tested Sunday morning.  Pathetically, I got an error from the digital test first, then tried to use it again before it was ready.  Because you can't try again for an hour.  Listen, yo, we've done our paranoid over-testing; if we want to re-test, the machine needs to fuck off and let us take care of it.  However, breaking the machine would do nothing for our apprehension, so off to Walgreens I went.  (Breaking the machine would not have been a problem unto itself, though, since you can't buy refills: you get two sticks with the digital thing and, after those sticks: whomp whomp, drive down the street to get another.)  I was delighted that Heather wasn't more stressed, and I have surely mastered the art of going to the store in PJs with jacked-up hair, so I got a couple more boxes of tests and a Java Monster for later.  Home again, home again: negative.  What?  Test again.  Negative.

We were both remarkably, admirably philosophical about it.  We repeated that this was just the first test and that nothing counted till she bled.  (This is a super-grim kind of mantra, but it's either that or hoping for a waterfall of mucus.)  We snuggled up and dozed.  Eventually Heather propelled herself out of the bed and I pretended that I was just about to get up, too!  Gym.  Starbucks.  Controversy about lack of Starbucks breakfast sandwiches.
Miz Rachel pulls out the computer, gets to blogging... and bursts into tears. 

I am an admitted crier-- later in the day Heather had to turn off Marley & Me early because I was so overwhelmed-- but I realized that, as much as I've gotten angry and sad, I've never cried about the baby-making.  I cried when Heather and I fought about it, sure, but this was new.  And we fought about it, too.  It's hard working together when it means we come home, angry about the same people, ranting about the same people, and furiously collaborating in our irritation.  We're working together on the baby project now, too, and you just can't get upset by yourself. 

Revealed: Heather had tested secretly Saturday night, before we went to the movies (No Strings Attached: I recommend it), and had spent the evening trying to prepare me with our new "not till there's blood" mantra.  The bitch of it is that I was prepared.  I know every argument about average number of attempts and testing errors, but I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach by some phantom, and what came pouring out was grief. 

It's Monday morning.  Heather said she felt that, if she was going to get her period, it would be today. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"She's two, and she weighs, like, twenty babies."

This afternoon, I betook myself and the latest Bust magazine to the tub in an attempt to counteract both the trash-ass Us Weekly I'd just read and the disappointingly low household temperature.  Not surprisingly, I was overwhelmed by the CD reviews that both evaluated and casually alluded to bands I've never heard of, so Bust was set aside till I had better lighting and perhaps a stout Mountain Dew to sustain me.  Lying back without the magazine to protect me, all I could see in the tub were roundnesses: thighs, belly, breasts (making their second, rapid-fire blog appearance), and all I could do was wonder why we didn't have a deep enough goddamn tub that everything would be fully submerged.

We get caught up in is-she-or-isn't-she (yes, we know she's gay; I'm not talking about that), but this morning Heather said, "What if I am pregnant?  Do you realize we're going to be parents?"

I said, "Oh, I know!  It's going to be awesome.  We're going to be great."  But probably most people think they're going to be great parents
till it happens.  Everyone sucks as parents, says Louis C.K.-- my role model, and yours, no doubt, in all things familial-- and those mistakes stick.  (C.K., Louis, "Daddy, I don't like chicken," Chewed Up, 2009.)  I don't want those mistakes to leave my own daughter yearning to hide her body under bubbles, preferring not to acknowledge its reality.  For that matter, I don't want her to think of her body as "a reality."  

How much control do we have?  I'm not sure.  I remember some ridiculous book coming into our house when I was eight about diet, exercise and health, prompting one of the short-lived but passionate enthusiasms my older sister and I shared (generally according to her instruction).   We made plain popcorn like it said, and tried to follow all of its other mandates.  Kristin was delighted, for example, when I had a minor injury playing in the backyard and she was able to put into practice the book's RICE system: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.  At bedtime, I prattled to Mom about it, and, one night, she said, hesitatingly, that she didn't want me to become critical of my body or expect it to look a certain way.  I was eight and thought she was crazy.

Still, twenty years later, she has one daughter who hasn't publicly worn shorts since ninth grade, and another who's reached the too-skinny mark-- which should be offensive to say, but, I think if Kristin read it, she'd be perversely pleased.

Right now, our greatest fantasy is that there's an embryo snuggled into the lining of Heather's uterus.  In twenty years, I hope our baby's greatest fantasy won't be to hear that she's too skinny.  She will never be allowed to read Us Weekly.

Let it go on

My best friend Sarah told me she was on pins and needles about our two-week wait.  I was honestly startled, because I've forgotten to be and I'll be the one mopping spit-up from my shirt.  (She also told me she thinks my blog should be turned into a book, so, if you're a publisher with exquisite taste, let me know.)

By this point in our last round-- October, for god's sake-- Heather had already cheated with a test and cried in the dark on a cemetery tour when she felt cramps.  It was painful in every respect, even as we were introduced to Elvis' beloved and charismatic cook.  A man in a Hover Round nearly ran us over and I wanted to kick it over, much as I understood his desire to exploit his apparent disability for ill.  Road rage, I guess, doesn't atrophy with one's legs.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ocho days a week

We have booked a trip to Puerto Rico at the beginning of February.  Handily enough, it happens to follow right behind the end of our two-weeks wait, and we're relieved that we have something to look
forward to, no matter how it turns out.

Last Sunday, we rejoiced at that precious egg and dot's appearance.  We expected to go to the clinic early Saturday, Heather's 13th day, but didn't get the sign.  Immediately the spectre of last fall's failed ovulation presented itself, and we worried if we would be able to send the tank back in time.  Sunday morning, Heather got up early, peed, and fell asleep while the monitor processed the results.  When the egg and dot appeared, I couldn't believe our luck.  I giddily texted Nurse Nina, then we zipped over to the clinic.  I warmed the vial between my breasts (feeling that it was less disturbing than my armpit and also more apropos to our baby-making circumstances) while we went over Heather's charts with Nina.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tend upon the hours and days

Friday night, and our biggest excitements are laundry, moving appliances, and texting Nina.  There might be a frozen pizza in the mix, if we really believe.

If everything plays out as it should, tomorrow morning we'll see an egg with a dot in it on the fertility monitor, text Nina, and meet at the clinic at 8.  And then, of course, we'll see a pink line on a stick two weeks later and a few months later have a wee, sweet baby.  That's how things should play out.

The electronic age

Tomorrow we'll do our first insemination of the cycle.  Or anyway we should.  Heather is on Day 12, has copious white mucus, and there are two vials of wildly expensive sperm waiting at the clinic, so if there's no egg-with-dot sign tomorrow, we're still doing it.