I catch myself rounding up again today, just as I did yesterday and the day before. I relate to the baby quest’s two-weeks-wait the same way I do to my payday two-weeks-wait:
“Okay, today is Friday, which is pretty much the same as Saturday, which is just before Sunday, so we’re pretty much there.”
And, like the payday wait, there’s no advantage to being close except to imagine the other side. “Soon I can fill my gas tank!” doesn’t dim the blinking light on my dash, nor does a finger-crossing “Soon we’ll be pregnant” allow me the relief that plus sign could bring.
The balancing act, though, continues to be between optimistic impatience and fearful reluctance. I can’t wait till we test because I can so easily imagine the plus sign and the tears and the subsequent hugging and texting, but I also want to drag these few last days out, lest the tears and hugging come after a minus sign. Things are so upbeat and hopeful in our household right now that I dread giving it up; I want to cling to the few moments of happiness this process affords us. There’s not a lot.
My Facebook friend’s first negative was, I’m ashamed to say, easy to set aside in some ways: “Aww, that’s the first. Hardly anyone gets it the first time, so don’t take it to heart.” But, truly, every negative is heartbreaking. The first one tore us up, and so did the second. As much as we’ve gotten numb and detached as the process goes on, those first moments after the period starts are wrenching. It feels like you can’t come back from it.
Heather and I talk about our early optimism and misguided relationship to statistics—how we thought we might be one of those rare couples who gets pregnant the first time, or that we’d certainly earned it after three painful negatives—and say that we should have accepted that it was going to take a long time and be hurtful. But, fuck, nothing about insemination is casual.
You’ve got to chart beforehand (or, anyhow, you should) and buy all sorts of equipment, learn the difference between lotiony and egg-white texture in cervical mucus, pick a donor, find and deal with a doctor (and pay her), order the sperm at just the right time, deal with dry ice and thawing, practice with syringes, keep from hurting or being hurt by your partner… There’s no way to do it with a shrug of the shoulders. “Pick the cheapest sperm and we’ll use a turkey baster on day 14.” It just isn’t an option. Every time you inseminate, you’re bringing all that preparation and longing with you, and every time you get a negative, it’s all swept away.
I have this uncharacteristic confidence about #7, so I feel a distance between myself and that grief, but the little m is flashing on our fertility monitor; Heather could start bleeding at any time. I might get a phone call in ten minutes to say she’s spotting, and we’ll fake ourselves out, but I know what that means, and I know that I’ll want to hide under the covers for days. Every second of pleasure and presumption could be gone.