International Writers Magazine: Life
Typical in my pre-occupied
world of reproductive endocrinologists and infertility, the daily trips
into town, 30 miles for a blood draw and an ultrasound, had me forgetting
lots of things. Considering the months leading up to now, it seemed forgivable
by those who know this infertile me, I was much harder on myself than
anyone. Waiting in the car, white clouds billowing from the exhaust, I
could see little through the frosted windows. I was tense and not feeling
the cold so much as adding to it.
I hurried through
the mud room and out onto the porch, nearly sashaying my pregnant
self right off the deck on an inch of solid ice. Somehow I recovered,
safely if not gracefully, and worked my way down the equally ice
encrusted steps to my car. Id forgotten to start and warm
it up earlier, now I was going to be late.
Yesterday I had my first ultrasound. Literally a few days pregnant, merely
Day 5, and here is the nurse pointing out this tiny dot saying, "Congratulations,
theres your baby"! I sat on the exam table, the same table
Id been on for months, where Id had the same words spoken
to me prematurely on two different occasions and felt my shoulders fuse
with my spine, my veins fill with cold electricity and my bile rise. I
looked into her eyes, the happy, unthinking, forgetful nurse and said
slowly "I thought we discussed this. It is not Congratulations,
I am not pregnant enough". Jesus, didnt she know better by
I had come to an epiphany of sorts during the past two miscarriages and
the resulting infertility treatments; you really could be Not Pregnant
Enough. All the pregnancy magazines say "you are never just a little
bit pregnant". I knew differently. I was just a little bit pregnant
and understood the tentative hold I had on this blastocyte. Months of
preparation from sucking the hormones right out of my body and creating
a menopausal environment which nearly ended my husbands life over
the Thanksgiving holiday; that may or may not have involved a sharp knife
and a head of cabbage. I call it "Black Thursday". As well as
the endless vitamins, shots in the butt, blood draws, impersonal ultrasounds
and totally invasive procedures to make sure the "environment"
was prepared. I was drained, prepped and felt like a train wreck waiting
Not pregnant enough was a place I knew well. So familiar with a D and
C to tell the anesthesiologist in advance that I need extra anti nausea
meds before the good stuff. I had a secret love affair with the last second
of consciousness because the drug induced world of nothing was so much
nicer. Done so often that the staff knew how much I liked the warm blankets
as I woke from my fog and dreamless place. It never ceased to amaze me
just how hungry I would be as the nurse helped me with my panties.
Not pregnant enough to dare putting away the plethora of drugs, syringes,
gauze pads and alcohol swabs. Not nearly enough dump the bottle of chardonnay
in the fridge down the drain. No where near planning the countdown calendar
with peas in pods and other such silliness you can find on the Internet
these days. Afraid to even hope that I might get to day 7, let alone the
first trimester, because you know, everyone says once you make it past
12 weeks you are good to go. 12 weeks? Sounded like an eternity to me.
Just pregnant enough to take the less than enthusiastic, limp-wrist, of
my husbands hand while watching Letterman and place it on my abdomen
and say "Feel it? Think pregnant honey". I was pregnant enough
to be completely unable to stop myself from sharing too much information
and setting myself up for the fall.
Everything about my infertility and subsequent attempts at fertility was
measured by the day, almost by the hour. Every day from the insemination
was booked with trips to give blood, alternating with ultrasounds meant
to search out that dot. The blood draws were the worst, every day working
out the math to see if the numbers had doubled, stayed the same or plunged.
Never certain mathematically; I would try to reach my geek husband, unsuccessfully,
and then resort to panicking about numbers that didnt quite add
up. The equation was something along the lines of every certain number
of hours the HCG (human growth hormone) should double, which will determine
if the trains will collide or pass safely at the crossing. I was never
good with word problems.
My infertility landscape was littered with one egocentric, asshole Aussie
Doctor who insulted me regularly (its amazing what you will subject
yourself to when you feel backed into a corner), a weak and pathetic "yes-man"
of a husband, friends and family who knew how to say things like "Just
relax, stop trying so hard", and my own selfish drive to get what
I wanted. If I had been able to see the picture as a whole I might have
seen my own demons swirling about my body, claws raking my Not Pregnant
Enough belly with the faces of these people I hated and loved.
Today the procedure is an early blood draw, its Day 5 and yesterdays
blood was somehow not right. The numbers did not add up. This blastocyte
maybe was a bit of flotsam and jetsam biding its time until the
next D and C. My car is warm and I will have to drive too fast over the
icy roads to get to the lab on time. I will not make small talk with the
technician, she knows the deal here and so do I. I will duck out before
I see the nurses who will undoubtedly smile and congratulate me, not having
seen my latest numbers. I will park away from the part of the garage where
the asshole Doctor parks because sometimes I feel irrational and homicidal
when I see his shiny, shiny Jaguar.
When I leave, I will hit the first intersection and not be able to keep
myself together, I will sob out loud, alone in my car. I will hold my
breath and hope that I dont have to pull over, that would be worse.
I will feel my shoulders shake, and my tears will fall onto my seatbelt,
snug across my lap, just low enough to be safe when you are Not Pregnant
© Juliana Perry December 4th 2007
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