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The International Writers Magazine: Life

Not Pregnant Enough
Juliana Perry

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. I’d forgotten to start and warm it up earlier, now I was going to be late.
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.

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, there’s your baby"! I sat on the exam table, the same table I’d been on for months, where I’d 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, didn’t she know better by now?

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 husband’s 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 to happen.

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 husband’s 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 didn’t 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 (it’s 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, it’s Day 5 and yesterday’s blood was somehow not right. The numbers did not add up. This blastocyte maybe was a bit of flotsam and jetsam biding it’s 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 don’t 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 Enough.
© Juliana Perry December 4th 2007
buytwoget1free at
Juliana Perry

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