Shhh.

People in my life who know I am off birth control and actively tempting conception:

1) My friends who have babies.  They all think I’m already a year behind schedule.

2) The mothers of my friends who have babies.

3) My great aunts, who told me in no uncertain terms that now that they are in their seventies, the fact that I have no children is really unacceptable.

4) My grandma, because she is amazing.

5) Pretty much everyone else who has been within earshot of me and my giant mouth for the past three months.

 

People who do not know we’re actively tempting conception:

1) My parents.  When something has the potential to be awkward, judgmental or uncomfortable, I usually jump right in.  It’s kinda my thing.  However, when something has the potential to be awkward, judgmental or uncomfortable with my parents, I avoid discussing it all together.  I am really mature that way.

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Code Red.

There is really nothing remarkable or new or mind blowing for me to share today, except that if you were to ask me how I was feeling right now about “trying” to have a baby,  I would tell you that I am currently nestled quite firmly in the “terrified” end of the spectrum.  I’m not particularly worried about my terror, because since I stopped refilling my birth control prescription in May, I’ve vacillated between total, absolute certainty that this is the right decision and total, absolute, crippling fear that this is the worst decision in the history of the world, so this current slump is nothing new.

Reasons I am sure this is the right decision:

1) I am married to the love of my life.

2) We are both employed working with children – meaning, we’ll obviously be excellent parents.

3) We are renting a (very small) bungalow house and have our own washer and dryer.  (As ridiculous as that sounds, it is such an incredible boon to have a laundry room while renting in Los Angeles.)

4) We’ve wanted children together since we met five years ago.

5) We are responsible adults with loving families who have tabled all the subtleties and are now just blatantly asking for a baby before they all get too old to remember a new name.

 

Reasons I find this decision horrifying:

1) Money.  Always.  I’ve just come out of a crazy two years of graduate school, in a field I’m not sure I even want to pursue anymore, so we’re recovering from the major trauma of being a one-income household while paying for an advanced degree for 36 months.  Money.  Always.

2) I am not exactly where I want to be, career-wise, for the rest of my life.

 

When my brain is calm and my bank account swells with a new paycheck and I visit my friends’ babies, I am convinced this is right.  Perhaps, in times like these, I just need to listen to my gut and trust the universe.  That would be easier if the universe provided me with some more money.

Blood Sucker.

Three days after completing the full ten-day Provera cycle, I started my first period in two and a half months.  Two days after that, I went to a lab and had thirteen vials of blood drawn.  I nearly passed out in the blue pleather medical chair.

Why thirteen vials?  Because in my infinite wisdom, I decided to knock out two complicated blood tests in one blood lab experience, as I have notoriously difficult veins and am really not a fan of having phlebotomists play minesweeper with needles under my skin.  The two tests:

1) a hormone panel, to make sure I am a real-life, fertile human woman.

2) a genetic panel, to make sure I am not a carrier of things such as cystic fibrosis (as my husband’s brother has the disease).

I have never passed out.  Not from running, not from drinking, not from sickness.  If my equilibrium is threatened, my body usually rights itself through vigorous good old-fashioned vomiting and then all is well.  So, imagine my surprise when, after the woman taking my blood managed to hit pay dirt the third time she pierced my skin and started discussing how many, many vials there were to fill, I started to get sweaty and dizzy.  I vaguely remember trying to describe to her the hereditary mechanism of cystic fibrosis before she screamed for smelling salts and a Capri-Sun.

I ended the visit sprawled out on a cot, sipping high fructose corn syrup out of a foil pouch and trying to act like a normal person, despite the fact that she had just had to help me up from the chair while I grinned like a moron.

It was such a good time.

I should know the results of both tests in two to three weeks.  Until then, I’ll probably just panic.

Pregnant Pause.

As a lifelong student, hypochondriac, anthropologist and thrill seeker, I have been doing research on conception and childbirth for several years, even when I was convinced that there was no way in hell I would ever be pregnant.  Pregnancy is the human behavior, and as such, has been studied for centuries, and yet it is still a complete mystery to everyone.  That is both horrifying and amazing to me.  I’ve read tons of books, watched all the movies and discussed the topic with many, many moms.  However, I still feel like there is a reality, a gravitas, missing from the discussion.  What the what is really going on here?  What should I really expect?  Most of the people I’ve read about or seen interviewed or asked really graphic questions in person seem oddly removed from the emotion of it all.  Maybe it’s all so horrific that their postpartum brains just erase it all and paint in its place a rose colored portrait of an episiotomy – “You know what?  It’s really not so bad.”  Sure.  That, I buy.

In desperation at the library the other day, I picked up Jenny McCarthy’s 2001 pregnancy/birth book, “Belly Laughs,” which promises a frank, “crass,” and hilarious (read: just my style) take on growing a tiny new person inside yourself.  I read the entire thing in two hours and I can safely say I knew more about pregnancy when I was eleven than Jenny McCarthy thinks adult pregnant women do.

So, I’m going to be real with you.  Really real.  I’m not going to pretend to blow your mind by telling you that sometimes pregnant women get stretch marks, even if they’re famous for their looks (because I’ve had stretch marks since 8th grade).  What I will tell you is this: when you haven’t gotten your period after being off the pill for two months, your doctor will prescribe “Provera,” a progesterone replacement, that will jump start your wonky, birth-controlled cycle again.  You will take this drug each night for ten days.  During this time, you could start your period, but most likely you will just feel achy and exhausted and crampy and disgusting for ten days and still not start to bleed.  At this point, you may be terrified that you are pregnant and infertile at the same time.  You will wonder how it was so easy for the girls on “Teen Mom” to get pregnant after having unprotected sex for two weeks.  You will be paranoid and sleepless and irritable.  You will also be really, truly, totally sincerely thrilled that you have begun the process.  You are officially riding the Baby Train.