Plan B is a contraceptive a woman can take up to three days after unprotected sex. Also known as Emergency Contraception, or "The Morning After Pill," it does nothing for you once a pregnancy is established. But if you take it within three days, the sooner the better, chances of averting pregnancy are up to 89%. It's not a drug to use on a regular basis; it's not without side effects. But if you missed a pill, or the patch or condom fell off, or the condom broke, or if you were raped, or under the influence of passion or any other stupidity-inducing chemical, this drug can save you from the hassle and potential anguish of an abortion.
I've been thinking about Plan B a lot the last couple days, because Tuesday, after leaving New York, I went to J~'s, and that night, the condom fell off. Chances are slim that we have anything to worry about, because we hadn't gotten to ejaculation (in fact still haven't, not during intercourse, anyway). But that doesn't mean there's absolutely no risk of pregnancy.
At work last night, during a brief period of down time when I could've approached someone to write me a prescription, I thought about how I'd felt in New York the previous week, so free and alive. I'd cried in the car as I drove out of town, sad to accept that such a peak experience was at its end, but also glad to know that I was sinking deeper into life, living more fully, ready for more deep experiences, whatever they may be. But was I really ready to take the leap into parenting? Did I have enough faith in the solidity of this still shiny-new relationship? "It's not how I want to do this," I had told J~, as we lay in bed, considering the possibility of pregnancy so soon, "I'd rather be ready, I'd rather decide before conception. But I've been clear for a long time that this is something I want to do, and I feel right about us." I took a minute to think, and then said what seemed true in the moment. "I wouldn't have an abortion, and I won't take Plan B."
"It's not how I want to do it either," J~ had replied, "but I don't doubt that we can do it, or that it would be fun. Hard but fun."
On the phone last night, when I once again reviewed my decision not to take Plan B, he told me about imagining learning that I was pregnant, watching himself react, and what he saw was himself embracing the next adventure. The words that rolled through his mind in positive anticipation were these: Here we go!
We both laughed, giddy, when he spoke them out loud.
Of course, chances are truly slim that I'm pregnant now. But the laughter that bubbled up in us, the thrill behind it, changed the meaning of Plan B for me forever.
I recall something my brother D~ said when I was struggling with miscarriages, something so wise I transcribed it into my journal:
Life is not about making plans and following them. It's about what you do when the plans don't work out.
Here's my take on it:
Plan A is what you strive for. Plan B is how you adjust your course when life inevitably throws you curves. Plan A is important. But Plan B is what life's all about.
Here's to Plan B.