Friday, March 30, 2007


I hate this time of the month. My breasts are sore, I feel bloated and gross, and I keep fantasizing that I'm pregnant, while at the same time, bitterly doubting it. I'm in the insufferable post-ovulation 2WW ("two week wait"). Worst of all, I've got another week to go.

No, worse than that: Chances are, I'll be going through it again in a month, and again in another month.

J~ finally saw the urologist, Dr. G~, who ordered a second semen analysis. Last time, there were viscosity and motility issues. This time, no viscosity issues at all, and motility was much improved. Instead, the problem was morphology. Only 9% of his sperm were properly formed. Some had bad midsections, some had tail issues. A whopping seventy-one percent had malformed or double heads. What kind of baby, if any, would those make?

Even so, Dr. G~ scrawled this on the results sheet we received in the mail: "Should be okay to go."

Okay to go?
How could he come to that conclusion? Moreover, how could he not explain how he came to that conclusion? Admittedly, (though not until we were in his office and he'd already felt J~ up, and diagnosed him with a small varicocele, by the way) Dr. G~ doesn't specialize in this sort of thing.

We made an appointment with someone who does.

But the first available slot wasn't until the end of April, which means another cycle or two of this holding pattern, and continued uncertainty about whether or not we should be trying at all.

Last night, J~ gestured toward the clock on my studio wall. "I don't know how you stand that thing. The ticking would drive me crazy."

The clock is loud, he's right. But somehow, I barely notice it.

The same is not true of all my clocks.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

My Grand Adventure

On Monday of last week I drove to Providence, RI and parked downtown. My first order of business was to tuck some cash and my cell phone in my coat pocket, grab my tote bag, and head for WRNI. The tote held three things: the essay I'd written for NPR two years ago, the latest Orion magazine (in case I was kept waiting), and my ice skates.

The essay was written shortly after my first wedding, planned pregnancy, and miscarriage, from the perspective I had at that time on life and the direction of mine thus far. If you'd told me then that I would soon experience another pregnancy, miscarriage, and an impromptu wedding, not to mention divorce, of course I wouldn't have believed you. Even if I did believe you, and you explained, in graphic detail, how painful it was all going to be, I would have had no clue. Maybe I've lived a sheltered life, but I had no idea emotional trauma could hurt like that.

I'm not talking about the miscarriages here, I'm talking about the break-up of my marriage to A~. If you haven't felt the sensation of such intimate betrayal, let me tell you, it's like having your guts ripped out in slow-motion. It hurts. It literally, physically hurts. I still break down sobbing every now and then. Life is, in so many ways, wonderful now, don't get me wrong. But I'm by no means "over it."

So perhaps you can appreciate how strange it felt to read aloud, for public consumption, that "to this date, my unplanned teen pregnancy remains the most painful episode of my life." I wrote that with such confidence, clueless that anything could ever happen to rival the shame and guilt and gory dead-baby nightmares. It was definitely a dark time. But, people, I'm telling you, I didn't know from pain.

The two men who recorded me were very friendly and appreciative. They were also determined to have me read with gravitas and emotion; urging me to re-recite certain lines again and again, slowing down here, adding more drama there. It didn't take long -- I was in and out in less than an hour (I never needed the magazine) -- but even so, I left that radio station lathered in nervous sweat.

As soon as I hit the sidewalk, my spirits soared. It was a sunny, gorgeous early spring day, and the ice rink across the street was all but deserted. I paid my three dollars and spent the next two hours pretending, as I had on the pond in the backyard of my childhood winters, that I had all the grace and skill of an Olympic ice dancer: frontwards, backwards, one-legged, even managing a few drunken-looking and techniqueless spins. For those two hours, it didn't matter that I am actually thirty-seven-years-old, fertility challenged, and wearing a sweat-soaked bra, nor did it matter that I was unaccompanied in my adventure (as we all are, always, to some extent), not to mention confused about my direction in life. I was having fun. And sometimes, that's all that matters.

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Modicum of Fame

Fame is probably too strong of a word. But the point is, if all goes as it has been going, my blog will receive its 50,000th hit sometime in the next two weeks, which, to me, is a big deal. I started this thing hoping for nothing more than an incentive to write on a regular basis. Actually, that's not true. I was dreaming of book deals and other paid writing gigs. To that end, I'm still dreaming. But I did get that incentive I was looking for, and I do average 600-700 hits each week. Because of this audience (in other words, YOU), every now and then, I get a solicitation from people who have something to sell.

The most recent of these was an offer to send a free copy of the book, The Essential Fertility Log: An Organizer and Record-Keeper to Help You Get Pregnant by Suzanne Schlosberg, in hopes that I would recommend or at least mention it on the blog.

Okay, so now I've mentioned it.

As for recommendations -- I may be a sucker for free stuff, but I'm not a total whore. Upon perusal of said freebie, I can only say that if you are totally single-mindedly obsessed or you have more energy and time than you know what to do with, maybe this would be useful to you. But as far as I'm concerned, this book is a wire-bound prescription for a panic attack. Even the cover makes me nervous, mocking me with pictures of cute baby feet, a pregnant belly, and a positive HPT.

But more power to you, Suzanne Schlosberg, because your books are actually written and published and out there in the world for jerks like me to disparage.

Speaking of putting it out there, I wrote an essay two years ago, which I submitted to NPR's This I Believe essay collection. It's about my teenage abortion in the light of a mid-thirties miscarriage (you can read it here). Two years later, I've received a request from a local NPR affiliate to include it in their program. I'm to read the essay myself, to be recorded Monday. I don't know when the show airs, but if there is a podcast, I'll link to it.

More baby-pursuit updates to come...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Speaking of Old...

I'm in Florida now, soon to attend the funeral of my beloved uncle B~, who milked life for all it was worth. I actually flew down on Thursday, the day before he died, and I'm glad I did. I got to kiss him good bye, which is a precious thing, though he probably wasn't aware of it. And there's been a lot to do, what with funeral arrangements and family coming in and his apartment to clean out. Going through all the files, the photo albums, and correspondence, the (I'm not kidding with this one) Rock Hard Abs videos, it is amazing to see that even when a 93-year existence comes to an end, it is still a life interrupted.

There isn't time for a proper post right now, but suffice it to say: life is short, even when it's long.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Too Young to be Old

As of yesterday, I am thirty-seven years old.

"Oh, you're so young!" That was a sixty-something aquaintance speaking. She has children my age.

It's all a matter of perspective, I guess, which is what I told her. I am young -- for senior citizen discounts. For Alzheimers. But I'm old for high school. Much too old for diapers. (Come to think of it, much too young for diapers as well.) To put it in strictly Floridian terms, since I have relatives in that sunny state and it's spring-break season: I'm young for Del Rey Beach and old for Fort Lauderdale.

The truth is, when that sixty-something person waved thirty-seven off as generally young, I was thinking, I'm not young for child-bearing. "Easy for you to say," I now imagine myself shooting back at her, "You're old."

But that seems mean, and I am not, by nature, mean. And even if I was, I'm too old for that kind of thing.

My birthday, by the way, was fun: a day trip with my family and my brother's family for good food and ice skating and some long-overdue time in the art store with my nephew, who recently turned nine. Now that's young.