Having a child is not something I ever thought I'd do automatically, and I clearly remember in college spouting how much I "hated" (oh yes, hated) kids. Friends said I'd change my mind, and I said with piss and vinegar, "Watch me!"
So how did I end up with my legs spread in a doctor's office for the fourth time this week?
I've never been a baby person. Women in my office squeal and fuss when a baby makes an appearance. I generally hide at my desk until it's not socially acceptable and then I acknowledge the baby with an awkward, and very adult, "hello". (It's so forced I might as well offer a Victorian, "And I bid you a good day, Sir," after fluffing their peach-fuzz hair and returning to my desk.) But something shifted in the last five years. Although nonchalant (and still teetering on awkwardness) on the outside when I cross paths with a baby or small child, internally I'm flush with longing.
It's funny how things like this creep up on you.
Matt is wonderful with kids and always wanted them. I've been a slower adopter. Early in our relationship when he asked what my intentions were, and I nodded and said, "Well, sure, sometime in our mid-thirties or something." A year or two later that number changed to thirty (arbitrary but at the time it was a far-off date, with time only slowly ticking toward real adulthood). Somewhere between now and then, and between getting sick, we thought we might as well grab the bull by the horns, and have a go at it (interestingly enough, I was the one who pushed for the earlier date). That was over a year and a half ago; so much for grabbing the bull by the horns.
I've never been someone who said "things happen for a reason". That's a bunch of phooey nonsense and insulting when you think about all the pain in the world. But it's impossible not to think that, well, maybe I shouldn't be reproducing. Let's just say this: no one is going to be buyin' my eggs anytime soon. Those things are train wrecks laced with problematic genes. The only thing I can perhaps offer is a proclivity to sarcasm and a vocabulary that could guarantee a decent SAT score. Hell, that's even questionable.
So I was thinking about this - all of this - the other morning. Why are we doing all of this? On Monday at 6:30 pm it began raining hard. Big, fat drops that didn't stop until late the next morning as I drove 1.5 hours to the doctors and 1.5 hours to work. Many roads were flooded and closed, but I was determined to get to the doctor. It's quietly become the most important thing in my life. And lying naked from the waist down has become the position most synonymous with this longing.
Before and after ovulation I'm monitored almost daily. How is my follicle (egg) growing? What are my LH, FSH, Estradiol and Progesterone levels? Everyday I submit to these blood tests and every afternoon I receive a call with the results from a new nurse (there must be two dozen of them in the practice).
"You sure are a sluggish one," the latest nurse offered as I still didn't ovulate by Day 20. I'm still grappling with these terms, these numbers, and have been too tired to do the research. My numbers are too low, my FSH isn't surging, and I'm taking supplemental progesterone. But a very quick primer (all per Wikipedia):
LH (Luteinizing Hormone): A hormone produced by the anterior pituitary gland. In females, an acute rise of LH called the LH surge triggers ovulation  and development of the corpus luteum.
FSH (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone): FSH regulates the development, growth, pubertal maturation, and reproductive processes of the body. FSH and Luteinizing hormone (LH) act synergistically in reproduction.
Estradiol: A sex hormone. Estradiol is the predominant sex hormone present in females. It is also present in males, and at a higher level because it is being constantly produced. In females it is only produced 3 out of 30 days of the cycle. It represents the major estrogen in humans. Estradiol has not only a critical impact on reproductive and sexual functioning, but also affects other organs including the bones.
Progesterone: A C-21 steroid hormone involved in the female menstrual cycle, pregnancy (supports gestation) and embryogenesis of humans and other species. Progesterone belongs to a class of hormones called progestogens, and is the major naturally occurring human progestogen.
My foray into fertility has more shots and ultrasounds (In only two months! A mere fertility novice...) than I can write in this post: don't worry, it's more to gross you out with later. (Especially with an account of the post-coital test. Now that's when things start getting saucy!)
But through all the headache, heartache, the long drives to an affordable doctor, and impediment to work this is what we want - so very much. And that I can't explain or rationalize. It's a biological impulse that's taken me by surprise. A longing to love and nurture that I wasn't expecting. All from a girl who no more than 10 years ago hated children.
I have to chuckle: how's that for life taking you by surprise?