Thursday, July 15, 2010

Morning Drives

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 [2] 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?


  1. I too "hated" children. Funny things is...I still do! I actually cannot stand children. Actually, it is more the parents that I can't stand because they don't parent well and have little bratty kids. But that's a whole separate comment. :)

    I am so very sorry that things are going slower than you and Matt want. It is so hard. The longing, the waiting, the counting, the testing. The seeing a baby or baby stuff everywhere you look. Every commercial on TV is another pregnancy test commercial. Every TV show is about a woman, that is not you, having a baby. And everything on the news is about how people who shouldn't even be allowed to have children have had yet another one and are somehow abusing it. (Wow - that probably didn't make you feel any better. I'm so sorry)

    I just want you to know I know how you feel. How things change in your life and how you once felt about things is not how you now feel about things. I admire you for doing what you are doing to get pregnant. You will make a wonderful mom - especially with your shear determination! I'm not saying to give up or that all is hopeless because it is not...but maybe just keep in the back of your mind the idea of adoption. Not to think about now. But maybe just think about that as an option later on. It has it's own amazing benefits. :) HUGS to you. And just like fighting Crohn's (and Matt's so horribly, terribly debilitating disease) DON'T GIVE UP! KEEP FIGHTING! KEEP TRYING!!

  2. Jenni,
    I'm with you re: bratty kids and bad parenting (although I KNOW I can't talk and need to shut my trap since I'm not a parent!). ;-)

    Thank you for your comment. We definitely have plans to look into adopting. We thought we'd do what was recommended / prudent / reasonable (and affordable!) before giving up. I'm not sure how women do this for years. I plan to give it a good go, but nothing too prolonged.

    Thank you for your support! It's amazing how many women have had to deal with this. I'm reminded everytime I'm in the waiting room!

  3. After being an au pair, I thought I never wanted children. And it was David who kept scheming about how we could fit a baby into a one-bedroom apartment (nowdays he has to settle for ducklings). But turns out that my kids are one of the best things in my life, and nothing brings me more joy.
    I know you will be a great parent--look at how well you do with Penny!


  4. Well, she is our doggie-daughter! :-) (Although I'm concerned that it foreshadows our parenting style...I'm the only disciplinarian! Last week she slobbered and slept on the couch and I was the only one who yelled at her. She then ran to Matt for protection!)

  5. I've never hated children ( I work with babies, after all), but I get horrified looks when I say I don't want children. It stems from an honest lack of desire for one and fear of having one with all my health issues. I am worried that I one day will grow that longing for my own spawn. What if I am at an advanced age? What if my health gets worse and I CAN'T get pregnant when I want to? What if pregnancy makes my health worse?

    *sigh*. I suppose I should not worry. Life will create what is meant to be. Right?


  6. Hi Red,

    I definitely agree, mostly - what is, is. Or something (ha!). But you're right, it's scary.

    I know I'll be very sad if we can't have a child, and we're not going to push it after a certain point, but just like I take medication for my Crohn's everyday, I'm not against doing what is medically (within reason)necessary to try to have a child.

    But agreed - it will all pan out, sometime, somehow, eventually and worrying isn't going to help. Now if only I could live that, instead of just write it! ;-)