On Making Babies
When you’re a newlywed, people immediately start teasing you about getting pregnant. It’s like a switch is flipped, and everyone simultaneously gets the memo to start cracking jokes about it. Those of us who actually want some time to just be a married couple first, and aren’t quite ready to start a family right away, we find ourselves getting annoyed and wishing those jokes would just stop already.
And then the time comes – you’re ready. You stop taking the pill, and start taking your waking temperature. You start keeping track of things you never even thought twice (or maybe even once) about, like how bloated you are at a certain point in your cycle, the extremity of your mood swings, or the texture of your cervical mucus. It’s a whole new, strange and primordial world. And by this time, the jokes about getting pregnant are gone, and you start to wonder if people have forgotten about you. Occasionally you’ll get a stray “Hey, when are you guys going to have kids?” and at first it’s comforting to know that people haven’t given up on you. But when you’ve been trying for months, and months, and more months, and still haven’t seen that second blue line or that little plus sign, those half-teasing questions nearly reduce you to tears.
It’s not that easy. I’ll tell you right now: you won’t get pregnant right away. Sure, there are people who do. There are people who get pregnant when they really don’t want to. We’ve certainly all heard those stories. And it seems unfair that those of us who really, really want it, it just doesn’t happen right away. But we keep the faith, knowing that it will happen eventually, even if some kind of medical intervention is required. Because damn it, it has to.
Month after month goes by. The charts are rather fascinating, downright mind-boggling sometimes. Who knew you don’t actually ovulate on day 15? Any woman who has ever seriously tried to get pregnant, that’s who. The fact that no one ever tells you that, and you have to learn it for yourself, is downright cruel. A twenty-eight day cycle? HA! I have yet to have a single one of those since going off the pill. I actually rejoiced when my last cycle was a mere thirty-seven days.
It’s easy to get bitter. But I am trying really hard not to. I’m trying not to lose sight of what this is all about. It’s about expanding our family, bringing a wonderful new little person into the world and nurturing that little person to make him or her into the sweetest, kindest, most responsible citizen that we can make. It’s about taking the love that my husband and I have for each other and producing something inexplicably wonderful out of it.
And here we thought it would be so easy. We though having sex on a semi-regular schedule would lead to a little blastocyst within a couple of months. We thought it would be fun. And sometimes it is. But other times I find myself on the edge of despair, wondering if it will ever happen for us. Wondering why some ill-advised teenager in the backseat of a car gets pregnant when it’s the last thing she would ever want, and we simply do not succeed no matter how hard we try.
It hasn’t been that long. I know it can take years for some people. I know that other people are unable to conceive at all. I hold onto the hope that I am not one of those people, and constantly remind myself that I just need to be patient. But we have been trying for almost nine months now, and the irony of that time period is not lost on me.
In the mean time, I maintain my charts. I try to eat well and get exercise, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and create a happy and healthy environment for that little embryo to start its earliest days. Whenever it decides to arrive, we’ll be ready for it. More ready than it can ever know or imagine. And some day we’ll probably have forgotten just how hard it all was, and we’ll say yes it took us a little while to get pregnant with you, but every moment of waiting was worth it.