Friday, March 27, 2009

How I Became a Mom - Part 1

When I was a little girl, I, like most little girls, had dreams. Big dreams. I wanted a palomino pony and white cowgirl boots with gold eagles, I wanted to be Cinderella, and I wanted to be a mommy. As I grew up, a lot of my dreams changed...I outgrew the pony thing, and I learned to my dismay that "Cinderella" is not an occupation. But I stayed true to my childhood dream of becoming a mommy.

Now, as a little girl, I didn't know much about how one became a mommy. I knew it required a "mommy" and a "daddy," but beyond that, I didn't really know how it happened. I never dreamed it might require a referral from an OB-GYN, a Reproductive Endocrinologist, hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of ovulation predictor kits and co-pays, what feels like thousands of fights with the HMO, two years and counting of basal body temperature (BBT) charts, and still my dream remained unfulfilled. Over two years of waiting. And hoping. And praying. Did I mention the waiting?

Well-meaning friends said, "Relax, it will happen when you least expect it." How could I? The doctor recommended that every morning, before I got up, or spoke, or did anything, that I take my temperature with a special thermometer that allowed me to make little charts to show the doctor to determine whether I was ovulating and whether my husband and I were having sex at the appropriate time. Thus, my first thought and first act of each and every day was a reminder that I am infertile.

Other friends said, "Well, at least you are having fun trying!" Nothing could have been further from the truth. Imagine having your sex life assessed by perfect strangers. Having the doctor peruse your BBT charts only to announce that you completely missed the boat and did not have sex at the appropriate time is bad enough. Imagine the embarrassment of the post-coital test. Yep. The. Post. Coital. Test. Wherein you pee on little sticks every morning until one changes colors, then your doctor tells you when to have sex and when to come in to the office, where he swabs out your cervix to see how you and your sweetie's juices mingle. Or don't mingle, as the case may be. I guess things could have been worse...we were never asked to take a test during actual coitus. I can picture it now—“Dammit, smile at the judges, honey! We get extra points for showmanship!”

Picture a Saturday morning. I’ve peed on an ovulation predictor stick and it has turned the appropriate color. I’ve called the doc, and he has agreed to meet us at his office. We get there, and there is another couple waiting there, refusing to make eye contact. I figured they were there for the same thing and felt like we should do a little cheer (B-A-B-Y, you will get one if you try! Goooooo, team!), or say a prayer together, or at least whisper “good luck”. But we didn’t. And they didn’t.

What happened was Mr. Sweetie was taken back to the Big Room of Porn to make his contribution to the project. I thought, “Oh gosh, I hope he doesn’t take too long...that would be embarrassing! What if they have to call me back there to help?” Then I thought, “Oh no, what if it doesn’t take him any time at all? What if he is back here in 3 minutes flat? Which would be more embarrassing?” That’s a question to which you won’t find an answer in the etiquette books—what is the appropriate length of time to take jacking off at the doctor’s office?

Eventually, in an unembarrassing amount of time, Mr. Sweetie was back and we had breakfast while they did something with his swimmers. (What were they doing? I’m not sure but I remember the doc said there was spinning involved. Maybe it was a special spinning exercise class for swimmers? I don’t know.) Then we went back and I got intimate with a high-tech turkey baster and that was that. Thhhppppptttt. Nada.

So yeah, a lot of tests. Fun times. I have given quarts of blood, peed on a bazillion sticks (and of course, my hand every damn time), and had dye squirted up places that, trust me, should not be dyed. One doc painfully squeezed the girls to see whether he could get me to spontaneously lactate. Or so he said. I think he hated women and boobies and just made that up.

Then, there are the results of the tests. Let me tell you, nothing can make a girl feel more hostile than being told that she has "hostile cervical mucus." I told the doc, that ain’t the only hostile thing about me. By that point I was pretty much hostile from stem to stern.

As invasive and horrible as the tests and procedures we underwent were, we didn’t take advantage of half of the technology available to us. We tried ovulation inducing drugs and artificial insemination (to get the swimmers past the hostile cervical mucus) but never got to IVF and the really high-tech stuff.

Every month, I would grieve so when I got my period. It was like a little death every month. The death of the dream that this would be the month, that this procedure would be the one that “took.” I would be inconsolable for days. Mr. Sweetie, God love him, always knew what to do when I was in the throes of this grief—make some soothing sounds, then go to the store and purchase $20 worth of magazines and chocolate and lay them at my feet. See why I love him so?

In the midst of this roller coaster, we were very clear that if we ever got to the point where the doctor started talking IVF, we were moving on to adoption. We figured we only had one wad of cash with which to bet, and adoption gave us the best odds. My cousin, who Mr. Sweetie knew in college way before he met me, has a son who was adopted so our family had already had a positive experience with adoption. It just seemed right. Honestly, if we hadn’t had so many misconceptions (ha!) about it, we would have chosen adoption far earlier. We were told there were no white babies, and a black birth mom wouldn’t pick a white family to parent her child so there were no black babies either. We were told it would cost tens of thousands of dollars. We were told it would take six years. We were told we would pay a lot of expenses for a birth mom who would end up changing her mind and we would be left with no money and no baby. We were idiots.


Milly said...

And there was fertile me huge with Miss Littles.

Sorry for the heart break.

It did take a while for it to happen and I did have a some Little that didn’t make it. I felt like I was pregnant so I tested and it came up positive but it didn’t feel right so I waited to say anything to anyone. When I stared spotting I knew something wasn’t right. The next test came back negative.

Then Miss Littles came to us.

God’s path is the best. He knew the timing for Little Sweetie and grabbed you and Mr. Sweetie up.

(BTW TMI when thinking of my bro. and the cup)

Sweetie Pie said...


Honestly, since I hated being an only child so much, I was just thrilled for my nephew when you were pregnant with Miss Littles. Sorry for the TMI!

Robin Thomas: A Nest With a View said...

Is it okay that your misery made me laugh? Love the way you open up about this information, hate that it happened to you that way. Huuuuuug...