This is actually a surprisingly hard post to write. It’s strange to have big news, though, and not be sharing it with this community, so, having just finished dinner, with J and Bram upstairs in the bath together, and with absolutely no desire to do what I should be doing – which is still.working.on.my.almost.due.dissertation – I thought this might be the right moment.
So, here’s the thing.
With my body. A baby we’re calling (for reasons I’ll explain) Love Child.
Why this is hard to write. For most of our readers, this will be nothing but joyful news. And I love that. And I’m grateful for that. But I know that some of our readers found their way here because they were unable to get pregnant, or to carry, and they wanted sisters in that. And there is something about sharing the NGP role as mothers who didn’t choose it at first, but who ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY choose it now. Who have embraced the magic that is NGP-hood with a love that is fierce and great and in no way less than. I feel a huge tie to that group of women. I feel like whether or not I’m able to carry to term, I will feel of them for the rest of my life because that was just my path to motherhood. But I know that for me, when other NGPs have gotten pregnant, it has stung a little. I have felt happy for them, sure, but also a little sad for me. Sometimes more than a little sad. Like they’ve left my club, and we fought for this club, and it was hard earned, and it is deeply beloved, and really: can’t we all just stay in the club? For this reason, I almost never tried again. And in part for this reason, I decided to give my body exactly one. more. try. And I can’t say what the next year will bring, so I may not carry safely to term, but I have an awful lot of faith in this new being. And if I do, that will make me both an NGP and a GP. And though this makes me happy, it also makes me deeply sad. And like I’m somehow betraying the single best (loosely assembled) group of women I’ve ever known. And that is hard. But that’s only one part of it.
So a few more parts. Written chronologically, which is never my thing, but which seems the only way to tell this story.
- A couple of months ago, I went in for an annual/physical. We did a big lab workup, and everything looked great. My thyroid numbers are holding steady and healthy, which is wonderful as I’ve been medicine-free since late July. This was a nice moment for my bodily confidence.
- A week or two after that, we got curious, so we contacted the high-risk clinic we saw near the end of my last pregnancy to see if they’d want to see me before or during a possible pregnancy. They said no. They said to take a baby aspirin a day for the Factor V Leiden, and to see whoever we wanted. That we could go to the low-risk hospital where we delivered Bram. That we could stay with our beloved midwives. We also asked our dear midwife friend and two nurse practitioners, and they all felt confident that what happened to E was about her and not me, and that I could, and even should, try again.
- From there, J left it up to me, and I was fairly set against carrying. I liked knowing that I had support, and that people believed in my body, but the strong, decisive desire I used to have to carry has just faded now, so I felt a lot of ambivalence. It’s been that way for awhile, really: strong, biological urges when I ovulate, but otherwise, I’m fully contended with NGP-hood. [This is still true now. I don't need this in any way.] But then, shortly after my period ended (the only period that J and I shared, by the way, between her pregnancy with Bram and this pregnancy), I woke up with a strong (STRONG) instinct to try THAT cycle and never again. To try one time. To see how it felt and leave the door open for future tries, but mostly: to offer my body to the universe for this purpose one time and then let it go for once and for all. I called J at work a few hours into the day, and she (bless her consummately supportive self) quickly agreed. She’d called our nurse practitioner and our sperm bank by the time she came home that day. It was one of the most spontaneous things we’ve ever done.
- Those two weeks were great. One of the things I wanted out of this try was to see if we were able to be laid back, happy people about it. To make the try as close to a moment of reckless, playful, forgot-to-use-protection sweetness as possible given our, you know, lesbianism. I wanted to know if it could feel fun. I was so worried and stressed and frantic about getting pregnant with Emmett Ever, and we were so grief-stricken when we were trying to make Bram. I wanted to see if we could enjoy just playing around, giving the universe an open door, but being okay whether the universe took it or not. And we nailed it. We had a blast. We dreamed of a baby that could come of that experience, but we didn’t do it with desperation. We were playful.
- The insemination followed suit: intimate, casual, sexy. We put Bram to bed, J made a little nest on the living room floor, and our nurse practitioner stopped by. J did almost everything. It was magical. I had no real expectations, which was so nice. We actually had fun. This, by the way, is why we’re calling this baby Love Child. Yogi’s mama knew we were trying, and she called any baby that came from this try “a little a love child,” and we adored that. Love Child. Yes.
- The next day, I felt hopeful and peaceful, which was surprising to me (the peaceful part, at least). I had expected to be anxious (nervous whether or not I was conceiving), but I just wasn’t. But I also felt strongly that I never wanted to try again. We had had such a lovely IUI, but I didn’t need it at all, and I sort of didn’t want to push further, if that makes sense. I told J that this was my only try, and she was completely supportive. I felt excited for the two-week-wait because I felt that it could be the last two weeks of my life when I might be pregnant; I wanted to enjoy it. Anyway, it was a sweet day. But, though we didn’t know it, my dad fell that day. And when he went to bed that night, he would never wake up.
- We got the call the next morning, and we rushed to him. There was a moment when the rest of my family went to move their cars while I followed two nurses and my dad from the ICU to hospice. It was just us. I told them we’d just tried to conceive because I wanted to tell my dad, and because I was struggling to make sense of the timing. They were kind. And as we moved through the hallways, his bed in front of me, I put my hand on my belly and wished there was a baby there. Someone to make this make sense. Please be here with me now. It was the one and only time I wished fiercely for a particular outcome (instead of just surrendering to the experience).
- In the days between when my dad died and his funeral, I became increasingly convinced that I was pregnant. I was sure when I gave my dad’s eulogy. Not sure in a willful way, but just sure. I told J sometimes, but I tried not to be too confident out loud. I knew that with my dad dying, I would sound crazy, desperate. And I didn’t feel that way. I just felt sure of that little being. Sure that s/he was with me and my dad when I was saying goodbye. [Incidentally, I don't remember ever feeling confident during my pregnancy with Emmett. Deeply desirous, but not confident.]
- This Sunday, J, Bram, and I spent a gorgeous afternoon together. A long walk that ended at the pharmacy to buy pregnancy tests, followed by a delicious dinner. Lots of laughter and sunshine. We had agreed to test Monday morning, but I didn’t want that: the tense waiting, the expectation. I knew what it would say (as insane as that must sound), and I wanted it to be on that gorgeous day, not in the morning, not rushed. So when she took B up for his bath, I tested. Then I ran up the stairs to show her.
- So that’s the story so far. I don’t have a worried feeling, but I could be wrong. A dear friend said, “you know, sometimes souls just head up, and then bounce right back down again.” I don’t know that I believe in that exactly, but it’s the sweetest thing to imagine that my dad is a part of this child. It’s not the tribute to him that I always wanted – that I always thought we’d find only through adoption – but it feels like the loveliest tribute nevertheless. We’re leaving our profile up at our agency because, of course, this little one could not stay. It’s early days. And even when it’s not, there will be higher risks. We wouldn’t want to leave the agency if we didn’t have to. Only time will tell, and we like open doors better than closed ones. But it feels good. It feels sweet and right in a strange, grief-stricken, peaceful, almost wholesome way. Our little Love Child, who we invited in but didn’t beg.
- Oh, and about timing. We probably conceived on the day my dad fell. And this child is due on November 21st, 2013: one year to the day after Saul came into the world. Our second trimester begins on May 10th, which is the day I defend my dissertation, and ends on my mama’s birthday. This baby has our kind of timing.