My husband and I started dating when I was 36. Three weeks in, in the middle of a madly sexy moment, I mentioned I wanted a baby… like now. The fun stopped as he contemplated information that would send most men scurrying away thinking, “Lose my number!” But when he finally spoke, it was the sweetest sentence I’d ever heard.
“I’ve never really thought about having kids before,” said the man who would become my husband. “But with you, it seems right.” The fun started back up.
Yeah, well, hahaha. A year later, sex had become all about baby-making. Ovulation timing, IUIs and Clomid were first, then IVF, along with a wheat, dairy, sugar and alcohol-free diet. Life was no longer any fun and with each miscarriage, I began to feel less: less creative, less productive, less womanly, less deserving of happiness. On many nights, curled up in a ball in a dark room, my husband would climb into bed next to me — his own pain stuck in place as he attended to mine — and try to talk me back into the light.
On our third IVF, we got pregnant again, but I wouldn’t celebrate. I was too gun shy of the crash landing that occurred when the last two pregnancies went sideways. Our first ultrasound was the day before Christmas Eve, but despite the proximity of Christ’s birthday, it was indeed devastation once again. Another lifeless pregnancy sac confirmed in black and white that whatever maternal switch we females have that allows us to procreate had indeed been turned off in me. Shame was now mixed in with sadness.
We gave it a week and then scheduled a D & C. But first, Ethan drove me back to the fertility clinic at Tarzana Hospital for one last ultrasound — just in case do miracles happen. But I was well aware that for a 39-year-old woman with a history of recurrent miscarriage, my odds of having biological children had slipped precariously close to zero. As the doctor spread ultrasound gel over my flat stomach, his face somber and intense, I looked away, not wanting to see that once again I’d built the house, but no one was home. I focused on my husband’s sweet, sad face — we would get through this, right? — and then, a moment later, when the grainy, gray picture of my womb came into focus, I saw my husband smile.
Seven months later, my son came squalling into the world, a runty creature who looked like E.T. with a black Mohawk. My husband cut the cord and my hands reached out for him, twitching with a desire I had never felt. I cuddled E.T. in my arms, feeling his silky head and the warmth of his 5-pound body radiate through me, like some long missing electric blanket. I was finally whole. I was finally at peace. I was finally free of the morning sickness that had plagued me from the very beginning. And when I finally quit crying, the first thing I said was, “Would someone please get me a pizza and a glass of champagne?”
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