Okay… so I’m not “fabulously fertile” really: after all, this is my first time ever being pregnant, and I have been having sex on and off for 10 years now. Yikes…. ten years. A sixxteen-year old I know already had her first baby and it’s along the lines of what you may be thinking: she was a rebellious girl and developed early (quite a va-va-voomy figure) and she and her boyfriend weren’t careful enough, perhaps. But the truth of the matter is that she, like me, is fertile. Whenever I go out on the town, I see the burgeoning evidence of a population that is not only into reproducing, but can do so with amazing ease. My mother also got lucky in the pregnancy lottery, obviously. And so go many other stories of women who get pregnant by just having their husbands sneeze on them. According to my calculations, I must have gotten pregnant pretty much the first time we “tried”… and we weren’t really even trying.
But I’ve just spent some time reading the misadventures of Julie in a little pregnant. And suddenly, I have something very similar to survivor’s guilt sitting on my tongue and making my mouth taste its own brand of metallic.
As I’m sure many women who cannot get pregnant ask themselves, I have their same question:
No, really. I mean… I figure the answer might lie somewhere in between genetics and Survival of the Fittest, perhaps. But since we humans are an arrogant and obsessive breed, I am now asking myself why my ovum went and found itself a man-sperm and settled down with such amazing speed and why they are building their bloody-draped nest of love inside me without a hitch, while so many other women rage against the continuing dying of the blastula. Why I didn’t need a turkey baster or any other sort of insemination device other than the one my husband was born with, while other women fruitlessly get poked and prodded with all manner of hi-tech gadgets –subjecting themselves to this ongoing metallic rape over and over– just so they can perhaps get pregnant and….. and… and then look forward to high-risk pregnancies, perhaps. Like Julie’s.
When I first started perusing about the site, I couldn’t help but think about my situation and how different it is. Selfish? You betcha. I also was smugly self-congratulatory about how lucky we were, and how I’m so meant to be a mom. But then I realized some things:
1. Honestly, who am I to judge what happens and what doesn’t happen in life? Seriously…
2. I could still lose this baby, I really could. When I panicked on Friday (oh, by the way.. I panicked on Friday because I started spotting and cramping a little.. there…. I said it), I went into hysterics. This is deeply embarrassing to admit, but I whiny-cried like a little bitch and kept on thinking that perhaps this was some sort of weird punishment for wallowing in pride and rejoicing so goddamn early on the fruit of our loins. My husband didn’t even want to use any words or say anything. Then on Monday I went to the doctor and it was thrilling and happy and…. blissfully cliché-ridden to see my tiny embryo’s heartbeat twinkling on the lovely and ultra-modern GE monitor and I realized that I just wanted to see it get bigger and bigger. So when the doctor told me that once an embryo has an established heartbeat the risk of miscarriage is much much lower, I clung onto her words as if they were prophecy.
3. While at first I read some of her entries with a certain air of uterine superiority (“Oh, psh! Why doesn’t she just adopt or something?”), after a while I realized that life sometimes just is. It’s much more exhausting and seemingly unfair than you’d like it to be. It’s happy and sad at the same time and there is really nothing anyone can say about it. And some people, even despite the most adverse and downright horrifying of circumstances plow ahead and not only survive, but thrive. Do we begrudge them their strength and the life they almost tricked life itself into getting? Or do we just hope that sometime it can be our turn to live a charmed life?
When I was in high school, our overachieving English teacher had us focus on a story from the bible: the one about Jacob and Esau, and how Jacob –through cunning and momma Rebekah’s help– steals Esau’s birthright of a blessing from their dying father, Isaac. At first, I remember being infuriated and indignant: how is that in any way excusable? Why would Jacob take what was rightfully Esau’s? And anyway… couldn’t the dad bless both kids?
Fallacious assumption #1: while birthright insured your blessing, I do believe that your birth order –a truly random assignment– should not automatically decide if you’re truly worthy of a gift.
Fallacious assumption #2: I guess “blessing” in this context wasn’t just like a Hispanic-style sign-of-the-cross ritual, but it was far, far more than that. After all, Jacob became Israel. Holy shit, literally. I mean…… Israel as in “the people of…” and “the free and organized state of..”
Trivia: Rebekah was one of a few bible heroines who was barren until an Angel from above thought it was time for her to have kids, apparently. And twins who fought like cats in a bag in the womb, to boot.
Even the most significant patriarchs needed a little bit of external help to come about (Yahweh, M.D. OB/GYN at your service!).
And more importantly in my mind, is the unalienable and undisputable fact that [insert your deity or philosophical belief system here] works in mysterious and wondrous ways.