I remember way back then, in the midst of my story, a friend’s wedding was coming up and she was being coy about TTC. But I dragged it out of her.

“I mean, why wait?” she says sheepishly. Then she gets down to business. “The clock is ticking. I can’t afford to wait. I’ve already got the fiance booked for a motility test and I’ve got my exam the same week. Actually, I lied to my doctor’s nurse and said we’d been trying for six months.”

Is the whole world having babies all of a sudden, or am I suddenly in tune with another plane of this universe — the one where wannabe moms convene? We can sniff each other out and offer all sorts of useless information and advice, no matter how personal.

“Well, you’re not wasting any time.”

“Nope. We’re not. But I figured you guys would be ready to start trying by now too. We should have kids around the same time so they can play together.”

“But we live in different countries!” This is ridiculous — I’m getting pressure and it’s not even from my mother-in-law. “Have you been talking to my husband,” I ask suspiciously.

“No, of course not. Listen if you’re trying, you need to start with folic acid. You should have about three months’ worth in your system beforehand. And, I’ve been reading that drinking coffee and alcohol reduces your chances…”

I cut her off. “That’s nice. Look, que sera, sera. I’ve gotta get back to work.” As soon as I hang up on her, I lean back in my chair and exhale deeply.

I really can’t help how I felt back then. In retrospect, maybe I should’ve picked up on her urgency. But with unexplained infertility, there is no telling what would’ve happened back then anyway. By writing this down, I am reliving it, but I am also expiating. It’s important, I think, to not have regrets, to remember everything good, and learn and go forward.

On another note, here’s a recent situation with the shoe on the other foot.

I am having lunch with a good friend that is also 41. I used to buy into all that crap about 40 being the new 30 — yeah, well tell that to my ovaries! But she is still buying into that crap and I am not going to lecture her. I can, however, offer what I have learned over the past six or seven years.

She is still TTC after about eight months. Appallingly, her doctor told her last week that she just needs to try more often, from day 8 to 20, every day. I raise an eyebrow. Yet I know exactly how she feels. I was there (as you’ll read in upcoming posts). No one wants to think he or she could have a fertility problem. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, I caution my inner instinct to pounce with warnings and dire statistics. So I tell her about cycle monitoring.

Up here in the cold north, cycle monitoring is covered by provincial health insurance. It’s probably covered by loads of insurers in the US. It is also cheap. And some of the least invasive help you can get when you’re TTC. My friend had no idea about it. Her doctor hadn’t told her. My opinion is that everybody — but everybody — trying to conceive should be told about cycle monitoring. Those of us in the DE boat already know that at 41, you should only cycle monitor for about three months before you try something more drastic.

Why is it that doctors are so ill-informed? I actually think her doctor is doing her a huge disservice by not fully informing her of the various options out there. Never mind the frequency of sex, they should tell you that you can only get pregnant about two days out of 30. How about those numbers? That’s 24 days out of 365. That’s 15 per cent. You’d think the way we were indoctrinated in grade school about original sin, that so much as a smear of semen would impregnate you no matter what point your cycle (and right now, I’m wishing it were so!). My friend has never had an in-depth conversation or consultation about fertility with her doctor. She’s getting all her information from me. Me, of all people! It’s always the women that have to pass it on. Have we not moved forward the last couple of thousand years?

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End of October, late one evening, my Civil Disobedience ends

Okay, I give up! I need sex. Now. Tonight.

“You win,” I proclaim to my husband.

“Win what?” he says absently.

“Let’s have sex. Now.”

“But we just ate.”

So I invoke the magic words, “I might be fertile, you know.”

And that’s that. Am I really fertile? I honestly don’t know, which as we all know can be a teeny little problem when you’re TTC.

~~~

At work, I surf the Internet (c’mon, we all do it!). Here’s what I find:

  • Pre-conception is now its own industry: stress relief, yoga, ovulation predictor kits, naturopathic herb, acupuncture and more are being hocked to women who don’t know why they’re not knocked up.
  • There are a lot of desperate women out there who want to be knocked up.
  • The desperate women’s chat rooms are whiny and depressing. How on earth could G’s friends have found any comfort in that?
  • There is a lot of unsubstantiated information on conception advice, apart from timing. Hardly anywhere do I find tough, hard, medical facts to support “helpful” advice from friends that got pregnant. Every article is presaged by “there is no definite medical evidence to suggest…” This is where people get crazy ideas about no longer colouring their hair or cutting out coffee.

Clearly the Internet is a waste of time and I get back to work, which is a good thing as that day I have to finish a presentation to the Board.

~~~

A few weeks later, 10 am at work

Fuck. My period is late. What if IT happens this month? I am sitting on the toilet, disappointed that it’s just drippy mucous and not blood. I know a lot about mucous now. According to the pregnancy sites and chat rooms, a woman’s cervix releases mucous at various stages of consistency throughout the month, and this consistency is to be analyzed to determine what stage of fertility one is at. It seems like a lot of work. Just remembering which stage is which is hard enough. I think if it’s clear and filmy, you’re fertile; when it’s dry and white, it’s over, baby. Or is it the other way around?

Whatever the stage, this detection method is entirely useless, since when you’re in a particular stage, it’s too late already! You have to catch it just before it changes. That’s why I didn’t pay too much attention to the articles. It’s pointless. The preconception writers (who are they, anyway?) counsel women to check their mucous every day, record it and after a few months, infer a timeline of fertility. I can’t imagine doing that. In fact, I will never do that. I mean, who has the time? I don’t know if the husband has been reading about this; he’d probably think it’s some kinky fertility sex thing. Well, I’m not sharing.

10:05 am

But what if I were pregnant? Would it be so bad? Apparently nothing shows for about four months and that’s almost halfway through. Hmmm. Would I want a girl or a boy? Definitely a girl. Easier. Cuter. More fun to dress. I can imagine a girl listening to me; but a boy just might defy me and stretch me to the limits of my (non-existent) patience. Everyone says you acquire oodles of patience when it’s your own kid, but you know what? I don’t believe them. Look at the number of babies that are shaken to death by their parents. Of course, they’re to blame, but clearly patience is not everyone’s main strength.

Alright, I’m not thinking about this anymore. There is nothing I can do at this point except get back to work.