Trying to Get Pregnant: All Work, No Fun

I thought I’d be an easy IVF patient: healthy, young (at least among this subset of women), with no apparent fertility problems. My husband Lars and I were undertaking in vitro fertilization to avoid conceiving a child with muscular dystrophy, a harrowing disease caused by a gene I carry.

When we first started treatment I felt like an A+ student. Every night I did my homework: I measured and mixed medications in syringes, swabbed my stomach with alcohol, overrode the brain alarm that says do not stab yourself, and injected hormones under my skin. Every other morning I went to the doctor to collect my gold star. They drew my blood and stuck a probe up my body to scan my ovaries, and the results kept coming back great! Unlike those women whose struggles I’d read on the infertility message boards, I was growing follicles at a steady clip and was on track for success. (read more…)

I Understand My Mom Now (3 Mysteries Explained)

I get it now; several of my mom’s baffling behaviors regarding her kids have been explained. I’m not a mom myself, but just being an aunt has really shed light on three key mysteries about her.

Mystery 1: The Case of the Blurry Photo

My mom has a shelf of photos above her kitchen sink that we call “The Shrine.” (Note that some of these photos are blown up so much that it’s just a loved one’s face, blurry in the frame.) (read more…)

Pumping in Penn Station

I have pumped in every bathroom in Penn Station. NJ Transit is too rushed and there aren’t enough stalls. The LIRR has ample room but is NEVER clean. My bathroom of choice these days is the newly renovated Amtrak area. Not too much of a wait, lots of stalls so people aren’t banging on the door, and it’s typically the cleanest of the bunch. When I commute into the city, I have to plan my entire day around when and where I’m going to pump. I bring my small, manual pump that fits in my tote, usually concealed in an old plastic bag from Target. (read more…)

I Find Myself Very Convincing

I want to have children, just not now.

I like my life. I like its mix of spontaneity and plans. I like eating out and sleeping in. I like having dinner with my wife and walking to dessert and then just bumming around for a bit. I like seeing movies and exploring new places. I like traveling. And I do like the idea of having a child and experiencing all of these things together… I just don’t like it now. (read more…)

The Years That Ask

I find myself disappointed when I learn that a woman I admire has kids. Like when I read Heidi Julavits’ memoir, “A Folded Clock,” I was excited when she describes an abortion. “Maybe she doesn’t have kids!” came a gleeful shout from somewhere inside me. She does, I discovered a few chapters later, and my heart sank a bit. Listening to an episode of Krista Tippett’s podcast, On Being, I had the same experience. “I wonder if she has kids?” She’s so wise and successful. I Googled for the answer. She does (two). Cue disappointment.

(read more…)