“You’re getting pregnant this weekend,” my doctor announced.
I sat up to look at him between my feet in the exam table stirrups. “Are you sure?” He showed me the results of the internal ultrasound: Those three little blobs were eggs. The horrid-tasting herbal liquids my fertility acupuncturist prescribed, and the needles he stuck into my body from my head to my feet, had worked. I had three beautiful chances to finally, finally have a baby.
I’d been waiting a long time—not just for viable eggs, but a viable man. In my twenties, I allowed myself to have fun with non-husband material—crazy musicians and wild artists. In my thirties, I got a little more serious, dating men with stable jobs. (In most cases, their jobs were more stable than they were.)
What about love? That happened, but the man I fell for said on our first date that the last thing he wanted was children. At the time, I suffered from Dating Deafness, a condition that gives women selective hearing.
We spent the next six years in an on-again, off-again, on-again, friends for now, lovers until someone loses their mind again novela. Our commitment to each other wavered, but never his resolve to keep from becoming a father. Finally, I ended the affair (and our mutual agony).
I CAN’T GO IT ALONE
Now, without a partner—even an unwilling one—I leaned heavily on my spiritual beliefs to bring me peace about being childless. My mother suggested that I could be a single mom, as she had been, but I had no desire to recreate my childhood.
My parents married because of me. They never hid that fact because it would have been a bit difficult: They met, married a few months later, and were divorced by the time I was two years old. (They’re both great, but they go together like rice and jellybeans.) This impressed upon me the importance of waiting for the right man to marry and start a family.
And, on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica, there he was: My husband to be. I fell in love with his calm, spiritual nature, his generous heart. I also noticed he was darn handsome.
One advantage of dating over 40 is that you put your cards on the table quickly. We talked about our past relationships, our finances—all the romantic stuff—and then I threw out my ace. “How do you feel about kids?”
“I never thought I’d have any before,” my HTB said. “But I like the idea, with you.” Joy was quickly followed by anxiety. When I told doctors I was 42, I didn’t even have to get undressed before they suggested adoption. Many IVF clinics would refuse me, given my chances of skewing their success rates lower. I’d never knowingly been pregnant before in my life; was I even fertile?
WHAT’S THAT TICKING NOISE? OH, IT’S ME
My gyno said I was—barely. “If you’re going to do something, do it now,” she advised.
I wasn’t even engaged yet. I know what you’re thinking: So what? If you want kids, go for it! Get married later! But remember the story of my parents. All my life, I’d patted my belly and promised the eggs within that, if they became children, there would be a father in their lives—and not one who lived across town and saw them on Tuesdays.
We started trying a few months before I walked down the aisle. I’d already called in the cavalry: the fertility acupuncturist who got my ovaries on a regular and productive schedule, and a specialist who didn’t do IVF. Why not try IVF? During our many deep and honest conversations, my now-husband and I discussed this possibility. I prayed on it. I considered it and took note of how my body felt. Everything that came back said that this was not for me. I believe IVF is a wonderful option, and friends of mine have beautiful children as a result of this miracle. But my husband and I have very similar spiritual belief systems, which include accepting our circumstances. If I got pregnant, great! If not, we would accept that.
Well, to a point: I went beyond our agreement with the specialists. I told my husband I was just getting my body in as babymaking-ready shape as I could. And now, with three eggs poised for fertilization, I was as ready as I’d ever be. “If you don’t get pregnant this weekend,” my doctor said, “you never will.” He was that confident.
My husband and I did everything we were supposed to do. We waited. We went away on a romantic weekend, where we considered the possibility of twins. And when we got home, I got my period.
A LOSS AND THEN A PRAYER ANSWERED
We went through a period of mourning for our dream, and then we remembered again how blessed we were to have found each other. And we accepted the many, many gifts we already had.
When I practice acceptance in my life, and when I question whether a situation is truly negative, I leave room for the God of my understanding to give me incredible gifts. A few years later, I was blessed with a nephew. I experienced pure joy in watching my sister Luisa glow in a healthy pregnancy, and meeting little CC, and watching my father become an abuelo for the first time . . . There is no way I can describe my happiness. I watch my husband take photos of his nephew/godson, and my heart could not be more full. I wanted a baby in my life, and now I have one.
If you are having trouble getting pregnant, consider the words of a friend who asked me, “Do you want to give birth, or do you want to become a parent?” For women who can give birth, how wonderful; for women who adopt and foster, how wonderful. And for women who, like myself, choose to be the crazy tia who lets their nephew or niece eat cake for dinner, and stay up way past their bedtime to watch the movie that mami said was too scary, and to whom they can go with questions they’re afraid to ask their parents, I say this: Congratulations. If there are children in your life in whatever way, both you, and they, are blessed.