While you’re busy making other plans

            I was ambivalent about fertility treatment.  On the one hand, I wanted very much to be a mother.  On the other hand, it seemed to me that if my body was not cooperating, it would be irresponsible to deplete scarce medical resources for the sake of bullying it into compliance when there were certainly already enough children overpopulating the planet, one or two of whom might find us to be suitable parents. 

            Sometimes a social conscience can be a bitch.

            But not always.  In this particular situation, when it became apparent that – for reasons entirely too long and excruciatingly dull to go into here – adoption was not the best of options for us, I was able to gag my social conscience and lash it to a chair in the corner.  I sort of fell into fertility treatment, going in one day to find out what was wrong and a month later walking around with track marks on my arms from all the blood tests.  It was not long before I found myself jabbing myself in the thigh each day with a needle, reasoning, “Well, it is only a small needle.”  Perhaps I was comparing it to the three-inch monstrosity the nurse used to give me my HCG shot.

            I did, however, draw a line in the sand.  There was a point – never mind where – at which I told J we would have to stop treatment and start adoption proceedings.  I just could only justify so much medical intervention when I knew full-well I would love an adopted child just as much as a biological one, when each child produced over-populates the planet a little more, and when I felt like medical resources should probably be going towards children with cancer, not my pathetic excuse for a uterus.  We never did reach that point.  We were on the cusp of it when I got pregnant with Zachary.

            None of this is meant to judge or wag fingers at those who choose to do whatever it takes to get pregnant.  I have been there, I have done that, and I have the increased risk of ovarian cancer to prove it.  I get it.  But I was ambivalent about my own participation in the process.

            The second time around, we needed much less help.  After trying for six months on our own, I went in to my reproductive endocrinologist.  “We’ll start the Gonal-F next month,” he told me, “since you are about to ovulate.  Let’s give you some extra progesterone this month and see if we can steal a pass.”  Three days later, I ovulated; for the next two weeks, I spotted every day.  Two weeks later, we found out I was pregnant. 

            And that was it.  I have two lovely boys.  To have one child is to fill a strong, primitive need to reproduce.  To have two children is to give them one another, a precious gift if ever there was one.  To have three?  Well, to have three is to more than replicate ourselves, to increase the number of people on the plant rather than maintaining the status quo once we kick the bucket.  Given the gigantic ecological footprint of American children, I knew there was no way I would go ahead and have more.

            Our hearts have enough room for several more children.  I am just not so sure about the planet.  And J?  He’s not so sure about the budget.  And so it was that, every time Benjamin outgrew a toy or a t-shirt, we gave it away, and fast.  No sense storing those things, gathering dust.

            Here are two things we have learned lately. 

1)      Getting rid of something is the fastest way to ensure you will need it again. 

2)      A past history of infertility is not the most effective method of birth control.

We’re going to need to be careful from now on, or next time it will be triplets, given the curve on which my fertility seems to improve.

            There is not enough room on the planet, which puts the burden on us to make sure we are even more responsible in our use of resources.  There is enough room in the budget because, really, the kids don’t need as much as we think they do.  There will be enough room in the car, because we found out a week before J bought our new car, making an abrupt switch from a Prius to a minivan (oh, shut up, social conscience).  And there sure is enough room in all of our hearts, although Benjamin may take some convincing that there is enough room on our laps.

            Two pink lines.  Unplanned but very welcome.  And John Lennon had it right.

60 responses to “While you’re busy making other plans

  1. I was all set to comment on fertility treatment and how I was desperate for it, how I cried about not getting pregnant, but then I kept reading…


  2. Wow… Congratulations!

  3. It’s not the gigantic ecological footprint of kids, but of the adults they will become that is cause for concern.

  4. Welcome to my world and congratulations. David is our “gift” child. Our surpise gift. I found out I was pregnant 1 week before my husband’s company was doing massive layoffs. Nice.

    Oh, and when they get older you should be able to fit them in a Pirius. (not now though) I have a Pontiac Vibe and all the kids fit. Fit and I get 33+ mph (probably more with my stickshift)

    Congrats again!

  5. ACK!


    Congratulations, Emily!

  6. oh Emily – congratulations! One thing that worked for me – after several years between pregnancies and nearly 4 since a birth was my son going to Kindergarten. I was pregnant within a week. And seriously in the 12 months before I had starting shedding baby things left right and center. I sent booster seats and stroller to Africa with friends who were moving there – not retractable gifts – then the vomiting started.
    How are you feeling?!?

  7. Aww… congratulations!!! This is really big news! All the best with the pregnancy and the move and all that…

  8. Oh, wow. Congratulations. That is big, surprising, wonderful news.

    And you sure can weave a story.

  9. I am very happy for you guys! Congratulations!!

  10. Wow! And wow!!


  11. Congratulations!

    Jumping up and down happy for you.

  12. Oh, Emily. Congratulations!

  13. WHAT!!!

    I am so so happy for you. I got pregnant with Graham 2 weeks before our IUI consult. We have another scheduled for next week and I too am hoping to steal a pass! You give me hope Emily, you give me hope.

  14. I actually had to read those last few paragraphs twice to be sure that you meant what I thought you meant.


    (And I am not, by the way, convinced that Western countries with a low birth rate are necessarily better for the world than those same countries with a somewhat higher birthrate.)

  15. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you.

  16. Holy crap! You’re pregnant! Congratulations. I’ve been behind in my reading these past couple of weeks and as I read this I thought, damn, I missed out on the announcement. But no! You are just sly about announcing things.

  17. HAAA!!!! And congratulations too 🙂

    None of my children were planned and I think, sometimes that I could get pregnant just by being in the same room as the Mr. The little “snip snip” took care of that…hopefully.

    We had given away all of our baby stuff just months before finding out about #3. Sigh.

  18. I did not see that coming as I was reading… Congratulations!

    And no wonder you were happy J took care of that car purchase.

  19. Emily! Congrats!!

    Very exciting news!

  20. Oh YAY! How exciting! Congrats! You absolutly have enough love in you to share with another child. And I’m sure Ben will learn to share the lap as well. If not, I’m sure Zachary will teach him, being the good big brother he is! 🙂

    By the way – my sister, brother and I – all surprises! hehe (and my brother was a 10 year later – no one they knew had left-over baby stuff surprise!)

  21. I read that about 4 times to make sure I was reading correctly.
    WOWWWW!!!!! Amazing!!!!
    Congratulations! So exciting!

  22. And by the way, my Ben was a complete and total surprise. And thank God for it. The best surprise I’ve ever had! 🙂

  23. Wow. Congratulations! 🙂

  24. OH WOW! So wonderful. Again, I have to wonder if pregnancy is catching over fiber-optic cable. Babies, babies everywhere!

    So happy for you! A new Californian!

  25. Congrats! Lucky kids to have two caring, responsible parents.

  26. Oh. My. GOD!!!!!!!!

    I would NEVER have guessed the ending of this post. Not in a million years. Oh! I am so, so, so, so happy for you ALL!

    Hooray for pink lines! 😀

  27. Congratulations!!!

  28. What a clever way to spill the beans! Congrats!

  29. …and I am still smiling!! What joyous news!
    with a warm and fuzzy heart, I send you guys giant hugs!

  30. Oh my gosh Oh my gosh Oh my gosh!!

    That is amazing! Congratualtions!!!!!!!!!!

  31. Congratulations! And what a great way to announce it!

  32. wow. big news. big, wonderful news. congrats.

    as the fifth child out of seven (& many happy big family memories) & mom of three, it’s hard for me to ‘go there’ thinking about family size/ overpopulation/ hogging resources but LOADS of people had something to say to my mom about this when she was dealing with us as little ones in the 1970s.

    she liked to reply to the average street heckler, “you worry about the quantity. i’ll worry about the quality.”

    yup, we all need to worry about diminishing resources, but i’d like to believe all of our lives have added goodness to the world 🙂

  33. yay!!!!

    i am so happy for you!


  34. Oh my goodness! What a wonderful suprise! Congratulations to you and your family!

  35. Wow, that IS a surprise, indeed. Congrats to all of you! I could bet that the surprise child is going to be a girl – don’t know why … and btw. great writing, Emily!

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  36. Wow. You buried the lede.

    Congratulations many, many times over.


  38. ah! wow! congrats! will you have moved to L.A. by the time this one comes into the world? How exciting. Aw, little ones. We’ve been talking about another one…though I keep going back and forth. And back and forth. Remember I’m always free to help out with the kiddos if you and your family make it up north! The redwoods are a great spot for a vacation 🙂

  39. Holy cow. Three. My head spins at the thought. But you sound more together than I. Congrats to you!

  40. OMG!!! I am so happy for you!!!

    Congrats! 🙂


    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.


  42. I know those infertility track marks quite well. I have veins like a junkie’s.

    OH MY GOD! *big hugs* Congrats!

  43. Oh Congratulations, Emily! If anybody can give back to the world caring, thoughtful, environment-conscious human beings, it’s you.

  44. Congratulations Emily!!

    I always wanted at least 3 children as I was the third child born to my parents. Alas, my body had a mind of it’s own.

    I am very thankful for the 2 I have!

  45. Congratulations! Miss a couple of days reading (darn work training…) and just see what happens! Three children is a wonderful number – I know. Three quite close in age children is also wonderful – ditto. Moving while pregnant with two small children? Yup, done that too! It’s all good.

  46. Congratulations! Welcome to the Mother-of-Three club, which I think is just one short of the “My God, How many kids do you HAVE?” club.

  47. Congratulations! That is fantastic news, really.

  48. Emily! How wonderful!! I’m so excited for you…now do as your bloggy pal Angela would do and go eat some ice cream!

  49. sly indeed, that announcement…and wonderful! congrats, Emily…may it be a happy, healthy, uneventful pregnancy with great joy at the end.

  50. Ack!

    I had to read the end three times to make sure you meant what you meant… Congratulations!

  51. Congratulations!

    Enjoy the minivan. And when your kids leave home, and you know they will, you can get another prius or whatever is out there then. Probably something better, although I love riding in my friend’s prius. In the interim, plan for something they can learn to drive on. That’s gonna come up fast. It’ll be fun! 🙂

  52. Congratulatins! 3 is the new 2, you know.

  53. Congratulations. I admire you for admitting your ambivalence about the adoption/fertility treatment choice– you’ve put it so eloquently and in a manner that can’t be disagreed with (reasonably).

  54. HOLY SHIT, Emily!


    And here I was about to inform you that you need to have 2.1 kids to keep our population level.

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only who with increasing infertility. We now use TWO forms of birth control at all times.

  55. Pingback: NHS and me (part one) « Wheels on the bus

  56. Belated congratulations!

    Re: your #2 – My new GYN laughed at herself when she asked me what I was doing for birth control. In my case though, it’s been working…

  57. Congratulations! This makes my heart shiver and brings a smile to my face.

  58. I’m late to your news… congratulations. And I’m wondering if you want to join me in lobbying Toyota to add built-in, fold-down 5 point harnesses to their Prius. Because if they did, families of 5 could still drive them. We tried, but can’t fit 3 carseats in the back. Built-ins, baby!