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.