Emory was conceived a year ago today. I know the exact day almost down the minute for several reasons and I’ll mention a few of them below.
Four months earlier, I had gone to visit my doctor. I had blood work run. She checked for any genetic predispositions. Everything looked fine except that my measles shot had expired. (I wrote a bit about the testing here.) We also discussed ovulation and the possibility of things taking a while based on my age. Now, that doesn’t mean my doctor thought I was too old to conceive a baby. Quite the contrary. She made it abundantly clear that while I may be older compared to the rest of the nation, I was actually younger than the average New Yorker. I felt better and immediately began adding kids to my imaginary family.
She told me that usually a woman must try for an entire year before they start dealing with the possibility of fertility drugs. She told me not to freak out if it doesn’t happen right away.
She went over ovulation with me. We discussed when a woman ovulates and then she told me about those sticks women can buy (and pee on) that let you know immediately.
TobyJoe and I weren’t ready yet. I wanted to make sure I was healthy enough to actually have a baby, that my pipes were in working order, my blood up to par, etc. etc.
Over the next four months, I made jokes to remind him of my intentions.
“What do you want to eat?”
“Let’s make a baby!”
I eventually purchased one of those ovulation test kits. It ran me a small fortune for three sticks and I remember standing in the drugstore thinking that if I had to continue buying them, we might have to take out a loan. I tested myself once, a few days before Emory was conceived, while his father was away on business. I got an idea of when things take place. I was ready for whenever we were ready.
Over the years, many friends of mine (so many, I no longer have enough fingers to keep count) have had miscarriages. Still others spent months and months and months crying and fighting while trying to conceive. I know couples who spent nearly their entire life savings trying to have a baby. I have heard horror story after horror story. And I wish I were exaggerating, if anything, I’m holding back a little bit. But if there’s a point to be had here, it’s that I was convinced, based on what I learned from the people I know, that it would take me forever to become pregnant. And I was even more convinced based on the number of miscarriages I had heard about (seriously, dozens and dozens) that I would most likely experience at least one miscarriage. I was so sure of this, I would have bet money on it.
That’s why, when we got pregnant on the very first non-try, I was shocked, downright shocked. (It was a “non-try” because I had peed on a stick and figured out that I would no longer be ovulating by the time TobyJoe got back from Boston. Oops.)
So, I was pregnant. On the very first try. But I didn’t know it for three weeks and in that time I consumed a couple of glasses of wine here and there all the while my body was creating Emory. I was absolutely certain I had screwed everything up. Of course, as soon as I figured out I was pregnant, I never touched another glass of wine. But I was certain I had ruined everything because of those first couple of weeks. I kept thinking, “You’re going to be punished for this.” Punished by who? For what?
I told a few select friends. I had one rule: I’d share my early pregnancy with any person who I also felt comfortable enough telling that I miscarried. I was so sure that I would miscarry, I told those people that if I do miscarry, I’d like them to carry on about their business. I didn’t want anyone to act sad. I wanted things to go back to normal immediately. I told everyone that I wasn’t yet attached to the “sack of cells” growing inside of me.
8 weeks into my pregnancy, when I saw Emory’s heart for the very first time, everything began to change. It was so tiny! But it was a solid, beautiful heart. And I cried when I saw it.
4 weeks later, I was still pregnant. And we made the announcement to everyone.
For a long time, for almost four months into my pregnancy, I thought of him as a sack of cells. I even referred to him as such. (He later became Ndugu.) He was growing, the pregnancy side-effects were huge, but I kept him far away emotionally. I was still so sure something would go wrong.
I don’t believe there’s a God out there making things happen. And all the prayer in the world couldn’t keep the “sack of cells” alive for my friends. I don’t believe in a higher power calling the shots for us and I tend to put my faith in science more than religion. I know this belief doesn’t exactly make me very popular with the American public, but it’s the truth. I just don’t believe in all of that.
I do believe in the power of retrospect. Like, had this piece not landed on that spot at that particular time, the foundation would have splintered. For example, many of those friends went on to have and adopt beautiful babies, babies they never would have met had things not unfolded the way in which they had.
Now? Now my sack of cells is a babbling fool, a great big beautiful babbling fool that I want to smooch on so hard, my lips hurt yearning for it. And so. I look at the (albeit easy) conception of Emory as something that had to happen for reasons I am unaware of, reasons I may never fully become aware of. For example, we’ve only tried once. Who knows what’ll happen if we try again. Maybe this sack of cells was my only chance. This wonderfully awesome, amazingly outstanding, hilariously incredible sack of cells was my only chance.
(Click the video below. It’s of Emory talking to me. I am on the phone with TobyJoe as well.)
So, yeah, my sack of cells was conceived one year ago today. And the folks who believe that life starts at conception might even call this Emory’s birthday. And I have to admit, now that I know him, now that he’s Emory, I can’t help but think of today as something special.
See what I mean about the power of retrospect?
Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), where one writes every day for the month of November, which is easier said than done.