Two of my friends who got pregnant with the help of fertility treatments around the time I did are already trying for baby #2. I’ve always sworn I couldn’t go through it again. It was too brutal to put myself through a second time. I tell myself maybe now that I’ve been pregnant once, my body will know what to do all by itself. So, we’re trying naturally, or not trying per se, but not trying not to, so it could conceivably happen if my body has the capacity to do it without the help of science—well, more than just science. We threw everything in existence at the babymaking effort: IUI, IVF, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, a nutritionist-supervised diet that involved cutting out sugar, flour, fruit, alcohol, coffee, dairy and everything else that tastes good, chiropractic adjustments, massage, yoga, meditation. I also went to a clinic in Tijuana where they injected me with my own urine and had weekly phone sessions with a faith healer and a massage therapist friend spread rose petals all over my belly.
I’m not ready to go through it again. As much as I’d love to give Aidan a sibling. I figure if it doesn’t happen, we’ll adopt, an alternative I’m totally open to. Or we’ll be happy with the wonderful family we’ve got.
But recently Harlan said, “What if our new health insurance covers it?” As if cost were the only prohibitive factor. I said my usual, “I couldn’t put myself through that hell again.” And he said, “Maybe it would be easier since we’ve already done it.” I didn’t respond, but I was already trying to remember the hell itself and realizing it’s faded the way bad memories do, and when I talked to my friend Courtney yesterday, she said, “But doesn’t it seem less horrible when compared with how wonderful Aidan is?” And of course the answer to that is yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. We went into the whole mess not even knowing that we would love being parents. Now that we know, now that parenthood has cracked us open, making us beaming, grinning, gushing love geysers who never knew such unrestrained, unconditional adoration was possible before Aidan, maybe now the discomfort and degradation would be easier to bear.
One of my trainers is six months pregnant. Today I was on the treadmill next to her sister and I was thinking about how excited she must be to become an aunt. And then I started thinking about my own sister. The memories came to me in a flood: her landing in LA mere minutes after my water broke, arriving at my house bearing herbs that were supposed to ease the pain and a taco salad I refused to eat while I was watching Ratatouille on pay-per-view and clutching my gut through contractions. The whole family turning up at the hospital, all puffy with sleep, at 2am—a whole day before I actually gave birth—and me, as big as a dump truck in my green gown, hoisting myself down the hallway to tell them to go home. Them all showing up again the next day, bouncing off walls. Exclaiming with glee when Harlan rushed out, exhausted after so many hours, to announce, “It’s a boy!” (or so I saw later in the pictures). The whole mespucha tumbling into my room to finally see him, my perfect little bean. He nursed immediately. I loved him immediately: his searching mouth, his huge, blinking eyes, his silky tummy and massive hands and brown, wrinkly skin (my sister said I’d given birth to a little Colombian child).
With each image that popped into my mind, the rush of friends and family into the delivery room, the cameras snapping away, the little warm ball in my arms, so recently ripped from all that was comforting and familiar into this bright, noisy cold, but still so peaceful, at ease, my little Zen Buddha boy, who only grew cuter and funnier and more lovable as the days went on, as we got to know each other, as we fell more deeply in love. As my heart expanded until it cracked open and I knew this was the greatest love of all.
So, yeah, would I do the whole fertility thing again? What if our insurance covers it? Now that we know that at the other end possibly awaits someone we would love as much as Aidan? Knowing that if it doesn’t work, at the other end we still have Aidan?