Wifebian has had three periods in three weeks. The third prompted her to go to the doctor and then the gynecologist. So far, all we have figured out is that she has a vitamin D deficiency.

The third period has now shifted from its usual, brown clottiness to a nice, bright red. I think the red looks healthful and she is scared by it.  She is a stupor-ish funk. Lacking energy with a metallic taste in her mouth, weepy and thinking about all the things she could be dying from and the babies she was never going to have anyway, but still.

She has known since the time she met me that she has PCOS — the first hint at a non-reproductive future, but who cares about that when you’re 26? Over the four years of knowing me, her gender identity has shifted and settled into a decidedly more masculine tilt and while the cute jean skirts and under-wire bras are no more, the basic human inclination to fantasize about making her own small, chubby people persisted. She found out last month that her mom went into menopause at 41. Could that be what’s going on?

So, it’s one thing to find out at 26 that you might not be able to get pregnant. It’s another thing to be most at home in the lesbian gender that’s not supposed to want to bear the babies, yet another to cede all fertility time and money to your older, more feminine partner. And another thing to find out that you might be just ten years from menopause. But now, having her third period in three weeks is a new way to reckon with her own childlessness . “No, really, you really probably wont be making any babies.”

And, in comforting her, I think about me, too. My hormones and insides are fine, I want and am “supposed” to want to have a baby, my family’s reproductive history is unknown to me, but hey, with hips like these, who cares? Me, since I’m still not pregnant yet. Last week, Wifebian said that if two IUIs with a new donor from a new bank dont get me pregnant by February of 2011, then that’s it, we will be out of money and patience. Unable to try again financially until 2012 at the ripe old age of 34. And she doesnt want to do IVF.

Of course, we might be able to radically alter our financial situation, or she might change her mind, or I might get pregnant, because let’s be honest, my failure to get pregnant so far is all everyone else’s fault, or we might find a willing, free known donor, or whatever! Or maybe she has no right to make unilateral decision-statement at dinner and I told her as much, good nature in tact.

But I did have my first opportunity to look at a calendar and say, “In March of 2011, I may officially be barren.”

I mean, every woman who “starts trying” has to endure at least 5 seconds of imagining she is never going to have children, so this is not unique to lesbians or even lesbians with three periods in three weeks, but it seems that, on average, we might have to spend more months than most bears coming to terms with our imaginary infertility.

Or not. Imaginary.

And then there’s my mom. The one who raised me. The adoptee who had no biological children of her own. At some point, she went through a phase. My father had had a vasectomy, but she wanted a baby. She whined about wanting a baby. I dont remember if she did it in front of me or if I just heard it through the walls. Needless to say, she didnt have one. There was no real trying that I know of. I’ve always thought of her childlessness as further evidence of her strange, hard heart. But, now, I’m recognizing the fantastically brave aspect of it, too.

In the meantime, it’s cycle day 10 of try # 6, the try that wouldnt die. We have the money for a nitrogen tank and an IUI. Wifebian will be at the insemination come hell or high water. And the sperm will be free.

It is good.


Place Love

May 10, 2010

This morning I go in for the sonogram to see how big my follicles are. I wonder if I’ll get any feedback about the number of eggs in general? If the follicle is a good size, I’ll get a shot to make it drop and come back tomorrow for an IUI. And the next day for another one, even though Dr. Hugs already said that he doesnt like to do two IUIs in one cycle because, “it only increases your chances by about blah blah percent.” Dr. Hugs is on an island right now. He doesnt get a say.

Also, I added a cycle day ticker at the bottom of the homepage. This cycle day ticker’s for you, LPC.

I’ve been in a twitchy mood lately. Quiet, furtive, otherly. I really want to leave this place and I really want 3,000 dollars to fall out of the sky in order to make it happen. Awhile ago, when Wifebian and I were hashing out the meaning of love and life as it was between us, she observed that maybe I like to fall in love so much because I’m depressed and isnt love is a fan-fucking-tastic anti-depressant? I mean, dont get me wrong. I didnt spend my twenties falling in out of love every two weeks, I wasnt recklessness, but I definitely bent over backwards for love. I’ve had the honor of falling head over heels four times and all of them involved crossing many, many state lines. Specifically, the ones between Maryland, New York, Washington, D.C., California, Utah, and Florida. Just my lousy luck, I guess, but I never shirked from my responsibility to go boldly forth in the name of love, to get on that Greyhound or rent that Ryder.

Now that I am married, I hopefully wont be falling in love again (because, well, wouldnt that be a disaster) but what is it that I can fall in love with, I ask myself? I mean, I agree. Falling in love seems to really do it for me, surely getting married isnt the end of the falling in love.

I know motherhood will do it. But I think finding a place will do it, too. Finding the final apartment, in that one city, in that one state, where I will really just stay. I want to fall in love with the place I live. But somehow, in spite of being married, and therefore, ostensibly settled down, I still find myself in the moving business. In the four years I’ve been with Wifebian, I have moved six times, gracing four states with my presence. I have lived in D.C., the homebase I love, and Virginia  (which I swore up and down I would never do), and I have lived, well, here. And there are two unmentionable, unfathomable heres, states I never even took the time to swear about not living in because who ever thought I would have to?

I want to go some place and I want to stay there. For fucking ever. I want to love it and I want to take care of it. I want to attend city council meetings and block parties. I want to sweep my front step and pick up other people’s dog poop. I want to have an opinion about stoplights and I want to adopt a highway. “Yes, I will donate an extra $25.00 to have my name engraved on that brick,” I will say. I want the address on my checks to match the address on my license. I want to infest the nooks and crannies of my house with layer upon layer of my creepy, crawly memories. I want to douse the sidewalks with stories. I want every building to have a story and most of the faces to register recognition when they see me coming. I want to start something, or at least become a part of something, and I want all the people I’m in it with to come to my funeral. I want one city, one neighborhood, one house, to be mine from now on. I want my kid to say, “I was born here,” and have an accent while they say it.

And in my youthful exuberance I thought D.C. might be that place. I had most of my good stories there, and my mother’s and father’s, too. That was one of the great things about that DC, my history and my parents’ histories were everywhere I was. He got arrested in an the alley behind the Manhattan laundry building. They met in Georgetown.  And there’s where their stories start to make mine. She stood in the parking lot of a GW building with a young me and decided not to apply for a doctorate program. Me and him driving past the Pepsi bottling company on the way back to Maryland.

I was a tour guide in DC one summer. Being a tour guide in DC was awesome. To have the history of our nation in all of its blackness and whiteness and wars mingling with my own family’s history, as well as the registry of public places in which I had sex during my early twenties was like an ice cream sundae! So many sprinkles and cherries! SO MUCH FUDGE. But the place for me, the adult place, isnt DC. What self-respecting middle class white liberal can afford to raise a family there? (Cue zombie voice, raise arms parallel to the floor.) Middle-class white liberal must buy house. Must buy house. Buy house. Hauwsssss.

So. I need to find a place to love and take care of and a place that will love and take care of me . . . and I wonder if that place isnt Baltimore. Being a native Marylander, it is, after all, my birthright. And there is some family history. My mom says that my grandparents had a dry cleaning store on St. Paul Street and my mom got a certificate at JHU (instead of that PhD from GW). I have a very dear friend there, who I believe in my heart is never going to leave. And my company has offices there, plus there are lots of positions there with the National Health Service Corps. Baltimore has a dab of history and a spot of friendship and a job prospect or two, which is enough to get started. In fact, one of my fondest memories of my dad is picking up my first interstate love from the bus station in Baltimore. (I was 16 and I had met him on the internet.) My dad took me to pick him up and suggested that we cross the street so we could be warmer on the sunny side. Having grown up in the suburbs, I didnt know that about city streets and I just thought to myself, “That is so smart!” and thought my dad was so savvy.

I mean, I can make it work. Baltimore has place personality for miles. I could play place games like letterboxing and foursquare for days in that little city. And while I have always thought of it as D.C.’s annoying little sister and I never imaged I would deign to set up shop there, I am considering it. I started a Baltimorean category on the blogroll. I troll Craigslist. I daydream.

Baltimore, however, is Wifebian’s last choice ever. Although she is nonetheless mostly willing, the other night, when she came home from visiting her sister’s new baby, she put a moratorium on all Baltimore-talk. She couldnt bear the thought of ever leaving this place, this place I do not love, this clean, conservative, southern place that is the shining birthplace of her first-ever most precious niece, for some place as dirty and busted as Baltimore. Yesterday morning we had to cry about it all a little. Today, we are getting together the infinite paperwork for the licenses.

Maybe Tomorrow

April 23, 2010

Tomorrow we test. When the stick says yes, I will become a mother. For better or for worse, for 6 days or sixty years, I will die having been a mother. That’s really how I think about it.

Secretly, I want to be alone for a moment, to have a few seconds to attach to my new self. For me and the maybe to recognize one another. Well, actually, the maybe knows me, but I dont know her, yet. I want to have a moment alone to recognize my maybe and myself as someone’s mother.

So, if I’m going to become a mother tomorrow, who am I tonight? What is a non-mother? Or, who? Surely, the opposite of mother isnt daughter. What is the opposite of mother? (Hopelessness, spinelessness, selfishness?)  If the test says yes, which part of me do I lose or let go? There’s no word for not-mother, is there? I mean, I guess in some not-true way “lesbian”, or “barren” or “old maid” used to mean that, but not even really. There’s just no word for it.

My not-mother self has been a judgmental daughter. I’ve spent a lot of time judging my mothers, both of them, and wanting exactly what they couldnt give me. I could have blood or I could have a bed, but not both. Eyes, nose, breast, throat or food, clothing and shelter, but not both.

When I become a mother, I open myself up to a kind of love I have never experienced, never given or gotten.  Since I havent ever received love from my biological mother or even really laid eyes on her, will my love for my kid be different from other mothers’ love? To what am I naive? If I have a daughter and I love her, will it feel the way it mightve felt to love my mother? And what, oh what, about a son?

I do know how it felt to love my dad. It was heartache and devotion. It was oneness and comfort. How I endlessly, tenderly fingered his weaknesses looking at him, how my sense of unconditional affiliation never wavered. I was indomitably, irrevocably attached to him and his brown hair, his skin tanned red and fuzzy blue tattoos. And then I couldnt be anymore because he was dead.

I was listening to the radio the other day and a woman was talking about a famous parrot. She said they put the parrot in front of a mirror and he said, because he could talk, he said, “Who is that?” and the researchers said, “Thats you,” and he knew he was him. I don’t know if it’s true, but that’s the way I heard it.

When I got that picture of my mother holding me, I had a similar feeling. Like a bird, like some kind of very smart, pea-brained bird, sandwiched between not one, but two, mirrors. A picture of myself in my mind’s eye and the picture of my mother, each were mirrors and there were a thousand of us, over and over. If she had been in front of me, if her eyes, nose, breast and throat had been right in front of me, I might’ve gotten dizzy and had to sit down. I imagine that becoming a mother will feel like that.

Tonight, I am not savoring the final moments of being free-wheeling, of our awesome childlessness. I’m not trying to brace against the moment at which I have a child and will therefore teeter on the edge of not having a child for as long as we both shall live. I’m not writing to rev myself up, or cast doubt, to list my symptoms or debate about whether or not I am actually pregnant.

I am writing as someone who hasn’t begun to know what love is. At least, I hope that is who I am — compared to who I will be.