Embryoyo/ Bag in the cobwebs/ Operating instructions/ It’s love time

It’s probably actually really bad luck to be debating, already, what I will do if we end up with…

One embryo

Two embryos

Three embryos


(Oy. I suddenly feel like I’m chanelling Dr. Seuss. Robust colorful petri dishes and syringes, dancing in top hats under candy-colored pom-pom trees.)

Because, as Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron and Byron Katie and my former therapist all have been trying to convey to me, I cannot control what will happen in the future. All is uncertainty. It is what it is. Love what is. Etcetera.

But I can’t help but imagine. Wonder. Debate. Picture. Listen, I am getting so far ahead of myself that I am already allowing myself to touch the secret plastic bag in the far cobwebby recesses of my closet. Yes, the bag! I don’t think I’ve ever told you about it. It is filled with clothing. Pretty jeans and slacks and skirts with very wide elastic waistbands. Flowy and flowery tops. A bra made for a giant. I purchased these items for $350 during the naive 6th week (I believe it was) of my first pregnancy, back in March of 2011. I remember also buying B.el.ly Bars in their pretty shiny pink wrappers, right there at the counter, because I was faint with hunger, and the cashier chastised me: “Hey, now, new mama, you’re gonna have to start bringing snacks with you everywhere. You’re eating for two!” I giggled at my foolishness. I was glowing pink, just like I’d always heard might happen. I was already popping out a little and could no longer comfortably wear my jeans, and so, $350 later, I was all set for my first trimester. They asked for my phone number so that they could call me with promotions, and I said, “Sure!” knowing I would like to spend even more money there throughout all of my glowy stages.

But what actually ended up happening was this: I lost the pregnancy, I stumbled into the screaming pits and hollows depression and anxiety. For freaking MONTHS afterward (which included more losses), the cheerful store clerks would call me to tell me about what was on sale for my particular phase of pregnancy (they had my due date written down in their big due-date book). Each time, I would patiently explain that I’d had a miscarriage, and to please take me off their list. “Oh, oh, gosh, so sorry,” they’d whisper, and hurry the hell off the phone.

I think it was the fourth call when I completely lost it, right there on the sidewalk outside a hipster/yuppie coffeehouse in my uber-kid-friendly Brooklyn neighborhood, a coffeehouse that was, at that moment, overflowing with bootied babies in their eco-friendly slings. “I had a f*cking MISCARRIAGE! Okay? Do you hear me this time? I am not pregnant! They cut my pregnancy out of me because it was dead. So take me off your g*ddamn motherf*cking list RIGHT NOW!”

Silence resounded throughout the streets of Brooklyn. A crowd of mamas parted like the Red Sea. I cried bravely and miserably all the way home.

Jeez. Where did that memory come from?

Anyway. Back to the embryos that we have not yet produced and will not produce until at least late August, and which I am definitely not obsessing over.

Here is the thing: I want at least two children. I know that because I have gone through hell I am supposed to be content with whatever I get. I know that I am supposed to not want the normal things that I used to want. But I do. And I’m not ashamed. I had a vision, once upon a time: Two or three children and a loving husband, and maybe a swimming pool (kidding! sort of). I am not going to let this unexpected trip change my vision. I am allowed to keep it. I’ve decided. Just like fertile woman get to keep their visions, I get to keep mine.

So, say we end up with two embryos. Dr. S says that there is a 95% survival rate, when you thaw a frozen embryo. And instead of a 60% chance of successful pregnancy, there is a 50% chance. So with an FET, you definitely shave off some success points. On the other hand, if you do a double-embryo transfer and get pregnant with twins, there are all sorts of complications that might happen. At the same time, there I (might) be a year from now with my vision complete: My two kids, my loving husband…and maybe one of those blow-up pools you buy at T.ar.get.

I was thinking about this so much I decided to do some research in my favorite sort of way: I turned to literature. I did a massive internet search of mom-and-baby novels and memoirs. For the past few days I have been reading the most amazing book, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, by Anne Lamott. It is hilarious, wise, poignant, raw. It is like a letter from Anne straight to me. She is saying, “Hey, you’re a really great person and you seem very strong, but you have no idea what is in store for you. Please don’t overestimate yourself—you’ll regret it.” The baby is a colicky mess, in this first chunk of pages, even while he is a gentle enlightened being with gorgeous alien eyes. She is a mess, too, and cannot see straight from sleep deprivation. She cries often. Her moods are liquid. Her description of her six-inch nipples after pumping made me wince. Oh. Yeah. This baby-thing is going to be alotalota stuff that is way outside of my “vision.” Like as in located in a distant desert. Or galaxy. Hm. Maybe, I started thinking last night, maybe just maybe I should focus on having just one baby right now. Just one. Because one is alotalota. And it’s not just the sleep deprivation and feeling like a farm animal. It’s the having time to absorb the amazingness of the one. The focus and energy. Having the undivided me to give on over to that essential, early-days bond.

If jinxing exists, I have really just seriously screwed things all up by getting this far ahead of myself. But I’m pretty sure we all do it. (Um, don’t we?)

In other news, I am getting married this Friday!

I am in love with him in a way that makes my heart hurt a little.

I have been exercising like mad (a bit on the “little too little too late” side) and eating an almost-carb-free diet with little salt, no sweets or alcohol, and tons of fruit and vegetables. I’ve dyed my hair a rich warm brown. I’ve gotten some sun. DH has dyed his hair, too, and gotten new Don Draper-ish black dress shoes. We look like sexier versions of our former selves, for sure, which will be wonderful for the honeymoon.

We have also been working on our vows. We’ve broken it into three sections:

I remember…

I love…

I commit…

We alternate saying lines to each other. “I remember when we ran hand-in-hand to the top of that tower on Orcas Island just in time to catch the sunset.” “I remember when you sang “Miss Ohio” to me and asked me what I thought, and I kissed you for the first time and said: ‘I think we should get married.’ ” “I remember when you held me up as I floated on my back in the RV Park hot spring in Wyoming, under that pink-and-blue sky.” When I told my boss about this today, she started crying.

I’m not feeling super-emotional, more giddy and buoyant, like a girl who is about to go on a wild field trip. There’s a certain amount of freedom kicking around in me. I just got a raise. I’m marrying a human being who astonishes me with who he is and what he does and what he says and how he makes me feel about myself and my life.

And we are going to have a family…one step at a time.

(P.S. I totally stole the word “Embryoyo” from my favorite poet, Dean Young. Thanks, Dean.)









Leave a comment


  1. Congratulations on your soon to be marriage!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have an awesome day and honeymoon!

  2. I couldn’t help but laugh at your ability to silence the streets of Brooklyn. I can’t believe those jerks called you FOUR times!
    You definitely get to keep your vision. Pool and all.
    Congrats on the wedding… so exciting!!!

    • ha ha, oh have i ever silenced many a street of brooklyn with my sobbing. i’m known for it there. Sobbing Girl. i particularly used to like to sob on subways, on the way home from various clinics and hospitals! yay!
      thank you kindly for the congrats!

  3. Congrats on your upcoming wedding!! So excited for you, and the start of your wonderful family. One, two, three or more embryos……..!!

  4. Christa

     /  June 12, 2013

    Congratulations. I like your comment that you get to keep your dream l
    Of 2 children just like the fertile women

  1. A post in two parts | the unexpected trip

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