Shh, do you hear what I hear?

Long, long time ago…wow, a full Chinese zodiac rotation ago (12 years), there was a thing called Team Angie vs Team Jennifer, namely, nosy third parties who took a position on the love triangle of  Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Rachel Green from Friends.

Me? Team Angie. I mean, why wouldn’t a man be drawn to a badass bitch who flew planes when your wife complained 24/7 about being type-cast? Though completely neutral on her acting skills (honestly can’t tell if she has them or doesn’t,) I was turned off after reading any interview because it was one whiney rant. If I want that, look no further than this blog, or open an email from my reliably pessimistic older sister–I don’t pay for Vanity Fair to hear the rich and famous puff and pout about how life is so unfair.

Oh but Jennifer, that was over a decade ago. How times have changed. Girl, you and I have more in common than I would have ever imagined. Remember the days when you were on a tabloid every week for having a bloated belly at the beach or some invented source talking about how you were getting fertility treatments? It was rather relentless and brutal. Simply put, it was bullying and I’m sure there’s some pop psychology class at some hip college that is dissecting it now (not that these college kids know who Jennifer Aniston is, oh but their professor does…oops, I digress.) Oh yes, our parallel developments.

Shhh, listen. Do you hear what I hear?

Nothing. Yup, no one is talking about how you’re trying for a baby any more. Me, neither, about a year ago, people stopped bothering with social perfunctoriness like “Oh you never know.”

The air is thick and heavy with the unmentionable.


Enter Gaby

She’s here. The child I could have been a mother of. Kinda. Sorta.

When James and Kris approached me jokingly (but really not) about sharing them my eggs, I laughed it off–I was too old to be in the business of donating eggs. But of course I dwelled on it for weeks on end reading extensively about the bioethics of fertility medicine. As close as I was to them, and as alluring it was to pass on my genes without financial or legal responsibility, ultimately, I decided it wasn’t the right decision for me.

When I saw my bestie last year, I sensed something was off. Three months later she would disclose she was in New York (Connecticut) not for a business meeting, but to have fertilized eggs of James and Kris (surrogate egg donor) implanted. Intellectually I knew she was telling me as early as she could, but I still had to work through the feeling of not being privy to the intimate arrangement of my very good friends.

Thankfully, I came around quickly enough and was part of the support network of the unconventional pregnancy. When the bestie needed to vent because a gay man was still not a woman and didn’t quite appreciate the physical sacrifice she was undertaking, I was there. (Not that I really know what it’s like to be pregnant, but I pretended.)

Well, she’s here now, this child of James and Kris. Gone are the days of hitting gay clubs in Chelsea and Fire Island, watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, or James chastising me about what a hot mess I was. My gay male friends, the couple that I sat with at wedding tables, the ones who were up for a late night drink on a school night, the ones I would make stupid jokes about tea-bagging with…

“We welcomed this lady earlier today and our lives will never be the same,” James posted on Facebook. That’s right. It certainly won’t be the same for me either. I love you Gaby. I am one of your aunties and will always be here to support and guide you. And I knew your parents in the days before they were parents (sigh). And perhaps I could have been your biological mother. But no matter, I am here for you.



Scent and the City

An interesting set of circumstances led me to the heart of an elite mixed martial arts competition. A friend’s brother was competing, and we were given comp seats and backstage access where post-match athletes limped and watched replays of their fights on their phones through one good eye. Those yet to compete donned their hooded jackets and stormed towards the stadium, flanked by his trainers, thirsting to win. They were from all over the world–Brazil, Russia, Ireland, Nigeria–the best athletes combining strength, agility and endurance, fighting like men always have–with their bare hands.
I was introduced to my friend’s brother’s coaches–the grappling coach, the Muay Thai coach, the jiu jiutsu coach–he’d have one more if he could budget one, I was told. They walked around shirtless and I took in the beauty of their physique. Tatestosterone. It was everywhere. Man fumes. Something inside me stirred. Namely my ovaries. They were waking up from a long nap. What is this smell?? DNA! Superior genetic material to procreate with. Super-athletes. Men. Men. Real men. I was so happy. I could not remember when I lusted so hard. My shriveled up ovaries were soaking up the man essence like a sponge. They got a new lease on life. Two years, possibly. Who needs FSH injections?! This is what they needed. Follicules–man molecules that stimulate ovulation.
I sense a business opportunity in a man-odor vape bar adjacent to a fertility clinic.

Three’s a Charm but It Won’t Stop the Clock

Rub a dub dub! Three sans in a pub.

And who do you think they be?

The doctor, the trader, the internet blogger.

They all went out to eat,

‘Twas enough to remind of kids they don’t bear.

We met up with an old out-of-town friend who was visiting her folks for Thanksgiving. I reached out to other mutual friends but they were either out of town or had conflicts. That didn’t stop us from trying to Facetime each one, but none came to the phone. Duh, they were all mommies on a Saturday afternoon. And we, we were three sans hanging out unable to stop talking even after four hours.

Eventually, this conversation. We compared notes. Doctor envisioned motherhood, but she first needed to mate after spending the past decade in school and residency. Trader was recently married and trying but had doubts about her natural fertility. Blogger here, ambiguous as ever,  deflecting “Do you?” questions and offering her sisters’ family planning status instead. We unanimously agreed on adoption as a viable choice. Regarding freezing eggs–

“It’s not cheap!”

“Well, yes and no. Depends what your own genes mean to you, I suppose.”

“Yeah, I think it’s expensive.”

“I looked into it a couple of years ago and walked away thinking my fertility was NOT worth $10,000! Hahaha.”

“I was told at our age, the quality of our egg is so low it’s not worth spending the money.”

[Nervous laughter ensues.]


Dr. S and I

My favorite tradition, the annual pap schmear. No, I don’t have eurotophobia. I’m fine with the procedure, and have learned not to flinch when the nurse barges in mid-exam into my wide open crotch, and I mean, speculum-widened crotch. Ever year I get mildly anxious starting the week before, and the day of, I am a jittery, antsy wound-up mess, from the top of my head to the tips of the toe and certainly between the legs.

This is because my friend had an OB/GYN who told her that she shouldn’t delay pregnancy when we were only 27. Apparently this doctor had a lot of patients with infertility and was fed up seeing perfectly fertile women postpone decisions until it involved excessive medical intervention, dollars and emotional angst. This talk terrified her and terrified me. The friend went on to conceive her first child by 32 (before popping out two more) despite her high flying career. Me, I feared getting the same talk by my practitioner.

But Dr. S, for all the years we’ve been together–through ovarian cystectomy, the pill, yeast infections, the dry spell, STD scares, the IUD–never once has he asked me about kids. Every year, I get worked up about the visit, thinking this time, he would bring up the subject for sure, but no, just the routine. I would leave the office relieved but wondering–shouldn’t he be bringing this up with me? Finally, when I was 35, I asked him, “Um…should I…start thinking about my fertility and stuff?” He  laughed rather gloriously and said, “In New York, no. When you’re 42, we’ll have that talk.” I nervously laughed with him thinking he was pretty wonderful and irresponsible at the same time. Clearly, he was on the opposite side of the pendulum from my friend’s doctor.

Over 10 years ago, I chose Dr. S after an extensive search for a new gynecologist. I wasn’t planning on a male gynecologist, but Dr. S was the first doctor to suggest not rushing into surgery to remove a cyst.  He was older, and I felt more trusting about someone who had examined thousands of vaginas and delivered hundreds of babies. I thought: this doctor cares about my body and I want him to one day deliver my baby.

Uhhh, well, fast forward and now I don’t know if I’ll ever see the other side of the slash of his credentials–OB/GYN. But I like your style, Dr. S. I like how you leave me alone. You’ll answer my questions when I’m ready to ask them. I mean, what more do we need to talk about, since you already put your gloved finger in there and what not?  Still, if vaginas could talk, mine would say, “Thank you.”