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.


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.]


When the Sans Hallucinate


A potent hallucinatory herbal concoction. A couple I know tried it near Machu Picchu, reporting back powerful trips well worth the liters of water they had to consume beforehand. She had an out-of-body experience floating in outer space while he had a brainstorm of a lifetime and came out ready to write an entire book “chapter by chapter.” They’re both creative types and I assumed it would be the  first and the last time I heard about it.

But a work acquaintance brought it up over lunch the other day. A friend of hers who had been struggling with infertility tried it while vacationing in Brazil. This friend revisited long forgotten painful memories and emerged from the trip with clarity and conviction that these psychological traumas were preventing her from conceiving. Furthermore, I’m told, she’s now content with never conceiving as she understands that subconsciously, she never wanted to.

I don’t know if accelerated psychotherapy is a common reaction, but if it is, surely this Ayahuasca is going to drive all the shrinks out of business?

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.”