My daughter is out of diapers. She is in a great school and has a great routine. My ex-hubs and I are amicable and have worked out a really solid approach to co-parenting.
I have a dog.
I have a small business with ever-changing demands.
I have a new, supportive, and amazing relationship.
I have friends that I can visit with, and events that I can say "yes" to, confident in my child care routine.
After many years, my life is finally coming together.
No more fertility treatments; no more losses.
There goes my brain again, feeling the none-to-gentle tug of my uterus and its amazing hormone-loaded marionette strings. And it only knows one word: MORE.
My ovaries are in on it too, and they’re relentless. I think they’re actually chanting it.
More. MORE. MORE!!
In fact, I’m starting to see my entire reproductive system band together as a villainous Clockwork Orange-ian council for Pavlovian response—a council with an insidious agenda, a united voice, and a codename—REPRO.
“Every time she sees a baby, sniffs a newborn, looks at her own child even, we’ll be there pushing her to THAT PLACE. The Baby Making Place of Endless Fixation. That black hole of menstrual cycle math and ‘what if’ probability that will absolutely make her head explode.”
Hold on. Did you hear that? REPRO’s collective laughter sounds exactly like Mark Hamill’s Joker.
And it’s as infectious.
Well it’s not that crazy… not at all! Lots of single women have kids. And I’m still young. I mean…I’m in a new relationship, too. What if that is something we want to talk about in a few years? Wait. A few years? Nope. I need to do something now. Maybe if I just look at freezing my eggs or some embryos? But who’s sperm do I use for the embryos? Do I look at donor sperm? How would that affect my relationship now? Because let’s face it, that’s just weird. Ok. Ok. I got it. I’ll start looking into adoption...
Get a hold of yourself, Inokai!
I shake off the estrogen-induced haze of frantic baby daydreams and grab tight to my routine—to the lovely scaffolding of my schedule and the promise of blossoming potential in my life.
Look around you. Look! See? You have finally figured it out. Finally! So why do you want to throw a monkey wrench into everything and start all over again? Why?
My logic is wearing a ref shirt and has laid both hands firmly on the shoulders of my maternal whist. I roll my eyes and pout.
Ok. You’re right. It’s stupid. I’m done. I’m really done. It’s over.
Logic seems mollified and nods, patting me gently, but there is all at once an explosive ball of anger and revolt in my throat.
NO. Don’t tell me what to do. I’m not ready. I’m only thirty-six. There’s still time. I want more!!!
I feel judged by my own right brain. It sizes me up with a kind of impatient, pursed-lip, bitterness.
You do it to yourself, Kat. You really do. And you know it. I’m not going to stick around to say ‘I told you so’…so have fun with that.
So with my heart feeling utterly abandoned, half scattered, half transfixed, and propelled by a Lorenzo’s Oil-type fervor, I start doing the kind of fertility equations that only women already affected by REPRO could possibly know.
"Ok. So if I’m 36, and at 35 your fertility dips…. and if I ovulate on day 13… and if a young, healthy, fertile, couple only stand a 1 in 4 chance of conceiving each month. And the miscarriage rate is close to 1 out of 3. And fertility monitoring takes about 2 months before treatments. And…hold on…carry the 3… then…um…”
Hi, Kat? You are totally losing it. Totally. Just saying. Thought I might point that small fact out to you.
I’m not done.
I’m just not.
Choking back tears I sit, dejected and hopeless on the living room floor.
For a few minutes, I sit just taking it all in.
My client emails chime in with soft dings, as my kid and dog run boisterous circuits around me. My boyfriend is making dinner for us all in the kitchen, and I hear him talking to our housemate in low, pleasant tones about something.
The afternoon sun has bowed out and all of a sudden the string of Christmas lights in our window feels magical. The simple, comforting smell of baked breadcrumbs scents the warmth of the room as Baby Girl’s giggles harmonize with the dull ambience of homeward bound traffic and the sizzling droplets of boiled over pasta water as they hit the stove.
There is so much love—right here.
And I realize this is a perfect moment.
There is nothing that I would take away and nothing that I would add.
Or is there?
I pick up the phone.
Dial a number.
“Oh hi… yes… this is Kat Inokai. I’m just wondering if I need to be re-referred to see the doctor, or if you still have me on file.”
Here we go again.