Monthly Archives: August 2012

Plan B (or is it C?)

Fall 2011

I cried when I talked to my midwife in September.  She’s good.  She handed me the tissues so fast that I didn’t even see her reach for the box.  And she understood.  It wasn’t that I was scared or unsure about what we were discussing.  It was that this isn’t how it was supposed to be.  This was my back-up plan, my Plan B, my “if I’m still single when I’m thirty” plan.  Well, thirty had come and gone before I was ready for it.  I’ve given eHarmony more money than I care to think about.

(Allow me a brief tangent about online dating.  I’m getting a little sick of hearing the ads that proudly proclaim that one in five couples meet online.  You know what that would be in any other realm?  A failing grade.  You don’t buy a toothpaste if only one in five dentists recommend it.  I’m happy for that 20% of the population.  My brother met my delightful sister-in-law that way.  I have many friends who met their spouses that way.  But I also have many friends like me.  And many friends who met their spouses in some other way.  So if one in five couples meet online, how do the other 80% meet?  You know, the majority of them.  But I digress.)

I know that 35 is the magic number.  This is not to say that women can’t and don’t get pregnant after that, but both the science and the math make me want to do this before I’m 35.  I turned 33 in June.  It takes nine months to grow a baby.  Who knows how many months it will take to conceive one?

So here I am.  I’m single, and I’m content to remain so.  If I meet someone, great, but I’m going to keep living my life my way.  And I know that I can do this because I have an amazing family, both of biology and of choice.  My child will have tons of surrogate aunties and uncles.  My child will have great-aunts and great-uncles, nonnas, gpas, omas, and grandpas.  My boss has already asked if he gets to be great-uncle to my not-yet-conceived child.  My mother’s friends are making sure that I know they are only a phone call away.  One of my aunts has even pronounced that sometimes it’s easier without a man (and this from a woman who’s been married to my uncle for 30+ years).

I know I have a support system, but that doesn’t make it easier to stop tearing up.  My plan was quite traditional.  I’d meet someone.  We’d get married.  We’d have a baby.  Sure, I’ve always said that I’d go ahead and have a baby if those first steps didn’t happen, but that was Plan B.  It wouldn’t really happen.  Yet there I was, asking my midwife if this was something she could help me with and what we needed to do.  And she is good.  I expected my friends to be completely supportive because it was something we’d talked about off and on over the years.  But as intimate as a relationship with a midwife might be, she’s not someone you really get to know on a personal level.  She was not only supportive but excited about the prospect.  In fact, she tells me the do it “all the time” at their office.  She explained the procedure, suggested books and websites, and wrote me a prescription for pre-natal vitamins.  (They’re free at Meijer if you have a prescription.)

And the six months of waiting began.  Or rather, the six months of waiting began about a month later.  I had some work travel, and since I was still on the Pill, I might as well hold off on my period until that was done.  On November 1, 2011, the six months of waiting began.  I stopped taking my birth control pills, started taking my pre-natal vitamins, and prayed my periods would behave better than they ever had in my life.

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For All My Single Ladies

Yes, I’m writing a dedication for my blog.  I know this probably isn’t typical.  (Okay, what do I really know?  I only follow two blogs with any sort of regularity:  Wait, Wait Don’t Blog Me and the Yarn Harlot.  What can I say? I’m a knitter who loves NPR.  Maybe Stephanie Pearl-McPhee did write a dedication in her blog, but if she did, it was so long ago that I don’t recall reading it.  But I digress.)  I don’t care.  There are some women (and men, but this is more for the women) who are the reason I’m here.  They’re either people helping me keep my sanity or people who’ve said, in one form or another, “I’d like to try that, too, but I’ll let you go first.”

So this blog is for Heather, Maria, Jenny, Meredith, JJ, Lisa, Issa, Courtney… Okay, not all of them are single, and there are many more people who I could add.  (Charlie, for making me laugh.  Lars, for being the sweetheart you’ve always been.  Dr Z, for volunteering to be a surrogate something-or-other when I accidentally blurted out I could afford to have a baby when you told me I was getting a raise and then continuing to ask if you were going to get to be a surrogate something-or-other as the months progressed and for happily letting me take PTO whenever I need to and for leaving mad money so that I can order in lunch when I don’t feel like packing one; you’re the best boss ever, and you’re not allowed to ever retire because I may have to find a new job if you do.)

So who are these women?  I’m including the women of my generation here, but I also know that my mother and my aunts and my mother’s friends and my friend’s mothers (several of whom are the same people) will be there for me if I’m able to conceive and have a baby.

Heather.  My soul mate in many ways, except for the fact we’re both straight.  We challenge directors to cast us as best friends.  It can be a dangerous proposition, but can have brilliant results.  Just ask our cast mates from the second time we were in The Merry Wives of Windsor together.  (That’s right.  The second time.)  Audience members commented on our chemistry.  We had to explain that we weren’t really acting.  The way Mistress Page and Mistress Ford behaved with each other was pretty much the way the two of us are together.  I played Mistress Page in this production.  She has an exchange with Master Ford in which he says, “I think if both your husbands were dead, you two would marry.”  We agreed that we could see ourselves doing that, as long as it was an open marriage so that we could sleep with men.  We share a spirituality.  Several years ago we shared a toast that, while men are lovely and nice to have around, they are not a necessity.  It was she who responded to my talk of having a baby with a “I was going to ask you about that because I remember you saying that you’d planned to do it.”  It’s Heather who will make sure that we ritual the hell out of this.  It’s Heather who will help me plot naming ceremonies.  It’s Heather who will make sure my spirit is nourished.

Maria and JJ.  My fellow triumvirs, or Norns as one of our professors once called us.  We were the three women in our class in the classics department at Loyola, sharing our geeky love of mythology quite happily, proclaiming ourselves a triumvirate and christening ourselves as Calypso, Callirhoe, and Clio.  (Yes, we made sure they were all /k/ names.)  We’re all still single.  Maria’s only a month younger than I am.  She’s one of the friends who is looking forward to watching my journey and then deciding what she wants to do on her own.  JJ once changed her relationship status to “It’s complicated”.  When we all asked who was making it complicated, she explained that sometimes being single is much more complicated than being with someone.  JJ, I salute you in that because I’m about to make my single life INCREDIBLY complicated.

Jenny, Meredith, Lisa.  My friends from KAMSC.  My fellow math and science nerds.  Most of whom did not wind up in fields related to math or science…  At least not directly.  Of course, our alumni directory only gives us two choices: directly related to math and science or indirectly related to math and science.  I can’t decide if my job is directly or indirectly related to math and science.  Jenny is married and expecting their first.  In June, Jenny moved back to Kalamazoo, and she has been one of my biggest logistical supporters since we first talked about this.  While Heather will support my emotional side, I know Jenny will support my analytical side.  She’s the one who will offer to take a baby off my hands if I have triplets because then we’ll both have two.  Meredith and Lisa are both still single, both still trying to decide if they want to be mothers and if they do, how they want to do it.  Like me, Meredith has talked with single male friends about the possibility of having a baby together.  Like me, she has determined that it is easier to go it alone, both legally and logistically.  All three of us have been in the mindset of “if it happens, it happens”, at least until now.  I know they’ll be happy surrogate aunties, and maybe someday I’ll be in the position to return that love to their children.

Issa.  Fellow writer, fellow dancer.  She fills in the gaps left by the way Heather supports me and the way Jenny does.  She is a Diana to my Anne.  Steady, supportive, happy to listen, happy to Google.

Courtney.  I work with a lot of pleasant people.  Most of them I call colleagues.  Courtney, however, I call friend.  I miss her even though all that she’s done is move from a part-time position in the office next door to a full-time position on the first floor.  She will be my shoulder when I’m at work.  It will, of course, be a metaphorical shoulder created by GroupWise.

Thank you for helping me as I take this plunge.  You’re the ones who will read these posts and say, yes, Beth, we already know this.  We lived it with you.  And because you’ll have done, I’ll have kept my sanity.  I love you all.

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