By: Rosy Barren
I came home after my miserable cocktail party and the house was dark. I slipped off my heels and peered around the corner to see a slit of light coming from the bathroom. I pushed open the door and my wife lay silently in the bath. She was sad; it was all over her face. I sat on the toilet and adjusted my harsh bitterness to a softer me, a person that could receive what was happening to her separate from my own troubles. She talked about the one beautiful egg and began to cry.
“I just wonder if that one is…”
I knew what she was going to say. I had thought it many times before but this time it was her body, not mine. The bitterness slipped back in and blood rushed to my face. I was no longer rational and all that I have worked for in the last 2 ½ years began to slip away and someone else was about to take over my maternal duties. The role that I had worked so hard to perfect, the healthy, fertile, strong, copious mother-to-be was swirling away right before my eyes.
“the one” she continued.
I swallowed hard. What if she was right? What if despite the fact that she has no interest in birthing a child –let alone breastfeeding –she is the one that is meant to do this? My heart snapped in half; I was torn between letting it all go and haphazardly suggesting an IUI (turkey baster style try performed by the doctor) for this one egg, knowing that there was a distinct chance that she would now be the one to reap all the benefits that I have wanted so badly. Or, to quietly sit and wait for her to be the one to request this of me, knowing how it would make me ache inside. Or would she know? Did she know what it meant to me? I chose silence and anger, emotions that are often conjured up on the topic of infertility. I spent the night awake staring into darkness moving farther and farther away from the person closest to me. I thought about why it is so important to me to get pregnant and why it would be so hard for me to watch her do it if I couldn’t. It isn’t the genes; I know that for sure. It’s the feeling of being pregnant, the childhood dream that I’ve had, the miracle of creating a baby in my body that I know I want more than anything. Tears streamed down my face as I pictured her birthing our baby, her being the lifeline for our child and me sitting idly by helplessly watching all the while knowing she never desired any of those things. I tossed and turned angrily for being so selfish in my thoughts. “For fuck’s sake Rosy, just one of you get pregnant already.” I resigned to discuss it in the morning.
The conversation was tight and short between us and it felt as if we were sucking each other’s air in our morning drive to coffee. I kept starting to speak my mind and stopping myself. I knew once it was out there, it was gone, the thoughts would fly themselves high up in the air and wherever they land was no longer up to me, everything was on her turf. She pulled between the white lines to park and I interrupted myself.
“Do you want to try it with the one egg?”
I was being tortured with the conversation; we were testing the water inch by inch.
“Should we?” I continued.
“I don’t know, I was emotional last night, I just couldn’t help but wonder if it was worth a try but it seems pretty silly doesn’t it to waste money on just that one after all this.”
I breathed a silent sigh of relief and punished myself again for my shameful thoughts. Kicking the floor of her car much like the moment I almost “out-ed” myself to my father I begin psychically shivering at the notion of what I had almost done.
“I don’t think it’s silly if you want to be pregnant.”
“I don’t. I don’t know,” she said, opening the car door. I was shocked at the cavalier attitude; I had played out an hour-long conversation ending in tears and possibly screaming followed by door slams and a brisk walk back home but she dropped it.
I darted around the topic a few more times throughout the day. “Are you sure? I want you to know I’d be OK with it.” Truthfully, I wasn’t that stoic. I laced many of these questions with quick “It would be tough” or “I would be sad to carry the baby” follow-ups. They were brief jabs that a naked eye might miss, or so I thought. She has stayed true to her story; it was a night of emotion that she needed and a chance to feel something that she hadn’t been in touch with before. She explained that she only really considered the option of IUI for a brief instant and as the ultimate sacrifice to me, she had no need or desire to be pregnant. It’s really quite romantic what she was offering although given all that I’ve been through it’s tough for me to see it that way.
Now, time has passed, we did not do an IUI and I can’t help but wonder if that was our one chance and we passed it by.