The First Try

The Next Family

By: Heather Somaini

Firsts. First skinned-knee. First crush. First kiss. First time you go to the doctor to discuss how to create your family –yeah, not everyone has to do that.

I remember that first appointment with Dr. C. She was patient and listened. She gave some advice. I look back at us – we were so sure it would be easy and we would get pregnant quickly. I suppose we were cute that day in her office talking about how funny it would be if Tere was “Fertile Myrtle”, got pregnant on the first go and had twins. I’m sure she thought it was sweet that we had no clue. And although I remember her telling us that we shouldn’t waste any time, she let us live in that world, slightly oblivious. What else could she do? We were pretty determined – isn’t everyone at the beginning of a new journey? I suppose we were a little crazy.

The reality was that Tere was 43 years old – that’s called Advanced Maternal Age in doctor lingo – and the chances of her getting pregnant were very slim. But we were clueless and happy to be on the baby-making path. So off we went to CVS to decide if we really needed a fertility monitor or not. We got one and I highly recommend it – so much easier. We opened an account at the Cryobank and bought a couple vials of our donor.

On a side note, do you know what the going rate is for sperm? $425 and up! Who knew? Dr. C had recommended the California Cryobank and mentioned that a lot of the donors are UCLA graduate students trying to pay their way through school. I kind of liked the idea of helping out a struggling, smart, strapping UCLA student!

A few weeks later, we were getting ready for work when Tere let me know that, according to the fertility monitor, she had “peaked”. You’d have thought we had just found out we were ACTUALLY pregnant, we were so excited. We called Dr. C. She told us to get our vials and come in to the office. The Cryobank didn’t open until 9:00am or so and it takes awhile for them to process the order, get the vials in the tanks, and ready for transport. There was no way this was going to happen before my 8:30am work day.

I called my boss to tell him I would be late for work. I spoke with his wife at length and explained what we were about to do. She joined in our excitement. Why does the possibility of babies always make everyone giddy? We all get so excited when we find out someone is pregnant or we see a new baby. It must have something to do with our innate desire to continue our species or something but boy, it’s almost intoxicating.

If you think about it, it’s a little weird to tell anyone that you’re about to try and get pregnant. But that’s what we did. We almost had to. Our situation was clearly so unique and complicated that keeping it from everyone seemed much too difficult. Everyone had questions and being a self-appointed Michelin Answer woman, I was happy to answer them. We eventually decided that the only way to walk this baby-making path was to be clear, forthright, and honest about what was happening and what we were doing. It was a good decision for us but challenging for our closest friends and family to understand.

Tere and I had to occupy a few hours’ of time that morning waiting for our vials to be ready to take over to the doctor’s office. We went to get the car washed and started daydreaming of the future. We talked about how our first baby could be born 40 weeks from that day. Would it be a boy or a girl? Who would they take after? Would he or she have green eyes? Would they be smart, athletic, kind?

I think wishing and hoping on the future are some of my favorite memories. The future was so wide open and change was about to happen. There are very few moments in life like that…going to college, getting married, having children, watching your children go to college, your first grandchild…all bittersweet in so many ways as we let go of what was before to grab hold of what’s next.

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