(Let me get this out of the way, because I forgot to mention it: My husband is once again employed. He’s now the director of digital strategy and development for Chicago magazine. He started last Monday, and it’s an awesome opportunity and he’s very happy and we’re both thrilled. As much as I miss having a Househusband, though truthfully he never really was, I much rather like having my husband happy and personally and professionally fulfilled. Having my commute buddy back is great, too.)

Well that was rather anticlimactic.

For all of you who mentioned to me that the Fertility Center of Illinois is a bit factory-like well, you’re right. Efficiency and quickness seems to be the order of the day. In as much as if they can if they were running on time, which they weren’t.

But here’s the thing: the staff was really kind and lovely and warm. I enjoyed being able to park, and the great magazines in the waiting room. I really liked the location in River North – it’s right on the river and today was a glorious, sunny day and it was hard not to be intoxicated by all of that humidity and fresh air. I was there a little early, and sadly, a software upgrade threw everyone off and so I was about 40 minutes late getting into see my doctor.

He was very kind and charming and funny and went through all of my tests and information.

He’s really not blaming my thyroid on anything. He’s blaming my…age. I went through my whole thyroid spiel, and he wasn’t having it as the reason why we’re not getting pregnant. He’s not saying that it isn’t causing me a bunch of pain and agony, just that it’s more likely all of my half-marathon training is as much to blame for my low progesterone levels as is my wonky thyroid.

Oh, yeah. And also? Age. Did I mention that part?

He made a couple of comments about me being “Thirty-four years young” which, incidentally, has the exact opposite effect he may have hoped it would have. People only say that sort of thing when you’re clearly not young. Yes, I know. I’m not 25 anymore, Doc. I know. But dude. You should have seen me at 25. I’m in much better shape at 34 than I was at 25, when I was regularly using my lungs as a repository for carcinogens and pickling my liver on a daily basis with cheap beer.

So all of this is just the unfortunate consequence of age, and perhaps my insane need to have certain athletic benchmarks accomplished before I die.  I am OK with this, as New Orleans was awesome and had I reproduced with any of the men with whom I spent my twenties, well, you know.

The good news is that while the insane training I was doing may have contributed to the progesterone problem, and I’m once again under orders to stop running (Monday’s Ridge Run will be my first and last race of the season, promise!), he did give me his full support to continue with my boot camp classes, which had me breathing a sigh of relief.

You guys, I really, really, really love these classes. I bound out of bed every day at 4:30 a.m. and enthusiastically head to the studio to put my body through torture for an hour. I’m home by 6:05 a.m., I get to water my flowers, play with the dog, have breakfast and get ready for work with time to spare. It’s the perfect way to start the day. I don’t want to give this up any time soon.

My diet is fine, my weight is fine and I’m not doing anything that he’s concerned about. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to be doing.

So I’ll be taking the following tests to get a better idea of things:

1) Re-test for the progesterone.

2) Disease screening (HIV, HPV, etc.)

3) Genetic testing (although this is really pending insurance since it runs $6,000 (!!) without it.)

4) Rubella and chicken pox immunity status

5) Ultrasound for Antral follicle count

6) FSH, LH and Estradiol test (again)

This dance begins once again on June 7, which is great. I’m glad to not have to wait around much longer to get some more answers. He did mention that we’ll probably fall under “unexplained infertility,” which really wasn’t what I was hoping for.

And so I was a bit sad. Well, a lot sad.

I really resent having to do all this. I know what that sounds like, I know what that means, I’m sure it’s all normal, but wow. The fact that I can rattle off so many people who just have sex – sometimes even when they’ve been on birth control! – is just unfair. That’s it, it’s unfair. Plus? I don’t feel like the women who they are targeting, and I fear that no matter how I try to explain myself, I’m just going to come off as a snot.

I don’t identify with the pathos that seems to go along with being infertile. I just don’t. I never have. I have never been baby crazy. I have never seen myself as a mother, at least not until I met my husband and fell immediately in love with him. I didn’t even babysit more than a handful of times as a teenager. I can still envision a life without kids, even though it makes me very sad to think that’s our fate. The whole experience of having to go through these tests, at these sorts of places, surrounded by all of this heart-wrenching literature it, well, it pisses me off. I don’t like it, it just annoys me, they aren’t my people, and I don’t know how else to say it.

I think I feel about it all the way I originally felt about the language we used to describe body image and weight loss and health. My old friend, Wendy, once put it best and said, in essence, that she was tired of a perspective that demanded she view her body through the lens of a Cathy comic, accepting that we’re all just supposed to “ACK!” our way through the size our thighs and our butts. I feel that way in essence, about not being able to conceive a baby with my husband. Just because the world has decided we’re supposed to feel and act a certain way about not being able to get pregnant doesn’t mean I want to feel and act that way, and it’s hard to find any alternatives,

So I left there yesterday feeling very sad about the whole thing. It was Dip Day at work, so I brought in Baked Doritos and French Onion Dip, a favorite binge food of mine. Wisely, and as Geneen Roth advises, I had a small portion, in front of everyone, enjoyed the heck out of it and called it a day. I went right back to work. It was probably the healthiest and least obsessive approach to eating my feelings ever. I had a long talk about how I felt with my husband after work, went home, ate some leftovers and we took Glinny for a walk in the park across the street from our house.

On the walk, my sister, Devyn, sends me a text and asks us to watch Maddie, my 16-month-old niece, for a weekend in July. I could feel us both tense up with panic and dread – a whole weekend?! Though my husband started to mutter about being nervous about having a baby for the whole weekend, I reminded him that, well, you know, we are …

“Yeah, but that would be OUR kid!”

Clearly I’m not the only one in our relationship who is very “Our Kid Exception To The Rule.” Just the same, we agreed to watch her.

We love our niece and nephews, and it’ll be just fine. It really will be a good glimpse into things for two people who are really used to doing their own thing. I imagine there will be calls to my parents on more than one occasion. And maybe Glin can babysit while we hit the bars down the street.


I am pretty sure I am cut out for parenthood. I am just not so sure that I’m cut out for being infertile.