After four months of “not trying not to,” three months of “trying,” and one month of “Christ on a BIKE, let’s DO this thing, already,” I’m starting to get panicky. In retrospect this seems silly, but at the time I feel like I’m broken, defective. Like something that I’m biologically built for, that my body is designed to do, is an impossibility for me for reasons no one can satisfactorily explain. I came to find out that this is a pretty common set of emotions for early-to-mid-thirties women in this situation. Particularly when, as is my case, everyone I know is getting pregnant by accident–oops! surprise!–with their second and third and fourth children. Bitches.
Around this time, my mother presents me with a borrowed, dog-eared copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility, which is quite possibly the worst book title ever. That aside, it’s pretty good at explaining the whole temperature-charting method; something I’ve almost certainly dismissed in the preceding months. I don’t want to get into it, after hearing about how it takes all the spontaneity out of sex, and it becomes a chore and a science project and all that, but I’m running out of ideas. I’m starting to try to get my head around injections and hormones and treatments and petri dishes and turkey basters (right? I don’t know), and this has to be less complicated than all that. Not to mention cheaper.
A couple of things are daunting about wrangling one’s fertility. First of all, the temperature-taking instructions are extremely specific. You have to take it at the exact same time every morning, right when you wake up and before you pee or even SIT up (I swear), and you have to have been asleep for more than three hours. I can’t sleep for crap, so very rarely is there a time when I’ve been asleep for three straight hours, and if I’m up, it’s certain that I have to pee. The other part is that you have to become extremely familiar with your lady parts and… secretions. I’m not shy about this stuff, nor am I terribly modest, but this is…um…clinical. There is a chart you have to print out, study, mat, frame, and hang on the wall, that you fill in with dots and lines that require protractors and compasses, all to tell you what the EFF is going on in there (which would, in my opinion, be a much better title for the book).
The book is very clear about what will happen at certain times during the cycle, and what those things mean. And damned if those things don’t happen EXACTLY as the book says they will. The glorious, fascinating symphony of truly disgusting processes that is going to help me handcuff and imprison my fertility! How had I not known all these things about my own body?
I make fun of it, but it works. It takes one cycle to figure it all out, and one to beat my fertility into submission. I win.