Friday, September 29, 2006

Bad Biology

To those of you with two children or even one reaching the age of two, you might identify with my current struggle:

My body is sending unmistakable signals that it's time to procreate again. There is the usual frantic urge for sex during the time that I ovulate. There are weepy, rueful feeings upon looking at my children's baby pictures. And then there are the stray thoughts, more disturbing than the physical and emotional urges, that say getting pregnant again just might be the most wonderful thing to ever happen to me.

Lord, get me to the hospital. I need shock therapy, a lobotomy, or at the very least a tubal ligation. No time to waste.

So, at dinner last night, M and I resumed our long conversation about whether or not one of us should get surgery.

"This is a big issue for me," I reiterated while picking at his crab cakes.

"It's a big issue for me, too," he reminded me.

"Yes, but I'm the one who gets pregnant. Right now you don't want surgery, but you don't want me to have surgery, so I feel rather stuck." I polished off my cocktail and ordered a glass of wine. "I am starting to like the idea of a tubal ligation."

M looked at me with exasperation and tenderness. We were both painfully aware of having had this conversation many times before, most recently quite loudly in a swanky bar where we no doubt scared the hell out of the 20-somethings at the surrounding tables.

"I just don't understand why you can't wait until I am ready," he said.

"Because, when will you be ready? In five years, when I'm forty and you're an old codger, will you finally be ready? Or will you be ready before the next time we have an accident?"

I am referring, of course, to the accidental pregnancy that resulted in our beautiful baby girl, Miss A. During the time of that accident, we were practicing the Fertility Awareness Method.

Now, I am a big fan of FAM. FAM is based on close observation of the menstrual cycle, which you carefully measure and plot on a chart. Reading the signs and the chart will tell you when you are most fertile, and when there is no chance of conception. Roughly, five days before ovulation and a few days after ovulation are times of fertility. This is good to know, especially if you are trying to concieve. But there are things to watch out for. Like, sperm can survive for up to five days before penetrating an egg. It can swim round and round in the fertile, semen-like cervical fluid that floods the female parts during this time. So if you, like me, are about to engage in unprotected sex because you have not yet seen any signs of ovulation (such as stretchy, egg-white-like fluid), consider that it just hasn't come down yet but is about to any second. Stop what you're doing and apply your least-hated form of birth control.

Or else:

[see above adorable photo of Audrey]

Here is where the triumph of Man, our ability to override evolutionary compulsions, becomes so important. It may be true that my body wants me to make another baby. This has nothing whatever to do with whether or not I actually want to have another baby. All it has to do with is my biology. So, I must learn to ignore it. I can do that. I have learned to pass over many other urges, such as stealing drugs from medicine cabinets, inappropriate involvement with people not my husband, and eating entire cakes in one sitting.

Resisting a biological urge that comes wrapped in sentiment and mystery is not easy. If you want proof, witness how many women continue to fall in love with men who can't talk or notice when they have a feeling. The baby one in particular is tricky. It's designed to propogate the species, so it has to be at least as strong as the sex urge. Because for those of us who are married with children, the sex urge may not necessarily be able to trump the self-preservation urge that causes us to kick our husbands away in the middle of the night. So evolution has created the Misty Baby Urge.

Bah, I say. How soon can my OB/GYN be here with his scalpel?


Anonymous said...

Ok Now you are freaking me out....seriously....have you been living inside my head? The vasectomy thing is a common discussion in our house. C is all for it, we have so many men in our families that have had them that it is a no brainer, infact both parites enjoy se more because there is no stress about getting knocked up again!(I am sure all these things have been discussed many times in your house) I am too when the time comes but I am not ready to makethe decision. I know parenting is nearly impossible it is some sort of sick joke actually but none the less, there may be one more in there so I can't let him do it yet...I am having major urges and I am on the pill and Not ovulating...explain that??? By the time I would have the 3rd, the first 2 would be in school for atleast 3-4 hours a day and they would be potty trained, speaking in full sentences and the list goes on...I actually feel like at that point it would be somewhat enjoyable, the kids would have fun with a baby, we will have so much more room and have you seen the cute maternity clothes and the Moby out there now??? I am crazy and I really hope I come to my senses soon!!!! I can tell you this much, if I come home with a #3 there better be a perscription for Zoloft pinned to it:) Serioulsy though...whatelse am I thinking??

Anonymous said...

Also I looked over the stuff from the past and I am ok with it so don't worry...not as bad as I thought!

Anonymous said...

D and I talked about it for a while and it was medically easier for me to get the big V than for her tot get the tubal ligation. I was in and out in a couple of hours. After a couple of days with a bag of frozen peas strapped to what was left of my boys, I was back to normal.

The choice has to be logic over emotional attachment to the one centimeter of flesh they cut out of you...


susie said...

Logic? What is logic in the face of raging reproductive hormones and our instinct to protect our parts? If logic always won, most of us would never have a second kid, or any kids. Well, maybe that's not true. I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Well, obviously you, as a couple, must have agreed to have one of you go under the knife.

Logically, the medical procedure to sterilize a man is much less invasive.

Of course, his operation won't make your raging hormones, but at least you won't have to worry about beautiful baby #3 any time soon...