As happened when Eric was born, within minutes of Carl’s birth I was dreaming about the next baby. Never mind that I was miserable during both my pregnancies. Never mind that I kept telling my friends, “Getting pregnant a second time after being so sick when I was pregnant with Eric was optimistic; getting pregnant a third time would be just plain stupid.” Never mind that, committed as I am to spacing children at least three years apart, the youngest I could be when Number Three was born would be 41.
Never mind all that. I want him anyway.
I try not to talk about it around David. After all, he has cheerily and whole-heartedly followed me into having first one, and then another, baby. He believed me when I said, “As sure as I am that I want two, that’s how sure I am that I don’t want three.” He has listened—and believed—when people have asked whether we plan to have another and I’ve said, “Oh, heavens, no. I’m just plain too old.”
But I talk about it with him anyway. And, in the night, while I nurse Carl, I plot and plan. During this past week, I’ve even chosen the third baby’s name, assuming he’s a boy. If it’s a girl, we’re doomed, because David and I have never come up with a single girl’s name that was acceptable to both of us, and if we follow our tradition of giving the kids a middle name that is the first name of an important immediate family member (Eric David, for David; Carl Scott, for our beloved friend Scott), a girl is going to end up with “Something Su,” which, no matter what you put in the place of “Something,” sounds like she’s the long-lost sister from Petticoat Junction.
Now, some of you may remember that our kids are conceived by donor insemination [side note to the person who asked me recently whether both my kids had the same father: Of course they do. David is their father. And you need to get a clue.]. Now, when we were planning to try for Number One, sperm cost $150 a pop. The special liquid nitrogen overnight shipping for the sperm cost $90. We realized that if we ordered sperm month-by-month, the shipping would significantly increase the cost. On the other hand, if we ordered a bunch of sperm and didn’t need it, that would be money wasted, too. We decided that if we ordered three months worth of sperm at once, that would feel not too wasteful of money no matter whether we ended up ordering more sperm eventually or didn’t use it all.
It never occurred to us we’d get pregnant in one try. But we did. And so we had two vials of sperm still stored in our doctor’s freezer.
In our decision-making process for Little Number Two, currently full of milk and sleeping in his swing, I kept saying, “I just want my two tries! I just want my two tries!”
It took one try.
So we still have a vial of sperm in our doctor’s freezer. And I can hardly bear knowing it’s there. “I just want my one try!” I have been telling David. “This is the plan: September of 2006. Eric will be 5 1/2, Carl will be 2 1/2, I’ll be about to turn 41. We inseminate for a single cycle. We don’t even do Clomid, the fertility drug I was on with both previous inseminations. Heck,” I added, in serious bargaining mode now, “I’m even willing to do it without ovulation prediction. We can just inseminate two weeks after my period starts and see what happens.”
David’s reply: a noncommittal grunt. But perhaps he is considering that giving “just one try” to a woman who has gotten pregnant in one try, twice, is a fool’s bet.
It has occurred to me that I don’t need his permission to use up that last vial. Though explaining after the fact that I am accidentally pregnant might be tricky (“There must have been some mis-communication with the nurse. I thought I was there for a pap smear!”). I told David, “Your part in this dysfunctional drama is to call the doctor’s office and tell them to dispose of our final vial of sperm, and say that if I call they are to tell me that there was an unfortunate accident with the freezer.”
I really am trying not to vex David with this, being blessed as I am with two terrific kids already, which is one more than I thought I’d get to have a year ago. I worry that he’ll get mad at me if I talk about it, or he’ll feel pressured, or think I’m reneging on a deal.
I was reassured, though, when he facetiously offered me a counter-argument this morning, because if he can joke about it, he can’t be too irritated with me.
“My co-worker and I were talking about what he calls his younger brothers,” he reported. “He’s the oldest of three.”
I said, “He calls them his younger brother and his youngest brother, of course.”
David said, “But there are only two of them, so they have to be his older younger brother and his younger younger brother.”
David is technically right. To picky-minded word geeks, the superlative is reserved for quantities of three or more, as in the following old brainteaser: Two writers live in a town. One is the best writer in the country, but not the best writer in town. How can that be? [Answer: since there are only two of them, she’s the better writer in town.] But, as I pointed out, every person in America would know what the co-worker meant if he said “younger” and “youngest.”
David rejoined, “We’ll avoid giving Eric this problem by not having a third baby.” I was too slow on the uptake to point out that there would be no problem if the third baby was a girl: Eric would then have a younger brother and a younger sister. Though little Eulalie Su would still have the two-older-brothers-problem, it occurs to me now, so I see that David’s argument is, in fact, iron-clad. Too bad. Guess I’ll give up and never mention it again.Posted by Su Penn at May 19, 2004 09:11 PM | TrackBack