Saturday, June 18, 2022

The Not-Worst Birthday Ever


So. I recently had a birthday. (In fact, this post was written on a post-chocolate drip cake sugar rush.) Forty-freakin’-one. Among the ways I “celebrated” was taking a pregnancy test. (Bet you thought that last post was about pregnancy. Nah. But I’ll hint at that situation vaguely later.)

I was only two days late, which in period time is not even worth mentioning, except that there were a few, um, occasions on which my husband and I did not use protection. Incredibly stupid, I know. But in our defense, we both assume we’re at the lower end of the fertility spectrum, so the chances of me getting pregnant are…oh, less than 1 percent. (Actually, I just Googled it, and it might be slightly higher than that. Shit.)

Before investing in a new pair of pregnancy tests (hey, they’re not free!), I racked my brain to remember when those reckless instances were so I could decide how much to worry.

Encounter 1: I think we started out with a condom and trashed it halfway? Getting older = memory loss.

Encounter 2:  Definitely did not use protection. I didn’t insist, and neither did he. (In the history of mankind, has a guy ever insisted? OK, maybe once.) This was mid-cycle, so kind of risky.

Encounter 3: Again, definitely did not use protection, but figured my fertile window had closed, as I’d had the telltale egg-white cervical mucus and bloating/cramping combo that tend to accompany ovulation a week prior.

Encounter 4: Did not use protection, but got interrupted early on, so low risk. See also: post-ovulation.

Except, except, except. It was a weird cycle. The day after Encounter 3, I had that egg-white cervical mucus again, plus another round of bloating/cramping.

“Is it possible I ovulated twice this month?” I remarked to my husband sometime in between Encounter 3 and Encounter 4. “Wouldn’t that just be the way the universe works – accidentally pregnant with twins at my age!”

“I am not having another child,” he replied, unamused.

“And yet all of your actions completely contradict that statement,” I pointed out. “Hmm…”

“Time to take a pregnancy test?” he asked.

“It wouldn’t be accurate,” I said. “It takes a couple weeks.”

He looked thoroughly confused. 

“Don’t you remember this from all the fertility stuff?” I asked.

He did not. He genuinely believed that you could take a pregnancy test the day after unprotected sex and get an accurate result.

“It’s laughable how little men know about reproduction,” my older teen snarked when we discussed the subject later.

Two days after my period failed to show up, I took the pregnancy test, and purposely left the box on the counter so it would freak my husband out and motivate him to schedule that vasectomy appointment he promised he’d make. (Joke was on me. He didn’t even notice the insanely conspicuous hot pink pregnancy test box.)

I’ll spare you the suspense. The test was negative. This birthday girl carried on. The day was a mix of highs and lows. 

Highs: Both of my parents remembered my birthday and gifted me with cards and cash. My teens also wrote me nice cards and gifted me a new cross necklace and an IOU for a haircut. My husband hit a home run in the greeting card department (and I don’t even like greeting cards normally) and brought home some dark peanut butter cups from a local confectioner. I got to spend some calm, quality time reading a big stack of books with the littles. I dined on a guacamole- and bacon-topped chicken sandwich with waffle fries (my favorite garbage food meal). 

Lows: Two uncomfortable phone calls, both related to what I kinda-sorta blogged about in my last post. But I didn’t let them ruin the b-day vibe. Indeed, my birthday wish was in direct opposition to what those phone calls entailed.

“Thanks for making this the not-worst birthday ever,” I said to my husband and children at the end of the night.

But two days later, still no period. My insomnia – which I thought I had beaten to the ground with increasingly larger doses of sleeping medication – returned. So I took another pregnancy test. Again, negative. WTF? (I mean, thank God, but also: WTF?) 

Finally, it dawned on me: Is this a symptom of perimenopause? And why didn’t I think of that as the explanation for my MIA period rather than an accidental pregnancy (which I’ve never had before)? Silly girl. Don’t you know how old you are? You can’t even call yourself a “girl” anymore!

Sigh. As if aging isn’t insulting enough, fertility gives you a big middle finger, just to remind you how irrelevant you are. (Not that I need to be fertile. Oh, no, I am so done with baby-making.) Still, it’s no fun feeling discarded by Mother Nature.

Oh well. Onto the next challenge: figuring out how I’m going to spend my next 41 years (if I’m so lucky)…

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