Swimming in Circles
ALL: Let’s play!
STEFANIE: “You’re not old, but you’re not young either,” said my OGBYN in 2012.
I was 33½ years old and just had a miscarriage. My doctor was talking to me about my “options” as I was getting close to the dreaded child-bearing age of 35. For those of you who don’t know, when a woman turns 35, the chances of having a difficult pregnancy and genetic abnormalities in the baby increases because eggs get old.
In 2008, when I was 29, I had my daughter. I was the first among my friends to have a child. Three years later, we started trying to have a second baby. And no go.
All the while, our friends were having their first child … and then their second. As they excitedly told me about their pregnancies, I would smile and say congratulations, and then go home and cry.
Then in early 2012 I got pregnant! We were so excited. I told my family right away and my co-producers in Artists at Play because I was due in the fall when our show Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them would be running.
Except on February 26, while we were hosting an Academy Award party, I started to miscarriage. A house full of friends and I was losing my pregnancy. I was six weeks along and my body was shedding a mass of cells no bigger than the end of my pinky. We were devastated, but there was nothing that we could do.
My OBGYN said to take some time off to let my body reset. So six months later, we started trying. And again, no go.
I thought it was bad when I got married and people constantly asked us when we were going to have a baby. It’s even worse when you have one kid and people start asking you when you’re going to have more kids.
The polite thing to say, the thing that makes the other person feel comfortable about their question is “oh, we’ve been trying but nothing yet” or “oh, we’re enjoying the one we have for a little longer.” But in my head, I wanted to stop the questions by honestly saying, “Yeah, we want to have more kids, but I had a miscarriage a few years ago and my husband’s sperm swims in a circle, so we’re having a little trouble conceiving again.”
But all that does is make the person feel bad for asking, and then I feel bad for making that person feel bad. So instead, I just sheepishly grin, repeat one of my standard responses and change the subject.
While I knew that I wanted a second baby, I didn’t want to go through the energy, time and money that would be necessary for fertility treatments, especially since the chances of those working are slim when the problem is the sperm. So I started to accept that we would just be a happy family of three. [cue projection of ultrasound]
But now, I get to be excited that we’re going to be a family of four.
[Cue transition music: Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely”]