Friday, July 10, 2009

The Bribe

It’s what you call a win-win situation. I get four days away to myself to think long and hard about whether or not I want to add another human being to our family, and Kevin gets four solid days of Sophie-and-Daddy time (and a better idea as to whether he’s ready to double the pleasure).

I’m going on a cruise. By myself. I booked it this week.

When we first came up with the plan, I was straddling the fence and Kevin had scaled it and jumped over to the other side. He was standing there, in greener pastures, beckoning to me (nay, begging me) to come and join him. According to Kevin, in the expanded vision of our family we would:

  • Have more love in our lives
  • Have a playmate for Sophia (and teach her, for once, that “sharing” does not mean I give you the thing that I have because you want it)
  • Add more people to the world who would do good things.

I don’t think he is wrong about these, but I added that we would:

  • Have less time for each other
  • Have less time for Sophia
  • Risk having a child that, due to my advancing age and disintegrating eggs, would require more than we quite possibly have to give.

So, you can see how the conversation went. And how we both came to the conclusion that I needed to go to the Caribbean: I needed to pull back for a little metacognition on the subject and Kevin…well, consider the following illustrative anecdote:

At a function for my work, we were speaking with one of my colleagues. I shared with her my ambivalence about having another child and the fact that Kevin was sending me on a cruise to make a decision. Kevin leaned in and added, nonchalantly, “It’s a bribe.” I laughed at the time, and I know he intended it as a joke, but I couldn’t help also feeling a bit surprised. How much was he joking? Is it a bribe? How would he feel if, after I took this lovely trip while he slaved over a busy toddler, I said I didn’t think I could do it?

Since that time, Kevin has swung with the pendulum back to dead center, where we stand together united in our divided minds. I continue to vacillate on a daily basis. My current thinking is that perhaps we don’t have enough data. Maybe we need to wait until Sophia is old enough to weigh in on the situation.

But how long can we wait? As we speak, the sand is running out of my not-so-hourglass figure. I’m one year away from 40, when approximately 50% of my eggs will be chromosomally abnormal. The cruise is in December. Even if I came back and got pregnant immediately, I still wouldn’t have the baby until October—two months after my 40th birthday.

Funny how we treat these numbers—how I treat these numbers as magic milestones. As if 20% of my eggs will be absolutely fine until August 24, 2010 when they’ll spontaneously combust and leave microscopic piles of ashes in my ovaries.

I know it’s not true. They could all already be bad. Or, I could be one of these women who is able to conceive at 60—too old to have hopes of watching him/her graduate…take on a life partner…and have children him/herself one day. There’s no way to know. Kevin wants to roll the dice…shake up those ovaries and hope for a lucky egg. He thinks the odds are good. I think it doesn’t matter what the odds are if we are the 1 in 66 who has a problem.

At which point I would have another decision to make that I don’t want to be in the position of having to make.

Back to the cruise: my plan is to sit on my balcony, gaze out at the water, and write daily. To channel every thought and feeling out of my head and heart and onto the page. To allow my intuition to serve as my guide.
And then, to take a leap off this damn fence.

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