I know the exact day of Lauren’s conception. Not the exact moment, though I can make a estimate. It took incredible timing. If my days off from Nova had started on Thursday instead of Wednesday, Lauren would not have come into being. If I had been going the Crane equestrian club weekly instead of every other week, it wouldn’t have happened because I would have waited until Wednesday evening to go to Geordie’s place. I would not have been so eager to interpret that slight drop in my temperature as my egg becoming infertile. Not that it would’ve mattered; by Wednesday night, my ovulation period would have been over. All it would have taken to prevent Lauren’s creation was 24 hours of patience.

Call it irresponsible – that may have been what it was. We were trying to prevent pregnancy, after all. Bad judgment on my part. But to be fair, I thought my cycle had reached a safe point. I ovulated on Day 21, which is the latest day that I ovulate; usually its Day 19 or 20. My body playing tricks on me. Bodies do that sometimes, especially female ones. Even when you’re trying to analyze it and predict it, it’ll throw curves at you when you least expect it.

I’ve always had a long cycle. When I was younger, I never paid much attention to it; time didn’t really mean much to me then. It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized I had a six-week cycle, possibly because I was living with other girls for the first time, and they all had the standard 28-30 days. It had just never ocurred to me that I was different.

Nor did I ever think much about my fertility. Looking back, I’m amazed at how little I knew about my own body. It just didn’t concern me; I wasn’t sexually active, so I never thought about it.  As long as I kept having regular periods, I figured I was alright. And I was. I took it for granted most of the time.

My second year in college, my roommate was diagnosed with PCOS. She sat in our bathroom and cried. I felt helpless to do anything for her, but I sat there next to her and held her hand and listened to her. It was so strange to watch her crumble that way; she had always been so strong, so dedicated to what she wanted. In addition to going to college full-time, she had also had a full-time job and a long-term boyfriend she intended to marry. She ended up graduating in three years. And one of her life plans was to have children. She had already decided on how many and what their names would be. She was terrified of what this diagnosis meant for her.

For the first time in my life, I thought about how unfair it was that a woman who wanted children so badly might not be able to have them. At that time, I had no interest in having a family. If I had been given the same diagnosis, I don’t think I would have thought much of it. Children did not figure into my life as a necessity. As far as a I knew, my baby-making equipment was fine. The only thing I could think to tell her was this: “I wish we could trade places.”

I meant it. I could have faced a life without children. I knew I might change my mind in the future, but I figured it would be better to know that I could never have them when I didn’t want them. Seeing how much it hurt my roommate, I wished I could give up my own fertility for her, for other women who wanted what they couldn’t have.

About two years ago, I realized something about my body: because of my cycle, I only ovulate 8-9 times a year. I wondered about my fertility then. Did that make me less fertile? Did it make a difference? Did it mean that I would have to try harder to get pregnant? By that time, I had already begun tracking my cycle, so I knew the rhythms of my body and what to expect. I dreaded my week of blood, but I never resented it or wished it was otherwise. It was proof to me of my potential as a mother, to be there when I wanted it.

When Lauren was conceived, I still didn’t know if I wanted a baby or not. But eventually, I came to the same conclusion I had earlier in life: perhaps it was better if the decision was made for me. Once I knew about her, I would never let her go. Once I saw her, heard her, felt her – I belonged to her. I’ve not kept in contact with my roommate, but I hope that she has been able to have this feeling. I hope that she got what she wanted.

We nicknamed our baby “Lucky,” and that was true in so many ways. Just one day off, and the opportunity would have been gone.

This is the first of my “one year ago” anniversaries with Lauren. One year ago, she was conceived. I did not know it at the time, nor was I expecting it. But once I knew, there was no going back, no giving up on her. She was our child, mine and Geordie’s, and though I was uncertain at first, I came to love her and to want her. I still do.

Happy conception day, Lauren. I love you.

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