So I left off at last night. After lunch and the Op-Ed session (I still have to upload my notes from that), I went upstairs and got dressed because…I had to be ready for the keynote. You’ll see what I read below, but the night before I flew to Chicago, I decided to wear part of the costume. The bottom part.
So I grabbed the boots, grabbed a pair of stockings, and then went looking for the bottom part of the outfit which was the black garter contraption. I took apart three drawers, took the drawers out of the dresser to check if it had fallen over the back of a drawer, and finally found them in a random bag in my closet. Five years since I last wore them.
I read my piece at the community keynote and that video will be available soon online. You can read the edited version of the post below. And then we went to the cocktail party and met all these cool bloggers and even got a seated massage.
Red Headed Lefty and Me
The Dana Files and Me
Me and Ask Moxie
I swung through some parties and I have to admit this—last year, I grabbed no swag. I didn’t even venture really into the Expo Hall and I turned down bags when they were offered. And this year, I started down this road and now (Io as my witness this morning), I have become a maniac. I went back to one place and got three versions of the same toy for Baby Fred. I took freakin’ Mary Kay make-up—I don’t even wear make-up. So I waited in line last night and got some bags of stuff (a tiara, which the ChickieNob is excited to wear). And then I got to the real stuff.
I got to meet Mommy Wants Vodka, Apron Strings for Emily, and Who Shot My Stork! Aunt Becky had to leave, but Emily and Io and I went out for dinner/dessert. It was such an amazing time. First of all, they’re hysterically funny. And I cried meeting Io (I got to meet Emily at lunch so I got all my tears over then). I mean, she’s Io! And she’s wonderful. And we had a great time.
Lookey here, I'm signing my book this afternoon
Laurie Kingston and Me
But here is what I read for the community keynote...
The Community Keynote Piece:
Loss is inherent in infertility--the negative beta at the end of the cycle, diminishing hope, forgoing opportunities. Mixed in with the loss is the physical pain and the emotional embarrassment. The financial holes and constant anxiety. And, of course, shwanking off in public.
When my husband, Josh, would complain about the donation rooms, I would lift up my shirt to show him my bruised belly. How could he ever compare rubbing one out with nightly injections?
And then I took a field trip to the donation rooms and listened to the nurses discussing the viscosity of a semen sample on the other side of the thin wall and I had a newfound appreciation for my husband's prowess to zone in on an image of breasts (always my own, always my own) and get the job done despite the andrologist crooning "Careless Whisper" in his office, three feet away.
On the morning of our first IUI, we drove to the clinic, bleary-eyed from lack of coffee and somewhat anxious to see if this next step would work. When he was called back to the room, he seemed a little surprised that I was coming with him.
"I think you wait here," he said.
"I'm coming back for moral support," I said to the nurse. "If that's okay."
"Fine," the squat, German woman barked. She paused outside of tiny room that contained a barcalounger, magazine rack, television set, and a sink counter containing a sealed collection vial.
She looked at me suspiciously and reminded me three times in quick succession that in order for it to be a clean specimen, I could not use my mouth.
"I will not use my mouth," I promised. "I'll be very quiet. I won't touch anything. I'll just read one of the magazines."
"No mouth," she repeated a final time, picking up the sealed donation vial and slamming it down on the counter as a final reminder of her wrath should my lips creep close to anything that is currently under her domain.
And this is what babymaking at the clinic is like. Someone else is conducting your intimacy and someone else is setting the time. And frankly, someone else is doing the job. It can be sobering, stilling to think about how much this process is out of your hands, the wonder removed, the love vacuumed out of it in the quest for a clean specimen. But that was why I was there. I was taking back the porn.
"I don't know if I can perform if you're going to be watching," my husband admitted.
"Oh, I'm not going to be watching," I said.
And that is when I stripped off the oversized grey sweatshirt and wide-legged jeans to reveal a black merry widow-like contraption with garters and thigh-high black stockings peeking out over knee-high boots. I unhooked my barrette and let my hair tumble down past my shoulders. "I'm Hilde," I breathed.
"Hilde?" my husband asked unsteadily. "Like your great uncle's girlfriend?"
Which wasn't the reaction I had been hoping for. I had sort of assumed that the outfit would cause immediate schwangage--that he'd have to dive for the collection cup in slow motion to catch the stream of semen shooting out just from the mere site of his wife parading in front of him in material that was black and shimmery and see-through.
"I'm Hilde," I said, shaking my ass a bit in his face as I leaned over to check out the porn in the magazine rack. I should have gone for the slow reveal. "Perhaps we should get to know each other," I murmured, trying to look at him through my lashes without getting a headache. "I have a lot of secrets."
"Really, Hilde? Secrets," Josh said, not really making any motions that would get us out of this room.
"Lots of secrets," I moaned. "Here's the first one. Why don't you just get your donation vial ready and we can begin."
"Mel," he said gently. "I think you're beautiful in that. Hot. I wish you'd actually wear something like that at home. But...I love you. I want to make this baby with you."
For him, it wasn't about what was lost. It wasn't about everything that came before or even this moment itself. It was about looking forward, thinking about what we were creating together. It didn't matter if it took place at home or in an office or in the single-stall Starbucks bathroom--the end result would be the same. Parenthood. A child.
That is how we tuned out the conversation happening on the other side of that door; the whore and the madonna, sitting on the floor, holding his knees just so I could feel connected in some way to the experience. My eyes averted, a quiet connection, a return to the continuous mantra chanted by the heart, "could this be our chance could this be our chance couldthisbeourchance".
All to the tune of "Careless Whisper."