Growing up amidst divorce, minimal resources, and tragedy, I learned not to be optimistic. I was always awaiting the next crisis. If my husband didn’t answer his phone, I was certain he’d been in a fatal car wreck. I sniffled as I planned that man’s funeral at least weekly.
If I mentioned that certain medications might decrease male fertility, he pooh-poohed my fears. “My guys are fine,” he insisted.
“You don’t know that,” I argued. “Look at Stevie Hollywood and JM – her whole life, she knew bearing children would be iffy. And then it was Stevie Hollywood turned out to have sperm that were dead in the water!”
“My guys are up to the job,” Andy told me.
“Okay, but are you? Judgmental Genius Doctor Sister said that even though Georgia Boy was the one hankering for a baby, he folded under the pressure of constant sex.”
“Wait. I thought we were only supposed to have sex every other day. We’re supposed to have it constantly?!” Andy scooped me up and shouted, “To the bedroom!”
I pounded on him until he put me down. “Every other day IS constantly!”
“I know you’re a writer,” Andy said, before adopting Inigo Montoya’s accent and telling me, “But I do not think that word means what you think it means.”
“Dude. I know what the connotations of ‘constant sex’ are to most women and I’m pretty sure every other day qualifies.”
“Huh. Well, I do not fold under the pressure of this so-called constant sex. I relish it. Want another demonstration?”
Clearly my husband did not lack confidence in his sexual prowess or his sperm.
After a month of trying, I didn’t get pregnant. “See?” I told Andy. “There’s something wrong. We’ll probably never get pregnant.”
“We’re gonna get pregnant. Stop worrying.”
“You know, I bet it’s your sperm. Because my mom got pregnant while on every form of birth control and we haven’t even had a single pregnancy scare and we’ve had sex for years.”
Andy rolled his eyes. “You told me your mom wanted to get pregnant and sabotaged her birth control methods. You’re gonna get pregnant. Stop worrying.”
“But what if it is your sperm? I guess we could use your brother’s sperm instead?”
“NO!” roared Andy. “It’s only been a month, it’s going to be fine. My guys are good.” Andy stomped to the refrigerator and pulled out a beer.
I cleared my throat and said, “You know, alcohol can have a detrimental impact on sperm count and sexual performance.”
Andy opened his beer bottle and took a deep, pointed swig.
I envied my husband his optimism (and his alcohol). For all that I came from the most fertile of mothers, I became certain I’d never get pregnant. I knew the universe had a sense of irony and it liked to fuck with me. Now that I was finally okay with having a kid, of course I wouldn’t be able to conceive. I tossed and turned every night for the next month.
Meanwhile, Andy snored blissfully away next to me. He was secure in his knowledge that things would turn out fine.
I wanted to beat his obviously misguided optimism out of him with a pillow. I settled for punching his arm and telling him to roll over when his snores got too loud.
At the end of the next month, right about the time my period was supposed to arrive, I started cramping while Andy was at work.
“Ha,” I grumbled. “I knew it. Not pregnant again.” Before I started popping Advil, though, I figured I’d better be sure there was no chance there was an embryo that could be damaged by medications.
I took a pregnancy test. Then I took another one, because I am the queen of overkill.
I left the pregnancy tests in the bathroom.
When Andy used the bathroom that evening, he came out holding the pregnancy tests in his hand and said, “Really?”
I said, “Yeah.”
And that’s when I realized that maybe, just maybe, my husband hadn’t been so optimistic about conception after all. Because as he gave me a hug, Andy also said:
“My guys made it!”