After three wonderful weeks in Juneau, Alaska, teaching, learning, and roaming the fjords and waters, we land back in Los Angeles just long enough to squeeze in another artificial insemination before Lyena is off to a dance workshop in Oakland. When we get in to see VaJayjay he explains that, statistically speaking, we’re right in the target for a pregnancy. He keeps reminding us, like a mantra, that “We’re just waiting for that one good egg.” All of the physical signs are strong, he says. It really should happen anytime now.
I really hope so because we’re kind of running out of options if that good egg stays in hiding for too much longer. We’ve already gone through several different types of fertility drugs. We’re doing artificial insemination. There’s simply not much left between where we are now and having to step up to in-vitro fertilization — a difficult and expensive process that we are really hoping to be able to avoid. Dr. VaJayjay reassures us that we’re not there yet, though, so we agree to not get ahead of ourselves and take it one step at a time.
This step: swimmers, syringe, snuggle and we’re out of there.
The next day, Lyena heads off for a week of dancing with AXIS Dance – a world-renown mixed-ability dance company in Oakland, CA. The last time Lyena went to one of these workshops she attempted a complex maneuver in which she closed her eyes, swept her arms back, arced through the air and landed… nose first. Lyena is an accomplished and graceful dancer, so I believe her when she says that wasn’t how it was supposed to go down. Nonetheless, I make her promise to take it easy and not try anything that might land her on her nose, or any other non-ground-worthy part, again.
A few days into Lyena’s trip, I check back in with my family in Maryland. My dad has returned home from his stint at John’s Hopkins after showing significant signs of improvement. He is able to get around mostly on his own and isn’t in much pain… Well, except for the shingles. Yes, as if recovering from 11 days on a respirator wasn’t difficult enough, he now has to do it with a frequent, immitigable, stabbing pain in his side. And, since shingles is highly contagious, he also isn’t allowed to touch anyone, in particular his immune-suppressed wife.
But the family drama doesn’t stop there. A couple days later, I hear from my sister that my niece recently had a fainting spell and was taken to the doctor where she was diagnosed with a severe case of pregnancy. Somehow she managed to get about 16 weeks along without realizing she was pregnant. She wasn’t trying to get pregnant. In fact, none of us even knew she was sexually active. Did I forget to mention she’s 15 years old? That’s right, my 15-year old niece and her 15-year old boyfriend managed to do in one night’s accident what Lyena and I haven’t been able to accomplish in eight month’s effort aided by highly-skilled professionals and precision-crafted tools.
My first concern, of course, is for my niece. Is she okay? Physically, she’s fine. Emotionally, she’s understandably freaked. What are they planning to do? Though she’s not so far along that terminating the pregnancy is physically out of the question, both families have moral and/or spiritual objections to the idea, so she’s going to have the baby for sure. What happens after that is a little up in the air at this stage (no one has known about this for more than a couple weeks), but the likelihood is she’s also going to act as the baby’s parent (as much as a 15-year old can). I’m not convinced she has the slightest idea what this actually means (mostly because I’m not convinced that I do and I’m more than 20 years older), but I know there are a lot of people prepared to act as second- and third- parents to this child, so I’m not concerned baby will be neglected.
I am starting to get a little bitter, though. And a little pissed. What the hell is up with this year? This was supposed to be a good year – our year – the year Lyena and I got to bring a new life into the world. But no… Instead this is the year my mom’s cancer begins to win the war, my dad does his own mambo with death, and my 15-year old niece and her 15-year old can’t-keep-it-in-his-pants boyfriend stumble into a pregnancy Lyena and I can’t seem to find with a map, a GPS and a big neon sign that says “GOOD EGG HERE!”
Okay. Maybe I’m more than a little bitter. And more than a little pissed. No one ever said that life is fair. I know that. But this? This is bullshit.
Up Next… Our New York State