Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Rocky Check-Out Story

I've never really gone into the details behind my "infertility", mostly because it's personal, but also because I'm not entirely comfortable talking about it. My body has always been screwy but it's never had effects quite like this before where I've felt so helpless and defeated and very embarrassed at the fact that there isn't much I can do about it but keep on keepin' on--it's usually my brain that puts me in those predicaments. I can lose weight which is on the ever growing list of 2008 resolutions, and I can take fertility medications which I probably will someday when I feel that Must-Get-Pregnant-NOW urge rear its big head. But I've already admitted that I'm not devastated by my Almost Infertility anymore, and it's true, I just have to give you a little more information in order to tell you the story of our trip to the store tonight and what transpired when we approached the checkout with a case of New Castle and a twin pack of pregnancy tests.

What I have is called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Basically, my ovaries aren't creating eggs because they're too busy creating cysts and without those eggs and all the other hormones telling my uterus to begin preparation, I miss quite a few visits from Aunt Flow. It's just one of many side-effects to PCOS which can be, but are not limited to: ovarian cysts (check!), excessive weight gain (check!), sleep apnea (check!), increased facial hair growth (fortunately I've been spared this except for that one solitary chin hair that I have to violently pluck every few months.) In other words, it could be worse.

Overall I've found the problems to be tolerable, but I've gotta tell ya, the missed menstrual periods were killer those first few months. Every time it didn't show I let myself get excited only to be devastated after taking a test. Nowadays, I never expect my period to arrive and I've stopped running out to the convenience store for a new value pack of First Response tests when it doesn't show. Now I put more of an emphasis on making sure I'm not pregnant before I do anything crazy that could be harmful to a baby, like drinking excessively on New Year's Eve.

Which brings us to the aforementioned store where Jon and I were standing in one of the many liquor aisles. He'd already loaded his choice of alcohol, a case of 12 New Castle beers on sale for $12.99, into the shopping cart, and I was staring intensely at the wall of premixed drinks, trying to decide between the Mai Tai or Long Island Iced Tea. Just as I'd gently placed the bottle of Mai Tai into the cart, fairly confident with my choice, Jon reminded me of the conversation we'd had earlier in which I told him that I had to take a pregnancy test before the party on Monday and that I should pick one up the next time we were at the store.

His reminder made me second guess my choice of Mai Tais so I put it back on the wooden shelf, telling Jon that I'd wait to make my decision until after we knew if I could drink or not.

We then went in search of the home pregnancy tests which we found effortlessly. I snagged a twin pack off the shelf and got in line at the register, loading what I'm sure appeared to be an odd combination to anyone; a 12 case of beer and a home pregnancy test on to the conveyor belt. I greeted the cashier, a middle-aged woman strangely resembling my seventh grade home economics teacher, and began fishing through my purse for my debit card.

"Are you expecting it to take?" she asked.

I heard her, but I didn't respond. I didn't know how to. Instead I shoved my face further into my purse and pretended to keep digging, even though I'd already located the card.

"Apparently not," she said.

I finally looked up, card in hand, and asked "Huh?"

"Well," she began, cocking her head to the side and grinning, "what did you just buy? I could've sworn I just scanned a pregnan.."

"Oh!" I interrupted, just as I attempted to scan my card through the reader but my hands were shaking so much that I missed, and the card went flying through the air and landed two feet away.

"I have no idea," I admitted, scrambling to reclaim my card and get the hell out of there.

At this point the young trainee standing at her side began to look a little uncomfortable, as well as the equally young girl who was then placing the test in a brown plastic bag.

"Do you have any children?" the cashier asked me, completely ignoring my discomfort in our conversation.

"No," I said, defensively.

"Then this will be your first! You must be so excited!" she squealed loud enough for other cashiers to glance in our direction. "You will just love being a Mommy!"

I quickly signed for the purchase, shoved the receipt into my purse, and began pushing the cart out of the lane, ignoring the woman's wishes of a Happy New Year and best of luck to us in parenthood.

Jon leaned into me while we rushed for the door and whispered, "That was really embarrassing."

"I know," I said, "I felt like a teenager buying condoms."

I'm willing to admit that I acted immaturely. I shouldn't have gotten so defensive and uncomfortable, and even though I was, I should have done a better job of hiding it. I have to stop running from social situations like this, or at least stop pretending that they aren't happening when they really are. But I'm also going to say that this woman had no business getting all up in my business like that, and assuming that a) the test would be positive, and b) that I wanted it to be positive. I'm not angry about it, but I am taken aback, because she really straddled that line between being friendly and being intrusive.

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