by Helen E. H. Madden
Ah, October! The start of what would normally be Mating Season in la casa de Madden had I not been flat-on-my-back sick the last two weeks. Had I just been flat-on-my-back, that would have been just fine and in keeping with the spirit of Mating Season , but no, I had to be sick as well. Blergh.
I am on the road to recovery, thankfully, and should be fully up-and-at-'em by the time the Hubster returns home from a business trip. With luck, I'll be ready to make up for a late start to Mating Season. But why is it Mating Season, you ask? Well, let me explain. Around here, when the weather turns cool and the sky takes on that particularly crisp shade of Autumn blue, yours truly suddenly feels the need to breed. A lot of this has to do with the temperature. In my opinion, summer is just too damned hot and humid for me to want to touch another person. All that heat and muggy air just drains the life right out of me. We have AC, of course, but something about artificially cooled air really just kills my appetite for sex (I know, I'm weird).
Winter isn't bad for sex. Cold weather is the ideal excuse to snuggle under the covers, so long as holiday shopping and preparations haven't stressed me out to the Nth degree. Spring is okay. The temperature is good (i.e. not too hot), but for some reason Spring just sort of puts my libido into hibernation. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I know Summer is on the way?
Anyway, my sex drive is very much a seasonal thing, and right now we're at peak season. I look at the Hubster, who has just started wearing those cozy, cuddly flannel shirts I love so much, and all I can think of is, "EAT HIM NOW." Which, if the kids aren't home or are safely preoccupied with the current Disney Princess movie du jour, is exactly what I usually do.
None of this frisky Fall mating activity, however, has ever resulted in a child. Yep, that's right. My need to breed is completely stymied by obscure biological reasons.
Let me tell you about what lies behind my own personal closed door. From the time I was 18 until the time I was 28, I took the pill religiously and it was probably the biggest waste of money I've ever spent. At age 29, after a year of trying to conceive, I was pronounced infertile and my whole life turned upside down. I have never experienced any greater misery than what I went through during the three years that followed that diagnosis. There were tests galore, some of them quite painful and all of them inconclusive. There were doctors, most of whom had about as much sympathy as a rat's ass for what I was going through. There were people all around me who got pregnant. I kid you not, at one point, there were five people in my office, including me, and three of them were expecting. My non-expecting co-worker, Janice, had adult children and was way past menopause. Thus I became the prime target for my three expectant co-workers who developed a nasty habit of giving me the hairy eyeball and asking, "Aren't you ever going to have kids?" This, in addition a workload that was practically killing me, is what led me to quit my day job.
There were home ovulation detection tests, the kind that required me to pee on a stick for a week straight. There were morning temperature chartings, also intended to track my ovulation. There were pregnancy tests, all of them negative. In my book, pregnancy tests were almost as big a waste of money as the pill. There were holistic cure-alls and prescribed medications, all of which made me incredibly moody and very ill.
And through all this misery, there was the Hubster. Calm, steadfast, patient, loving. The Hubster was the one who helped me track down the right specialist for our problem and then researched all our insurance options to make certain we could afford what needed to be done. He was the one who held my hand and wiped away the tears and kept track of my menstrual cycle on the calendar when I was too emotionally exhausted or too hormone-addled by drugs to care. Nothing tests a marriage quite the way infertility does. I've seen couples divorce because partners blamed each other for being unable to conceive. That never happened to the Hubster and me. There were never any arguments or any blame over what was happening, only his steadfast determination to go through the process with me until we came to some kind of a solution.
It was the Hubster who convinced me after yet another failed round of treatments to try just once more. This time, the specialist recommended a procedure called ovulation induction. It involved a series of hormone injections designed to make my ovaries produce multiple eggs, followed by an HCG shot that would time the release of said eggs. Once the HCG was administered, we needed to be at the clinic exactly 36 hours later to do an artificial insemination. Hubster would go into a comfortable room furnished with a couch and pornographic magazines to "produce a sperm sample" and then once that sample had been rinsed and concentrated, the doctor would thread a catheter through my cervix to deliver millions of Hubster sperm directly to my uterus and waiting eggs.
This procedure has worked for us twice.
It's been 12 years since I last used birth control. Try as we might, Hubster and I can not conceive on our own. Yet thanks to Hubster's persistence and the miracles of modern medicine, we have two beautiful daughters who keep us hopping from dawn until dusk every single day. When the Hubster gets home from his business trip, I'm going to sit those girls down in front of the TV with the Disney Princess movie du jour, and then I'm going to take the Hubster by the hand up to our bedroom...
And close the door.
Happy Mating Season, everyone.