Some sketchy-looking fertility clinic in Beverly Hills claims to be the home of the first test tube baby and is offering used car-like discounts on treatments. I cruise their web site looking for some actual prices, but find none. I do find lots of typos. I try not to judge too harshly -- as any reader of this column knows, I am no stranger to typos! But still. When you are possibly handing someone thousands of dollars to fiddle around with your internal organs, you want to feel confident. And typos do not inspire confidence.
I look for some reviews of the clinic, on Yelp! and elsewhere, and find none. At this point in time, if something is not reviewed on Yelp! I am suspicious it even exists. Nonetheless, I place a call to the clinic.
“The doctor will call you anytime you want!” The slightly manic receptionist promises me with an eagerness that increases my suspicion. Why is the doctor so available? Because the doctor has no patients? Am I really going to trek all the way across the state for discount fertility treatments? I realize I’ll have to do the math, factoring in plane tickets, etc, to see if the discount is ultimately worthwhile. The promise of math in my future kills my spirit. I miss the doctor’s call.
After so much Internet failure, I am feeling a strong need to do something truly pro-active for my fertility (besides popping Clomid, which I am on my final day of). I make an acupuncture appointment and trek down to Rainbow Grocery, the collectively run natural food store. Rainbow has anything you ever need for any natural-type pursuit. Today I have a long shopping list.
First I stop at the bulk herbs + supplements bulk airea and fill a bag with ground Maca. The fluffy white powder looks like flour and puffs into clouds as I pour it from the jar. Maca is famous for being awesome for fertility. It’s a ground-up root that grows in the Peruvian Andes and is some sort of sexed-up superfood. Not only does it help you get fertile, it’s also great for libido and menopause. I had a gulp of it once in tincture form, while traveling with an alcoholic friend struggling with her alcoholism and desperate to find potions that altered her body. She grabbed a vial from an herb store and we put some under our tongues every so often but nothing happened. If you want to get drunk, you have to drink alcohol.
In addition to the Maca -- which I plan on making fertilicious Maca Smoothies with -- I get a bottle of progesterone cream. If I was actually seeing an actual doctor and not playing mad scientist with myself, I’d be given a Progesterone chaser for my Clomid. I’m quite proud of myself for figuring this out, and then some without a prescription, at the health food store! My hooker friend uses the stuff to stave off her period while she’s working, and that’s how I found out about it. Hookers have all sorts of helpful information.
Finally, I get a bottle of P5P B vitamins, which are rather hard to find but as I said, Rainbow has everything. A stranger sent me an email touting the vitamin’s fertility benefits, and I’m very open to suggestions. With my bag of natural infertility ammo, I walk through the Mission to my acupuncture appointment.
I’ve really fallen off my acupuncture regime, and I’ve missed the little clinic! All the people needled-up in their recliners, covered with blankets and zoning out to the new-age tunes. I have a cup of tea while I wait for my practitioner. I look at the stacked bottles of Chinese Medicine behind the receptionist, and when my practitioner whisks me into a little room for intake, I decide to ask about it. Maca, Progesterone, P5P -- maybe all that’s missing in my arsenal is some hardcore herbs! I tell her about where I’m at -- last day on Clomid, going to start inseminating soon. What does she think about some Chinese Herbs?
“Don’t bother with Chinese herbs if you’re on Clomid,” She said. “It’s too powerful. Clomid is like a bomb on your system, the herbs don’t stand a chance.”
Probably I should feel badly at the idea that I have "bombed" my system, but I don’t. I feel like maybe my system needed to get bombed, and I’m psyched that I am being so "whatever means necessary" about it. But again, as I’ve told you, I’m an alcoholic. The core of my thinking goes like this: If a LITTLE is good, then a LOT is better! This is my primary logic, my pathological philosophy. I’m not saying it’s right, or good, and I’m also not saying it’s wrong or bad. I’m neutral. It’s just how I’m wired.
So far there has only been one side affect from the Clomid. For sure I was a little worried about introducing a powerful hormone fucker-upper into my body. I have been at the mercy of my warped hormones too many times to be blasé about it.
When I was 20 years old and in my first sexual relationship, I went on the pill. Soon thereafter, I started sobbing. My sobbing was sudden and powerful. I missed a full week of work at a brand new job because I couldn’t stop crying. I locked myself in the public bathroom at the mall because I was drowning in my own snot and was humiliated by my hiccupping. When a friend told me she had to get off birth control pills because they made her a lunatic, I got chills. Maybe that was my problem, too! I stopped popping them and felt better immediately.
I was all prepared for my moods to get wonky, and had prepped Dashiell for it. But I remained totally Celexa-d out and stable. Then I got constipated.
I wouldn’t say I’m PLAGUED by constipation -- not at all. My friend Bernadine is plagued by constipation. She once was backed up and strained and gave herself such a hemorrhoid she needed anal surgery! She likes to tell this cautionary tale of neglected fiber intake and straining at dinner parties, and it has the desired affect of everyone running to the health food co-op the next day to buy a bag of bulk psyllium husk.
I myself have been accused of being a laxative bulimic because I will employ outside sources to keep things moving to my liking. So while I’m not PLAGUED by such issues, I’m not unfamiliar with them, and so the Clomid constipation was sort of a bummer. As was the rather parched condition of my vagine, also a Clomid casualty.
But neither was as upsetting as learning that my beloved donor may in fact have gonorrhea after all. Quentin, just back from his gaycation sent me a horrified and embarrassed email -- he hadn’t gotten the memo that a gentleman (or gentlewoman) could contract the STD from an innocent round of fellatio! Indeed, gonorrhea of the throat is one of the most common ways god punishes dick-sucking sluts! Quentin still maintained that it was unlikely he had such a thing, but had to admit that it was not beyond the realm of the possible.
What to do? An ex of mine of likes to engage in some dick-sucking sluttery ever now and then had recently hit the local STD clinic for a similar scare, and I called her immediately.
“If you suck dick at all, you’re going to get it,” She said sternly. She had made this gloomy pronouncement to me during an extra-slutty post-break-up period, but I had thought she was being hysterical and perhaps jealous that I was getting more ass than her. I’d called another dick-sucking slut I was tight with.
“Am I really supposed to use a condom for a BJ?” I asked.
“The only people I see doing that are ren faire bisexuals at the polyamory night at the sex club,” Said friend said. “And they don’t look like they’re having a good time.”
With the STD stakes perma-raised by the specter of AIDs, you can understand why anything that can be cleaned up by an antibiotic would be seen as an acceptable risk.
Poor Quentin! I felt bad that he had to wait so long for the results from the free clinic in Phili. Was the free clinic here in SF any better?
“Nope,” Said my ex. “It takes weeks. But the free clinic is awesome. When I was there it was all latino fags and teenagers and we all watched Selena together on the TV in the waiting room.”
That DID sound awesome. But I already had a bonafied doctor’s appointment in one week. I called my new doc and asked how long STD results would take, and decided to wait for the appointment. Which meant I would be obsessing over my vagina all week -- an unfortunate week to be monitoring her activity as she was drunk on Clomid and not behaving as usual.
I broke the news to Dashiell at a coffee shop in Castro before we went shopping for his eyeglasses. A couple of gay men eavesdropped, and I actually felt happy to be able to provide them with such great eavesdropping gossip.
“Quentin might have gonorrhea after all,” I told her. “Which means that I might have gonorrhea. Which means that you might have gonorrhea.” What a drag! Dashiell took it like a champ. We all knew this was a remote possibility, didn’t we?
We put together a game plan: Since I already had a doctor’s appointment we would just see if I had it or not. And if Quentin didn’t have it, we’d find that out before my results came in, so that was cool, too. We modified our sexual repertoire just in case I had it and Dashiell didn’t. And then I started researching the affects of gonorrhea on fetal development.
Because I was on the Clomid, my fertile period was bumped up, and we were slated for insemination that week, before we knew if any of us were diseased. I didn’t want to call it off after putting myself through the Clomid. I hated the thought of having suffered such constipation and dry vagina for naught! As it happened, I didn’t need to. Gonorrhea could be cured in a pregnant woman with no harm to the baby, and the baby only contracted the illness if the mother was untreated at the time of the birth.
Worst-case-scenario: I would get pregnant that week and diagnosed with gonorrhea the following and then cured via a single pill the week after. No harm to the baby.
The baby! The worst-case-scenario included me having a BABY! I prayed for it. I also double-checked my plan with my sensible sister, who was currently in the throes of mad pregnancy cravings that revolved around Doritos.
“Can you believe all I’m eating is Doritos?” She said. “I haven’t had them since high school. I can’t believe how good they are. When was the last time you had a Dorito?”
“I honestly can’t remember.”
“Oh my god, they’re so good. You should get some.”
Madeline fact-checked my research and agreed that my plan was sound. I got in touch with Rhonda and let her know insemination was on, in spite of the fact that we all might be diseased whores.
“Great!” She texted me happily. Then, “’Chelle, if men can’t have babies then why do they have nipples?”
I was happy to have something other than gonorrhea to Google, and got to it. Along the way I stumbled across BIODEGRADABLE DIAPERS, and my heart soared! Really the only hesitation I have about bringing a kid into this world is having to participate in the Diaper Industrial Complex. Yeah, I know I could use cloth diapers but let’s be real -- I’m not crafty enough for that. I can’t wrap a presentable birthday present, there’s no way I’m going to be able to origami an infant into a package that keeps the poop off the furniture. But now I don’t have to worry! They are called gDiapers and they’re really cute! Werk! I feel good about bringing another life onto this planet!