Michelle Tea: Even Though We Aint Got Money, We've Got Plenty of Cervical Mucus

Could the fertility industry be even more diabolical than the diet industry when it comes to hooking in women and draining of their hope and savings?
Publish date:
April 18, 2012
pregnancy, getting pregnant with michelle tea, insemination, M


So I’m really sad after talking to Dr. Evangelista.

I just liked knowing there were all these things I can do if home insemination gets too frustrating, but now those options don’t really feel like options. Maybe I just need to let the cost sink in for a while. Sometimes you just have to warm up to what something costs.

When I first found out how much a Kitchen Aid mixer cost, I was angry at the world about it. I really wanted one of those colorful, shining appliances sitting on my countertop, but they’re like $250. $250! It was a wonder that anyone had one at all!

After the shock wore off and I had come to accept that $250 is what a Kitchen Aid mixer goes for, I found one on sale at a kitchen outlet for $175. Now, a $175 mixer is not cheap, but compared to $250 it was a bargain, so I jumped on it and Tali even got me an additional 10 percent off for buying the floor model.

I doubt I am going to stumble across a fertility outlet shop, but there is still a lesson here. Sometimes a price that begins as upsettingly expensive turns into just what something costs. It becomes normal. And then you’re a little closer to having it.

Meanwhile, I try to come up with DIY alternatives. Half-kidding, I suggest a Clomid Roadtrip to Tijiuana, and Rhonda and Quentin leap all over it. They love the idea of going on a Clomid roadtrip! I’m over how much I leave town so I’m not exactly psyched about it, but like to know they’d do it if it came down to it.

As for an HGC shot, can’t I find one for weight loss purposes? Talking to Sandwich I learn that the horse-owning straight girl she’s still intriguing with found a Groupon for one in Portland! One hundred dollars! I’m not sure, but I think an HGC shot for fertility purposes is in the thousands.

How is it that the same shot for two different purposes are such wildly different prices? The fertility industry isn’t preying on the desperation of baby-mad women, is it? Could the fertility industry be even more diabolical than the diet industry when it comes to hooking in women and draining of their hope and savings? Hmmmmm.

My sister tells me about a test she needs to have to check on the genetic health of her fetus. Her doctor insisted that she double and triple check that her insurance covered it, because if she paid for it up front it was $500, but if they billed insurance $3,000 for it, and if the insurance company balked, she’d be stuck with that astronomical bill.

“Why?” Madeline demanded –- not to her doctor, but to me. “This is why health care and health insurance in this country is so fucked. Why are they two different prices?”

Madeline asks me if my conversation with Dr. Evangelista made me sad and I tell her it did, burning up with that terrible feeling I get whenever anyone who loves me asks me if I’m sad.

“I’m sorry,” She said. I had sworn to myself that it would not be a tragedy if I couldn’t get pregnant, but everyone being all tender and bummed on my behalf does get in the way of my carefree attitude.

“There is always adoption if this doesn’t work out,” I tell her.

And if I go that route I get to move my coffee intake back to my preferred 3-5 cups per day, cut the full-fat shit and get all bobble-headed and alarming again, fitting myself back into my beloved Earnest Sewn jeans. It doesn’t sound so bad, really.

But the urge to actually be pregnant, feel a baby growing inside me, watch my body morph and shift, the urge to breast feed, these are all real urges. I know I would be psyched to raise an adopted baby, but I’m not ready to let go of the dream of pregnancy.

The morning after that month’s final insemination, I wake up and use the bathroom. When I wipe myself the toilet paper slides over my parts like greased lightening. Cervical mucus! Great, shining gobs of it, just like in that dream I had! Wild!

Yup, cervical mucus.

I get on the horn to Quentin and ask if he can actually come over again, and then I make an appointment for acupuncture. On my way there, I stop at the health food co-op and buy a big bottle of this German blood tonic one of the acupuncturists told me to get a few visits ago.

I hadn’t picked it up -- what was I waiting for? Why was I do all this is I wasn’t going to follow through with their advice? The blood tonic is kind of disgusting, mostly because it actually tastes like blood. It’s made from carrots and a shit ton of vegetables, but the iron tang of it is so blood-like I have to hold my nose when I take a shot of it three times a day.

At acupuncture I can feel my heart chakra open up as I lie back in the recliner. A spinning throb in my solar plexus. I am full of love! Ready to give it and to get it. I try to talk to the baby-spirit in my head but get distracted thinking about other things and then worry that this means I don’t want the baby enough and so it won’t come down.

I’m already a bad mother and the universe is going to punish me for it by not letting me become a mother at all! I know that if babies didn’t come to spaced-out women there would be far less humans on the planet, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling superstitious about it. This whole process is so far beyond my control, it’s easy to obsess on the tiny places where I think I might have influence, even a mystical influence.

Quentin seems extra tired at insemination that night.

“How did the bowl warm up on the computer battery?” I ask as I lock him in my kitchen.

“Oh . . . I moved it. That didn’t seem like a very good idea.”

The next afternoon I get another blob of cervical mucus when I wipe myself! I get so excited about this I tell Dashiell all about it, noting that maybe the word "mucus" creeps her out a little. I try to think of another word for it but they all sound creepy. You just can’t escape the inherent mucusy-ness of mucus.

I ask Quentin if he can stop by again and he can, but only if he can bring the friend he’s picking up at the airport. A stranger at the insemination celebration! Why not? Quentin shows up with his old college friend Morgan. I can’t tell if Morgan goes by he or she so I avoid pronouns and instead just talk about how awkward it is that we’re meeting for the first time under these circumstances.

I learn that Morgan is also planning on using Quentin’s sperm for a future baby.

“Oh my god!” I gasp. “Our kids will be half-siblings!” How wild! Morgan is drinking some sort of beverage out of a mason jar like someone who just arrived via hopped train from Portland.

I learn about how Morgan thought Quentin was straight when they first met at Brown, which is truly mind-blowing. Me and Morgan chat while Quentin does his duty in the kitchen, and then I kick them both out of my room to do my own duty, and then I bring them back into my bedroom and we end up in a passionate conversation about what is and what is not Italian Ice or, what we called it where I’m from, slush.

Slush is my most favorite treat, and I am very opinionated about it. Slush is not a Slush Puppy – a Slush Puppy is a grossly sugared liquid beverage with a bunch of ice sloshing around in it. Also, Shaved Ice is not a Slush -- Shaved Ice is a bunch of snow with sugar syrup poured onto it, melting half the snow in the process.

The little cups of Italian Ice you find pre-packaged in some stores, the kind you scrape with a wooden spoon, those are cute and I enjoy them but they are not Slush. I don’t know how Slush is made, but it gets scooped from a bucket like ice cream does; a dense cup of tightly packed snow that tastes like lemon or raspberry or watermelon.

In Boston, they sell it in suburban grocery stores or out of carts on the Boston Common; in New York most pizza places have it. In the entire state of California there is only one place to get this, my favorite treat -- a shop called DiDio’s in Santa Monica, operated by a guy from Philadelphia. There are some fancy restaurants in San Francisco that sell granita, the high-brow Italian version of a Slush, but it just isn’t the same.

Morgan wants some restaurant recommendations and I tell them to go to Acquerello if they want to spend bank, to not miss Mission Chinese Food or brunch at Mission Beach Café and yes I think buying a rotisserie chicken at Zuni and having it for lunch all week is an excellent idea.

“I am not backing down this year,” Morgan says cryptically. “This is the year to go all the way.” Right on, man!

Before they leave, I make a plan for Morgan to take my cats once I’m knocked up. If all goes well for both of us, we will some day be family. Next Week: Internet Clomid!