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A brief reproductive history of Christmas

Last year at Christmas we gave my family the news that we'd gotten married. We were on the schedule to do our first round of IVF in January. With a curious mix of optimism and pragmatism, we decided our families would handle the news of a pregnancy with greater enthusiasm if we were no longer, you know, living in sin.

On Christmas day my period arrived. In the pre-holiday shuffle I'd packed neither tampons nor ibuprofen, so I spent the bulk of the day in festive contortion with a giant wad of toilet tissue making the crotch of my trousers bulge most attractively. When we'd finally finished unwrapping the presents, I crept out to the nearest open gas station and bought a box of Tampax Slender Regular (the only flavor available) and about a dozen two-tablet pouches of Advil (the only denomination available).

This Christmas day was cycle day 14, and I ovulated right on schedule. But Paul and I spent the night in separate bedrooms, so unless some immaculate nookie took place that I don't know about it, I am not, at the moment, even remotely pregnant.

If you've ever had difficulty conceiving, you may be aware that there's a certain perverse comfort in knowing you're not pregnant. I don't even have to wonder. There's no urge to weigh my breasts judiciously in my hands on an hourly basis. I don't have to sneak into the second bathroom to plunder the Aladdin's cave of HPTs under the vanity. And I can worry that the twinges in my lower abdomen are the result of a grapefruit-sized fibroid instead of hoping that they're implantation cramping.