I’m CMV-negative, so Mr. Happy Pants, a 6’4″, 205-lb, atheist, mechanical engineering postdoc who said this in his donor profile

What life lessons would you hope to pass on to your own child one day?

Work hard. Read voraciously. Be well rounded and always improve your skills in some area. Ignore television at any cost; learn to resist socialization, advertising, and propaganda; eat whole foods. Go to the mountains and the desert. Cultivate a respect for evidence and develop the power of accurate observation. Learn mathematics and calibrate your standard of “knowing” in everyday life against the mathematical one.

is out.

I’m sad about it. I wanted to have Mr. Happy Pants’ babies. To be honest, I wanted Mr. Happy Pants to be my husband.

Now I’m leaning towards a grad student in systems engineering who’s summited Kilimanjaro. His parenting philosophy doesn’t make me swoon like Mr. HP’s, and neither babykilimanjaro.com nor babysystemsengineer.com do anything for me, but he’s CMV-negative.

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I’m not making the decision to have a child on my own out of fear, per se, but my sense of urgency is renewed when a 41-year-old friend goes in for her 7-week appointment and they can’t find the baby’s heartbeat.

I want this. If I wait too long, it may not happen. Or it may happen and then no heartbeat.

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My period comes on like a earthquake. Out to dinner with friends, I find myself pressing on the flesh under my belly button and rocking side to side. By the time I get home, my cramps are the worst I can ever remember. I climb onto my bed, prop myself on my elbows and knees, and jam a heating pad against my uterus. I moan and sway there for long time. The situation is not improving. A hot bath helps, but damn if it isn’t 90 minutes before the ibuprofen starts to kick in and the tremors subside. Is my womb trying to prepare me for childbirth?

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Last visit, the clinic told me to come in for a baseline ultrasound on Day 1, 2, or 3 of my cycle. I’m led to a dimly lit room with black and white photos of cherubic babies on the walls. The nurse’s assistant tells me to undress from the waist down, hop up on the table, and cover myself with the drape. I go to the restroom and remove my tampon first. Worried that I’ll bleed on their table, I’m relieved to find one of these under the drape:

Minus adorable wall-eyed puppy.

Minus adorable wall-eyed puppy.

The nurse enters the room and tells me to put my feet in the stirrups. She slides a lubey wand up-in. My ovaries—at least that’s what she says they are—appear on a grainy screen. “There’s the right one… aaaaand left. Beautiful,” she says.

I guess that bodes well. Now I just have to order sperm.