As there is no motherfucking way I’ll ever be able to do it myself, I text my friend who’s a nurse:


He comes over, and I’m a giddy mess.

Me: Hiiiiiii, do you need gloves?, I have gloves, and here’s the thingy, whatdoyoucallit syringe, the instructions say—wait, here are the instructions.

Him: I don’t need the instructions.

Me: Right!, No!, you have a degree in this stuff!, you know how to flick it, air bubbles and whatnot, so the instructions, they say to use alcohol swabs, but I don’t have alcohol swabs, but I do have alcohol and swabs.

Him: That’s fine.

Me: (reading from instructions) “Choose an injection site on the stomach, preferably around the belly button, but at least 1 inch away.” (lifting my tank top) Here I guess, hahahahahahahaha, I’m freakin out.

He washes his hands and rubs an alcohol-soaked swab over a spot an inch away from my navel. I make the mistake of watching him squirt the tiny drip out of the syringe. Uhhhhhhhhh. He pinches my belly fat and sticks me. All done. High-fives. Hugs. He leaves.

He texts me a minute later from the car. Our mutual friend who gave him a ride over has just said, “I bet this is the first time you’ve hoped to get a girl pregnant.”


Four people offer to accompany me to my appointment. I turn them all down. I guess I just feel like, I’m going to be a single parent, I better get used to being alone.

I show up to the clinic a few minutes early and sit in the waiting room while they thaw the sperm. The same nurse from the most recent ultrasound takes me back to a room and says, “Naked from the waist down. I’ll be right back.” I don’t like her as much as the nurse who did my first ultrasound. First-ultrasound nurse said “undress”, not “naked”. Plus, second-ultrasound nurse is just not as nice.

Second-ultrasound/not-as-nice nurse comes back in and shows me the vial. It’s tiny, an inch and a quarter long maybe with a circumference slightly larger than a pencil. She points out my donor number on the sticker and says flatly, “There’s ten million in here. That’s good.”

She explains that it’s going to be like getting a pap smear except maybe more uncomfortable because they can’t use any lubricant during insemination. I put my heels in the stirrups and slide my butt down to the end of the table. Not-as-nice nurse inserts the speculum. “Hm,” she says. She slides it out and tries a different angle. “Well.” Out and back in again. “Your cervix is really deep in there. I’m gonna use a longer speculum.”

“OK,” I say, meekly.

She tries all through the winter, across the spring and summer, into late autumn, before she stands and says, “I can’t seem to find it. I’m going to get a physician.”

Shortly, she comes back in. “I couldn’t find a physician.” I think, You’re bad at finding stuff. “So I brought the next-best thing.” It’s first-ultrasound/nice nurse!

Immediately, I feel more relaxed. She’s having some trouble locating the target too, but she sounds like she genuinely wants to know when she says, “You doing OK?” and just radiates general warmth.

“There it is!” Finally. She inserts the catheter and shoots. “Swiiimmmmm,” she calls into my vagina. Speculum out, and I’m done.

Not-as-nice nurse tells me to lie there for ten minutes, after which I’m free to go. As she’s walking out the door, she says, “If you don’t get your period, take a home pregnancy test. If it’s positive, come in and we’ll draw blood.”

I stay for 11 minutes, just to be on the safe side, and head to work.


All day, I have moments when I think I could be pregnant right now. I could be walking around with a zygote inside me. Right now.

The students are dismissed early because of imminent snow. I stay and plan with a colleague, after which the snow is no longer imminent but actual, spend 45 minutes driving the 5 miles home, and curl up on the couch with the dogs.


I risk giving myself bedsores watching season 8 of Weeds in its entirety.

I haven’t done my 20 minutes of meditation in days, and I realize I may be avoiding it on purpose. I make myself sit, and sure enough, within moments, I think, “What have I done?” and burst into tears.

I’m so scared.

I’m scared of being stuck in this devil-I-know job because it’s safe money. Terrible money but safe money.

I’m scared because having a kid on my own means I’ll never have another romantic relationship. I know that’s a myth, but it’s one to which I can’t seem to unsubscribe.

I’m scared of doing this alone. I don’t think I can do this alone.

Then I remember that my friend came to my house to give me a shot and four people offered to go with me to my appointment. I have to do this alone only if I choose to.

4 thoughts on “Swim”

  1. You will not be doing this alone. So many people care about you and will totally adore your baby. I realize we are not BFFs, but add me to the list of baby helpers. Seriously. I adore babies. Despite my more than slightly cyncial nature, babies tend to really like me.

    BTW, the “oh crap, what have I just done?” feeling is totally normal. Felt that way when I saw the little plus sign. Felt that way when I brought my oldest home from the hospital. Still feel that way on some days.

    Fingers crossed that you got a good batch of swimmers!

  2. You are not alone. And you are alone. You are the one pregnant and giving birth. This is your beautiful experience. I am so proud of you for taking this risk and chasing your dreams. I am right down the street. You are not alone.

  3. You’ve taken a chance to try to make one of your dreams come true. That always results in positive change, even if it doesn’t work out the way you hoped when you took that first step. We’re strangers, but i am VERY proud of you for being brave and strong enough to try. (oh, and you could’ve totally handled the shot yourself, but I’m glad you didn’t have to.)

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