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NONF I C T IO N

Blue Planet, Bright Planet JACQUELINE KOLOSOV

For how could one express in words those emotions of the body? —Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse*

Late January 2012, a week after my daughter’s fifth birthday: the second embryo transfer has been scheduled for ten a.m. Shortly after my arrival at Dr. M’s office, I lie on the floor of a small room containing a leatherette couch and an ultrasound machine, my legs overhead in plow pose. The Chinese goddess Guan Yin sits on the floor beside me, her serene head bowed in prayer. “She is the goddess of mothers and children,” my friend Lian explained after driving me to the airport the day before. “She will watch over you.” The door opens, and Dr. M stumbles into the room. “Oh, there you are,” he says, frowning at my odd position. “We’re not ready yet, but the embryos look good. We’re going to transfer two.” I stand, and he hands me a photograph; this one shows two embryos floating in a pool of blue. “I’ve spoken to everyone here, and we’re agreed two is the right number. Three,” he smiles a little cryptically, “would not be rational.” “Right.” I am reminded of the recent conversation when he explained that the rational—the scientific—thing to do would be to transfer two— “The chances of pregnancy are slightly less than with three, but the risk of multiples is dramatically higher.” Once he leaves, I look again at the photograph, the names ‘Cam’ and ‘James’ coming to me of their own accord. Two nights ago, unable to sleep, I began rereading To the Lighthouse, the novel Virginia Woolf wrote in memory of her mother. With its awareness of the quick passage of time, its view of time as “an adversary,” this novel, more than any other, has shaped my own vision of motherhood. Oh, but she never wanted James to grow a day older! or Cam either. These two she would have liked to keep for ever just as they were, demons of wickedness, angels of delight, never to see them grow up into long-legged monsters. Nothing made up for the loss….They were happier now than they would ever be again…. 1

Sampled The Examined Life Journal Issue 5.2  
Sampled The Examined Life Journal Issue 5.2  
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