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BLUE PLANET, BRIGHT PLANET

sperm, changing the dosage of the hormones, but I am taking in none of it. Dr. M’s voice has become a sound that swirls somewhere beyond me, while a thin vein, viscous and hot, pulses at my temple. I hang up, meet Bill’s gaze; but there is no time to talk about any of this now. Through the living room window, I see Lizzy hurrying up the front walk carrying a pink party bag. She wears black leggings and an ‘I Love Shopping’ sweater, and her carrot-y hair bobs along the tips of her shoulders. If there was ever a preschool material girl, Lizzy, who has her own iPod and half a dozen light-up ‘Twinkle Toes’ shoes is it, and I’ve spent hundreds of hours trying to convince Sophie that she doesn’t need every Thing Lizzy possesses. Hannah, Lizzy’s twenty-eight-year-old mother, follows at a slower pace. This may be the first time I’ve seen her out of scrubs. Hannah does prenatal ultrasounds and is now in the third trimester of her pregnancy. At Sophie’s last birthday party, Hannah was maybe eight weeks pregnant; she miscarried shortly afterwards. “We’re early,” she says sheepishly, as Lizzy and Sophie careen, screaming, towards her room. Hannah follows me into the sunroom, where the table is decked out for the party and balloons bob along the ceiling. “You feeling okay?” I say, sitting down opposite her, for Hannah is very quiet, and her expression reminds me of someone who is perpetually startled. “Would you like something to drink? Tea? Water?” “No, no,” she says, “I’m fine.” She notices Daisy’s off-balance walk, the way she holds her head at an awkward angle, and pretty soon I’m telling her that the neighbor’s new dog clamped down on her head while I was away, a bite that required stitches. The next thing I know, I’m confiding the news of the blood tests—Get a hold of yourself! I tell myself. “I see women in their forties,” she says calmly. “They get pregnant. It’s possible.” At the last birthday party, my forty-two-year-old friend Sabina also announced her pregnancy. Hannah knows the baby girl was born with pneumonia and Down syndrome. “Yes, they talk about percentages, statistics,” Hannah says, “but my friend was twenty-six when she had her baby—with Down’s. Really, you just never know.” I smile, though tears pierce my eyes. “Look, it took me two years to get pregnant after Lizzy,” she says in that same calm voice. “I can’t ovulate on my own. I have to take Clomid. I can’t imagine taking all those hormones for IVF.” 9

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