A lesbian couple faces infertility in the midst of a historic moment in California's marriage-equality movement.
Some couples trying to conceive step into a sperm bank as a last resort. Poet Dumesnil (In Praise of Falling, 2009, etc.) and her partner started there, but her first pregnancy ended in a blighted ovum—or might have, as she shares an experience that led her to question her dismissive doctor's reading of the ultrasound. She had another miscarriage, then another, which, in the words of a bizarrely cheerful doctor, "w[on] [her] a ticket to endocrinology!” Though she expresses her sadness and worry, Dumesnil does not use her circumstances as an excuse to treat others badly. She complains about her HMO but appreciates that her endocrinologist did not “bat an eye at these lesbian wannabe mamas in his doorway." Her experience speaks to the loss of control many accomplished women feel when they try to get pregnant: "[E]very other time I've wanted something—like a graduate degree, or a job—all I had to do was work hard to get it…if pregnancy was a merit-based reward, I'd be so pregnant right now." After her miscarriages, Dumesnil decided not to make plans based solely on pregnancy, which led her to write about, and participate in, the same-sex marriages taking place at the San Francisco City Hall in 2004. Just days before getting married, the author found out she was pregnant. Hours after her televised wedding, she learned that an injunction had stopped the marriages, and she pushed past her anxiety and fatigue to march in protest. Dumesnil's ability to handle disappointment and setbacks with grace and humor, along with her engaging writing style, make this an engrossing read.
A relatable, even-keeled, well-written account of the struggles and triumphs of infertility treatment.