How Fallopian Tubes are like Holocaust Cattle Cars

Trying to conceive is a strange experience. The more I learn about my body, the more I realize that junior high and high school health/biology class are severely lacking in the information department. Or maybe I was too busy doodling the name of my dreamy crush on my pee chee. Or both.

But seriously, it was only this week that I learned how…um…dumb (for lack of a better description) the whole getting pregnant thing really is. I mean, you have unprotected baby making sex, hopefully at the right time for the stars to align, and when you’re finished you go and get a drink of water, or take a shower or eat a sandwich. And meanwhile, if you’re the lady, there are are these microscopic swimming things just…oh you know….hanging out inside you. I mean, that’s like something from a B level Science Fiction movie…from the late 80’s.

So there they are, microscopic swimming things, who we’ve all thought of as swimming as fast as their little metaphorical hearts can go to get to the PRIZE of that glorious golden snitch bursting from the ovary. But in fact, it’s a lot less Olympics or Hunger games, and seems more like a really slow, drunken frat party. Because, according to one website’s description, the sperm (which can hang out for a few days inside, waiting…um…creepy…) just ‘bump into’ the egg and thus fertilize it.

Wait. You mean to tell me that my son was born because some sperm just randomly bumped into the egg? It wasn’t even like “oh hey baby, you’re so fine, come over here and let me fertilize you.” It was more like the egg stumbling on the way to the bathroom and being forced to marry the first dumb jock frat boy who bumps into her. Talk about fate. And kind of a dumb design if you ask me. Couldn’t they (being God, or Supreme Being, or hell, evolution) come up with a better idea than THAT?

Then again, it does seem to be working, as our Earth is teeming with human bodies.

But, all of this enlightenment about how the sperm that actually fertilizes an egg, got me thinking about the rest of the experience. Like, how sucky would it be to be trapped in the fallopian tubes for up to 3 days. It seems dark, and crowded if you ask me. And you’re surrounded by a bunch of millions of other like-minded microbes, who really just want to survive and meet that egg, but are most likely going to end up on the wrong side of Fate’s hand. And I’m not one to throw out Holocaust metaphors, but that dark, cramped fallopian tube, with millions of sperm that will eventually die, seems like those cattle cars the Nazi’s used in WWII. And I wonder, do the sperm know the chances that they will end up alive at the end of the whole ordeal? Are they blindly optimistic to the chance that they will somehow live on? So every time we have sex millions of sperm die…in my body….gross. It’s basically the Nazi regime all up in my lady parts.

Have you ever been surprised to learn something that you were supposed to have been taught in high school?

Adoption & Sex Education

Growing up adopted had the benefit of never imagining my parents having sex. And, unlike my other friends, I was never confronted with the  reality that they were having sex, because I never walked in on them, or heard late-night noises, or came across anything that would indicate they were anything other than completely celibate. And both the adoption narrative and the conservative Christian ideology completely supported my worldview.

Because, I had assumed that, since sex was to make babies, that my parents had tried, once, and found that they couldn’t make babies that way, so they went the route of adoption. And the sex-education that my parents began teaching (in 2nd grade mind you, WAY ahead of the public school system), was “age appropriate” and biologically based. The one book I remember them using, was by Dr. Dobson, or some other Christian big-whig, and talked all about abstinence and how my body was changing. I knew so much factual information about sex, that by 9th grade, when we had moved across the mountains, I got annoyed at the immature students who would snicker when the word boob was mentioned.

The problem with the way my adoptive family approached sex, was that they forgot all mention of how it would feel, so when I was making-out in the car with my first boyfriend and had the urge to take off all my clothes, it frankly surprised me. I didn’t want a baby, and sex was about making babies, but hot damn it felt good and that was quite a conundrum.

When my parents found out, they were, FURIOUS and the most hurtful thing out of their mouth was, “are you trying to be like her?”

Never before had the contempt for my young, knocked up, birthmother been so apparent. They had clearly tried their best to keep the judgmental attitude toward her a secret, though their words confirmed what they thought of her: a whore. And I, her daughter, was nothing short of the apple falling from the tree.

Of course, looking back now from both an adult and counselor perspective, it was no accident that I began having sex at the same age my biological mother did, and that I was working out some psychological issues and trying to connect with myself and with my mother. I want to believe that if my parents had had the tools to recognize that, they might have had more compassion, but I doubt it.

Tiny Beautiful Things: A Review in Dreams

Holy shit my dreams have been intense and seemingly completely fucked-up lately. I blame the book Tiny Beautiful Things, which I purchased from Kindle after finishing Cheryl Strayed’s last book. This one is a compilation of advice columns that she wrote under the pseudonym Sugar. Some of these Dear Sugar columns can still be read over on The Rumpus. The advice she gives is raw, based on her own life experiences, and her no nonsense tell-it-like-she-sees-it mentality, it was a quick read (though I found myself taking breaks in order to process all the advice and stories I encountered.

The stories I encountered in her book did not leave my psyche upon entering dreamland. In one night I had 4 terrifying dreams, including:

  1. A dream where I was sleeping in a dream and my father-in-law came in, spooned me for awhile, and then left when he heard my husband get home. His creeping into my room woke me up, and my dream self pretended to be asleep in order for him to go away sooner. Upon waking I felt very much like a little girl who had been molested (though I have no history of sexual abuse in my past).
  2. A dream where my husband was sexually assaulted by a mentally retarded girl wearing a green shirt. He was tied to a chair when she raped him, and there were many people around, like what you would see at a college frat party.
  3. A dream where my grandma and I visited a museum where the first room was full of mummies and decorated with bones and skulls in designs (I partially blame this on a travel channel show featuring such a place), and I was afraid to look around and we walked into another room which was similarly decorated with taxidermied animals, duck wings and antlers, until finally we made it to the part of the museum we came for…which was a room full of balloons and bouncy balls. WTF?
  4. Perhaps the scariest of all…a dream where I pulled up to a park, was listening to the radio and finishing a snack before I got Potamus out of his carseat to go play. When I did turn the car off and go to get him out of the carseat, I realized that his head had gotten stuck in the straps and he had strangled. If I hadn’t been sitting there calmly eating a snack he might have lived. I called 911 and saw myself dissociate while  I did CPR, but he did not live.

Jesus, 4 intense dreams involving sex and death all in one night was a little too much for me. In the daylight I very much enjoy reading her frank advice to people struggling with all sorts of topics, but it entering into my dream-world is a little too much. Perhaps my next book choice will be something with a little…lighter…material?

What should I read next? Any good suggestions?