All kids ask where babies come from at some point or another. Mine asked this week. Specifically, they wanted to know how they got inside my belly.
I can’t use the old standby I gave the girls at their age… the simplified, poetic generalization about lady parts like flowers and male parts like hummingbirds and springtime pollination.
That whole symbolic sex talk won’t work again this time… because my two sets of children were born twenty-four years apart. And the second set were conceived using no sex whatsoever. Symbolic or otherwise.
Poetic sex is far easier to comprehend than the clinical origins of our twin boys. Instead of birds and flowers, there were needles and meds, and online egg shopping, and paper cups and porn (so I guess there was sex, after all) and petri dishes and plastic tubing.
But there are poetic elements to their story — like how they were conceived in a sterile laboratory. So, irony.
And then there’s the same poetic prelude of how when a mommy and daddy love each other VERY much… (but here’s where it diverges)… they sometimes go shopping for eggs.
So here, boys, is your IVF origin story…
Once upon a time, there was a mother — a mother more autumn than springtime — with older eggs, eggs tired and twisted with age. They were a wee bit too old to hatch more little ones.
But she really wanted siblings for her daughters and progeny for their padre.
She loved her grown girls very, very much. They brought her joy and chaos and laughter and love. And she loved her husband very, very much. He brought her joy and chaos and laughter and love. And she wanted to share more joy and chaos and laughter and love with the world.
She wanted sweet little hands nestled tight in her own once more. And against her cheeks, more soft fuzzy heads of dusk and dandelion fluff.
But those exhausted eggs of hers just didn’t know how to hatch more fuzzy noggins. So she and her mate travelled to a place where workers knew how to coax caviar from crotchety cackle farts. Only this time, they were told, it just couldn’t be done. Her eggs were too ancient. Too cranky. Too tired.
But there are other ways to get babies in your belly, the workers told them.
You can shop for new eggs — perfectly chosen by you and perfectly prepped by us. We have a baby-mixing kitchen, where we blend your new eggs and you bake them up in your belly. It’ll take a little while, though. What do you say?
Well, we said yes. And the eggs we selected did too. (It doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes, for whatever reason, things don’t mix up quite right and nobody really knows why. And sometimes fuzzy little noggins don’t hatch from perfectly picked and prepped eggs.)
But these did. Through science and love and magic and miracle.
And six years ago, this month, two leggy lads with fuzzy noggins broke out of my belly and into the light. They said yes. And so did the universe.
And they’ve been spreading joy and chaos ever since.
So there it is. There’s the story of how you boys got in my belly.
No birds, no bees, no storks, no cabbage patch. But plenty of poetry, nonetheless.