The other day I cleaned out the cabinet under the sink in the second bathroom. When I was trying to get pregnant, that bathroom was my clinic and my diagnostic lab. But now, more than a year and a half after my last IVF, watching Charlie purposefully haul himself up by the handles on the cabinet door convinced me that it might be time at last to rid my home of biohazards.
It was easy to discard the two used sharps containers, though they were crammed so full that I handled them with care lest they suddenly burst and launch a crusty PIO needle into my eye. (If the Battle of Hastings has taught me nothing else, and it has not, it has taught me that when faced with a hail of arrows, for Christ's sake don't look up.)
The home pregnancy tests were harder. A lot of women keep a positive test as a memento. I found six from my last cycle: two with only a single line, then four with a second successively darker. I confess that I lingered, lining those tests up on the countertop just as I did two Junes ago, putting them in order, squinting at the very faintest positive, feeling a wobble of joy and relief as I thought, It worked. Good God, it worked.
Then into the garbage they went.
As I said, a lot of women keep a positive test as a memento. I may, however, be the only woman alive who kept eighteen negative tests, each tucked carefully back in its foil envelope, then returned to its cardboard box. I can't explain why I did, except to say that when we were still trying, every negative mattered, and I felt that each should be acknowledged. And what could be a more meaningful, more moving, more fitting remembrance than, um, saving a piece of drugstore plastic that reeks faintly of years-old urine?
Moving on! Gone.
Then I got to the Ziploc bags of unused alcohol swabs, syringes, and needles. And those I could not throw away.
I could take the cheerfully pragmatic line and swear that I kept them because, hey, you never know when you'll need to...well, sometimes they come in handy when you...um, you can use them for...I know! Heroin! Yeah! My smack habit! I'm keeping them around just in case I get one. Look, you never know.
Or I could claim altruism: I'm keeping them because I'm occasionally asked whether I know of any sources for donated meds. "Sorry," I'll say, "I can't save you $1200 on expensive fertility drugs. But it's your lucky day because I can send you $4 worth of hardware..." Who says large-scale philanthropy died with the robber barons?
Or I could serenely assure you that I'm saving them for this summer, when we'll shoot melons full of vodka and get pleasantly, mildly buzzed on the deck, talking past dusk and watching the fireflies while Charlie lies dreaming upstairs.
Or I could admit that I still can't move past the thought of cycling again. That I'm finding it harder to rule out than I'd expected to. That for almost every cerebral argument against, almost, I can make a visceral argument for. That I miss the excitement of it — look, I'm being honest here — the suspense, the gamble, the immense possibility in every single injection. That the payoff is so unimaginably glorious that I can't quite believe that we won't even try.
I just couldn't throw them away. I did make the childproofing concession, though, of moving them out from under the vanity. If Charlie wants to experiment with drugs, he'll have to get his own works. Because, baby, your mama's not sharing.