Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why Query Tracker Is Like Fertility Friend

Years ago, before I had birthed me three buoyant boys, I used to frequent a site called Fertility Friend. One could track one's BBT (basal body temperature) each morning to determine when the time was ripe for baby making. You had to lie quite still and slip the thermometer under the tongue, lest a sudden movement jack your temperature up a degree and skew your results.

This clever site would track your ups and downs on a little chart, showing the slight dip in temp before the release of this month's Most Glorious and Noble and Hopeful Egg, and then the rise afterward. And, if the egg met its match among those wee struggling swimmers, the upward trend might carry on, up and up, and on...on toward baby, and infinity.

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match!
I used this site not because I had any real trouble making those babies--in fact, quite the opposite. I made a whole slew of 'em. I used it because I was obsessive. I had to know. I didn't want to guess. I wanted to see the telltale rise that spoke of success long before an EPT from the local drugstore could pick up the minute traces of whatever hormone etched two pink lines instead of one.

I have always hated waiting.

I gave all that obsession up after my first son. It didn't seem important anymore. I had one now, and that was all that really counted. I suppose I ought to visit again, should I ever find my password, and say: "Carry on, good folk! Your day will come!" But I'd feel like an interloper by now.

But I still remember the forums--the hopeful "baby dust" that posters would scatter on the mournful whose charts went awry. Posts were filled with dancing "hugs" and sparkly unicorns and angry little green faces of rage at AF (Aunt Flo), whose arrival put off success for at least another month. There was also a gallery of charts--failed charts, charts that showed ovulation, charts for women 40 and older, charts for overweight women, charts for women five feet tall who lived in Poughkeepsie, and charts that resulted in squealing babies.

It was all completely fascinating and addictive.

So not long ago I found this awesome site Query Tracker, where hopeful writers gather to find an agent, and track their stats for queries, submissions, rejections, feedback, and more. I was reminded of those long-ago days when I would scour the Fertility Friend forums. On Query Tracker, instead of uncomfortable details about "fluids," one can find out whether an agent is a non-responder, writes a polite form rejection, or mocks her own slushpile through her Twitter feed. One can search for success stories that show the hopeful line of dots on the chart trending higher (a partial request!) and higher still (a full request!!)  and finally—sometimes—reach a pinnacle of delirious excitement (I got an offer of representation!!!) Jackpot, baby, you've got a bun in the oven.

One can console the downtrodden who, week after week, failed to find themselves "knocked up" but have a gleam in their eye that won't quit. One can cheer on the excited who are "late" and waiting, waiting for that answer. One can gnaw vaguely on one's jealously while reading the stories of others who have made it. Yes, we're happy for them, but I want one too, damn it!

It is all completely fascinating and addictive.

One hopes that each and every one of those Trackers will walk away with a twinkle in the eye that, 9 months, or 18 months, or 2 years later will bear fruit. They'll have something to hold in their hands. They'll say, "I made it. I made this." Isn't there enough luck and goodness in the world for all of us, then?

And one day, walking home from the train on a spring evening, a glimpse through the trees of red shirt, green shirt, flashing among the shrubs. Boys—grown boys, laughing—chasing through the spangled light. And hope.


Anita said...

What a beautiful post! The comparisons are BRILLIANT. I had no idea there was such a place as Fertility Friend. Ha. Glad I didn't know about it way back when. Then I'd have two sites I was addicted to. You know how I am over at QT. LOL.

You rock, my blogging genius friend. I foresee an award in your future ... hmmm. That's all I'm saying for now.

sarah said...

So true! Thanks for the post. I really enjoyed it.

cherie said...

Haha! Loved this. I too was a frequenter over at the babymaking site. I was well versed in BBT spikes; an expert at differentiating the hues of the ovulation kit lines. And finally, finally, after a bout of clomid meds messing up my cycle, I threw up my hands in despair and gave up trying. Hence, my son was conceived and born.

Oh the irony of it all.

I'm starting out at QT. Methinks it'll only be a matter of time before I begin my obsessive tracking of query charts. For now, I'm waiting and writing. Working up the courage to start trying again.

Jenny Phresh said...

Thanks, everyone! And Cherie, welcome to QT. It's such a great service when you are ready for it.

(I remembered after writing this that I also used to visit Babycenter daily. I was obsessed with that one, too! Funny what was once bookmarked on my browser....)

Anita: Award, what award? Now I am curious!

Angela said...

I LOVED Babycenter!! Haha! I used to post on their message boards all the time, lol. I knew all the abreviations (DH, DD, DS, MIL). That seems like AGES ago!

I just wish I had as much ease finding an agent as I did getting pregnant ;o) HA!

Great post, Jenny :o)

The Rake said...

I don't know how you do that. I mean, several times, the last three or whatever number of lines have an emotional jujitsu move. You do it now and again and yet I never see it coming. That's when writing, in this case yours, slips into magic. Well done Pony. Damn.

Jenny Phresh said...

Angela, I remember all the abbreviations, too! I don't think I'll ever forget them, I spent so many hours wallowing in baby madness.

Jenny Phresh said...

The Rake,
I lurve you.
Double juJITSU!

Bethany C. said...

I love, love, LOVE this post, Phresh! Like you, I had no problem getting myself knocked up. If only getting THE CALL from an agent were that easy. Perhaps I should start including a six-pack and a dvd of the Notebook with my initial query...hmm...

cherie said...

Jenny, I have an award for you cause you so deserved this. Come and get it!


Jenny Phresh said...

Bethany, that made me laugh! Especially with the "Notebook" comment.

Cherie, I am extremely excited! I have acquired a jpg of my award and am pawing over it lovingly.

Sam Southworth said...

Smacked it out of the ballpark there, Pony! Yes, there is enough goodness and success for everyone in the world, and your fair share is coming. Until then, keep your powder dry, and keep your eye on the sparrow! Great blog, in all ways.