You could hear a pin drop, the room was so quiet. We were in Dr Babies’ office and had just been told of my many issues leading to my infertility. It was that silent. No words. Just a distinct disbelief. I wanted to ask him to just check again, look over his notes one more time (because of course I’d almost tripped over and fell up the knock with 10 y o). But words failed me. Silent tears trickled out of the side of my eye and I looked down at my hands. I was pissed off as all hell. Angry and downright gutted. Gutted this body I’d taken care of (mostly well, yes yes apart from the drinking, the partying and a little more drinking) could let me down. Worst of the facts was that age was a persistent player in my now unreproductive organs. The cobwebs had long grown over them and deemed them almost all but unuseful. Our chances, Dr Babies told us, of getting ourselves a lovely jubbly little bundle of loveness were somewhere in the vicinity of 10% on our own and not a whole lot more via IVF.
Now I am one of the fast-approaching-a-decade-that-closely-resembles-forty in denial, who me? who is apparently ‘clogging up the IVF clinics’. Did I choose to be in this position? Was I a career-driven, heartless bitch who put having babies way down the bottom of my to-do list? Did I prefer traveling the far reaches of the Morroccan desert on camelback to starting a family? Was I too busy waiting for Mr Right with my long-sweeping checklist to even see that he was right in front of me? Was I selfish and enjoying my own adult life too much to consider anyone under the age of 20 being able to inhabit it? No. I was none of these. But that’s what some would have you believe. Does someone who is 40 or even 43 have less right to undergo IVF treatment than someone who is in their 20’s or 30’s? Forget what priorities they may or may not have put first, having a baby is one of the most incredible times in a woman’s life. Becoming a mother is a gift that no trip, present, whopping great diamond or even flashy car could ever replicate but that doesn’t mean to say a woman still doesn’t have the right to give it a go because she apparently put babies ‘on hold’.
Some of us have no choice. Maybe we haven’t met our tall dark n’ handsome. Maybe we would really like to fulfill our achievements and kick our goals all the way to the glass ceiling. Or maybe some of us were like me. A widow. A single mother at 31, with a small boy to look out for. I had no idea that some four years later I would meet the most incredible man who filled my life with such joy that I so desperately want to have a part of him and I to share for the rest of our lives. Things are not always what you think they are and it’s so easy to ride side saddle on our high horse looking down at those around us who might be struggling with one of the biggest fears of their lives.
As the time draws close for us to start on our long and winding (though we hope a little less long and winding this time) road through IVF yet again and yes I’m getting scared. Scared as all shit. It’s another year, another round, another series of tests, another ride through the constant waiting but bugger it, what have we got to lose…? That’s a rhetorical question – especially to those in my immediate family who may or may not right now be using words like sanity, mind, shit, hair and just plain normal human being-ness. It’s time to make the appointment with Dr Babies. I’ve done my six weeks of hard labour (gluten free), I’ve taken more vitamins than you could point a sharp stick at. I’ve participated in many (okay not many but definitely a few) jiggly, sweaty gym classes. I’ve gone back to see Mr Needles, I’ve tried to calm myself and keep busy. I’ve worked on my positiveness and being Brady Bunch-happy. I’ve even whispered to the big fella upstairs. Now it’s all up to me, right? No pressure or anything.
It’s been so much more than a ride on the crappy carnival of infertility and if I’m honest I’m not looking forward to revisiting her nasty self. And just a quick word to the wise, there’s some things you just should never say to a woman who is a) hormonally challenged and b) who has tried every goddam thing under the sun and still has nothing to show for it. What I’ve learnt so far is not to take to heart what people genuinely think is okay to ask.
Here’s a brief Q & A to get you up to speed. Do I want your eggs? No thanks I’d prefer my own, we’re not in a supermarket aisle. When do you think you’ll give up? I’m not sure, would you like to give one of your children back? How much has all this cost you? Thanks for asking. A frigging helluva lot, both financially and emotionally…but if you’d like to put your donation in the tin. Do you think it will work this time? Last time I checked I don’t have a crystal ball up my jacksie so my guess is as good as yours. Have you tried this…yes and everything in between. I know it worked for your friend’s sister’s cousin who tried for years but don’t mean it’s gonna work for me. When you give up, is when it’ll work…thanks, how enlightening did you study under the Dalai Lama? And my favourite of all, the bonus prize, the double-whammy, the supersize me with fries, Stop stressing, don’t think about it, just relax…let me just tie a led brick around your ankle and let you walk around with it for a few months, you know just to get the feeling. Don’t think about it though and you won’t even know it’s there.
Yes, fun times here we come. Love to all my fellow babywanters out there – close to forty or otherwise – big hugs, LadyMamaG xox