September 4th, 2012
I went in for my annual GYN appointment the other day.
I’m trying out a new practice. It’s a weird move for me because I LOVE LOVE LOVE my former doctor, but she’s in Connecticut, which means every 6 months or so I’m driving through 3 states to see her.
It’s getting to be a bit much. But she knows SO much of my history – and I’ve HAD history – that I was loathe to leave her. But with time being at a premium right about now, and my health stabilized, AND the fact that she no longer takes my insurance, UGH, I figured it was time to make the move.
I was not looking forward to the search. I’d been through 8 OB-GYNS before finding one I was comfortable with – which was why I stayed with her for so long, and why I stayed with her when she moved from 32nd St in Manhattan, a mere 10 blocks away from my job, all the way to Greenwich. I had just gotten pregnant. I was not about to find a new doctor while going through the countdown to motherhood.
Now, 8 years later, I started looking, and recently found a practice in NYC that I thought I could try out. The doctor was one I had contemplated seeing about a year ago, when she’d been in NJ. Now I found her at a practice in NY, but since NYC is a mere hop-skip-and-jump away, I figured, what the hell. I love going into the city anyhow.
So I made an appointment. The practice seemed pleasant enough; I’d read several reviews that raved about the doctors while bemoaning the insensitive front desk staff, but I found them to be no problem. I wasn’t kept waiting for an insanely long period of time. I noted that there were many pregnant women visiting, another thing that had been noted in reviews. I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad: of course being a mom I love that they cater to moms but I was hoping that I wouldn’t be made to feel less important simply because I wasn’t currently carrying a fetus.
Met with the doctor, who was quite pleasant. Discussed my health, my concerns, and had my exam. During the physical she felt something that made her want to send me for an ultrasound, just to be sure she wasn’t dealing with anything abnormal.
I went in and met with the ultrasound tech. If you’re a man, and one who has never accompanied a woman to an ultrasound, this can be a pretty interesting experience. This is not the roll-the-ball-over-the-belly ultrasound that you get when your stomach is rotund with child. This is the less pleasant vaginal ultrasound, where they shove something that looks very much like a plastic penis into your vagina. (This had to be made by Republicans.) The fact that it’s covered with a condom lends to the intimacy of the experience.
Anyhow, the tech is twisting and turning this thing around with the agility of…well, a very active sexual partner, shall we say, and then she says,
“Oh…you’re ovulating now.”
“Really,” I answered, somewhat surprised and mildly amused. “How do you know?”
“I can see the egg making its way down,”she said matter of factly, with a smile.
“Wow…that’s pretty cool.”
“How old are you again?”
“42,” I answered.
“Wow. Your body is really young.”
“Huh?” I said, not knowing what she meant.
“You have a LOT of eggs left,” she said with a smile. “Isn’t it cool that your body is so young?”
I gasped and put my hand to my mouth and something…odd…came over me and I began to well up.
“I have lots of… eggs left?” I asked.
“Yup,” she said happily.
“How do you know?” I asked, stupefied.
“Oh, I can see them. Lots of little dots. I mean, I wouldn’t wait forever, but…you still have lots of eggs left. Your body is telling you how young it is. Isn’t that awesome?”
I was dumbfounded. For a whole bunch of reasons.
The first thing that came to my mind was two friends of mine who, being close to my age and childless, are desperate to have children. One, I’m not too worried about – he and his girlfriend are working on it and I think they’ll be fine. But the other one…my heart just leapt into my throat thinking about her struggles over the past year, the bad news she’s been constantly hearing from doctors about her fertility, and her continual fight to one day have a baby that is biologically her OWN.
This is something I’ve always taken for granted. When the Tech Guru and I decided to have kids – we had them. There was no TRYING. We made love, I got pregnant. IMMEDIATELY. And here was this technician telling me that I had quite a few little potential youngsters in there, waiting to be fertilized. All of a sudden, I wasn’t thinking of them as mere eggs anymore, but…as my children already, just waiting to be born. Which ones would be born? Would ANY be born? Or would they all just…get pushed out in a monthly period? If so, what would they have looked like? Who would they have been? What personalities would they have had?
What would I be missing? WHOM would I be missing?
I sat there, stunned, as the tech continued looking.
I was still very very fertile.
I could have another child. According to her – I could have a few if I got on it quick enough.
It wasn’t something that I had been PLANNING. I’d thought about it, at one time or another, but figured that, as I was getting older, even if I decided to go ahead with it, it would still then be a coin toss as to whether or not it would actually HAPPEN.
And here was this woman telling me that…chances were very likely that…I could have another baby.
When I went back in to talk to the doctor after the exam, I blurted out,
“If I wanted to have another baby, what would I do with all these damn meds I’m on?”
She told me that ideally they’d prefer me on NO meds, which I agree with, but that if I absolutely HAD to be taking something so that I wouldn’t go running down the street naked, they’d want it to be cut down to one medication. And the Klonopin? Out the window. Not even an option. So…if I want another baby, the best thing to do would be to wean myself OFF the meds before becoming pregnant, or, if I got pregnant ON the meds, same thing: wean down to one or off altogether. Quickly.
“Do you think you’d want another child?” she asked, looking slightly puzzled. After all, in the meeting BEFORE the ultrasound, I’d asked about birth control. Now here I was, 15 minutes later, asking about what to do to get pregnant.
I was just as confused as she was.
“I…I don’t know,” I answered. “I…I might.”
“Well, I’m going to give you the scrip for the birth control, and…you can decide what to do with it,” she said, handing me the prescription form.
“Okay,” I said, taking a deep breath. “Okay. Thanks.”
I walked out and headed back to the train station, my mind in a flurry of activity. I spotted a park bench and decided I needed to sit down and breathe.
I could have another baby. Not just in my mind, as an idea or something to think about TRYING for. My body was TELLING me: HEIFER, IF YOU WANT ANOTHER BABY, FUCKING GO FOR IT AND MAKE THAT SHIT HAPPEN.
I sat there with a prescription for birth control in my hand, and a purse full of meds for my mental health. That road, the one filled with pills, was the road to take if I decided my child-bearing years were over.
But, if I decided that this newfound knowledge was going to urge me into pregnancy, then…the scrip would be torn up. And the meds…those would have to gently fade away.
Could I DO that? Can I survive without those fucking meds, not only through pregnancy, but through nursing?
I looked at the scrip. 12 months of birth control pills. I’d be another year older after taking those pills. If I was going to do this…it would have to be now. I’d still need time to wean off the crazy meds, and then go gung-ho into make-a-baby mode.
I sat on that bench and cried a little.
I cried because I thought of the people I love who want children so badly and how I wished that somehow, some way, I could share my fertility with them.
I cried because I was happy to know that my body was for once agreeing with my mind and my spirit, which both tell me that I am still young and vibrant and vivacious. My ovaries were CONFIRMING this instead of breaking down against me (like my fucking EYES have, you bastards that make me use reading glasses now).
I cried because I remembered asking the Tech Guru a few months back if he would try for another baby if I really wanted one, and him looking straight into my eyes and saying “If that’s what you really want, then yes, I would do it.”
I cried because I thought of all those little eggs becoming little people that I could love and cherish. And I wanted them, as insane as it sounds, at that moment, I wanted ALL of them. I cried because I remembered being pregnant and although it was tiring…I LOVED it. My pregnancies were filled with wonder. For me, they were absolutely magical periods of my life. And as such…they were beautiful. I was…amazed by feeling another person moving inside of me, someone who would be wholly and utterly dependent on me for the first few years of life. I was amazed that two teeny cells could grow into this complex organism that becomes another PERSON…with fingers and toes and eyes and hair and birthmarks and a voice and heart and personality all its own, something that is a part of me and yet is way more than me, is something beyond me. A baby is more than just an extension of the people who made it.
Is a piece of its parents…
And a piece of God.
I still have the scrip.
It sits on my side table, on the top of a pile of books, awaiting a final judgment.
I don’t know.
There is…so much going through my mind right now that it’s crazy. I look at my 2 munchkins and God knows I couldn’t love them any more. When I first had Punksin, I was scared to have another baby, because I didn’t think I could possibly love another child the way I loved her.
And then Pudding came and took my heart and ran all the way down the field and scored a goddamn touchdown with it. I could not POSSIBLY love him more, and yet… I love my Punksin no less.
So I know now, that adding one does not mean taking the same amount of love and spreading it thinner. Adding a child means adding more love…all around.
I know this now.
My hands hold the prescription but my ovaries…are holding…halves of babies. Waiting! Waiting to be fertilized and become…little tiny people. Who will grow up to be big people. People with me as their mom, who will love them, as I always tell Pudding and Punksin, to the end of the universe and beyond. This…this is how I love them. And this…this is how I love my eggs. They are not people…yet. But still…I love them…for who they could be.
They are inside me, waiting.
My hand shakes as I look at the birth control prescription and then…put it down gently. I have not torn it up. But…I have not filled it either.
Because I have lots of eggs.