I started trying to conceive the day we got married. (Call me old-fashioned. And technically it was the night of the day we got married. I didn’t mean to imply that I wrestled the groom to the dance floor.) I was thirty- nine but a lot closer to the “nine” than the “thirty”. I’d heard about the fertility issues women have after a certain age. But my mother was pushing thirty-six when my sister was born and forty when she had me and she smoked heavily and rarely exercised.
I’ve never smoked, eat well, and exercise regularly. I guess I also figured that the same genetics that were responsible for my dad, my uncle and me looking considerably younger than our respective biological ages would somehow have rubbed off on my reproductive system. Plus, women were having babies all the time. Dumb women. Silly women. Extremely young barely-even women. How hard could it be? And, remember, physically, I was in great shape! I realize that most of that makes absolutely no sense. Call it optimism. Call it denial.
After a year of loving the new-spouse smell out of each other, my husband and I started to get concerned that maybe this baby-making thing wasn’t as easy as it looked after all.
I suppose that even in my optimism and/or denial, I knew that my age was a major (if not the only) factor. So here I was, this youthful- looking whippersnapper of a girl who was dangerously flirting with her forty-first birthday, skipping into my very first appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist. I felt good. I might have a little problem getting pregnant. But I was in great shape!
I should have known it was going to be a bad scene when I went to register myself on the computer screen at reception. I typed in my insurance carrier, my name, la la la… gender…la la la… Then my date of birth. “Month”, good. “Day”, click. That’s where I stalled out.
It’s never a good sign when you scroll down to find the year you were born and the options start with the year you were in third grade. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe I was signing in on the wrong computer. Was there an emergency room entrance? For old broads too feeble to walk the ten feet into the waiting area but still desiring to experience the miracle of child birth? But no. This was the only computer. This couldn’t be right.
I tried scrolling again. How dare that damn “up” arrow go no further? I had to click on “other”. How very humiliating. After dozens of years of filling out forms, I finally knew how a person who wasn’t Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, Asian, or Pacific Islander felt. There were about twenty “year” options offered and I had to select “other”. Here it was 2005, and if George Washington were waiting in line to register behind me, he and I would have highlighted the same choice.
Listen, I gotta go. I’m in the middle of baking a cake in the microwave and the smoke detector just went off. I’ll talk to you tomorrow………….