So what were we talking about? Oh right. My first appointment with the Reproductive Endocrinologist. I was telling you how maternal I felt toward the younger girls in the waiting room: Like a den mother or a camp counselor or Joan Crawford. We all vowed to meet up again at the lake that summer and roast marshmallows around the fire. I got called inside for my consultation with the doctor rather quickly. I’m still not clear on whether it’s because I had an appointment or because the receptionist felt me sucking all positive energy out of the waiting room and reported me to the nurses: “Patients are leaving. You’ve got to get her out of here!”
I was ushered into the medical version of the on-deck circle. I was still waiting but I wasn’t in the waiting room. I could see the doctor’s office, but hadn’t been invited inside yet. A nurse came to take my temperature and blood pressure. Temperature normal. Blood pressure two hundred over one eighty. Normal under the circumstances.
As she indicated that I may now take a seat in the doctor’s office, I took a deep breath and tried to talk myself down from the ledge of a stroke. “You’re in great shape! You’ve never smoked. You’ve been going to a gym since you were nineteen, (some eleven hundred years ago). Your Mom, who did smoke, didn’t have your sister until she was nearly thirty-six and you at forty.
Your Dad and uncle look much younger than they’re biological ages.” Then the Reproductive Endocrinologist came in, file in hand, and started talking. He looked over the forms I had finally completed. As I had feared from my waiting room encounters, he seemed particularly fixated on the “date of birth” entry.
With each shake of his head and "tsk" of his tongue, I could actually feel my hormone levels dropping and my eggs deteriorating.
I anticipated that by the time the appointment was over, all of my vital organs would shut down completely and either he’d send me home on a respirator or instruct the receptionist who told on me to dump my lifeless body into the service elevator and press “G”: Apparently I was a used car sitting on the lot. My outside looked well-preserved enough while under the hood I was rusting and rotting like nobody’s business.
I tried to defend my disintegrating innards to the Doc. I told him about my family. Safely concealed behind my chart, he pretended to scribble notes, but I never heard that scratching sound that’s produced when the pencil actually makes contact with the paper.
“Yeah, yeah, heavily smoking mom had babies late thirties. Dad, uncle.” He was especially unimpressed to learn that strangers usually guessed “thirty-two” when I prodded them to answer the awkward “How old do I look?” question. He responded by pulling statistics out of his rebuttal.
First he assured me that there are a lot of women nowadays who first try to conceive “in their mid-thirties and beyond”. “Oh Gd”, I thought. He just lowered me into the ‘and beyond’ age category.” So there I was, hoping to get pregnant, corralled into the same age group as my ninety-two year old Uncle Sidney.
Listen, I gotta go. The neighbors are fighting on their front lawn again and I have to go pull them apart. I’ll talk to you tomorrow…