Most of us know that there are a myriad of reasons a woman could need to see a fertility doctor: Things wrong with her parts. Things wrong with his parts. Things wrong with both their parts. Things wrong with nobody knows whose parts. Since I was 38 3/4 years old when I met my husband, 39 1/2 when I got married, and 39 1/2 and 4 hours when I first tried to get pregnant, everybody assumed my age was what sent me kicking and screaming into a fertility clinic at the over ripe old age of 41. Nobody ever came right out and said that that was the diagnosis but the writing was on the wall (not to mention on the outside of my chart when I finally did get pregnant. Since I'm not a physician, I could only assume that "AMA" in bright red letters (so much for Hippa) meant: "Advanced Maternal Age" not "American Medical Association".)
I remember that first day at the fertility clinic well. Particularly the waiting room. Every woman in the room appeared to be young-- extremely young. For a second I thought it was a Girl Scout troop. Apparently panic attacks can cause hallucinations. I blinked hard like I was Jeannie. (I just gave my age away again, didn’t I? Come on, Nick-at-Nite, reruns, yeah, yeah, that’s where I’ve seen it.)
I surveyed the room again. I felt like I was a contestant among other contestants in a Miss America pageant and someone was about to mistake me for Miss South Dakota’s aunt. I tried to engross myself in a magazine. There was Madonna on the cover. Great. Had her first child at sixty. Still looking fab at seventy-two. I turned it over in disgust leaving it for the next old infertile masochist.
I turned my attention to the forms I was given to fill out with a pen that was chained to my clipboard. I looked at the women around me and their pens and clipboards. Mine seemed to have an unusually short chain.
It was a conspiracy. Clearly the staff didn’t want me there. And as for the other women…Here was a group of ladies, all of whom were like me- Potentially suffering some reproductive malfunctions- and I still hated their guts. I think the true definition of low self-esteem is when you can look at a group of people who have the same afflictions as you, and envy them….
Why couldn’t I have had fertility problems at twenty-eight like that girl over there? If I have to have fertility problems why couldn’t I at least have perfect skin like that girl? Or that girl’s bracelet? Or that girl’s husband? He has nicer hair than mine does. Or that girl’s cell phone?
Then my hallucinations started again. This time they were of the mean, nasty, catty and, oddly enough, therapeutic, variety. I decided that the “twenty-eight” year old, was named Staceeé (spelled with three “e”’s and an accent aigu. I figured she may as well be cutesy, pretentious, and idiotic). Upon further analysis, I determined that she was not quite so young after all. In fact her fertility issues, according to my diagnosis, were caused by complications from her Alzheimer’s medications. I had never heard of that happening before but there you are.
The girl with the hairy husband was evidently not so young either. It seems Penelope had been married for thirty years, divorced when her husband discovered she had gone back to being a sixties cover band groupie and was now trying to have a baby with her eighteen year old second husband, Gustav, who may or may not have a secret family in Sweden. I haven't made up my mind yet. I put my hallucinational arm around Penelope. We bonded immediately.
By the time my husband came back from answering a call on his cell phone in the hallway, not only did I have everyone in the waiting area neatly named and demoralized, I had the median age of the room set at sixty-three. It would have been higher had I not figured myself into the math.
The loving fantasy support group came to an abrupt end when the nurse called my name... and then asked my husband if he needed help bringing me into the office eight feet away.
(Please check-out my eBook, Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility by clicking the book cover icon to the left or by visiting Amazon: http://amazon.com/dp/B007G9X19A. Also available on Kobo and Nook.)