Waiting and Thoughts of the Door to the Left
I have always liked this office, the receptionist is ultra friendly, the magazines are always newer, and the seating is perfectly spaced to allow for optimum comfort. When you go through fertility treatments you become very “friendly” with your doctor and their staff. These are the people who see the best and worst days of a couple’s life. They are the first people you share the joy and/or disappointment with during your journey. As I sit in the office, that grew to be a second home on our journey to a baby, I am feeling a comfortable anxiety. I realize that statement is an oxymoron, but for me, this office is my Shangri La that gave me the ultimate gift.
PCOS obstructed my husband and me in maintaining a healthy pregnancy. We took a long time in our relationship to have kids and wanted to wait until marriage. I always felt a pressure or awareness that we should not wait to have kids. That first year of marriage, I went looking for an OB-GYN to start a relationship. Before I had always just been attended by a general practitioner for my yearly check-ups. The amazing nurse practitioner in the office was the first person to diagnose my PCOS. Never had a doctor mentioned this to me and she was able to just look at me and diagnose me before even reviewing my chart. She was the one who referred us to our fertility doctor and who comforted me when I had my first miscarriage.
Sitting here in this familiar office, I think about my original diagnosis, how my age affects it and try to brace myself for the meeting we are about to walk in with our fertility doctor. My mind is racing with memories of our first meeting. My “Little Man” is running around the waiting room being an average 2-year-old. We try to reign him in because I remember being the woman sitting in that room full of anticipation for what news I would get that day, full of anxiety and jealousy.
Guilt and Telepathy
I sometimes feel guilty for having been able to conceive our little guy. In this sacred space, I do not want to flaunt our success. I am talking with my eyes to the scared couple watching my little terror open every door, touch every magazine and attempt to locate the remote to change the ever-present HGTV channel; “This might be your day to find out you will have one of these little miracles in 9 months.” My husband is trying to entice him with his favorite Blippi episode and I am just sitting in my comfy seat remembering all the trips, conversations, and exams that happened behind the door to the left.
The paintings have not changed in the three years since I was last here, but the room layout has been updated. I think to myself, “That is cool that they added a Keurig machine and a fridge for those cute mini waters. Are they for everyone? Should I get one for Little Man? I probably should not get one, my nervous bladder is already speaking to me.” A familiar voice calls our name, and we are escorted into the same room we met the doctor the first time.
Discussions In A Small Room
We are here to discuss baby number two. The window into the courtyard is the same and hubby is still trying to reign in the two-year-old. He deals with anxiety by remaining busy, I obviously am introspective. With a big smile, Dr. J enters the room. This is the first time that Dr. J and Little Man are meeting unless you count the embryo transfer and countless ultrasounds in the early weeks of pregnancy.
After some small talk, we get straight to the point. We are here to discuss options to having another baby. There are no leftover embryos to take out of frozen storage, and we would have to start the process all over. My engineer husband always has the best questions and speaks up for us both. He just blurts out our question with an aside of, “We want your honest answer.”
That is why we came to this doctor, he is no nonsense and is not going to give us false hope. I am sitting on the edge of the seat holding my son as Dr. J reviews my chart. He looks up at us, gives us both a sincere smile and slowly closes the chart. I squeeze my son because I know the answer. I see it on his face and a part of me always knew what his answer was going to be. The closing of my file was the closing of this chapter of our lives. We are done. The chances of having kids now are small.
Single Digits and A Box of Kleenex
Little Man had a single digit percentage of surviving to full term. The realization is heartbreaking. The box of Kleenex in the middle of the table is within reach. I am trying so hard to hold myself together. The next couple of minutes pass with an explanation of why this is a bad idea. The doctor is being truthful and that is what I need. Even though a small part of me knew what he would say, the reality is heartbreaking. He did not want to take our money on a minuscule chance the procedure would work. If we lived in Illinois or Massachusetts, he would have tried it in a heartbeat. These states provide fertility at little to no cost and/or insurance covers them or at least a majority of the cost. End cost is a couple thousand dollars, instead of twenty thousand.
So at 42 years old and the mother of one amazing and adorable son, we are closing the book on having more children. We endured years of the, “When are you having kids?” question. I guess we will now learn how to endure the, “You only have one?” question. We wanted more kids, but at the end of the day, we have the perfect mix of both of us. I know there is adoption, fostering and other ways to welcome children in our lives, but after some soul searching, I do not know if those are options for me/us.
The End of the Road and a Grateful Mom
I love my son more than words can describe. He is the best aspect of my life. I would never change the journey we took to have my little miracle baby. I use the word journey a lot because it was a long haul trip. You learn about your health, histories, family medical histories, science, spirituality, personal strength, endurance and especially patience. The process is draining on relationships and can break even the strongest of couples. You learn about yourself and learn to reflect on the things that are important. At the end of the journey for some is this amazing human. I am forever grateful to Dr. J and his staff for helping us become parents. I am especially grateful for my Little Man.
Hugs to you fellow PCOS mama. There is so much in your story that only those who have sat at that table could even begin to understand. I was blessed with 2 girls via IVF prior to my journey ending, but to this day, I mourn that the decision to have another child was not mine to make. It doesn’t take away from my gratitude for my two little ones, but the sadness of the littlest I lost to miscarriage and the littles I didn’t get to consider are part of my soul.
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