I have always striven (?) for my absolute best. But after years of not worrying about getting pregnant accidentally, my own fertility is something I always assumed was fine; out of sight, out of mind.
So, it was with great trepidation that I went to my first clinic appointment. After ten tubes of blood, my juicy veins were performing like champs. My bladder needed to be full for the ultrasound. It was MORE than full. Too full, said the nurse. I can definitely scale it back for next time. Way to go, me.
Then came the moment to review my uteran contact sheet… let’s look at the film, Doc!
“We typically like to see at least 6 follicles,” says the doctor. “You have 36.”
When I relayed the info to my wife she said: “Of course you do. You’re an overachiever.”
Now this could mean that I’m hyper cystic? Poly cystic? Hyper polycistic? I can’t remember exactly. But if this abundance is coupled with other symptoms, like irregular periods (sortof), weight gain (okay, like how much weight? And could that be tied to daily dessert indulgence?), hormonal acne (is my perception of monthly breakouts the same as actual acne?) and a beard or chest hair (if we’re being honest, the two or three renegade hairs hardly qualify as a beard)… it could verge on a situation that needs to be monitored
Ironically, it’s all about continuums. Some people freak out over one pimple. I feel icky when I have several… which does happen. But what qualifies as ‘bad skin’? My good skin day is my wife’s nightmare; she is poreless, glowing and flawless – with lit from within skin. Never a pimple in sight. So my good day, when a nice dab of concealer keeps me looking presentable is a day that might cause her some stress. More ironically, I was LITERALLY the poster girl for Accutane. When I was a teen model (back in the nineties) I was the girl ‘On the path to clear complexion,’ roller blading across the brochure cover, smiling like an idiot at a model named, Jamie, who was in architecture school and was into kickboxing. I had perfect skin… until I really hit puberty, moved to South America, and came back thirty pounds heavier and then needed to get an Accutane prescription. I was like the lady-version of the Hair Club for Men; I’m not only the president, I’m also a user!
But symptoms aside. We are always measuring ourselves against ideals, internalized scales and wondering: what would perfect look like? Am I there yet? And most of the time I don’t care about perfect enough to make the sacrifices to get there. And the rest of the time, I’m hitting it out of the park, because I’m naturally more motivated and energetic than most people. And the rest of the rest of the time, I am wondering, obsessively whether the things I never worried about before, and totally took for granted, are the things that will now bite me in the ass.
I never appreciated my long, lithe swimsuit body and muscles from 18 hours a week of dance … until I was 20 and didn’t have it anymore.
I never appreciated not having to use birth control or worry about pregnancy scares, until – at 35 – I’m looking down the barrel of a syringe full of semen, with a biological clock ticking.
I never appreciated… lots of things.
But it isn’t too late. Right? Whatever comes, I’m ready. Because that bubbly, cheerful, roller blading tween is still inside me somewhere; now I’ve just got better child-bearing hips, more laugh lines and way more to teach a baby –
the kind of stuff that turns a person into a tough, creative, brave, badass little individual. So bring it, 36 follicles.
I dare you to be a bumpy road. We’ve been through this before and as much as I’m feeling optimistic and unbreakable, I know that if the curve balls we’ve been thrown before are any indication, we will get through this, too.
Still laughing, still love-filled, still strong and resourceful.
We have had more joy in the time we’ve been together than most people get in a lifetime. Even with the heartache. Our life is charmed and I’m a believer in magic today.
I had a great day at work. Got a thank you card from an admin who thinks I’m doing great work to build empathy and support for our diverse students; played Improv Olympics with 16 year old drama students (with one very convincing student who played a chicken trying to cross the road); painted International Day Against Homophobia murals, with splatters of rainbow paint and Daft-Punk singing LGBTQ teens; saw the premiere of a music video that I’m in by a talented friend, Katey Morley;
And generally just love my work, my colleagues, my cat, my country, my family and my lovely, lovely wife. A baby; well, that would just be icing.