I have been meaning to see a fertility consultant for a while now. I kept saying to myself I had not got round to it because I was too busy with Bean, work, and life. But really, I just didn’t want to hear what I thought would be said.
Left unspoken I could keep hold of the eighteen month old words that described my fertility as slightly below average for my age.
My glass half full self looked past the below average bit and revelled in the word slightly. Those slightly less than averagely functioning ovaries were, as far as I was concerned, triumphing in the face of trauma and decreased blood supply. They stubbornly refused to wave a white flag of surrender at the loss of their closest ally.
The not quite so glass half full part of me did consider the flawed nature of this approach. Defiant as my ovaries were, it was not as if they were going to team up and initiate a uterine regeneration programme.
However, despite my lack of uterus, my ovarian function remains important to me. Their continued function my ticket to the opportunity of having another baby of my own. A ticket to a no doubt difficult journey with a slim chance of arriving at the destination I would like; but a ticket none the less. Their function, along with the help of a surrogate home for nourishment and growth, providing the possibility that another baby is not an entirely unrealistic hope.
Today, I got round to braving the appointment with the fertility consultant. I walked in past the white stone statue of a man holding a sword to a dragon that I could not fathom the relevance of, went up two flights of stairs with success stories adorning the walls, and waited.
Knowledge is power after all. And the hospital coffee isn’t all that bad.
Knowledge of a significant decrease in fertility, using the term in the loosest sense given the sub-total hysterectomy shaped elephant in the room, did not feel like power. It felt horrible. Not unexpected, but deflating, flat, and somehow unfair.
I feel guilty saying that it feels unfair, when I am so fortunate as to share my life with Bean. But there is this part of me that really hopes that one day all the pieces will fall into place. A version of my life where I will be with someone who loves me and can see us with a baby, and a kind and selfless women will offer to help bring one into the world for us. Life where things are how I would have loved them to be had events not happened as they did when I had Bean. A dog or two, a couple of chickens, and a little place perched on a hilltop where grass meets a stretch of sandy beach would also be great, but I don’t want to push my luck given the first request.
Back in the consultation room, options and success rates were discussed. Frozen eggs, frozen embryos, surrogacy; nothing I have not heard before and yet different in the context of the immediately preceding conversation.There now feels like a very present need to make a decision.
I thanked the consultant for his time and advice, and walked down the stairs. Everything always feels like it takes longer when you have just received news that is not as you would have liked it to be. Two flights of stairs felt like many more. I know there is no point feeling upset about something I cannot change, and yet I walked down the stairs trying not to cry and hoping I did not bump into anyone as I left.
In a parallel existence where money is no object I would be freezing eggs as soon as possible. But the success rate is poor. Would it be spending money I do not have for false hope in my current situation? Will I have days where I feel the loss of someone that does not exist as I so frequently did when I finally accepted the implications of having my uterus removed? Will a man fall in love with me and want to try against the odds to have a baby, rendering the need for a frozen egg insurance policy unnecessary?
If I don’t do it while it is a possible option, will I wish I had?
I am notoriously awful at decision making at the best of times; weighing this issue up at this point in time feels challenging. I am not a five year plan kind of person. I like things to just happen, absolving myself from the responsibility of the what ifs.
So far the decision making process has consisted of buying myself flowers, wine, and my favourite cheese. I danced with Bean in the lounge and let her stay up later than normal, giving her just long enough to adopt my flowers with the assurance they will definitely prefer to live in her bedroom.
None of this has yet led to me deviating from my usual demeanour of planning avoidance. But flowers, cheese, wine, and dancing with someone you love are firmly confirmed as the best medicine for a difficult day.