I'm not really sure when the progression from playing house became full-blown adulthood. Living in our apartment Matt said being an adult is paying a mortgage, but three years ago when we acquired that monthly vestige of adulthood, he said no, no, it's definitely when you have kids. He had no answer for people who chose to rent, or chose not to have children.
But sitting in an office on Friday night, listening to a fertility doctor dictate a letter into his recorder about our case, I sat back, with my husband next to me, and thought, "So this is it; this is being an adult." At some point we crossed over: maybe it was then, or maybe it twelve months ago when we decided on having children.
I never, ever thought I'd be here. When I'd hear stories about failed IVF attempts, or women trying for years, I'd sympathize and think how lucky I was that woman trying wasn't me. But here we were, a year later, being told my ovaries were peculiarly small and Matt's situation wasn't looking too much better.
New words are entering my lexicon: progesterone supplements, FSH levels. IUI. I've been told so many times that "you'll be blessed with a child when the time is right" or "take a long weekend somewhere". These people invariably have children, and now, almost in a perverse way, I feel validated. No, it won't happen "when the time is right" or if we go away, and no, Godly intervention won't help either. Matt and I are pragmatists. We are not religious (although I've thought about praying but decided against it because if there is a God, he/she will surely realize what a selfish twit I am that I haven't prayed in 12 odd years, and all of the sudden decided only to smack my hands together for my own, baby-makin' good).
Above all, this is a medical matter. Ninety-three percent of couples our age conceive by the six month mark. Of those who don't, only 15% of those couples conceive in the next six months. Obviously, something is not right.
Our fertility visit was thorough. That really is the best way to describe it. We were there from 6:30 until 9:30 pm. Matt had his semen and urine tested, and I had an ultrasound, blood test, and an examination. We met with the doctor twice: before the tests, and after. I came with copies of my medical chart: details of when they first found the abscess deep in my gut, notes on my three months on Clomid, a write-up from my HSG. I told him about my Crohn's, about the scar tissue, about the surgery. When he said my ovaries were quite small for my age, and ruminated that perhaps scar tissue at one point had restricted their blood flow, I envisioned dried-up and hollow pea pods - a fertility wasteland.
We have many tests to do before determining next steps, and much medication to take. Writing about this now, I'm upset, but recounting it to a friend Friday night I laughed it off - of course we're sub-fertile, I mean, did I expect this to be easy?!
And sometimes I'm fine, it's all fine, and we'll make a go of it and trust ourselves to the shots, the blood tests, and all modern-day medicine has to offer. And other times I catch myself crying. A women I barely know had been struggling with having a second child for quite some time, and I saw her last week, but now with a swollen belly. It was at the gym, and my legs stopped swinging on my elliptical machine and I just watched her as she made her way to the locker room. And I felt betrayed.
I closed my eyes and told myself to just concentrate on Diane Sawyer on the television in front of me. To just watch her as she spoke about top kill, and the sheets of oil in the Gulf. I know that's a real tragedy, and not this.
But I couldn't help it, because infertility is a club swaddled in embarrassing emotion (jealousy, contempt, pity), and I was envious she was leaving, just as I was getting my bearings.