The clinic

Forty-five minutes in a nondescript waiting room afforded me ample time to experience sense of surrealism. In all my life, I never pictured myself here--a center for reproductive medicine.

Like an expectant father at his first appointment, Max waited anxiously by my side. This appointment was important to him. He understood the risks dating a late-30 something woman with a less-than-stellar medical history. But in the end, he decided that I meant more than any chance at fatherhood. And for this, I felt I owed it to him to be sure.

Even though this was only a consultation, I came prepared with the surgical records from the multiple myomectomy I had undergone in 2004. Before the procedure, my uterus was the size of a woman in her 14th week of pregnancy. I wasn't pregnant, but carried sizeable, twin fibroid tumors instead. And even though the surgery to remove the unwanted went well, I felt certain that with the tumors also went my chances at motherhood.

"Not so," said Dr. Mulvaney, a 6'4", 350-pound OB/GYN with hands the size of baseball gloves. I knew the minute I saw him that this was the doctor who had delivered my friend's second child. There could only be one doctor in town with mitts like those.

"Based on what I've read in the surgical notes, your fibroids were located on the back of your uterus and probably didn't affect the cavity," continued the good doctor, his kind but booming voice revealing island roots. "We can run a test to be sure, but I don't see anything that suggests you couldn't get pregnant or carry a baby to term."

Max was about to do a victory dance, when Mulvaney thwarted the celebration.

"The real concern is your age," he said. At this point, Ms. Mandy, you're racing against the clock. As he explained the fertility statistics of women over 40, I could feel Max doing calculations in his head. We had 10 months before my ovaries exploded.

After deciding on a course of action--a couple blood tests, an ultrasound, and Hysterosalpinogram for me, and a sperm analysis for Max-- we left the clinic completely overwhelmed and a little discombobulated. And before we made it to the car, Max started second-guessing our plans for a fall or winter wedding.

"Maybe we should move things up?" As Max began undoing all the plans we'd made, my heart began pounding as certain ambivalences I feel about motherhood rushed through my veins. In all his excitment, Max unintentionally had me feeling backed against a wall. But instead of a defensive posture, I broke down in tears. We drove the rest of the way in silence. And after arriving home, I crawled in bed and took a two-hour nap.

Later that evening, Max apologized for his behavior.

"I don't want to be the only one who wants this," he said.

"It is not that I don't want to have a child with you," I replied. "I feel as though we already have a lot ahead of us. We have to get through telling my parents about this relationship, preparing for a wedding, and moving to some unknown foreign country. I can't imagine setting up house, negotiating our new life together...and starting a family. It would be too much for me."

Max said that he agreed and completely understood my feelings and fears. We would leave plans unchanged, and take our chances. "The time has to be right for both of us," he said reassuringly.

I felt comforted by our conversations. And even though we have no immediate plans to try to get pregnant, I have decided to go through the fertility testing suggested by Doctor Mulvaney. In the meantime, Max will learn more about his future job responsibilities and our relocation, and I will (hopefully) get a better handle on my fears and ambivalence toward motherhood. Despite Max's reassurances, I understand that time really isn't on our side. It's the 9th inning. Even with Dr. Mulvaney's golden gloves and Max's excellent coaching, I'm still standing in the batter box and looking at a full count.


zerodoll said...

oh man! best wishes to you, whatever you decide.

i'm really rooting for you, having undergone a myomectomy myself (also in 2004, strangely enough!)

be kind to yourself.

SassyAssy said...

Sounds like you have a lot on your plate! Get through the psycho-parent talk and all will fall into place...if anything...speed that up post haste and be done with it!

Just sign me...bumps, bruises & broken arms thank you very much.

kenju said...

Have you ever read the lists of the most stress-producing things you can experience? All of them are on your list of things to do, and adding a pregnancy and baby on to them all at the same time is a disaster waiting to happen. Don't let yourself be rushed into anything, especially if you are ambivalent about motherhood. It isn't fair to the child or to his father.

Whatever you decide, I wish you the best. If you are going to be planning a wedding, I have a list of good vendors I'd be happy to share with you.

Just a trumpet player said...

Repeat after me:

"I am a strong, beautiful, smart and capable woman. I can get through this."

utenzi said...

Since there's a good chance you won't be working while overseas, Diane--wouldn't this be a perfect time to have a child? LOL I love backseat driving!

egan said...

Hey Diane, thanks for sharing something so personal as this. I haven't a clue what to say abou this. Wait, my wife has two co-workers that had children in their early 40s. It can be done and you can be one of them.

Good luck to you and Max. He's not a cyclist is he? Just had to ask.

Desiree said...

Wow. You have SO much going on, and yes, starting a family is a BIG deal in itself.

I wish you the best, and hope that everything turns out how you want it to.

kenju said...

Diane, thanks for the visit. I sure DO agree about hats! I used to model them and I still love wearing hats, but I feel self-conscious now, unless it is very cold. I'd love for hats to come back (but not dress gloves)...LOL

Malnurtured Snay said...

You could always adopt, if your age becomes too much of an issue. What foreign country are you moving to? Good luck with everything!

running42k said...

I was going to say keep your eye on the balls to keep with the baseball metaphors but thought that was tacky so I won't say it.

If you do decide to get pregnant the best thing is to relax, don't try to hard and let it happen. I think when people try to hard, then it never happens. I am speaking from experience, once with my parents, once with me. In both incidents, once an adopted child arrived, a biological one arrived 18 months later. It was all in the relaxing.

mollymcmo said...

wow diane do you ever have a lot of life altering events happening!

good luck in whatever path you decide to follow. i only had children so i would have someone to look after me when i got old and hopefully not end up in a home! LMAO!


AmyD said...

You really can never be too old to have growing pains, can you? This is such an exciting but confusing and terrifying time in your life, and while I'm so happy for you, I can also completely understand how you could have so many worries and questions right now about the unknowns. What will be, will be. You might not believe in karma, but something tells me you *do* believe in fate. Just take one thing - and one day - at a time. :o)