There are two couples in the same room as I, one to my left the other to my right, both holding hands and whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ear. They could have been cussing each other out for all I know, but all I see is love and hope for a family, and all this perceived love blinds me to their pain temporarily. All I see is bliss.
The fertility clinic’s website is plastered with photos of babies, families and flowers- all things specially designed to make you ovulate upon viewing. After laying 3 eggs, I scroll through the feed in disbelief that life has brought me to this place. I’m 30, single and contemplating having my eggs frozen because chemo may leave me infertile. Because cancer.
This was a discussion and a journey I was suppose to have with my husband, and in some odd way I feel as though I’m steeling that from him, like I’m envisioning our children way too soon and inadvertently leaving him behind. It’s a carriage before the horse situation, and I feel forced into it. Robbed of the “natural” process. I realize that this may be a feeling that I should get use to, and perhaps embrace.
While waiting between love birds in the waiting room, my mind swirls around the oddest thoughts:
– I would never freeze my baby, so why is freezing my eggs okay?
– Can you freeze chicken eggs?
– I wonder who’s sperm will eventually fertilize these things?
– I wonder if a doctor has ever dropped someone’s eggs on the ground. I’d be so pissed.
– Is there an expiration date on eggs? God I hope it’s longer than what’s in my fridge ( which is currently spoiled I’m sure).
– Can they accidentally squish an egg when harvesting them? Is so, could that produce a lumpy headed baby? I mean, I’d love him anyhow.
I watch couples leave the waiting room to meet with doctors and find myself alone with my thoughts for a while. I use this time to dream, to hope, to pray. I vividly imagine having my own family- a husband, 3 girls and a dog. I’ve always had an unexplainable desire to have children, to have a full family, to be a wife and mother. I can get lost in these dreams for hours if I allow myself too. I do.
It wasn’t until one of the couples who moments ago had looked so joyful, walked back into the waiting room in tears, was I pulled back into reality. It was then that I realized that this is simultaneously a place of hope and shattered dreams. Everyone is here because it didn’t work, something went wrong and there is a heart wrenching desire to fix it. Some leave in joyful anticipation of newborns, becoming parents and developing family. Others, like me, have their dreams deferred. I feel foolish for my envy and bitter thoughts towards them. They’re hurting as I am.
The doctors prognosis is bleak- a combination of Sickle Cell Anemia and Cancer makes my chances of having children of my own small. The doctor forces me to think about fertility treatment, egg harvesting, sperm donors and surrogates- a conversation he starts within the 15 minutes I have with him, and doesn’t have the time to finish. As I’m processing all 245 of my options, I’m told that it’s somewhat of a moot point because I must wait 5 years after remission to have children (provided that I can). Five. Years. I quickly crunch the numbers in my head- I’ll be 36 before I can consider having children of my own. At this very moment in time, I give up. This was the icing to my crap cake. It is now abundantly clear that the narrative of my life isn’t and will never be described as normal, predictable, explanatory, “natural”, simple, “correct” or any other peaceful adjective. My life is quite the contrary: unpredictable, unrelenting and messy. At this moment I’m forced to drop any fantasy of life becoming simple and reconcile with these truths: you’re 30, single, living with your sister in an apartment, in the second year of your career, with breast cancer. It’s an odd and striking reminder that you didn’t fall in love with your college sweetheart, get married, buy the house, pet the dog, climb the career ladder, and have the beautiful children by the time you were 30. That didn’t happen. It won’t happen.
It’s clear I’m like a unicorn- special and a little off. I make the decision to embrace this.
Naturally not immediately. I left the clinic feeling destroyed. The labored conversation around my eggs, uterus and lack of sperm has left me disappointed and drained. All of the options the doctor presented to me isn’t for me. A viable option for someone but not for me. It’s hard for me to explain exactly why. I just know that my spirit is resolved to stop this fertility journey here, for now. So I cry. I cry from Dallas to Arlington where I find cute earrings to make me temporarily stop crying. They’re really cute so they get me to shut up for the rest of the day.
The next day I make the decision to embrace my life in the package that it’s in, to fully be content with how my present came to be and how my future will unfold. It’s all trivial, compared to the life I know Christ has for me, the life I believe He is preparing me for. Because Jeremiah 29:11-12. Because what could man possibly say to me that would shake me loose from the goodness, grace, love and kindness of God? What diagnosis could snatch away hope rooted in Him? None. Because Jesus.
These two things remain true:
God is Good
God will receive the glory