On Tuesday night we had tacos, and to go with it, at my request, my husband bought beer on the way home from work.
“This might be the last beer I have in a while,” I said.
“Hopefully,” said my husband.
“Hopefully,” I agreed.
All I needed to do for today’s appointment was wear a skirt (yes, that was on the list), have a full bladder before the appointment (a full bladder allows for clearer ultrasound images), and bring a sanitary towel. My appointment was at lunchtime, so when I walked in there was nobody else in the waiting room, and my number was called right away.
“Ah, Ms. Pippa, hello,” said my doctor – the male doctor, this time.
“We managed to get two eggs the other day, yes,” he confirmed. “Fertilisation was successful for one.”
“One,” I repeated. Only one. Okay, there’s still a chance.
“Yes, one. The other one seemed like it might get fertilised too, but on closer inspection it didn’t work. Then, this fertilised egg,” he continued, “isn’t growing quite as smoothly as we would like, so there will be no egg transfer today.”
“We’re going to see how the egg does tomorrow or the day after, and if it grows a bit more we’ll freeze it and try again next month. If it doesn’t develop much more, we’ll have to start everything again.”
“We’ll let you know about this egg by email over the next few days, so be sure to check your email.”
“Yes, I will.”
“I imagine you need to use the toilet, so I’ll let you go now.”
“Yes. Thank you.” I moved out of the door on autopilot. The nurse came and found me in the waiting room and handed back my patient card.
“Was there anything you didn’t understand, or wanted to talk about?” she asked. Her voice and eyes were kind.
“I think I’m okay,” I said. “I wait for an email from the doctor, and my next appointment will be when my period next comes?”
“That’s right,” she said.
“Take care going home,” called the lady at the reception desk.
I had some errands to run before going home, and everywhere I looked there were far more pregnant people out than usual. It was like everyone deliberately chose this specific afternoon to come into town. I thought about my daughter at home with her father: the appointment was over and done with so quickly that she wouldn’t even be down for her nap yet. At least we have her, our miracle baby. I went to the supermarket. The woman at the checkout had an excruciatingly fake-sounding, quiet yet high-pitched voice that I could barely hear through the supermarket noise and plastic screens. Irritating woman. Speak properly.
Uh oh, I thought. I’m in a bad mood.
“Don’t get too depressed,” my husband said when I got home and finally sat down with a cup of tea. It sounds cold in print but was meant very kindly. “There’s still a chance!”
“Hmm.” I was unconvinced. “You know I always have this excessively black and white thinking, where things are always ‘all or nothing’. So in my mind it’s already decided, already totally useless.” I realised I was biting at the skin around my fingernails, a sign of my strained nerves. Yuck. “I can’t make enough eggs, and the eggs that I make aren’t good quality. One egg failed, and this one surely isn’t going to work out either. And I’m getting older now, too – if this time is no good, what about next time? Two? One? Zero eggs?”
He nodded. “Well, it’s easy to understand why you feel that way, at least. And it’s not as though you aren’t trying, it’s just… the way your body is.”
“Yeah…” I sighed. “Yeah, it’s my body. And I hate it. That’s it, I hate my useless body. I hate that I can’t do anything about it. And it hurts: no matter how futile I think everything is, part of me still holds out hope…”
“That’s why we keep trying, as long as you want to,” he said. “Because there is still hope.”
It doesn’t feel very much that way right now, but maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow.