Two weeks before my forty-(garble) birthday, Hubs and I had dinner with another couple, visiting relatives from out of town. The discussion led to family, which unavoidably veered into the subject of my BIL and his wife’s pregnancy and that crashed head-on into, “When are the two of you going to have kids of your own?” I quietly explained our situation and mentioned our pregnancy losses. I tried to make light of it to avoid bringing the party down. “Old eggs,” I lamely joked.
A look of confusion crossed the face of one of our dinner companions. “You’re not old,” she replied, “You are my age, right?” (She is in her mid-30s, so bless her.) When I told her my age, she said, “Well, you certainly don’t look like it.” While the thank-you was the first thing that sprang from my lips, my mind mused, “If I were your age, I’d have younger eggs.”
Last week, I found myself bristling at the onslaught of “29 again?” jokes that each birthday inevitably brings. Every time I heard one, there was a groan deep down inside of me saying, “I wish. Twenty-nine year-old eggs would work.”
What’s with all the egg on the brain? Two months ago, I got the news that egg donation is the recommend course of action for me if I want to have baby. It is an option I cannot afford. (Chalk that one down next to adoption.)
Every month I find myself standing at the same fork in the road. My choices:
- Persistence – Pray that there is a good egg left in there
- Acceptance – Move on and try to find fulfillment elsewhere
Each month I’ve chosen persistence, but at the same time contemplated preparing myself for the alternative. Like someone who is trying to quit a bad habit, I keep telling myself, “Just one more. This is the last month. If nothing happens, we’ll stop.” Then, I run into the same fork and am forced to make the same choice.
However this month, my fevered, egg-obsessed mind has been searching for signs. I am sad to say I’ve found them in the form of statistics. At my age, I have a 1-3% chance of concieving naturally. Around same odds as winning the lottery, and I imagine about the same odds of finding anything that I’m looking for in my purse on the first try. (Among those who beat the odds, one in 33 will have a fetus with a chormosomal disorder and one in 49 will have a child with Downs syndrome.) It’s sobering. It’s sad. I’m standing here – feeling bereft and broken, contemplating fairness and faith.
I always told myself that the final true road was yet to be determined; that it would either take an act of nature or an act of will, but deep, deep down I held a glimmer of hope that my persistence would be rewarded. That hopefulness has got me feeling a little foolish now. [Insert the “egg on your face” pun here.]
Would I like a miracle to happen? Who wouldn’t? It is likely to? They don’t call them miracles for nothing. I think it’s time to head down the other path. The road ahead is long and difficult, and the destination is not quite as concrete as the other road. For now I’ll rest here and spend a little time with my dream. It’s an old friend, so I won’t rush our goodbyes.
I probably should also take this opportunity to clean out my purse.