One year anniversary
Recently, I haven’t recognized anyone in the waiting room. Maybe my schedule just isn’t coinciding with the familiar faces, or maybe, for better or worse, they’ve all moved on.
I almost never spoke to the people whose absence I now notice. So I can’t honestly say I miss the ultra-tall Hasidic woman with her tuna fish sandwiches or the woman who was reading the same biography of Hillary Clinton for 6 months.
Still, there was something comforting about seeing them over and over. Like commuters stranded on the subway platform, we were sharing the same experience, even if we didn’t talk about it.
A couple of weeks ago, a nurse told me that if we choose to start our first IVF cycle after November, I’d have to redo the preliminary blood tests (for syphilis and chlamydia and the like). Why?
“November 23rd is your one year anniversary,” she said. “We redo everything after one year.”
I felt sort of like I did when my GRE scores expired – surprised that so much time had passed and a little nostalgic for the optimism and expectation that had accompanied the original test.
As a college senior, I was certain that my future lay in feminist film theory. I would take one year off before entering a PhD program. But one year became two, and I remained fully committed to my community organizing job. Then five years had passed, and suddenly an academic career made less sense.
I didn’t regret my decision to stick with organizing. But I missed my college-aged self’s sense of possibility, the feeling that I could do anything I wanted.
The current goal of parenthood has, of course, remained the same. But as we set off on IVF, the big granddaddy of fertility treatments, I’m acutely aware that the paths to achieve that goal are becoming fewer. So there is part of me that wants to hang on to the current moment — this moment when there is still hope that this time it will work — rather than be exiled forever from Dr. Stein’s office.
Maybe I’m a little like a fifth year college student. In my alma mater, which proudly advertised its staid libraries and lack of a party scene, fifth years had iconic status. Mostly schlubs in their mid-twenties (for some reason I remember them all as men), they were regarded with fascination and fear.
One of them, an awkward man with hideously misshapen teeth, lived in my dorm. At the time I could not understand why this ancient (23 year old) person chose to live with students five years his junior.
Now I imagine he got comfort from a routine that must’ve been mind numbingly familiar. Sort of like signing in, paying bill, rolling up sleeve for blood, taking off pants for the scan. There’s so much to hate about it, but sometimes it seems better than coming to the end.