This is the third storm this week. The mud, the mess, the sloppy commutes, the flooded streets and drainage systems swollen with rainwater, the wind rattling storm doors and the soft pattering on window panes all seem appropriate to the atmosphere within during yet another holding pattern. It’s the waiting that makes room for all the examination, investigation, and pensive contemplation. Today, a new facet of this thing glints in the light, catches my attention:
Time is a commodity.
A dismissible notion in the face of something so desperately wanted that it eclipses everything else but true nonetheless–time is finite, invaluable, non-refundable, unsympathetic to pleas for do-overs and second chances. The chronic failure to build our family has already eaten so much time: the first four years of our young marriage, three years in our first home together, my early thirties, all spent toiling tirelessly at this, the grief of it spreading its thorny, toxic, insidious tendrils into every dimension of life from our bedroom to my classroom as it muscled its way like a schoolyard bully into the position of sole priority.
I’m proud of us because we’ve been champs about it. We’ve made good use of time. There are brighter memories mottled together with those of trauma and fractured hope: airplane rides to foreign places, exotic foods, fires on beaches, belly laughs with friends, dinner parties, happy Christmases, music, ballets, theater, flowers we planted to see them grow when our babies couldn’t, sunny afternoons at the park watching Lucie chase the geese into disgruntled flight, and love, love in abundance. But these moments lacked that pure and unbridled joy of the days before infertility took root in our lives, faltering as a campfire might if you started with wet wood. So I’m left asking: is that really living? When does all this become a poor investment of precious time?
My 3rd doctor said to me a year and a half ago,
“You can try again with your own eggs, but if you want a baby in your house sooner than later, I’d suggest donor.”
He was a jerk for other reasons, but his words have gained a significance now after all that has transpired in the meantime as we forge the path ahead. From minute one this road is forked, sinuous, labyrinthine, rife with high-stakes choices: the miserly meting out of limited insurance coverage, betting against the medical repercussions of increased incidence of scary diseases for mother and child, this protocol or that, this doctor or that, and, most crucially, wagering the precious commodity of time once it has taken on an added and terrifying significance under the threat of diminished ovarian reserve. Through powers of analysis and research and extrapolation we make the most thoughtful decision possible while grappling with the grim reality of total uncertainty, measured probability our only comfort in building a future from a past that has always cheated us.
Here lies yet another fork: Portland or Colorado, one cycle or two? We spent an hour on the phone with Dr. Hesla last night, having been soured against the dismissive and cavalier William B. Schoolcraft and his high-volume profit machine with their rules and hoops and nonsense. And what’s the conclusion? My problem is bad eggs (not shocking). Watching them grow to blast will tell us a lot about them. If they make it to biopsy, we can test them, which they very well may not, but even CGH-normal embryos sometimes don’t make babies because of mitochondrial deficits. And even if genetic testing reveals nothing normal, they have no ability to say that I will never make anything normal ever because they’re not God, so the closure would be incomplete at best. But I do have the ability to bank my last 2 cycles covered by insurance to send as many embryos away for testing as possible, which means a teacher doing an additional (exhausting) cycle out-of-town in the fall right after the kids have come back to school and the Herculean task of getting a new year off the ground has commenced.
And I just keep thinking: I have failed at this. I am a “dead branch.” Time is a commodity in its own right. How much more of this irreplaceable resource are we willing to spend on a hopeless mission? And how much more will the inevitable acceptance of the failure hurt if we continue to squander time in utter futility?
So that Beatles song comes to mind:
I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink
I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink
No, no, no
I’m so tired I don’t know what to do
I’m so tired my mind is set on you
I wonder should I call you but I know what you’d do
You’d say I’m putting you on
But it’s no joke, it’s doing me harm
You know I can’t sleep, I can’t stop my brain
You know it’s three weeks, I’m going insane
You know I’d give you everything I’ve got
For a little peace of mind
I’m so tired, I’m feeling so upset…