Without getting all TMI on you guys, my ladyparts have been malfunctioning a bit lately.
Nothing too alarming, but my cycle is all out of whack and I’m having some funky PMS symptoms that are either different or worse than I’ve ever had before. As Joel pointed out to me – smugly – this week, I’m terrible about making doctor’s appointments. I wasn’t always this way, but over the last decade I’ve wasted a lot of time in doctor’s offices only to learn there’s nothing to be done about my cold/flu/illness, and been given a lot of medication that either didn’t do anything at all or made me feel worse. So when it comes to lady problems, I just assume the doctor will be all “them’s the breaks!” and send me on my way.
However, after the fourth straight month of everything being ALL WRONG, I bit the bullet and set about finding a new OBGYN. I can’t even get into how frustrating that was, how I got referrals from friends for doctors that were covered by my insurance but couldn’t see me until Christmas and how I ended up at a clinic between a Dollar General and a Marshall’s. Modern healthcare, folks. The end result is that I did end up in front of a doctor (in said clinic that was like a depressing version of Keystone Cops), and the first thing she did was tell me that I am of “advanced maternal age” and that if I want to have babies it will a) be hard, b) be potentially dangerous for me and my potential offspring and c) I HAVE TO START RIGHT NOW OR ALL HOPE IS LOST.
I’d like to believe I am fairly intelligent, and I am also very Internet literate. At the first sound (several years ago) of my biological clock clanging away, I started looking into the stats behind having a baby at my age. Once Joel and Claire happened, and I realized that maybe one day I might want a child of my own, I started paying even more attention. I’ve read all the facts and figures and success stories and horror stories and forums on BabyCenter & etc. I also know that every woman is different, and there is no telling what it would be like for me. I also also know that having wacky periods isn’t great for future babymaking so, yes, I was planning to ask the doctor for advice on things to think about.
I was not expecting the barrage of Very Serious Things to come flying at me. I was not expecting my entire appointment – which truly was about these weird periods and awful PMS – to become all about my fertility. I was not expecting strange advice from overly familiar nurses and weird tension about peeing in a cup to get a pregnancy test that I knew would prove false because, hello, I’ve had 10 periods in three months.
Prior to this appointment I was mildly concerned that I had missed my childbearing window. Suddenly, something that seemed like a nice-to-have now feels like a Very High Priority. “RED ALERT! Try to have babies now or perish!”
It feels so unfair that there’s all this pressure on us, when Joel and I have only had 10 months living in the same state. Now, on top of making decisions about what color to paint the bathroom we have to think about how seriously we want to consider children together. It’s our decision, of course, and we can choose to slough off the pressure and take our time. But it sucks that the pressure even exists in the first place.
P.S. For the record, Miss Claire has shown a lot of positive feelings about a new baby. For the first few months we lived in our house, she told everyone the upstairs spare bedroom was the baby’s room, and she’s asked me half a dozen times if I want to have a baby, and when I’m going to decide. I’m sure that her interest, like mine and Joel’s, is just a theory. When it comes right down to having a new baby (or not having one), my guess is that our feelings won’t be so cut and dried.