“I have a couple of things on hold.”
“No you don’t. You have seven,” she said, squinting over the top of her half-glasses and muttering under her breath about whether she could carry all those books. “Eighty-one years old with a bad shoulder and here I am. Day. After. Day. After.” Her back to me, she shuffled, plucking from a too-tall-for-her shelf.
And then a funny thing happened. When, a moment later, she turned to face me – skinny old arms full of books with a Sharon Jones CD on top – she was smiling a smile that was a cross between sheepish and angelic. “Here you go now, honey,” she said, pushing a foot-and-a-half tall stack of adoption-related literature across that thick wooden librarian’s desk. “About the books, if you ever needed these a little longer, you know you could always just say so, ok? Because there’s a lot to absorb here.” Ok, said me. “I hope you have a really, really nice long weekend, honey. I really do.” You too, said me.
She waved a little, still smiling, and put her palm to her chest in a display of emotion that was, perhaps, an unspoken, “Ahhh, poor thing,” or “Oh, that’s nice!” or “I remember the time…”
In any event, she felt something. I could feel her feeling something the way lots of people do when they, or someone they know, discover not everyone – even seemingly young, vibrant, healthy-looking people – get babies from raw doggin’. Or IVF, for that matter.
I can’t blame her. I’ve been having lots of feelings, too: Depression, mostly, with a dash of confusion, a touch of pissed-as-hell and the faintest hint of resolution.
We’ve begun to contemplate what happens at the earlier of two scenarios: All this injecting and harvesting and transferring doesn’t work or we throw up our hands and decide we’ve had enough. I, most assuredly, am coming precariously close in spite how our doc recently reassured us that with “just” only one failed IVF cycle, “It’s still early in the process.” He’s confident, with the right assistance, we’re quite knock-uppable. It was precious little comfort for a couple of people who, on their quest toward young parenthood, put normalcy and fun on hold like so many library books: scheduling 20 days, or more, each month around blood draws and carefully timed injections (which, oh, by the way, usually require refrigeration and so need to happen at home or places you can access before the ice pack melts in your cooler). We’ve endured 28 pregnancy tests without a single positive result, five of which followed insemination procedures and the latest following the transfer of a perfect specimen of blastocyst whose picture I keep in a drawer in my night stand. All this doesn’t necessarily signal forever failure, but it sure as hell signals to me it’s time to start considering how else, if at all, to build this forever family.
I’m reading, The Idiot’s Guide to Adoption to a backdrop of “Better Things.” You’re right, Ms. Jones. I do have better things to do. Like, say, read my kid a bed time story or travel someplace far away with my spouse or accept a job without regard to the state of incorporation of the company’s health insurance provider and whether they’ll approve me for six in vitro cycles or twelve. And sitting comfortably on my own ass cheeks! Let’s not forget that. Which can prove a feat if your ass cheeks have barely 1 1/2 inches of padding total for that 1 1/2 needle you need to jam on in there. Better things to do.
I hope you have a really, really nice long weekend, honey. I really do.