I have grown to detest my birthday. Not because of the obvious signs of aging on my face and my waistline, which actually chronicle many years of happy moments that I wouldn't want to erase, but because time marches on and certain things stay stagnant in our happy, fine-lined lives. My birthday is a reminder that another year has gone by and we are still, STILL not parents despite valiant efforts and a couple of somewhat encouraging but mostly heartbreaking close calls. I am now 37. THIRTY SEVEN. I am in an ambiguous place between mid-thirties and late-thirties. I am marching fast towards 40. And there is no stroller in the trunk of my car. How did this happen?
Now, to be fair, I shouldn't be so upset about marching towards forty. While forty has always been this mythical end point that women fear, the whole "Fertility Ends at Forty" armageddon sign thought pattern, I am not really worried about that. Mostly because who the hell knows when my fertility dead end happened but it was well, WELL before forty--was it programmed into my genetic code at birth? was it slowly building up as I lived a child in the 80s, when plastic and microwaving and the combination of the two were prevalent and we didn't yet know how harmful so many chemicals were, particularly BPA? was I incredibly fertile in my adolescent years where absolutely no sexual activity took place, or, because my cycles were already all messed up from the time they began thanks to undiagnosed PCOS, did I never really have a chance? was my "dead end" at 28 when I went back to school to become a teacher, at 30 when my divorce was being finalized, or at 33 when I was dabbling in IUI? Who knows? Does it matter? Not really. Besides, I have supposedly stopped the biological clock thanks to egg donation. I may be thirty seven, but I have the nubile eggs of a twenty-seven-year-old (just not in my body or retrieved yet). HaHAhaha. But, that whole egg business and the horrifying "expiration date" that all women face at some point or another is NOT why my age has bothered me.
My age bothers me because while we are still within the average for people having babies, most people I know who are my age and definitely want to have children...have them. Regardless of whether they live in a major city or not. If we are successful with this DE IVF cycle, I will be dropping my child(ren) off at kindergarten when I am 43. Not ridiculous, but not the norm, either. Plenty of people tell me how they waited or they know people who waited to have children and how it's perfectly fine. But you know what? It's not really all that fine for me. Because I didn't make this choice. This is not what I wanted. I wanted to be a younger mom, something I was worried was bygone even when I thought I had a shot at having my kids at 34 when we were happily remarried. That did not happen. I know you can make plans and none of it can happen, but this one really gets me because while I will play the hand I'm dealt, obviously, and I will still be a kickass, energetic, wacky mom in my forties, this was not how I envisioned things. And it's something I mourn. Usually by feeling pretty low on my birthday.
HOWEVER--lest you think this is a boo-hoo, woe-is-me, come-join-my-pity-party-I-have-margaritas post, it is NOT! This year I was really depressed about my birthday. Here we are, in a situation where my level of control over things is NADA (perceived control I guess) and we are in a way different place than I could have ever imagined and we are STILL CHILDLESS AND NOT BY CHOICE, one year later. Another year of no lasting positive pee stick, no baby bump, no baby. Last year my birthday came on the heels of a failed IVF cycle and I was definitely not in a good place. This year I anticipated not being in a good place and so I begged Bryce, "Please take me away." I wanted to go somewhere, where we could control what we did and I could basically ferret myself away and pretend it wasn't even my birthday. I didn't want brou-ha-ha. I didn't want nothing, but I just wanted to be distracted from the fact that this birthday business was happening, that time marched on and we were still here, clutching our Bordeaux but no baby carriage. So plans went afoot.
And it was AMAZING.
|Mmmm... delicious miniature |
birthday kickoff champagne.
|And...delicious dusty birthday burgundy.|
|On a pretty walk in the village.|
I do, however, have a really, really good feeling that my next birthday will be extra special (I have had these feelings before to no avail, but I really think this is different). That the world will keep spinning and we'll finally be moving forward, too, instead of being stuck in this dreadful holding pattern. That would be the best birthday present ever, but this birthday, this weekend of celebration and helping me to enjoy the day instead of curse it, is a damn close second. Thank you SO much, future father of my children, for making this day not morose at all but magical.