I am in the sickeningly green-and-white doctor’s office in Ghent, reading him a list of what I need to be tested for – various STD’s, Rubella, thyroid levels, hormone levels.
As always with these types of appointments, I feel as if I need to be prepared for a fight. I remind myself that I need to be articulate, well informed, but smile enough so he’ll want to help me. I have practised what I am going to say in my head. Yes, we have considered our options in Belgium. Yes, we are sure. Please just do this for me because otherwise we’ll be paying out of pocket in the UK.
But then… he agrees to test me without any protest. Just like that. The doctor draws the blood, says the results will be quick, and sends me on my way.
It feels suspiciously easy.
The results aren’t quick.
It takes days longer than he said it would, days in which I feel more and more stressed, because blood tests taking three times longer than predicted can’t ever be good, can they?
I’m pretty confident I’m not carrying around some bad case of syphilis or something like it, but it’s the hormone test that worries me. This is the test that the gynaecologist can give you at a certain age, most often seen in TV shows or sob stories. This is the one where you know whether your ovaries are doing their thing or not, the one where you find out whether you’re in early menopause or you’re good to go for decades still.
I have never given all that much thought to my potentially dwindling egg supply before, but this is serious. As Jo truly does not want to be pregnant or go through any of the medical stuff, this is all on me and my possibly non-existent eggs.
While we wait, Jo and I lay out Tarot cards for each other.
I know it’s stupid – we’re scientifically-minded atheists, both of us. But still it is tempting to get an answer in some way, true or not. We lay the cards because we want to do something, to feel a measure of control over something uncontrollable.
The card’s predictions seem so precise too, but then maybe we just want to believe it too much. One says ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ and we both laugh at the weird accuracy. It’s all so optimistic. They say that we’ll get there in the end, and that while it might not be our first choice, it’ll work out.
So we hold onto that, as silly it might seem.
And then a few more days pass, and I get so fed up I decide to call the doctor and ask what’s taking so damn long.
Jo, seeing how nervous I am, wisely goes to take a shower while I deal with it. I press ‘call’ and walk back and forth, my flat’s wooden floor creaking under my feet as the phone rings. Please pick up and tell me. Or maybe no, don’t pick up. Maybe I don’t want to know.
The doctor answers.
He apologises for the delay.
And then he reads me my results. Some notes here and there, but the important one…
I hang up the phone, run the couple of paces to the bathroom, and shout to Jo in the shower, “I HAVE EGGS! EGGS!!!! LIKE A CHICKEN!”
I can hear her laughter echo on the tiles.
By the time Jo reappears out of the bathroom, half dressed and with a towel wrapped around her wet hair, I have already looked up my results: I have an excellent egg reserve, more so that average for my age. The relief is tangible. It’s great to know that at least this is going right for us. At least this my body managed with glowing marks.
Now let’s put those bad boys to use, shall we?
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