Dr. Reya insisted that I go see her favorite urologist, to wait until February 7th, because he is, in her esteem, “brilliant.” I told her I didn’t want to wait, but after Constance’s ultrasound it didn’t really matter because she has 3 cysts that are too large to enter our last Clomid cycle. So for this month we go at it the old-fashioned way. Well, not too old fashioned. We’ll at least have heat, running water, and a sturdy mattress at our disposal.
I did, however, get my blood taken yesterday to redo all of the hormone tests, and what should have been one needle and gone devolved into a totally bizarre moment of zen. The phlebotomist had trouble steadying my rolling veins and had to stick me three times to tap in. Before she stuck me she asked me which hand I used to write with so she could stick the opposite one, and I told her my right. I also thanked her, telling her that I’m a writer and that would make my day much easier.
Soon the hairy male phlebotomist came over and they both started grilling me about my job, my education, and what my “inevitable” novel would be about. Once he found out I went to the University of Iowa, hairy phlebotomist assumed I was working on a book, like every writer, but it was nice to have an actual release date for my book to prove my dedication.
Which of course led into a giant discourse about our infertility. Sometimes there’s no escaping your own story. And, even worse, the bizarre stories of others.
“So, are you guys going to do IVF,” the female phlebotomist asked, removing vial number two and hooking me up for a third go-round.
“I don’t know. Probably at some point now that our insurance pays for it,” I said.
“That’s a gift,” hairy plebotomist said. “People go broke over that stuff. Sometimes it costs more than a house. You’re a lucky kid. What are you, in congress or something?”
“No, my wife works for the Department of Health and Human Services,” I said. He gave me a thumbs up as the female phlebotomist removed the needle from my arm and replaced it with pressure and a cotton ball.
“My son and his wife – she just got over cancer and is infertile because of it – they’re thinking about going to go to Afghanistan to pay a woman $6,000 to carry their child. Apparently there’s a big market for that there.”
“Wow,” I said, trying not to laugh or give her that condescending look that often emerges when I’m confused.
“Yeah, it’s like $40,000 to have an American woman do it.”
“That’s crazy,” I said, speaking more to the idea of flying into Kabul multiple times than the exorbitant price of a surrogate. As she applied bandages to my wounds, hairy phlebotomist offered me his condolences and asked for a discount on my book when it came out. I wanted to tell the female phlebotomist that sometimes you get what you pay for, and perhaps her son should look at spending 15 grand in a safer country, but I bit my tongue and smiled.
I scuttled back into the waiting room like lightening to fetch my coat, grab Constance, and get the hell out of crazy laboratory land. It’s hard to know what to say when someone unexpectedly opens up to you, especially when you’re feeling delicate to begin with, but I felt for her. Clearly she was hurting and didn’t know what came next in her quest to be a grandmother.
And while I may not know what our next step will be, whether my sperm have rebounded so we can do injectibles or we go straight to IVF, at least I know I won’t be making repeated trips to Afghanistan. There are some things I’m just not willing to do.