I saw a gastroenterologist. I didn't like her, I'll have to find someone else. There is no way I'm letting that woman stick anything up my butt.
But, she did put my mind at ease: my symptoms don't raise red flags about cancer. Then again, she put my mind back on edge because apparently, they do indicate Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis, "or one of the other colitises." What are the other colitises?I asked. She chuckled. "There are so many," she said, "I don't have time to give a seminar." The bottom line (this subject is a minefield for unintentional puns, forgive me) is that she doesn't want to speculate. She wants to look. When I asked about how my chronically low iron might relate, she just about lost her patience, thinking it tangential, something I should talk to my gynecologist about. Or a hematologist. "Why are you here?" she challenged, exasperated. "For. My. Health." I said, and just about walked out of the office.
Yesterday J~ and I went to a follow-up appointment with the urologist, and got this news: a repeat semen analysis puts all of his scores within good-enough range, very similarly to the last time he tested. All, that is, except morphology (the shape of the sperm), which was only 5% normal (last time it was 7%). This is borderline not good enough. There is a surgery he could do that improves morphology in 70% of these cases. But the improvement usually doesn’t show up for six to twelve months.
I know we're talking about an outpatient procedure, but still, it's surgery, and as you may gather, I don't enter into that lightly. Maybe I'm the uberwimp, but I believe in never gambling anything you are unwilling to lose. And I want my husband healthy and intact much much more than I want a baby.
J~, by the way, is willing to do it, though he wants to be sure I'm not about to say: On second thought, I don't want a baby after all. I do entertain such thoughts, he knows this. "But," I told him, "I'm not at that point."
"But," I also told him, "I can't promise that, at any point down the line, I won't change my mind."
Which brings me back to where I left off last week, two posts back: exhausted by all the experts, all the rituals and routines of trying to conceive (except for the sex, thankfully, that is still great fun. More than fun.)
It has become clear to me that the most important issue to address is this: how much do we want this? This much, I know: It makes me sad that it hasn't happened. I would be thrilled to discover that I am pregnant. And, uberwimpiness not withstanding, I'm not particularly concerned about my other health issue. Unless death were imminent, which I doubt, I would not let it prevent me from having a child. That is, unless it is already playing a part in preventing me from having a child...
On the other hand, I still dread the financial and energetic strain, the loss of freedom a child brings. All of these are very real concerns. We aren't independently wealthy. And J~ works long, stressful hours. Plus, he is ten years my senior. By the time B~ goes to college, he'll be 52. Even if I'm pregnant right now, this second child will still be a year or two from beginning first grade. Do I dare do the math? How old will J~ be when that child goes to college? Oh lordy.
In the wise words of David Allen: "Whatever has your attention needs your intention engaged." So far, it seems to me, my intention has been to arrive at menopause without regret, knowing that I did my best, that I tried. And who knows, maybe I'll get pregnant in the meantime. At times I'm more resigned, at times more determined, but deep down, I haven't truly embraced the intention of having a baby, and creating a life and lifestyle that best supports that. This intentionless intention needs to change. When the universe deals the surgery card, limbo is no longer an option. If we truly want to have a child, then we have to do everything that we can -- within certain rational limitations, some of which are yet to be determined (see my gambling motto, above) -- to make it happen.
I have to decide: Given the very real limitations of our lives: energy, age, and financial resources, Do I want to have a baby or not?