It's been a trying week, physically. My period is two weeks late. My right hip is killing me.
I took a pregnancy test on Monday and it came back positive. I couldn't believe it. We use birth control. It seemed so unlikely that I took another test, and this one came back negative. Good grief. So I emailed the Gyn's office, thinking I would make an appointment for my annual, and if I still hadn't had my period by that time I'd ask for the blood test. But, things have changed since I gave birth to my seven-year-old -- they no longer invite you in for a blood test. The scheduling nurse emailed me back. "If you're pregnant, we need to make an OB appointment for you, but that's not until your 6th week." What? Okay, I tell the her the story of the conflicting tests. Next thing you know, I'm getting a phone call at work from Peg, the nurse practitioner. "So, what's going on? Is this a good time to talk?" I tell her the story, and she says "go get another test, and do it first thing in the morning. That will be the tie-breaker."
Which is what I do. I pee on the stick, again. And, nothing. Negative. So okay, I'm NOT pregnant. But why the positive test? Who knows. And why haven't I had my period? "Well," says the doctor, "you have been showing other signs of early menopause..."
I have long had names for our second child chosen -- girl names. And I have struggled at times with the desire to make another baby, but there are many reasons not to. I confess I was hopeful -- I wanted to be pregnant. I wanted it to be a surprise, an event that did not require a decision to be made. But no. And I have mixed feelings -- about aging, about giving up on the idea of also having a daughter. About what it means to add a child, when there are already days I find myself counting the years until my son turns 18, 21... and goes out on his own, that I might do the same. And our financial status is a little uncertain at this time, and I'm already working my ass off... it would be too much to be pregnant on top of all that. And yet, things would have to give, if I were. Something would change, of its own accord. It would be a little like waiting until you have a new boyfriend or girlfriend before you break up with the old one -- finding an excuse, the leverage for change, a way out that avoids accountability. More reasons not to get "pumped up."
In the midst of all this, the waiting, the wondering -- feeling freaked out by my body's forgetfulness, avoiding sex, struggling with the hormones and the emotional tide accompanying this episode -- my sciatica has been killing me. I'm not getting enough exercise, and need to do my PT. If I sit for more than ten minutes, I arise with a limp, and pain.
And I'm drinking too much wine, because it takes the edge off a lot of things -- another reason to be thankful I'm not with child. I'd have to stop drinking wine.
And might also have to stop taking antidepressants, a prospect that causes me some dread. So hey, hey, it's over right? Menopause? Well, as long as my hair doesn't start falling out, I can be grateful.
What does it mean, not to be able to reproduce anymore? Vasectomies are reversible, whereas aging eggs are just a liability. And my fears awake in the night -- ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancies and the like. But they don't want to see me again at the doctor's office until June. I am filled with uncertainty, and fear, and sorrow.
But this is it, the one life.