I sat on the park bench overlooking the playground. It was a warm July afternoon as I sat enjoying the sunshine and the sound of children's laughter. I was a half hour early to my appointment with my OB-GYN at the hospital across the street, so I decided to wait here and watch the children play. There were children of all ages here. They ranged from tiny newborns sleeping in their strollers under the watchful eye of their mother to young pre-teens releasing all their energy after a day spent in school. One could easily tell which children were related simply by their determination to avoid each other at all costs. The sound of their laughing filled me with anticipation. Some day my very own little one would be up there with the rest swinging from the monkey bars and yelling like a banshee. The thought brought a sense of warmth throughout my body. Moments after having seated myself at the bench, I was joined by a young mother, not much older than myself, and her tiny baby.
"Which one is yours?" She asked, the wide smile on her face revealing her perfect teeth
"Oh, I don't have one yet, I'm meeting with the doctor in half an hour to discuss my options," I replied, returning her smile
"Oh, how exciting!" She exclaimed, her face lighting up from the news
The baby in her arms chose that exact moment to wake up and begin to cry. The sobs were quiet at first but quickly grew in intensity and volume, urging the mother to pay it some attention.
"I should go," the mother said, apologetic, "I think he needs his diaper changed."
She excused herself and headed for the bathroom. I was still perplexed as to the apologetic look that she gave me before leaving. Babies cries had never bothered me, in fact I found them quite fascinating. Each specific child has it's own call to it's mother, which over time, the mother begins to identify as strictly their child's call. No two cries were the same and each child could cry in different ways to signal what they need. The sounds of the children laughing from the playground were infectious and within minutes of sitting down, a smile was already beginning to spread across my face. Someday soon, I would have one of my own, that precious covenant that is a child.
Just then, I heard the muffled sound of my ring tone coming from the front pocket of my jeans. I answered the phone to hear the soft sound of my husband's voice on the other end of the line.
"Hi baby," he said, his voice reassuring
"Hey," I said, unsure as to why he was calling
"I just wanted to wish you luck with your appointment today," he explained, "I wish I could be there with you."
"It's not your fault you have a job." I said, "and I think this is one instance that luck isn't really going to effect much."
"You know, you're awful cynical for a woman who's so thrilled about becoming a mother." he pointed out, "Just be sure to call me when you find anything out."
"I would never forget something so important," I said, assuring him.
"I love you" I said, signaling the end of the conversation
"I love you more,"
"Doubtful." I finished, hanging up the phone
Glancing at the screen of my phone, I realized that my appointment was scheduled to begin in only 15 minutes, so I left my seat and began walking towards the hospital.
Seven minutes later, I was sitting in the doctors office waiting for her to arrive. The walls of the office were plastered with anatomical posters of the female body during pregnancy, of infant anatomy, and child care and birthing techniques. The large mahogany desk in front of me held multiple pictures of what I assumed was the doctor and her family. If that assumption was correct, she had a doting husband and a beautiful young daughter who was about 5 years old in the photos. She looked just like her mother with straight brown hair that reached past her waist in smooth lustrous waves. Just seconds later the door opened and in walked the woman from the pictures. She was still relatively young (late twenties to early thirties) and had a wide smile bright blue eyes that brimmed with intelligence. Last time I was in this hospital, they were running several tests on me to determine the reason that I had been unsuccessful in conceiving a child after months of trying. The results were in and now it was time to discuss the options. The nurses running the tests had all assured me that everything appeared relatively normal at first glance and that the cause of my infertility was most likely due to a hormone imbalance which was easily fixable. The doctor took a seat behind the desk and pulled from the bottom drawer a file with my name printed at the top. She got right to the point.
"Good afternoon Meredith," she began politely, her voice filled with false happiness, "Let's talk about your test results."
I nodded, waiting for her to continue. As she opened the file to glance at the lab report, the smile quickly faded from her face, and so did mine. Her eyes were apologetic when she looked up.
"Okay," she began, slowly raising her eyes to meet mine and choosing the best way to convey her message, "Your lab result shows that your hypothalamus has failed to send signals to your pituitary gland, which has stopped your natural production of FSH and LH in your ovaries."
"Okay..." I said, completely oblivious as to what she was saying, "What does that mean?"
A look of intense sympathy passed over her face
"It means that there is a very very high chance that you will never be able to have children."