Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Writober 10.2.19: Burying the Lede

he endometrial cancer was found during routine fertility tests. “Instead of a baby,” I sometimes say, “I got a tumor!” I usually laugh when I say this because what else is there to do?

When I received the call that Friday morning four years ago, the only question I asked the doctor was, “But what does this mean in terms of trying to have a baby.”

He didn’t answer that; he said the oncologist would be able to answer that for me. He went on to assure me that people with my diagnosis went on to live happy, healthy lives.

Yes, I thought. But childless lives so what’s the point? And no, I don’t mean that for everyone. I’m always quick to add that too, the rare times I express that sentiment because I know perfectly well one can have a full, happy life without children. But that’s not the life I envisioned for myself and yet, there I was.

For the entire month between diagnosis and treatment, I worked, I laughed, I interacted with people. But in the shower I cried. The water would drown out the tears, I thought and I didn’t want the roommates to hear because I was supposed to be happy to be alive. I was supposed to be grateful that they’d caught the cancer in time.

Mostly though I walked around convinced I was dreaming. This is a nightmare, I’d think. I’ll wake up soon. But it was real. The hysterectomy happened. All the cancer was caught and I was alive. Thank goodness, people said, that you were trying to get pregnant! Otherwise who knows what would have happened!

Yes. Thank goodness.

I was 42 that year. Then I was 43. Another year closer to 45 and the cut off age for trying to adopt a baby domestically. Why not internationally, people ask (and asked). Finances, mostly. But fun fact: I’m too fat to adopt a child from China. Yes, China has specific BMI requirements.

Year 44 was spent filling out forms. Oh, you’ll have that application done in no time knowing you!

Yes, that’s what I thought so too. But every form brought with it self reflection, questions, doubts. Can I do this? Do I really want to do this? Am I ready/willing to accept whatever comes? Sometimes that was a quick, decisive yes. Sometimes that was weeks of uncertainty. What I thought would be a three month process took 11 months. And then I waited, and waited and waited. At the 15 month mark I asked myself, “How long do you wait?” I did some math. “If you get a baby now, you’ll be 66 when it’s 20. If you get a baby when you’re 50, you’ll be 70!” At that age, what’s four years but somehow it was a sticking point. I decided I’d give it till 48 and then I’d make a decision.

And then life decided to mix things up.

On Tuesday, July 16th I received an email from a case worker at the adoption agency asking me if I had time to speak the following day. “Is this it?” I wondered. “Shit, this might be it.”

And it was. On Wednesday, July 17th I was told I’d been matched with a baby born in early July. By Monday, July 22nd, I was holding her in my arms.

And now, here we are. She’s been with me for a little over two months it feels as if she’s been with me forever. But that’s probably the sleep deprivation talking. I’m definitely dreaming now, but in the best way possible.

Filed under: Adoption | Writing

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