How I took control at 35
Without even a basket to put all my eggs in, I put them in the freezer.
As a native of Texas, I thought I’d be married in my mid-20s. But here I am on the other side of 35.5, and I (voice of Chandler Bing) couldn’t be single anymore. I’m relieved I wasn’t a child bride, but I want to be married and I want children. Four serious relationships, the last of which ended in 2019, did not work out. Also none of the short situations since then.
I had a habit of settling for less than I deserved. (I say had because I sure hope therapy works!) I overlooked my last boyfriend’s bright red flags, including the time he seriously asked me if I was attracted to my brother after I said he and my sister in law are attractive couple. (And they are. The many professional photoshoots they’ve taken with their two daughters easily trump the stock photos that come with picture frames.)
“It’s okay,” I said to my sister-in-law, a phrase I often repeated to myself. It’s okay that he didn’t want me to go out to dinner with girlfriends or talk to other men. It’s okay that he didn’t want me to wear makeup going to the pool at my apartment without him, and it’s okay that he wanted to spend every minute of our free time together.
It’s okay that a boy I dated a few times this summer made a pastime of spying on neighbors with binoculars. It is strange? It’s not that strange, is it? He has a good job. He’s got abs, I thought. We have fun together. I haven’t had anything to do with any of these people, but I’ve rationalized things because I want a family so badly.
The first time I thought about freezing my eggs was in 2020 during an interview with Kristy Katzmann, a woman trying to find a man to have a baby with on Fox’s “Labor of Love.”
“The truth is, I think we all know that could happen, but nobody thinks it’s going to be her story,” she told me of her childlessness. “So the question is, what do you do when it does?”
It’s like a lightbulb went out. I could do something to preserve my fertility. This summer I was finally ready to act. I knew I would be overwhelmed trying to find a clinic, so I asked a friend who had recently done it. Luckily, the company I work for has special insurance that helps with egg freezing, which I only found out about through my doctor’s office. (I want to shout about the benefit of the roof now that those checks have been cashed.)
I did two egg retrievals, one in November and one in December. Each cycle required approximately two weeks of injections (up to four injections per day) to produce multiple eggs.
I’m fine getting injections and having blood drawn when I’m not looking at the needle. But stabbing myself in the stomach felt so unnervingly unnatural at first. On the third day I was OK. Shoutout to my sister in law who gave me two syringes in the keister, one in a naughty nurse uniform to make it more fun. (Pro tip: Ice your cheek for 30 minutes and you won’t feel a thing.)
Each call only took about 30 minutes. Then there was a 10 day recovery period in which I implemented a high protein diet and drank Certain and Gatorade.
I am now the proud owner of 40 mature eggs, which is a large number for someone my age. Unfortunately, you can’t test the viability of an egg like an embryo, and my level of a hormone that predicts fertility is on the low side. So my fear of having a baby with my frozen eggs will be like trying to make an omelet with confetti Easter eggs (cascarones). But still, having my maybe babies on hold gives me such a sense of relief.
My doctor warned me not to sit on it forever and recommends I have a plan in 3-5 years. Is it likely that in just a few years you will be married and ready to have children (not necessary at all, but my preference)? It certainly seems like a tall order (or Venti at Starbucks), but knowing that I’ve done something to fight the sands of time makes me feel like I’m not settling for the peepers, dicks, or harrys must give.