Are You There God? It’s Me, Margit

An IVF procedure (Photo:

Over the last three years, my body has slowly closed up shop. Four months between periods, then six, then almost a full year.

So, I guess we’re done here.

It’s a weird, bittersweet feeling — no more bloats, stains and mishaps. I’ve started to feel as if I’ve floated into another galaxy, where most of my friends are still on Planet Menses.

That one time a year when it does arrive, it’s cause for a minor celebration. I secretly tell myself, maybe, just maybe at 47, I could still have a kid. Even though I know it’s a distant, nearly improbable concept. I do have a few friends who’ve had planned kids at 45 or even second and third “oops” kids at 45-plus — one, in fact, who grabbed me by the proverbial collar the other day, glared at me and said, “what have I done?!?”

I’d never once fantasized about the perfect family, being a mom, spending time packing up carrot sticks in plastic baggies. That was, until I met my wonderful husband, who would, unquestionably, be the perfect dad.

I went through the casual beginnings of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) process over the course of a couple years from 2008 until 2010. I say casual because I wasn’t 100% sure I was ready for a kid. I adore kids, my five nieces and one nephew, but I’d mentally fast-forward my own progeny to soccer practices and eventual drug-use (because in my future, I wildly ignore my child and am too busy working and writing and being selfish). It often felt overwhelming and wrong. I’d never once fantasized about the perfect family, being a mom, spending time packing up carrot sticks in plastic baggies. That was, until I met my wonderful husband, who would, unquestionably, be the perfect dad.

When we married, my husband was a 38-year-old architect; I was a 40-year-old editorial director. Neither of us had been previously hitched; we were both just busy working at demanding jobs while waiting for the one. He was, and is, the one.

So I thought I’d give it a shot. A last ditch effort to get pregnant. I wanted to see his beautiful face in a child.

Problem was, I just couldn’t get the blood to show up. I had an ovarian cyst in the way, and very irregular periods. Even finding a vein was a pokey proposition. The nurse would jab and jab my arm to find a viable vein that would deliver necessary information about the status of my fertility, my cycle and whatever else. Turned out, I also had — and have — a high sedimentation (sed) rate, which marks inflammation. They couldn’t figure out why that was. (It’s always fascinated me: the more you dig around, the more you’ll discover. Occasionally, it’s better not to know.)

Some of my issues, I credited to being overweight too, which doesn’t make trying to have a child any easier. I thought, well maybe I can shed 20 pounds fast, but it just added an extra layer of stress and panic.

Through the tests, it was revealed that I had about half an egg left, so we needed to move quickly.

While I discovered a newfound interest in having a baby, my body had already decided it was done.

The first doctor I saw, Dr. No-Bedside-Manner, handed me an overly Xeroxed drawing of a uterus and drew all over it as he described the fertility process in under one minute. And he urged me to get cracking on those eggs. That at 39, I had half the fertility I had at 31, and between 39 and 41, it would drop by another half again, and between 41 and 42, well forget about it. Time was a-wastin’. It’s worth noting that since then, the Atlantic published an article that those statistics were oversold. But I bought into his fear, even if I found another, drastically more compassionate doctor at Cornell Weill. (Much later I’d read that the other doc got a 2.5 on and someone commented, “At the end of our Doctor-patient relationship, he told me to ‘take a vacation’ and I’d probably get pregnant.”)

That second doctor was much more encouraging, until the blood tests and sonograms to check out that cyst, and a period that just never came, revealed I was a trickier patient. I bought the fertility drugs, but never actually went through a single cycle. We couldn’t even get to that stage.

I saw a famous baby-inducing acupuncturist, started eating special (barely edible) herbs and taking prenatal vitamins and lots of folic acid, but nothing appeared to help.

Finally, we called it.

It was during a visit to the doctor at Cornell Weill when she told us, “You have a 5% chance of succeeding here.” Which I restated to her as “you mean a 95% chance of failure.”

“That’s right,” she said. “And even if the egg ‘takes,’ the chance of a successful delivery is even lower.”

We didn’t like those odds. I looked at my husband, his beautiful face wet with a tear.


We didn’t lose a baby, we never even had an egg and sperm shake hands. But it was a loss nonetheless and the doctor sent us to grief counseling.

If I’m honest, there was an ounce of relief, too; that part of me that had never been sure of my ability to mother came back with a force. Reading someone like Tamar, in the pages of this site, I’m in awe of her assuredness. I was never that clear.

But every time I hear someone complain about their period, forgetting their tampons, grousing about the pain, I’m reminded of the blood that just wouldn’t show up when I needed it.

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26 Responses

  1. Wendy Goldman Scherer

    Love this piece. So touching. Thank you for sharing your story. Life is complicated.

  2. Janine

    This story hit my fb at such the right time in my life. Wow truly believe this was GOD sent.

  3. The Waiting Room: Details of a Diagnosis | Tue Night

    […] Back in September of 2015, I’d bled for five days. Hey, we ladies bleed; not weird, right? Well it was was weird because it had been a full year since I’d bled. And, per my iPhone note “Period,” it had been a full year before that since the previous appearance. Which isn’t exactly regular. Based on a borderline FSH level (do you know what your FSH level is?), I knew I was at the beginnings of menopause, so I figured this was the last gasp of youth. That a chance remained in these brief glimpses of red to get busy and make a baby in my late 40s. That was another story. […]

  4. Nancy

    XOXO i missed this
    you’re writing is probably helping a shit ton of people
    keep writing


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