I’m at Dr. Wendy Evangelista’s office for my post-op appointment, to make sure everything is cool, and it appears to be. Except I can’t have sex for another entire month!
“Sex could bump your cervix,” she says. I know, as a queer person, there are many non-cervix-bumping activities that fall under the auspices of "sex," and we will partake of them, but I am still bummed because I like a little cervix bumping.
I get a text from Tali while waiting for Dr. Wendy to return. "I can’t have sex for a MONTH!" I text-whine to my friend.
"Better start doing it in the butt," she suggests.
I also can’t go to the gym for another month, which fills me with a mixture of disappointment and relief. I mean, I would like to go to the gym. I already haven’t been in a month and my body just feels better when I’m working it out on the regular. But I do look forward to an entire month of not having to try to force and psychologically trick and also guilt myself out of my house and into the gym.
I wish my gym was a little closer. Like, if it was downstairs or in my building I would go EVERY SINGLE DAY! But it’s like 10 blocks away. By the time I get there I’m like, done. Heart rate is up, I broke a sweat, what do I need this place for? But I know why I need a gym workout. Where else will I watch "Real Housewives"?
I’m a little nervous about insurance covering my surgery, and the lab work I need to do next. It’s true I found out about the fibroids while getting fertility treatment, and I need to get them taken care of to continue the fertility treatment, but wouldn’t I have gotten them removed regardless?
“Yes,” Dashiell insists. I am likely to slack off and allow a garden of baby-head-sized fibroids grow within me indefinitely, but such things do not happen under Dashiell’s watch. “This is just part of taking care of yourself and staying healthy,” she says about the fibroids. “And that’s what we do. As a family.”
“Well, we can’t lie about it,” Dr. Wendy says when I mention my concern that the insurance will somehow find out that I did it for my baby and refuse to cover the surgery. “But you were having heavy and irregular periods.”
“Uh, yeah,“ I mumble.
“And this is very common. I’m just billing for fibroids. I do this a couple times a week.”
She sends me down to her lab to get my lab work done. Yes! It seems like insurance will cover all this. The receptionist at the lab looks at my paperwork. “You want the results sent to UCSF?” she asks, and I nod yes. “I went there!” she smiles at me.
For a second I thought she meant that she went to school at UCSF and I’m like, that’s nice, whatever, but then I realize she means she went to the fertility clinic there to have her babies!
“No way!” I say. “Did you have IUI or IVF?”
“IVF,” she says. “The first time, it didn’t take.” My heart falls and it probably shows on my face. Of course the IVF sometimes doesn’t take. Lots of times, probably. But it’s SO EXPENSIVE. I hate the thought of having to do it again!
“That sucks,” I whisper to her, my eyes wide. “It’s so expensive.”
“Yeah,” she nodded. “After it didn’t take, my husband talked to some friends of ours who told him, 'Once you have the kid, it’s worth all the money.' So we did it again. The second time they put two in me and one took.”
“Wow, that’s awesome!” I tell her that I’m going to be using my girlfriend’s egg, and she tells me how her gay brother is giving sperm away and his boyfriend has already fathered a kid for a couple of lesbos. She whips out a photo of him in the delivery room with the two women, one younger and one older and both dazed and happy with their baby. “He’s the baby’s godfather,” she says.
I love San Francisco, that I can just pop over to the laboratory to get blood work and the straight receptionist is whipping pictures of queer families out of her wallet for me.
“Next time I see you I hope it’s like this!” she says, and makes a motion over her belly, like her belly is really big.
The lab technician doesn’t whip any queer family pictures out of his wallet to show me, but he does roll the sleeves of his lab coat way up to show me the half-sleeve tattoos he has on his upper arms. He is super mild-mannered looking so I didn’t expect it, and I laugh and love this day even more.
“I have to be careful,” he told me. “I’d like to have them everywhere, but I can’t at a job like this.” As someone who is fully covered in tattoos, I actually really like the stealth tattoo style.
To totally change subject -– do you know about the Golden Ratio? It’s a sort of mystical math thing. Supposedly the golden ratio is 1.618 and is the number that corresponds to "beauty" -– like, the most elegant shapes have this proportion, and smiles and it pops up around the human body and throughout nature a lot. And a scientist just studied 5,000 uteruses and found that at their most fertile, the uterus has a ratio of 1.6 which is close enough for people to be talking about it.
It sounds sort of like the weird, spooky mystic math I sort of dig, and it also sounds like another way to make beauty standards seem less cultural and more essential. So, I like it, and I don’t. I also don’t like that the uterus is most golden between the ages of 16-20. IT’S JUST NOT FAIR.
And it’s frustrating when something is just a fact and you can’t call it out as anti-feminist propaganda. That’s all I have to say about that.
Next Week: IVF Orientation!