I am a 40-year-old woman.
Wow. Looking at the above statement. I still can’t believe that it describes me. I always thought that it was going to take a long time for me to get to forty. The time has come.
In terms of fertility, I never imagined myself to be 40, not pregnant, and childless. I always thought that I would have at least one child by now, and would be pregnant with number two (since we started trying when I was 37 1/2). How naive were those thoughts.
I was more demanding this year when it came to my birthday. I usually let Bob plan whatever he wants to do for me. This year, as if wanting to compensate for what I don’t have, I requested a few things. I didn’t want a party as I have never been a party person. I wanted a massage, a particular place for dinner on my actual birthday, and flowers to be sent to my work.
Bob is usually very agreeable with what I want. He booked the restaurant of my choice for my birthday. He secretly enlisted the help of one of my best friends to find a good massage therapist. He was also planning other festivities on Saturday, two days after my birthday. He truly wanted to make my 40th birthday memorable for me.
Bob usually gives me flowers in person. He gave me roses last year on my birthday, the day of our first IVF egg retrieval. He is willing to buy me flowers but thinks that flower delivery is a big waste of money. I had been nagging him about ordering flowers to be delivered to my work on my birthday. He had been resistant. But being me, I continued asking every other day. I know it’s something that I should not be doing… but I did. I don’t know. I was just so anxious to want to make my birthday memorable this year that I started to be a bit unreasonable. I was thinking, if he could make me happy by just clicking on a few websites and paying a little bit of money, why not?
The day before my birthday, Bob came home and asked me what website he should go on to get me flowers. I was annoyed at his questions since I thought that he should have done his research and better yet, should’ve already ordered the flowers. I told him a website and he was muttering something, making comments about how it was a waste of money. I wasn’t happy about his attitude so I fought back. One thing led to another. We got into a huge fight about money. That was the last thing I wanted to do right before my birthday. I wanted everything to be “perfect”. There is no such thing as perfect. We reconciled by the end of the night and realized that the fight was more than just about flowers.
In my mind, I was not feeling good about turning 40 and being childless, so I wanted to make things nice and happy by requesting things I thought could make me happy. I thought that my husband should just fulfill my wishes since I was a bit depressed about turning a big milestone. In his mind, he had already planned an actual birthday dinner, another activity on Saturday, a massage, and a pricey dinner for Saturday. Everything added up to quite a big amount of money. He just started working again and we agreed that we have to save up a lot of money for donor egg cycles. He thought that he had already planned enough for my birthday. He couldn’t see why he couldn’t just buy me flowers and hand them to me rather than ordering a floral arrangements that would double the cost. I thought he should indulge me. He didn’t see the value of flower delivery to work when we have to save up so much money for future cycles. You see the differences in our views?
My argument is that ordering me flower delivery is not going to prevent us from doing a donor egg cycle. The amount of money is so insignificant in comparison to the tens of thousands of dollars that will come out of our pocket. After all, we should not let infertility rob us of our joy in life right? But Bob thought that it was an unnecessary waste. We just think very differently in regards to flowers. He was willing to do it, just not without making comments about it. That made me mad. He eventually did order the flowers and I ended up loving them. But I didn’t feel nearly as happy as I thought I would, under these circumstances.
The fight was just not worth it. But it did expose the stress and pressure that infertility has brought on in our marriage. Imagine not having the burden of needing to save many tens of thousands of dollars in order to fund our donor egg cycles? Imagine what we could actually do with that money? We could replace our car. We could pay off the house faster. We could put more into our retirement account. We could save up for our kids’ college now. I know Bob is feeling the pressure. He wants to provide for me. He wants to fulfill my wishes of pursuing as many mini-IVF cycles as I want before we embark on the egg donation journey. In his mind, spending money on floral delivery just does not make sense when we have such a huge goal to reach.
My birthday day. With puffy eyes, I went into work and had a great birthday celebration. A bouquet of flowers, a card, and a box filled with homemade blueberry scones were on my desk when I arrived at work. An hour later, the same coworkers brought a birthday cake with four candles into my office so I got to make a wish. At lunch time, my closest coworkers took me out to lunch and surprised me with a spa certificate. We usually don’t give birthday presents to one another but I guess this year is the exception.
Here are the flowers from Bob:
Bob and I had a wonderful dinner. We had this:
The crab was perfect. The garlic noodles were yummy. The mango salad had shrimp and scallop and this wonderful dressing. The shrimp toast was nice. I also had a pear martini. That dinner was perfect.
The next morning, I went into work and was surprised by one of my best coworkers who put 40 post-it notes all over the four walls in my office. This is one of the walls:
These notes were filled with wisdom, humor, and historical facts about my birth date. Things like, “It’s not old if you’re a tree” and “7/10/1913 Highest temperature recorded in USA Death Valley 134 degrees! Pass the iced coffee”. I had a busy morning so I finally read all the notes by lunch time. She is crazy and I feel very loved.
Friday night was my birthday dinner with my brother and sister-in-law. We had German food. I had the best beef stroganoff ever:
Saturday was a big celebration. Bob did a great job. We first visited the zoo. We live like five minutes away from the zoo but had never visited it together. I got to see giraffes, my favorite animal, and some very cute gorillas. I also bumped into my ex-boyfriend’s mom who volunteers there. Bob and I had so much fun walking around seeing every single animal.
I hope that this stork would help bring me a baby:
The zoo was also filled with pregnant women who were apparently carrying their number two, number three, or number four. They walked around pushing strollers or holding their kids’ hands. I was okay with them though. I didn’t feel like I had to hide from or avoid them.
The massage in the afternoon was heavenly. It was 90 minutes of bliss, thanks to my husband for arranging for such a long massage. The spa was tranquil and calm, and smelled very good. Bob waited for me for the whole 90 minutes out in the waiting area.
Finally, he surprised me with this meal. He told me the location but I thought it was another restaurant. When he walked me over to the restaurant and I saw the sign, I was very surprised. It was a French bistro for which we had to cancel our reservation a few years ago. I had always wanted to try it but never had a chance. I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered I wanted to try it. The ambience was lively, the service was great, and the food was excellent. I didn’t know it at the time but one of the owners actually served us throughout the dinner. I ordered the chef menu that included filet mignon with bone marrow. She told me that the bone marrow was not available for this menu but was available for the prime rib meal. I didn’t want prime rib so I was okay with not having the bone marrow, although it was disappointing. The server lady actually asked for the bone marrow and included it for me in my plate! That was so nice of her. Here are the pictures:
This fish just melted in my mouth.
The beauty of the bone marrow with the filet mignon:
My lava cake. I made a wish that I will be holding my baby on my birthday next year.
That was such a memorable birthday celebration. Whatever fight we had the previous week, this had made up for it all.
Finally, one of my best friend took me out to lunch and we had dessert before the main course, french toast bread pudding and sticky bun.
My husband placed a birthday card on my side of the bed on Sunday. I opened it and started tearing up. The card says “Wishing you a year that soars with possibilities”. He wrote: “Possibilities is one word that I want you to keep in mind as you start a ‘new’ year. Looking forward to walking with you as we encounter new possibilities.”
Yes. The possibilities are endless. I really look forward to what possibilities my year 40 may bring.