I know these things aren’t karmic. I know this by now. I know that when it comes to fertility, you don’t somehow suddenly get a smooth ride because it’s been bumpy so far. I know all this. But finding this Mary Poppins of a donor (she was practically perfect in every way) felt like we’d turned a corner, like it was the start of something brand new and positive. Like I said, I knew there were a load of hoops we still had to jump through, if this were a game of snakes and ladders, we had a lot more ladders to climb before we won that baby. But this was a pretty long ladder.
Until I got a text from the agency asking if I had time for a quick chat. And my heart sank. My last conversation with them had been all about how things would go from now on, how they would hand everything over to the clinic that we would be working with and it would be the clinic that we heard from next. So hearing from the agency was very definitely Not A Good Thing.
And when we talked it appeared that, although they wouldn’t admit it in so many words, someone somewhere had fucked up. In conversation with the Mary Poppins donor “something came up, confidentiality means I can’t tell you what, blah blah blah, something she raised with her doctor at the start of lockdown, needs to be resolved before she can proceed, blah blah blah.” In my head, I was massively pissed off. If you’re an agency and you’re vetting people, surely, SURELY, one of the first questions you ask is “have you seen a doctor in the last six months?” But there was no point in being angry, where would it get us? Whatever it was, whatever they were telling us or not telling us, the stark facts of the matter were that Mary Poppins was no longer an option for us as a donor and probably wasn’t going to be an option for the foreseeable future.
I cried when I got off the phone. Of course I did. Because although I’d tried really hard not to, tried to remind myself of the hoops, and the ladders and the snakes, I couldn’t help what my brain had already done, unbidden. It’s that same weirdly masochistic yet optimistic thing that women do when they start dating someone, I’d started to imagine our future together, to imagine the possibility of being pregnant, to imagine the possibility of this baby that was going to be a combination of Mary Poppins, B and whatever epigenetic alchemy that being carried inside me for nine months would conjure. But one phone call put paid to all that.
I know B was right when he said we weren’t in any worse position than we’d been in the week before, but I felt like a kid who’d been given a chocolate bar and then had it snatched back. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t even known the chocolate bar existed a week ago, I knew now, and I knew I couldn’t have it. But I also knew there was nothing I could do about it. And besides, the agency had suggested that they had just taken on someone else who might be right for us, they’d be in touch…
Three weeks later, when they hadn’t been in touch, I emailed them. It transpired that they were worried that the person they’d initially had in mind was a bit flaky, and they didn’t want to present me with another flaky one. BUT they had literally just taken on someone else who they thought might work. The brief description she gave me over the phone didn’t fill me with joy, but I forced myself to stay open-minded and duly, they emailed over the profile.
I read it through. I tried really hard not to compare this woman to Mary Poppins. But I couldn’t help it. And she didn’t compare favourably. She didn’t sound like she looked like me. She didn’t sound like we had anything in common. I couldn’t imagine us ever being friends. But I wasn’t sure I trusted my judgement. But I did trust B’s.
“So,” I said, desperately trying to keep my tone casual, “did you, er, see the thing, from the agency?” “Yes, what did you think?” “Well, er, you know how when I read Mary Poppins profile, I was really, properly excited about it?” I replied, trying to stay measured. “I just didn’t feel quite the same about this one, but what did you think?” “I think she sounds like a total idiot, I think she’s doing it for all the wrong reasons and I think she’ll regret it.”
I love this man so much.
For all that I was so impatient to get on with all this, I knew this was not a decision we could just say “it’ll do” about. I was so relieved we were on the same page. It really pained me to email the agency back and tell them she wasn’t right for us, but I knew it was the right thing to do. So there we were, back down a snake, back to square one, just waiting.