One month after Justine’s death I was in Dr. Barkley’s office waiting for the next chapter of my life to unfold. As I lay on the cold table, looking up at the stark lifeless ceiling, I drifted in and out of awareness as I followed my favorite meditation app with my ears and my mind. Meditation, like Silence, was a close friend. I think it was because the three of us had similar interests – do a good job and move on.
It was obvious that Christine, Dr. Barkley to the outside world, was in somewhat of a rush that day. I thanked her for fitting me in at the end of a long, busy day. She again expressed her condolences on the loss of my first pregnancy. I reflected for a moment that it had not actually been my first pregnancy, however I forced that thought to the back of my mind. I stated that I had moved on and was ready to take the plunge for the second time. I understood that there were risks, as there is with almost anything in life. There is no success without real risk.
As she inserted the frigid speculum, I laughed and commented that this would be much easier with some fine wine, soft candlelight and Mr. Right – or even Mr. Right Now! We made idle chit chat about our jobs and the dedication it took to be successful in our respective fields. Aside from the speculum, I noted no specific feeling as she deftly and efficiently performed the insemination. I marveled at how quick and seamless the potential creation of a new life could be. We both laughed as she got up, not even three minutes later, and asked that I remain lying for about 5 minutes before I got up to leave.
“You can show yourself out, I assume?”
“Certainly! Thanks!” With that, she was gone.
I looked up at the ceiling once again and said out loud, “Well, that is that”. How simple it seemed. I had read countless stories of women spending thousands of dollars on appointments, tests and prescriptions in search of the elusive highly desired pregnancy. I had spent 20 minutes choosing the donor and called my obstetrician when I was ovulating. It doesn’t get much easier than that. I had a good feeling about things this time!
As I watched the clock on the wall approach 5 minutes, I wondered who was coming back to remove the speculum. I thought I remembered waiting five minutes the last time I had been in this precarious position, but I did not remember having to personally deal with the speculum. I was sure that I had been in many, many much more difficult situations before, but right at the present moment my mind was drawing an elusive blank. As a physician, I had even used a speculum on numerous occasions myself, in a professional capacity. I rolled my eyes and thought about what kind of bizarre contortionist movements I was going to have to engage in, the end goal being to get the speculum out while leaving the desired contents inside. I certainly hoped that the ‘swimmers’ of the day were moving as quickly as their qualifying spreadsheet boasted they could, toward their desired destination.
I decided that I was going to wait five minutes more and then I was going to make my move. I felt that 5 minutes would leave me enough time to google ‘freeing oneself from an unwanted speculum’ or ‘5 easy steps to self insemination’. If all else failed, I was going to admit defeat and call the front desk. While some interesting, and I am sure invaluable, information arose from these two searches, including ‘how to free yourself from a manipulator’, ‘how to free yourself from love that hurts, and ‘how to inseminate at home’, there was nothing that informed me on how I could free myself from my present predicament.
I called the front desk and was disheartened when my important inquiry went through to voicemail informing me that the clinic was closed until tomorrow morning. I patted my abdomen and muttered ‘well kid, I guess it’s just you and me now’.
It had now been 27 minutes since Christine’s departure. I decided that was long enough. I tilted my pelvis up and placed a pillow underneath my butt. I unscrewed the speculum in the direction that I thought was correct – backwards like steering a boat. I counted to three, tilted my pelvis up and removed the speculum. What talent! Sometimes I even impressed myself!
I quickly dressed and opened the door to almost complete darkness. I had forgotten how quickly the night descends during the winter solstice. I grabbed my coat and ran directly for the front door. I was travelling to quickly to notice the red warning sign sitting atop the door, and as soon as the cold night air rushed in, a sound louder than I thought I had ever heard before was unleashed from the clinic. Even when the door slammed shut behind me, the alarm persisted in trying to escape. I debated making a run for it or simply remaining where I was and awaiting my destiny. The decision was made for me. It was too late.
Dr. Victoria Jones is a surgical oncologist who lives with her two adorable sons, Logan and Lucas, conceived via donor insemination. She has published extensively in scientific journals, and won research, teaching, and mentoring awards. She enjoys any type of learning and/or self-development, travel, cooking, and wine. She spends her free time transporting her children back and forth between their myriad of exciting activities.