One fine New York day I got up, took the subway, schlepped my ass onto a Select Bus up First Avenue to NYU for my egg freeze class. As always, I hated waiting in the waiting room. When I was called for the class, I felt even more nervous as I entered a small conference room and looked at the faces of about 8 other women about to undergo the same procedure as me. As usually happens in group situations, there are the nervous talky ones and then the quiet, distant ones. I guess I fell into the quiet group. I’m not one of those “misery loves company” types and would rather stay private, but one-on-one I’m much better. People started trading ages and histories and I felt completely out-of-place. This is not a new feeling for me though. I’ve always been a bit on the “alternative” side of society and I think it has to do with always feeling a bit different from others. So in that group situation, I wanted to withdraw. But I suddenly heard someone mention a street address that sounded like mine. I piped up and said “where do you live?” Turns out, one of the other patients lives in my very building and is the very same age as me. “What a strange but happy coincidence!” I thought.
Soon, we all settled in as the nurse came in to give us a lecture on the whole egg freeze procedure. Very quickly I was overwhelmed with information and handouts and forms and really didn’t take in much at all. She spoke about Follistim (a hormone injection) and hormone antagonists and it flew right over my head. I work in a scientific field so I’m accustomed to academic lectures but for some reason, the closeness to my own experience made it nigh impossible for me to absorb anything useful, a situation made worse when I saw the thick pad of prescription medications that I would soon have to fill. We were advised to call the pharmacies on our pharmacy list to see which medications might be the cheapest. A woman who had been through the egg freeze before said that the differential in prices often amounted to hundreds of dollars. My anxiety heightened as I looked at my large folder of materials and wondered how I would ever navigate this situation. During a short break, the “veteran” assured us all that the process was not that difficult and not as bad as it sounded. I think we all breathed a collective sigh of relief.
While the nurse was still out of the room, more personal information was disclosed by class members. Then the youngest woman in the group revealed her age (35), and everyone said “oh wow, that’s great! That’s great!” in unison. Since everyone else in the room was 2 to 7 years older, this represented our collective support of her decision to start younger, but also perhaps our collective jealousy of her ability to do so. I didn’t feel too comfortable. I didn’t ask to be in this situation. I wasn’t ready to accept I was really in that room!
Soon a woman came in to talk about the financial obligations of the egg freeze. I looked at dollar signs across the page but there comes a point when you’re spending so much money it doesn’t even matter anymore. I didn’t even look at the financials pages. I had firmly decided to undertake the procedure and that was that.
At the end of the class, I exchanged numbers with my neighbor and went to work as if nothing had happened.