Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Michael Hutchence are forever frozen in time at the ages at which they died. Forever young.
Similarly and fantastically, the embryos made of my sister’s eggs and my husband’s sperm are frozen in time too – they will always be embryos made from two people in their mid 30s.
So, even though I am knocking 42, the little embryo inside me is seven years younger. Apparently the chances of my pregnancy continuing with embryos this youthful are around 95% – (touch lots of wood). If the embryos were made of my eggs, it would be a different story with a much higher chance of miscarriage.
Even so, every time I go to the loo I brace myself in case I see blood but to date (apart from the first bit of spotting a few weeks ago which the doc put down to the progesterone pessaries I take) there has been nothing. I am now 7.5 weeks – still early days but further than we have ever been before.
If we are lucky enough to have this child and decide to try again for another baby at some in future with our remaining five embryos, they will still be frozen in time at around 35 years old. How brilliant is that?
I love the miracle of IVF plus of course the wonderful benevolence of my sister and brother in law who have allowed for this dream of ours to gradually be coming true.
Today I want to focus on what my body does well rather than labouring over the failings of my hapless reproductive system.
So here is a little list:
- my teeth – thanks to braces in my teens, my teeth are straight, white and I have no fillings
- my hair – it is thick, shiny and a nice colour (brunette with a touch of auburn – hairdressers love it)
- I can get into the lotus position and do a headstand for 5o seconds – care of three years of ashtanga yoga; I am stronger, more fit and flexible than ever
- my eyebrows – are a nice shape and I never have to pluck them as they stopped growing years ago
- my skin – I’ve escaped wrinkles fairly well so far
- my bones – I have never had a fracture (touch wood!) and my limbs fingers and toes are all straight and true
- my auto-immune system – I hardly ever get sick (touch wood again)
- my digestive system – it never gives me trouble (still touching wood)
My body may not be good at reproducing but it’s great at a whole range of other stuff.
What about everyone else? I would love to hear what other people think are the best parts of their own bodies.
Recently a 17-year-old pulled a knife on a 40-year-old man on a train in Melbourne. A witness in one newspaper story referred to the 40-year-old man as an ‘old man’, saying she was surprised he was able to overcome his attacker.
Crikey – an old man? He’s the same age as me. I’m not surprised to hear he restrained the younger whippersnapper as most 17-year-old boys/men are as skinny as flynn compared with grown men, unless they’ve been working out or their voice broke at 10.
I am fitter, stronger and healthier now (thanks to my yoga teacher and Chinese doctor) than I was at 25 when I drank more, smoked and ate takeaways.
Apparently I also look younger. Many people say I look around 30 – how weird is that? It is even weirder given that my defunct ovaries have put me into early menopause. This is also the case of a friend of mine who also has premature ovarian failure (POF). She is in her late 30s but looks like she’s about 25. Our hair is its natural colour, we have minimal wrinkles and our jowls still firm and uplifted. You would think the opposite would happen…
But to start with being diagnosed with POF made me feel like an old, old woman. I grieved for the loss of my periods and my youth. All the pictures of women on menopausal sales products or educational material looked like they were 65+. At the bone density testing place not a woman under 75 was to be seen. I couldn’t see anyone going through menopause who looked like me.
As POFers are in the minority it makes sense to depict menopausal women as older. But coming to terms with my condition has made me hyper-aware of the perceived age of everyone around us – whether they be young men and women, or much older men and women.
It may sound like I’m getting hung up on age but when your ovaries stop working miles ahead of everyone else’s you tend to feel a little sensitive about your age.
Are there any readers out there with POF who also look way younger than their years? Perhaps all the energy that is usually diverted into ripening our ovaries is instead being sent to our faces and decolletages?