To all the women gathered at 6:58 a.m. waiting for the elevator,
I know where you are going.
In entering the elevator, one woman’s index finger presses the number 7 and we are heading to the 7th floor – exactly where I expected.
Mount Sinai Fertility.
The seventh floor means so many things:
The elevator doors open and there is already a long line forming at reception.
Some people are sitting down.
There are no men.
One woman’s hair is dripping wet. She must have left her house quickly – afraid of the length of the lines forming at the clinic.
Women politely glance at one another
And I decide to sit down.
The line will go down if I just wait.
The admin assistant takes her place behind a large desk and starts signing people in.
The line should be decreasing but the elevator door keeps opening and closing.
Each time more women enter into the room.
We all want to be Moms.
I stand up and go towards the line.
A blonde woman looks at me and says “you go before me. You’ve been sitting there for awhile.”
“It’s okay,” I say politely.
“No, I insist,” she says.
The line now has about ten women waiting behind me.
Many are on their phones trying to keep distracted.
Maybe they are anxious.
Maybe they are starting their work days and trying to get some work done.
I hand the admin assistant my health card.
“Busy day” I say.
“It is like this every day” she responds.
Everyone in this line wants to be a Mom.
After signing in I sit on a comfortable chair and look around.
Green images of nature stare back at me on the walls.
They are meant to be calming.
But nobody in the room is calm.
A sign gets my attention “1 in 3 couples will have trouble conceiving.”
“So many people” I think.
I take my phone out and start scrolling through Instagram waiting for my name to be called.
The nurse calls eight names.
My name was not one of them.
I continue to scroll.
My eyes glance towards a plastic display holding up two pamphlets.
“Costs and fertility.”
“Fertility and Stress.”
So many issues in just trying to become a Mom.
A nurse walks into the room. Her skin is glowing and she has a smile on her face.
She reads off names and my name is called.
I walk into a new room with the nurse.
Another woman and another nurse are already there.
I can’t help but watch the needle going into the other patient’s arm.
Then I look away.
“Please have a seat right here,” says the nurse.
I feel thankful to have her as she is the more friendly nurse out of the two nurses there.
“I like your tattoo on your wrist” she whispers.
“Thank you,” I say. “It is the word ‘change’” I hear myself saying even though I know she can read it.
“How’s your day?” I ask.
“Busy” she says. “It is like this every day though,” she says with a laugh.
I fake a nervous laugh while feeling sad at the same time – so many women having their cycles monitored. All of these women late for work and here on their own.
All of the women being poked and prodded because all they want right now is to become a Mom.
I get ushered into a room and smile at four women all seated beside one another in white chairs. There is no space between them – the room is too small.
There is a fifth chair waiting for me.
Curtains hang down into two small areas in the room to make the smallest change rooms I have ever seen.
There are hospital gowns but I am not sure how much of my clothing I am to remove.
“What do I do?” I ask the four women sitting in chairs. “This is my first ultrasound at the fertility clinic.”
“Take off everything from the bottom down,” says one woman.
“Be sure to wear booties. The ground can be cold and wet” says another woman.
“Wear a dress next time so it’s easier,” says the third woman.
“You have got this” says the fourth woman.
Every woman in the small room has spoken.
We all share a commonality – we all want to be a Mom.
The first woman sits in her chair just looking blankly ahead.
The other three are on their phones.
I take out my novel but can’t read. I am too anxious.
I take out my phone and scroll through Instagram.
My eyes settle on a picture of my friend with all of her medication for IVF around her.
“Please help her become a Mom” I silently pray to the universe.
One by one, each of my four new friends have left the room.
But I am not alone.
Three new faces have arrived.
I smile at each face that comes into the room. Each smile says “I’ve got you. This sucks and I wish you well on your journey.”
My name is called and a woman ushers me to a hallway just outside two rooms marked “ultrasound.”
“This is the washroom” the nurse says to me.
“Thanks but I don’t have to use it” I say.
“You are supposed to empty your bladder” says one of the women waiting for her ultrasound.
I open the door to the washroom and sit on the toilet.
A few seconds pass.
I stand up again and wash my hands.
I stare at myself in the mirror wearing my hospital gown.
I look into my eyes and hear an inner voice whisper “you will be a Mom.”
“Sarah?” asks a nurse as she leads me to the ultrasound room.
I go in and am greeted by my fertility doctor and two other people.
I see a plastic wand and know where that is going to go.
The wand is inserted.
“Look at the left follicle” says one nurse.
“It’s a great follicle,” says another voice as she takes a picture on her machine.
“Thank you” I say not knowing if this is something you should thank someone for saying.
I go back to the change room, get dressed and wait to speak with the nurse,
She says it will “happen soon.”
“I really want to be a Mom really soon” say the voices in my head.
It is time to leave the 7th floor.
As I walk out there are more people now.
An hour and a half has elapsed.
Nobody is in a line but people are waiting on comfortable chairs in the fertility office.
But is anyone really comfortable?
Partners have joined now and the room is full of 80% women and 20% men.
I take the elevator down and find myself alone on the ride down.
It almost felt like a factory up there.
Everything was so mechanical sprinkled with some kindness and compassion.
Another day full of so many women wanting to become Moms.
This Mother’s Day I pray for all of you going into fertility clinics, struggling with fertility issues, or just hoping and praying to be a Mom.
My wish for you is that you become a Mom – in some capacity.
May the memories of the days in the fertility clinic be replaced with memories spent with your child/children.
You will be a Mom.