I waited a long time to get pregnant. Too long apparently, because once I began the process of fertility treatments at the age of 36, my chart proclaimed, “advanced maternal age.”
Thirty-six just didn’t seem that old to me. I was in my second marriage, and thoroughly enjoying my life as a former-marketing-director-turned-nomad in the state of Colorado, while my husband finished his doctoral degree. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that my age was teetering on the precipice of geriatric motherhood. After years of sputtering starts and stops, cross-country moves and a stab at international adoption, I found an empathic doctor who was willing to work with me despite eggs that were as he put it, “nearly hard boiled.”
At this point, it felt more like a gambling trip to Las Vegas than a fertility clinic. But, I put my money on the IVF table and the first reports were positive.
After the requisite two-week, anxiety-filled waiting period, I bolstered the nerve to buy a pregnancy test from Walgreens. Not wanting to spend more than the thousands I had already vested in my fertility treatments, I opted for a cheap, generic test. When the blue line appeared, I took another generic test. When the blue line appeared again, I drove back to Walgreens and purchased the most expensive brand name on the shelf (or maybe three). And, there it was again. By that time, I really WAS old.
Blood tests later confirmed what those 10 or so drugstore tests had revealed. It would be another couple of weeks before we knew just how pregnant I was. My friends advised me to lie in bed with my feet up and not do anything at all to risk my baby blue lines. Instead, I continued to ride my horse and perform various heavy, wheel-barrel activities with horse manure until the day came for the ultrasound reveal on New Year’s Eve day.
My husband and I high-fived the fertility specialists, and without hesitation hopped in the car to attend New Year’s Eve at Mar-a-Lago. Yes, that Mar-a-Lago. An old college friend and cable television executive was attending you-know-who’s New Year’s Eve party and asked us to tag along. It was a challenge to find formal wear to fit my bloated, progesterone-laden body. I was waiting to succumb to morning sickness at any moment. But I persevered.
And then the moment came when my friend introduced me to the future 45th president of the United States.
“Mr. Trump, I’d like you to meet my dear friend, Julie. She is pregnant with twins.”
Gulp. Just like that.
I hadn’t even told my mother I was expecting twins, and now here I was standing in Palm Beach paradise, trying to come to terms with my newly-formed identity.
“Congratulations,” acknowledged our host.
And With That…
I politely thanked him and moved on to the massive midnight buffet to my right. And in a moment, my self-denial went out the window. After all, I was eating for three.