Kalonopia Collective Disability Pride Anthology

Page 66

BEFORE By Alisha Vasquez When I was 15 years old, the balding, opinionated, gruff man who made my leg braces informed me that I’d “never be able to have kids. [My] body just [can't] support it.” Up until that point I hadn’t given much thought to having kids; all I knew was that I wasn’t supposed to have sex. This crabby, pseudo-medical professional gave me, what was up until that point, the closest thing to a sex talk that I ever had. He wanted to dictate, and make sure that I knew, that my defiant, punk rock, Chicana, disabled body is not to procreate. I all but ignored his comment and spent the next 13 years of my life focusing on achievement: good grades, community organizing, scholarships and scholarships, traveling to conferences abroad, pushing my body and mind to ensure I emulated the success that I saw of the organizers and professors I read about in books and looked up to in community. By the time I was 32, though, I recognized that these prescribed patterns of success were killing me…and that I wanted a baby. Even before we conceived, I experienced ableism and many of the negative aspects of existing in a cisgendered female body. The older generations, especially, asked why we didn’t have kids. I asked myself if it was all the stress that 20 surgeries, hundreds (thousands?) of x-rays, or simply my krip genes that was hindering the process. We went to a fertility doctor after eight months of trying, making sure to get in before my “good insurance” ran out once I quit a job that was killing me spiritually and physically. I asked the doctor all the things I was fearing: Did all those x-rays kill my eggs? Did my genes not only bless me with a short-left leg but also with infertility? Did the pesticides sprayed on my grandfather when he was a farm worker pass down infertility to me? Was stress the culprit? The doctor was kind, and her team informed us of the testing that my good insurance covered, but when it came to IVF or other medical procedures that lead to conception, my good insurance wasn’t good enough. My ovaries and fallopian tubes were checked in a cold, sterile office visit waaaay up on the north side near the foothills of the Santa Catalinas. Dye injected into my cervix, speculum coldly spreading me open, the procedure more painful than an annual exam. My results: everything is fine; you have ample eggs, open tubes, and a healthy body. Adam’s procedure was much quicker, cheaper, and more exciting. Cum into a cup and get it to us 66 // Alisha Vasquez