Eleven Eggs Retrieved

It’s amazing to think that, in a lab just forty miles south of here, there are now as many as eleven embryos with our names on them. Some of these will not make it. Some of them of them will develop strangely and be useless to us. But, of the eleven, I am fairly positive that at least one or two will be there for us on Wednesday when we arrive to have them returned the loving womb of their mother. Today Stephanie had her first ever surgical procedure while I was in a room some fifty feet away jerking off into a plastic cup. I’ve long since gotten over the guilt brought on by that particular circumstance, but what I haven’t gotten over is this overwhelming sense that we just did something miraculous. Sure, we needed the help of doctors and nurses and technicians, but regardless, we are closer now than we ever have been before to fulfilling our dream of a family.

And here’s how it happened…

Stef and I woke early. She’d showered the night before but, never having had surgery, she wanted to be exceptionally careful in regards to their recommendations about no perfumes and such. So she took a “rinse”, as she called it, to make sure that anything left over from the shampoos and soaps she’d used the night before would be washed away. It’s a comfort to know that sometimes my wife can be as absurdly paranoid as I am every day.

I showered, too, and was hesitant to put in my ear drops, as they’d been causing problems for me all weekend and I was feeling the tiniest bit better. Stef reminded me of the warning on the side of the package, though. If you stopped taking the stuff before your infection was completely healed, you could make the situation worse. So I did it. I put in the drops. And I would later come to regret it.

We arrived at the facility about twenty minutes ahead of schedule. They wanted us there by eight AM, in order to prep Stef for the surgery. We went upstairs and I proceeded to tug at my earlobe every time a nurse came in to see us, so that I could actually hear what she was saying. Tugging at my earlobe, which unclogs my ear canal for as long as I pull down on it, was now the only way I could participate in normal conversation. It was quite a drag and, as the morning wore on, the pain in my ears began to return.

I left Stef at the scheduled time, so that I could take care of my end of this business. It was difficult to do it with my ears popping and swishing with every subtle movement of my head, but I won’t go on about my moderate amount of suffering because, let’s face it: I wasn’t the one having surgery.

The surgery took about the same amount of time as my business took me, and I was then ushered back into the recovery room to sit with Stef. She was groggy from the anesthesia, but otherwise okay. Her blood pressure dropped severely for a few minutes, mostly due to a kink in the IV tube, but they figured it out fast and she was better in no time.

The drive back home was excruciating. The pain in my ears was gnawing at me, but I had to concentrate and I had to drive. We made it home in one piece and we both took pain medicine. Then I went out to get us lunch.

And that was the gist of it. We sat in bed together for most of the afternoon, with me getting up to get her things as she needed them. Mom, Dad, and Grandma stopped by on the way home from picking Mom up at the airport, and we had a nice visit with them, though I was still tugging on my earlobe in order to hear what was going on in the conversation. At least I wasn’t alone in being half-involved: Dad, sitting across the room, in front of the television, was thoroughly absorbed in the Eagles special that was on, singing along to the songs and pausing every few minutes when some snippet of the conversation pulled him back in.

After they left, Stef and I decided to grab some dinner from the Outback Steakhouse, via their curbside pickup service. (By the way, do you tip for that? I didn’t, and I was really embarrased afterwards, unsure of what I was supposed to do.) That was good, but the pain in my ears was returning again, and when it came time to give Stef the first of the new nightly shots she’ll be taking indefinitely, I was having a hard time concentrating on the task at hand. This particular shot, a longish syringe filled with the hormone progesterone in an oil-based solution, is to be given intramuscularly, in the backside—a literal pain in the ass. And being distracted by pain in my own body was not the most ideal of circumstances.

Still, we made it through the shot well. Too well, for my tastes. I’d heard such horror stories that I was actually upset when Stef wasn’t wincing in pain afterwards. I was convinced I’d done it wrong. The truth is that we probably just did everything right. We iced the spot down for about twenty minutes and when it came time to administer the shot I plunged it in quickly. You have to fight against this stuff because of its viscosity, so it took a bit longer than I would have liked, but I was in and out before she really knew it. We applied a heat pad afterwards and I massaged the area as instructed, both for Stephanie’s benefit and to make sure that the medicine was distributed evenly.

And it was then that I finally gave myself over to the warm and fuzzy thoughts of our embryos, incubating in that lab. We’ll go in on Wednesday to have the two best-looking ones transfered back into Stephanie, a procedure far less intricate, and one that I’ll be present for, and then, on the day after Indepdence Day, just over two weeks from now, they’ll draw blood from my wife and tell us whether we’ve succeeded or not. And as hard as it would be to deal with a negative (which, by the way, I don’t think will happen—I’m very optimistic), at least we’ll know that we’ve already gotten farther than we ever have before.