Week 02 - Injections and Ear Aches

Dear Baby,

All this week, we continued with the two injections per night that we hoped would bring you into our lives. It was an ordeal, I can tell you that, but one that we would endure again in a heartbeat. Aside from a little trouble on Sunday night, the twelfth, when I was a little more sweaty and panicky that either of us would have liked—your mom having turned off the air conditioning for the day—the process was smooth enough. But sticking the needles in your mother wasn’t easy for me, and being treated like a pin cushion certainly wasn’t the most pleasurable experience she’d ever had. So, during the days leading up to the shots, we sought distraction. I was reading A People’s History of the United States (which would be a far more useful read for you than anything they’ve ever given you in school) and I was cranking my car stereo on the way home from work, singing along to any tune that came on, no matter if I could carry that tune or not. Your mom was focused on finding herself a new job, and on reclaiming some of the sanity her previous job had taken away from her over the course of the previous few years.

Why am I telling you this? Why am I describing the ordeal? It’s not to make you feel guilty. Though, if it does give you pause every once in a while, when you’re considering whether or not you should do 110 mph on the highway, or drink tequila with some guy named Sancho until you pass out, then I won’t complain. No, I’m telling you this because I want you to know how much we wanted you in our lives. I want you to know what we were willing to go through. In short, I want you to know how much love we had for you even before you were even you.

Your mom went in for bloodwork every day of this week, and for ultrasounds every other day. These tests confirmed that she was progressing exactly as the doctors had hoped. In fact, they showed us that your mother’s body was almost yearning to be pregnant. Her results were so good that on Thursday the sixteenth they had to “rein her in”, so to speak, asking us to readjust the dosage of the two drugs I was giving her. They upped the dosage of Lupron, which would keep her from ovulating before they wanted her to, and they lowered the dosage of Follistim, because she was developing eggs so nicely on her own.

On Friday morning, one of my days off, I went with your mom to her ultrasound appointment and it was that morning that the reality of the situation hit me. During the ultrasound, the nurse brought up on screen an image that still bewilders me to this day when I think of it. There, like some sort of black and white honeycomb, were the follicles growing in/on your mother’s ovaries. Inbetween threads of grayish-white were more than a dozen splotches of deep black. These, the nurse explained as she measured them, were the follicles, and inside each follicle there was, potentially, one egg. It was an amazing site, visual proof that all of these shots I’d been giving your mother were doing something. And I thought to myself, inside one of those might be the egg that might become our baby.

Obviously, I was right.

Your mom was doing very well, said the nurses. If only the same could be said for your dad. You see, in addition to my daily bouts of anxiety, I was dealing with an increasingly painful earache, the result, it turned out, of my overaggressive cotton-swab attacks on the earwax that had plagued me since childhood. That same Friday, I went in to have it checked out and my doctor prescribed ear drops for me. And I just knew they wouldn’t be enough to win the war raging in my ear canal. Oh, it was horrible. It was pain beyond all belief.

And now you see why men don’t give birth. But anyway… This isn’t supposed to be about me. This is supposed to be about you. Your dad’s just a bit of a gloryhog, in case you hadn’t realized that by now.

Later that night, having been given the “Go” order by our fertility clinic based on the results of that morning’s ultrasound, we did the trigger shot. The trigger shot does exactly what you think it would do: it triggers the eggs to prepare for ovulation. On Saturday, we had the day off, and any sensible person would have been elated. My ears, however, thanks to the ear drops, and the infection they were apparently unable to solve on their own, were more clogged than ever. And I was concerned that the trigger shot had been too strong, because, by Saturday afternoon, the feeling of fullness your mother had had, which was indicative of very full, and thus very productive, ovaries, was now gone. I was convinced that she had already ovulated, and that our cause was lost (the doctors need to retrieve the eggs right before ovulation, you see).  I couldn’t hear a thing your mother said to me, even when she was sitting next to me, so any attempts on her part to calm me were all for naught, and, well, the list goes on and on. In short, I was a mess.

But this is why we thank our lucky stars that your mom is around, because she kept her head the whole time. She was calm and collected and ready for the joy that Sunday’s egg retrieval might bring, convinced that all was well. Deep inside, I was excited too, despite my pronouncements to the contrary. After all, Sunday was Father’s Day, and what better omen might there be for a guy like me, longing for a child of his own?

Love, Dad