The day I wrote that last post, I went to the hospital, got put under, and the doctor retrieved two eggs from my ovaries. Both eggs got injected with my husband’s sperm. The next day, we had two fertilized eggs rapidly dividing and growing in a lab uptown.
(Note that we live downtown and our potential baby was uptown. I still can’t get over that.)
Despite my pitch to the nurse that putting the egg-sperm mashups back in my body was kind of a risky idea — perhaps I could simply place them in a tank near the window, with plenty of sunlight and ample fertilizer! — two days after that I went back to the hospital for the embryo transfer.
This was fun. I was back in the operating room, but wide awake. The usual heel-cradle stirrups that most women know from their annual doctor visits, respectfully located at the far end of the table, were nowhere in sight. Instead they were replaced by a large metal calf harness on either far side of the table. I hoisted a calf into each one. Oy.
Then the table started to tilt back. The blood rushed to my head.
“Don’t worry, you’re not going to fall,” the doctor said.
“That’s right, because I am dangling from my calves,” I said.
Then he snaked some kind of snake up my tunnel, over the moat, past the heavy wooden doors, and (while receiving guidance from a woman on a microscope in the other room) dropped the two 8-celled blastocysts into my, er, castle.
They wheeled me out and let me rest in recovery. The nurse gave me a picture of the two little pretties that had just been deposited. They looked like gray soccer balls floating in gray space. I took a pic with my phone and texted it to my husband. After 15 minutes, I dressed, gathered my things, and went home.
Then we waited for several days and saw a bunch of people and did a bunch of stuff.
Waited some more.
Then I went uptown to get my blood drawn. The nurse on duty was new and a total beast, jamming in the needle into my arm (sore from previous daily blood draws) and pressing on my forearm arm to force blood. Watch it, lady!
I went home depressed and resigned that the most expensive science experiment I’ve ever done would be a complete failure. This made sense because I already felt like a failure in this area. We had had multiple procedures in the past that hadn’t worked, but none so complicated and expensive as this one.
The nurse called — a different nurse. She asked me how I was and blah blah blah. I said yeah I know, bad news blah blah blah okay. And she said, congratulations, you’re pregnant! And I said WHAT! Then I called my husband and he said WHAT! And there was much rejoicing, but nothing carnal, as I still wasn’t allowed according to my post-procedure instructions.
At certain times for weeks thereafter I would go to the doctor for an ultrasound. This is done using the large wand that goes up your vagina and is hooked up to a TV monitor. You kind of get used to this, for this is how the doc monitors the growth of your eggs before surgically retrieving them.
During the first ultrasound I saw that there was only one speck of a potential baby. Over time, the speck turned in to a blob. A few weeks later I went from the specialist back to my ‘regular doctor’ and the blob became a moving blob with arms and legs.
Every time I went to the doctor I expected to hear condolences that the baby was dead. This happened twice before. Every time I lay down on the table, I froze. Even now, I still freeze. But every time I went back to the doctor the baby’s heart was still beating.
I had a procedure in which a doctor extracted a sample of my placenta using a very long needle. Jill came with me and I nearly crushed her hand during the pre-procedure ultrasound. They tested the cells and determined that there was nothing wrong with this baby. It was a healthy boy! That was the phone call where I was crying so hard and couldn’t stop. I couldn’t believe we were finally going to have a healthy baby.
On Tuesday I’ll be six months pregnant. The boy has been kicking and punching up a storm. This is what you get when you cross a drummer and a boxer.
So that’s where we’re at.