April 15, 2004 was Ovum Retrieval Day.
I remember it almost as if it were yesterday.
After five unsuccessful tries at IUI over the course of over a year, our first scheduled IVF cycle began late March 2004. By the time O/R day came, I had already subjected myself to a couple of weeks of Lupron and Puregon injections, and subjected others around me to my raging hormonal tendencies. And as we tried not to have our life stand still because of our attempts for baby #2, many of these shots were taken at social functions. I would just excuse myself and go to the bathroom, dial up the pen to appropriate level of FSH prescribed for the day based on the daily blood results ... and *BAM* shoot myself in the thigh. Let's just say I carried around a big purse.
I was lucky, though, for one of our closest friends told me that I didn't have the "IVF face". The puffy fertility drug visage that apparently some women can sport as a result of the cocktails pumped into already tired bodies - bypassed me. So although I was churning on the inside, the outside world didn't have a clue.
The morning of the O/R was of course fraught with all manner of logistical issues. I had booked a day off, but still needed to bring the boy to daycare. The problem was that we had to be at the clinic before the daycare was open. The plan was to get to the clinic in time for my prep, then the man had to do what he had to do, and then he would take our little guy to daycare. After which he'd come back to the clinic to pick me up and bring me home to rest. And no one would be the wiser.
Except one little wise man. After I was prepped and ready in my gown, Daddy had to go provide his sample in the -ahem- special room. As he got up to leave, the boy asked, "Daddy, where are you going?"
Both of us frazzled with the situation, we had to do some really quick thinking on our feet. So we came up with "Oh, Daddy is going to have a check-up just like Mommy is today'. The boy seemed content with that. What a relief.
While Ian went to do his thing, my little guy stayed with me. It was exciting but nerve-wracking at the same time. It was also very helpful having my boy with me, my little man who would be turning 4 years old in a matter of days. A great distraction. Did you know that the average 4 year old asks about 457 questions a day? Including...
"Hi Daddy, how was your check up? Are you okay?" as the man came back upstairs with his paper bag.
"Yup, everything's just fine. All is good with Daddy."
He handed the nurse the bag for processing and off the boys went. Daddy and our boy also left.
And I was taken into the O/R room, feeling very bloated and nervous, but happy that there were multiple follicles. After trading pleasantries with the doctors, I lay back as they started with the ultrasound, and gave me something to relax. I faded out of consciousness. The day had finally come.
I woke up a bit groggy in the recovery room. I was sore, feeling like someone had ventured into my reproductive plumbing, scrounged around and hoovered up some hidden treasures.
Oh yeah, somebody just had.
But I knew exactly where I was and what had happened. As I sipped on the apple juice they provided to me while I waited for Ian to pick me up, I asked the nurse how everything had gone.
I guess the Easter bunny had left some good egg karma that year.
They retrieved a dozen eggs. From my closer-to-40-than-35 year old body. A perfect dozen.
(To be continued).