ER – turning your daddy into a girly…

Hi kids.

(Added in later – sorry for the length of this rambling post – just an awful lot of thoughts and feelings to deal with today, and this sort-of feels like my only outlet)

It’s Sunday lunch-time and I’m sitting behind my pc wishing away the hours. Tomorrow’s a big day for us…and hopefully for you too – because, with any luck, tomorrow is the day you will be conceived – how flipping awesome is that!!

Tomorrow morning, your mom is booked in for Egg Retrieval (ER). She’s been injecting herself every morning over the last 11 or so days with Menopur, which is FSH – follicle stimulating hormone…which basically does what it says – stimulates the ovaries into maturing follicles for ovulation. The scientists are clever little buggers, they trick the ovaries into maturing more follicles than normal by injecting this FSH. Then, before the body even gets round to thinking about ovulating (releasing the egg within one of the follicles) these crafty scientists further trick it by injecting Cetrotide, a drug that inhibits the ovulation…then, while the body is all confused and doesn’t know what on earth is going on (other than that it’s ovaries are bursting because there’s a lot more mature follicles than normal), they inject another drug (in this case Ovidrel) which is called the trigger because it causes ovulation 36 hours later…they’ve done the impossible – they’ve controlled a woman!

Your mom has been giving herself all these injections, and last night at precisely 23:00 she gave herself the trigger shot…well, it would have been precisely 23:00, but to make the point that she’s an independent and strong-willed woman she gave it to herself 5 minutes early – I think she showed them who’s boss!!

So now we wait…

Tomorrow morning, it’s off to the clinic again for both of us, nice and early. Your mom will be sedated and they will then hoover out these eggs from her innards – pretty cool stuff really. I’m not 100% sure on the timings, but sometime tomorrow morning, I will be ushered into the Wank Tank, little sterile container in hand, to provide the second half of the ingredients to be used later that day – because, after they’ve finished prepping the eggs retrieved from your mom, and washing the sperm provided by me, someone in that lab will be injecting a hand-selected sperm cell into each of the eggs…and viola…done and dusted – you’ve been conceived!

Well, that’s the theory anyway.

Then, we wait a day to see whether these eggs have fertilised…then we wait a few more days to see whether the fertilised eggs start cell division and the important business of growing into ebryo’s…then, we place a couple of them back into your mom’s inviting womb, and a good few months later, out you pop…sounds easy doesn’t it!

Then why the hell am I so bloody nervous…?

I can’t concentrate – I planned to get some work done today to take my mind off things and be productive (as I’ll be waiting on your mom hand and foot all day tomorrow)…but that didn’t work.

It turns out that this ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) is pretty stressful. Yeh, I know, I’ve been ‘in treatment’ for well over 9 months now, you’d think that this would not be news to me….but it’s gone up a notch or two – we’re at a whole new level now.

Previously, the stress was confined to a few days either side of tests, test results or FS appointments…the tension rising, peaking and falling, all in the space of a few days.

But now it’s been this slow build up – ever since we agreed to go ahead with IVF. The time since that decision was made, waiting for AF to show up (in complete contrast with every other AF visit where you’re hoping it doesn’t show), waiting for CD3 for the first scan, getting the all clear to start the cycle, starting the drugs, follow-up scans on Cycle Day’s 8, 11 and 12, seeing the follicles increase in number and size, getting the ER date and the instructions on the trigger…and now, today, a day of nothing…nothing but worrying, wondering and wishful thinking.

The pressure just seems to be building…if this was an action movie, we’d be seeing the pressure gauge needle slowly rising into the red zone…frantic music playing…waiting for whatever it is in the movie to blow up and kill everyone!!

And as I sit here thinking about it, I think that this pressure has been slowly building for a while now…from way before the decision to proceed with IVF this cycle, from before the last SA results, from before the results before that, from before I had sperm, from before our first FS visit…I think this pressure has been building since the day your mom looked at me with those big brown eyes I love so much, eyes filled with tears and a desperate longing as she told me she wanted to have a baby.

For me, the pressure has been building from that very moment.

And for your poor mom, it’s been even longer – because I know it was one of the hardest things she’s ever done, telling me that. It must have taken her weeks and weeks of bottling up these intense and heart-breaking feelings, before she plucked up the courage to tell me. She knew it was going to turn our world upside down, she knew it wasn’t going to be easy and that she may be asking for the impossible,  she knew it was going to cause us all sorts of pain and distress, but she plucked up the courage and told me. And so, over and above all the pressure I’m feeling, your mom’s been feeling even more, for even longer.

But, if there was any ever doubt about what an amazing woman your mom is, these last 18 or 19 months have proved it.

She’s doing so amazingly well. She’s calmer than I ever could have imagined – not in my wildest dreams did I think she’d deal with this IVF so well. And I’m convinced that the reason she’s doing so well is the incredible friends she’s made since being thrust into the world of infertility. The book-club ladies (and the rest of the ladies she’s met on the Fertilicare forum) have become the most incredible source of support and information you could imagine. Without them, I’m not sure either of us would be where we are now, neither of us would be coping as well as we are. I think this shared adversity has enabled them to bond in a way that normally takes years and years. They truly understand each other, they have empathy as well as sympathy – they’re all fighting the same battle, as different as all of their individual scenarios are – they’re more than just friends – they’re a team. And as all good teams do, they celebrate each others successes unreservedly, they share each others fears and pain unselfishly, and they really blow me away with their huge hearts.

And as much as it’s been an absolute privilege to watch them grow closer, it’s been difficult for me for entirely selfish reasons – it feels so lonely sitting on the outside looking in.

I desperately wish I had a group of friends like that. I wish I had people I could talk so honestly and openly to. I wish I was surrounded by people who understand, who’ve been through similar things, who’ve experienced what I’ve been experiencing – people who would SMS me with incredible words of support out of the blue, who make allowances for strange behaviours or mood swings. I wish there were a group of guys I could meet up with and sit round the table chatting about our feelings, worries, hopes and issues, without this masculine bullshit getting in the way. I wish I could tell them that I’ve spent the last three days feeling on the edge of tears, that I’m feeling like an emotional 8-year-old girl – going to burst into gut-wrenching sobs at the slightest provocation – and not knowing why I feel this way. I want to be able to tell them that I spent almost two hours in Reggies the other day looking at toys and clothes and bottles and bibs, without them looking at me like I’ve just sprouted horns. I want to tell them that I picked up a blue Baby Sense taglet for you Jed (the best doodoo blanket in the world), but that I put it back on the hanger before going to the till. That I found the cutest outfit for you Jade, but couldn’t take it home because that might be jinxing things just too much.  I wish I could tell them the absolute terror I feel at the thought of possibly needing a biopsy to get enough sperm for Monday’s ICSI, how I’ve become rather attached to my testicles now that they’re actually worth something and that the thought of anyone cutting them open makes me feel quite literally sick to the stomach – without them all looking embarrassed and finding the first opportunity to run for the door. I would love to sit with someone hearing about their issues and fears, what they’re experiencing and how they’re coping. Easing the pain and stress by the simple act of sharing – that old saying of a problem shared is a problem halved.

But, I’m a guy. We can’t do that kind of thing. We’re the support structure, not the thing needing support. The very word ‘masculine’ implies strength, nothing there about hopes and fears, worries and tears. Guys don’t talk about these things – it’s just not done. And no matter what anyone says, that’s the way it is.

So, I’ll continue to rejoice at the friends your mom has made over the last year or so, and appreciate the fact that them being there for your mom, helps me immeasurably too.

And we’ll head off to the clinic tomorrow for ER. I will hold your mom’s hand and give her as much encouragement and support as I can.  I’ll try to smother this emotion that seems to be trying to bubble out of me. I’ll do what needs to be done in the Wank Tank, hoping against hope that it’ll be sufficient to avoid the biopsy, but knowing that if it isn’t, that I’ll lay down on the table and let them slice me open, because I’ll do whatever it takes, whatever is necessary. And I’ll try my damnedest to do it all without whimpering like a little girl…

~ by HopelesslyTTC on 11/07/2010.

4 Responses to “ER – turning your daddy into a girly…”

  1. Yep – I am sure all men feel exactly the same way you do but for some bizzarre reason the world makes men feel they can’t let down their guard. This is a beautiful post and I know I am one of many who will be thinking about both you and MiW today. Wishing you both all the love and luck in the world.

  2. I hope things are going well. I hate to say if, but if you think the waiting for ER is bad, the next couple days waiting for fertilisation will be unbearable. And then the 2ww to find out the result of the cycle are really when you lose your mind.

    But I hope all goes well. Even if you need a biopsy, I assume they’ll try a fine needle biopsy. My husband’s been through that 11 times and says it’s not so bad It only hurts him afterwards if he forgets what’s gone on and flops down onto a chair. If you have a biopsy, be careful sitting down!

    But I hope everything goes swimmingly well!!!

  3. Shew…. that one left me a little choked up. I suppose sometimes it does suck to be a man!!! At least you have a blog to let all those pent up emotions out.
    I’m thinking of you guys today and just know that you’ll be updating us about your beautiful embabies.
    Good luck to you and MiW

  4. This post really got to me. Thank you for writing it, and I think I’m going to send it to my husband. Wishing you good luck, and hoping that all goes well.

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