Monday, May 26, 2014

Wherein I share quite a lot of information about my body (word to the squeamish)

Hello blog. Things round here have been a bit unbloggable. I had a super-dooper writing deadlion mid-month, and almost as soon as that was over we began Operation Make an Embryo. Y'see, despite the fact that we're all about the self-replicating organic systems round here (the tamarillo and artichoke forest, the free-range beehive, the heirloom yoghurt culture, the sourdough culture, the weeing into a watering can, the compost heap of singular joy), it turns out we're not very good at getting our own personal gametes into anything resembling a baby. Not for want of trying, I might add. For three and a half increasingly pessimistic years.

Some of my dearest peops have lived with (and in some happy cases, overcome) infertility, so I always knew it was a thing. I always knew it could be our thing, too. But so what, I'd thought. What the world doesn't need is more human reproduction, and if I had love to spend, surely I could spend it on already existing people, or on Harriet and Bea Cat, or, in moments of desperation, on broccoli seedlings. Then two years passed, and still no foetus, and we decided we'd see a doctor, and do what we could, but we wouldn't try IVF. Not for us. If we claimed to love children so much, after all, then why spend thousands and thousands of dollars on trying for a sprog who might never come into being when there are whole communities of kids in this country who get recurrent ear infections, and all that means, for want of decent medicine.

I'm not quite sure what happened, but some kind of beyond-rational, beyond-ethical yearning kicked in, and so I'm currently typing this in bed, lying down for an hour to stop this morning's progesterone pessary from falling out of my birth canal. Fifteen days ago I started nightly injections with a truly foul follicle stimulating hormone called Gonal (sounds like "gonad", gettit?).  Gonal makes the ovaries ripen lots of eggs simultaneously, rather than your usual monthly egg or two. Six days later, I began supplementing the Gonal injections with Cetrotide injections, to stop the ovarian follicles from releasing the eggs too early. Last week, I hauled myself, my thoroughly punctured lower abdomen, and my tender ovaries to the radiographer and got my innards frisked with a trans-vaginal ultrasound wand (twice) and had blood taken (twice) to determine how the follicles were going. Then on Thursday night I plunged another syringe into my tummy, with Ovidrel, which encourages the follicles to begin the great egg release.

They retrieved the eggs on Saturday. Only eight, mostly from Lefty, which is apparently quite a modest clutch as Gonal-induced egg-making goes. As far as I know, the eggs have spent the rest of the weekend getting to know Tim's sperm, living it up in a serum extracted from the blood of US citizens and sold by the US Red Cross. Romantic, eh? I'll find out later today how many embryos have made it, and then we'll look into implanting one of them into my comfy uterus sometime this week. Meanwhile, I'm feeling pretty poked about. I did my first serious poo since the egg retrieval surgery last night, had to strain just a little bit, and for the next half hour felt like my ovaries would explode. In my moments of more self-pitying wimpiness, I've had to remember that the experience of having the back of one's vagina slightly nicked and one's ovaries rummaged ain't nothing compared to the experience of having a galumphing great baby exiting through an unsuitably small aperture.

So, in short, there's been quite a bit of hoping round here, and trying not to hope too hard, and preparing emotionally for the very likely event that this round won't work, and counting blessings, and contemplating our finances (we've spent around $9000 so far, $1000 of which was donated by my gorgeous sister K, and Medicare will give us a few thousand back (thank you so much, taxpayers), but good golly, that is a lot of money), and trying to be healthy, and remembering that other aspects of one's life, of necessity, go on. And I keep thinking about those little embryos (how many?) in their dishes and hoping one of them gets to become a person.