My egg collection is tomorrow morning at 9am.
How do I feel? There's a scene in the film Armageddon where one of the astronauts about to take off answers that same question. His verdict is: "98% excited, 2% scared. Or maybe it's more like 98% scared, 2% excited - it's hard to tell but that's what makes it so intense." That sums up my mindset this rainy, chilly evening.
I managed fine with the injections in the end. I got to be quite the dab hand with the old liquid siphoning by the finish. Inevitably on my last day I performed the maneouvre perfectly. Had my last morning injection been a gymnastic routine, I finished on the equivalent of a perfect en pointe dismount.
I managed to escape with only a little bit of thigh bruising and several sliced fingers, and the side effects haven't been as bad as I feared. I've suffered with migraines in the past so I was pretty well resigned to having one of those once the hormone cocktail kicked in, but I've avoided them so far. There was a thudding headache every day between day two and six, but a headache is very different to a migraine and I was able to cope.
The nerves I felt going for my first scan were about as jittery as anything I've experienced throughout this process. Because of my high FSH level I'd convinced myself there was a chance I might not respond at all. My big dread was the monitor revealing two stubbornly small and flaccid ovaries which had refused to produce so much as a pimple.
There was no need to worry. To be fair, the secret voice in my brain which is currently insisting that this whole thing might just work had told me I had nothing to worry about because I'd felt my ovaries kick in round about day five. It was the same feeling I had on Clomid - a sort of low ache, almost like you have wind, worse on the right side.
The head doctor at the clinic did my scan with her trademark - and actually increasingly appealing - no-nonsense style. The hell with KY jelly and easing it between my lips - the Renault was rammed, bammed and thank you mammed into me with very little in the way of opening pleasantries. Which suited me fine as I was burning to know what my pesky ovaries had been up to all that time. Despite the twinges I'd felt, it still seems weird that a little jab in your thigh flab every morning can make eggs grow there.
Immediately the doctor murmured "Oh, this is good," and I craned my neck to look at the screen. Even I could see them - oval, shadowy follicles clustered on my right ovary. She counted five, then twirled the Renault and located seven on the other side. Withdrawing the scanner with similar gusto to that with which she had introduced it, she proclaimed this to be excellent progress and sent me on my merry way with a view to presenting myself for a final scan on Saturday gone.
The jabs got a bit sorer after that, presumably because there wasn't much expanse of thigh flab left that hadn't already been skewered and injecting into a bruise isn't much fun. But I persisted and as I did the windy ovary pain got a bit worse each day, and my stomach started to bloat.
Saturday's scan went like a dream. I now have 14 follicles, seven on each side, all of which the doctor deemed to be the perfect size. I administered my hCG injection last night - it stung like a motherfucker, being cold out of the fridge, and the injection site on my beleaguered thigh flab is puffy and inflamed, but it is done and I now have no more needles to deal with. Hurrah and huzzah. I felt like cracking open the champers but since I've sworn off alcohol for the duration of this - might as well treat my body like a temple being the logic - I had to make do with water with lemon.
I've felt emotional but not as much as I feared. I imagined I'd be breaking down in tears at adverts, or howling in anguish on the train platform when I'd just missed one (both of which are exhibitions of myself I've been driven to previously by fertility woes).
But since the first scan revealed all was well, I've actually felt happier and more positive than I have for a while. It has to be said that this is down to some fairly wonderful caregiving by my legendary best friends, mind you. Friday night saw me not fretting and angsting over the next day's scan, but instead munching pizza, sipping peppermint tea and giggling in my PJs on their sofa. To be distracted, taken care of and amused during this nightmare has been wonderful.
So now. A short description of my physical state.
My stomach is distended like a malnourished orphan and I fancy that I can feel every one of those 14 follicles jostling for position on my ovaries.
I have unpainted toenails, as instructed by my egg collection admission form, which also forbids me from wearing makeup (unthinkable; surely a slick of mascara won't harm my eggs), deodorant (but cunningly, I have bought an odourless organic one - a girl doesn't want to be smelly), perfume or body lotion.
(It is worth pointing out that I have not had unpainted toenails for longer than it takes to remove one coat and apply another for at least 15 years. I always thought I had quite pretty feet but it turns out it was the varnish making them so. They are butt ugly naked. My nails are a sort of pallid yellow colour - as a result, one imagines, of nearly two decades of continuous varnish-wearing - and they look bigger, ganglier and sort of masculine. I hate them. My mother - from whom I inherited my obsession with toenail varnishing - was appalled.)
I now need to pack my bag - I'm instructed to bring a dressing gown, slippers (with which I can hide my unattractive feet, thank fuck), a toilet bag and a favourite CD with me. Then it's early to bed in the hope of some sleep. I'm not allowed to eat or drink after midnight, because of the sedative they'll give me. I'm to be there for 9am.
I'm told I may not remember the procedure - I bloody hope I don't - but I'll do my best, tomorrow or as soon as I feel well enough, to describe what I do recall here.
I very badly wish all this was over. But while I'm anxious, I know this is just another hurdle I need to get over in my quest to get what I want more than anything in the world.
Wish me luck.
Monday, 14 December 2009
My egg collection is tomorrow morning at 9am.