When a man loves a woman, and a woman loves a man, they step into a room with a bed. The woman slips into something more comfortable–a hospital gown and no-skid socks. A third party enters, knocks the woman unconscious, and wheels her out of the room while the man is escorted into another room to look at porn.
This is how babies are (sometimes) made.
At least, this is how ours were. And it was amazing.
After trying for some time to have a child, Matt and I were diagnosed with his and hers fertility issues. His was high semen morphology, meaning 99% his sperm were shaped funny and therefore not as great at fertilizing eggs. Mine was endometriosis, a condition where tissue that should have only been found in my uterus started spreading to other places and acting a fool.
In March of 2012, we started fertility treatments. Eventually we ended up at IVF (in vitro fertilization), a procedure with a high success rate and a higher price tag. Lest you think we just had thousands of dollars saved up for a rainy, barren day, we had to take out a loan to finance most of the IVF process, and the rest we put on a credit card. (These embryos brought to you by Capital One.)
Fast forward through six weeks of needles and ultrasounds, and we arrive at our egg retrieval. Today, the fertility doctor will be removing eggs from my unconscious body and injecting each with Matt’s 1%. While the doctor is on his egg hunt, Matt is led to a private room to scrub up and “provide a fresh sample.” The staff at the fertility clinic has kindly furnished him with visual inspiration in the form of a magazine library that includes Jugs, Playboy, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicks With Dicks. Chicks with dicks tend to be just as infertile as chicks with endometriosis, so I don’t feel too threatened.
So, yes, I had to suffer through cramps and Matt had to suffer through an orgasm, but in the end it’s all worth it because we end up with two fertilized eggs sitting in a petri dish AND a bunch of free maxi pads! After letting them (the fertilized eggs, not the maxi pads) grow for four days in the lab, we return for the embryo transfer. Our doctor tells us that transferring one will give us about a 30% chance of pregnancy. Transferring both ups our chances to 50%. We’re all about improving our odds, so we tell him to double up.
The room where the transfer is going down feel less “clinic” and more “spa.” The lighting is soft, the robes are plush, and there’s even an iPod dock if you want to listen to music while you wait. Which begs the question, what do you play in this situation? “Two Tickets to Paradise”? “The Long and Winding Road?” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot?” “Mama, I’m Coming Home?” We opt for a respectful silence.
The embryologist wheels in a big incubator and lets Matt look through a microscope at the embryos. Next, the doctor takes them and carefully inserts them into their new digs with a catheter. Everyone in the room watches with bated breath as he releases the embryos, then they smile and wish us good luck in hushed tones. The procedure is a lot more reverent than I expected, which is kind of nice. We leave with an ultrasound photo of my uterus with two tiny white dots that say “Us” and the hope that in two weeks time, at least one of them will have hung on for dear life.
** I used a filter in Picfx to try to make my uterus and bladder more photogenic. Sadly, the filter was called “Crime Scene.” **