In the spring, at Easter time, a middle-aged woman's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of...eggs.
What, you thought I was going to say love? In hopes that Lord Tennyson will pardon my paraphrase, I've got to go with Tina Turner on this one: What's love got to do with it? I won't even be in the building when my husband's bashful sperm are introduced (via ICSI) to my donor's pretty eggs, sometime next week.
Today I went to my RE's office for an ultrasound of my uterine lining and some bloodwork. They had to stick me twice to get my blood because I'm dehydrated, having been a victim of the flu recently. This was not so good, as I loathe needles. Later, the RE made up for it in giggles by making ballpoint-pen x's on my butt, in his earnest efforts to convey to my husband where he is to inject the progesterone-in-oil to get it into the muscle. I'm laughing all over again thinking about tonight: "Honey, I want you to look at my butt. No, really."
I took the opportunity to ask how our donor is doing. She was in this past Tuesday and has 11 follicles, all about the same size. This is a good thing, so that none are underdone or overcooked when she takes her trigger HCG shot. She will be checked again tomorrow. Then we'll know the exact dates of egg retrieval and transfer.
I must admit, although I would never wish either discomfort or the danger of overstimulation on our kind donor, that I had hoped for a few more follicles. My RE says that, as a grossly generalized rule of thumb, 50% are lost at every stage of the game. So, if we have 11, just 5-6 will be retrieved, and of those, 2.5-3 will fertilize and grow; if 2 are transferred to me, one may survive and grow into a baby. To the doctor, by those rules, 11 follicles is the perfect number, since a healthy singleton pregnancy is his ultimate goal.
But me, I'm both greedy and broke. I was hoping that we'd have enough embryos from this cycle to have two children, whether that's twins or by freezing embryos we don't use this time around. I plan to tell my child(ren) about their donor egg origins, and there's no way to know how they will feel about it. It could be important to them to have a full sibling. It will be years before we can afford to do this again, win or lose.
Oh well. Note to self: Self, stop the insanity. Don't worry about what you can't control, and by the way, how about a little gratitude for what you have? (Self's answer: "Shut. Up.")
My lining, by the way, was plush like a velvet Elvis picture: 12mm. The RE said they look for anything over 6mm. Padded walls for the embryos' playroom, I guess is the idea. The better for implantation, and making themselves to home.
Is it my fault I'm the type of woman who, when confronted with such good fortune, immediately wonders, "Is it too thick?"
Quite obviously, I'm the one who needs the padded walls. Infertility in general -- and donor egg in particular -- is crazy-making. It can create a schizofrenic where none was before. You think things like, "I'm so happy...in about a week I might be pregnant...Oh God I'm so scared, in a week I might be pregnant!" I long for the days when getting pregnant was a simple concept.
Doing donor egg is like standing in line all day at an amusement park, waiting to board the big rollercoaster. You shelled out big bucks just to get into the park. You're hot and impatient and bored while you wait. You mutter complaints to your husband about how long this is taking and wonder aloud whether it'll be worth it. You stand on your tiptoes to peer ahead at the front of the line, longing to be where those people are. You think you'll never get there, and then you do. At last.
But once you are actually on the ride, chugging up the hill toward that first big drop, your thoughts are more like this: "I'm so scared I'm so scared I'm so scared omigod why did I want to do this I'm so scared...!" Then you drop. You're falling. And you scream, in exhilaration and fear, all mixed up with total delight. That's what donor egg feels like to me.
So far, so good. Waiting to fall.