11/23/2005

A tale of one girl and her retrieval

Despite all of the fabulous advice dispensed recently, I was still a complete nervous mess yesterday. We left the house at 6.15am, a time of day I only see once annually when we are flying to the States. I hadn't eaten or had even a sip of water since 8pm the night before, which is disasterous when you have low blood sugar and take Metformin. We drove to a town outside London, parked, and took the train into the city. It wasn't too involved, but I kept picturing my drugged and pained self hopping on and off two trains before returning to the car. I quietly asked The Dude to look after me on the trip back so that I did not drool or let my eyes roll back in my head.

I was giddy at the concept of going to a clinic on Harley Street, which is a posh area of London with some of the best private medical facilities in the country. Thalia and other Londoners are probably thinking, "It's not that posh", but it is to this bumpkin from Bumblefuck, Pennsylvania. The clinic is based in a gorgeous old house, with my only complaint with the decor being the wallpaper. Tasteful and probably appropriate for the age of the house, but they should know that I detest wallpaper as it is the devil in decorative form.

A male doctor summoned The Dude soon after arrival to make his mark in all of this. He was taken away down a long and winding staircase to wank his worries away. All I could think was you lucky bastard. I sat in the waiting room nervously tapping my fingers and pretending to read a book while he got to masturbate. Not a bad deal for him. Soon after he disappeared I was was called by a woman I shall call Nurse Jolly.

Nurse Jolly is a lovely maternal woman with a beautiful Scottish accent. The words "darlin" and "luv" are prominent in her conversation which is something I usually find grating but this time found comforting. When she took my blood pressure and commented that it was high, she stroked my forearm and said, "It's a wee bit high my darlin, a bit nervous are we?" and then frowned as if she too was ready to have a monstrous needle shoved up her cooter.

The final issue of business was the matter of painkillers. Fine. I love them. The more the better. However, I do not like them when they are introduced like this by Nurse Jolly - "Now luv, we will issue a painkiller by suppository. The doctor will need to insert the suppository UP (cue motion of her shoving a finger, uh, up something) your back passage. Could you please sign here to indicate that it is ok for the doctor to put the suppository UP the back passage?" I paused, looking at her incredulously. I was repulsed at the thought, but common sense soon prevailed and I came to the realisation that though the back passage has remained untouched by medical staff up to this point, it's one less thing I have to worry about being introduced to in the future.

After we got all the administrative and pre-op stuff out of the way, I met The Dude back in the waiting room. He had a big stupid grin on his face and was eager to tell me of his sojourn. He gave the facilities a 6 out of 10, complaining they were a bit too "clinical" (Really?!?! In a clinic?), and slagged off their porn collection. He felt as if they could have gone the more Jenna Jameson route, less Ron Jeremy. I cringed in horror at the thought of Ron Jeremy getting a blow job and tried to focus on the task at hand. I tried to drop barely-a-whisper hints to The Dude that I would have to endure a suppository given by someone other than myself, but he wasn't getting my clues nor my subtle "up the ass" motions. I grabbed a pen and bit of paper from my bag, scribbled "Suppository. They put it up the wrong 'un", at which point it was his turn to be repulsed. Fear not, I crumpled the paper up again and put it in my bag. Imagine coming upon that note on the floor of the waiting room.

A half hour passed, when I was collected from the waiting room by Dr Near Death. Dr Near Death appeared to be about 800 years old, with a slightly hunched back and veiny, arthritic looking hands. That said, when he uttered the words, "I am the anaesthesiologist", I nearly grabbed The Dude and ran out the door. Dr Near Death instructed me to get changed into the gown and robe, and said he would meet me again in theatre*. Once I changed, a new nurse, Nurse Abrupt, led me into the room where I met with Dr Near Death and Nurse Jolly again. Nurse Jolly asked me if I had taken out my contacts yet, and I said that I wanted to wait until the last possible moment given my blindness without them. Nurse Abrupt rolled her eyes, annoyed at the cheek of someone to want to see before surgery. Nurse Jolly countered her look with, "The poor dear is nearly blind. She cannae see without them! Cannae see!**" She said it really loudly too, as if I was also nearly deaf.

Sans contacts, I sat up on the chair, with Dr Near Death instructing me to bare my arms so he could scope for veins. He kept shuffling back and forth, and said at least twice, "Now where did I put..." while looking around for lost needles and absent drugs. I closed my eyes and took deep breaths, hoping that his dementia would at least taper off during my surgery. At this time Dr Stranger came in, given this name because it was the first time I saw him and I didn't see him much after the surgery either. Dr Near Death started sticking needles in my arm, and I got no further than, "Now think happy thou...." and I was out.

I became aware at some point of jabbing and quite extreme pain. When a moment of pain hit, I would do something with my thigh, though I'm not altogether sure what that was. Someone kept putting a reassuring palm on my thigh when this happened, but as my eyes were closed I don't know who it was. This is when I heard the mention of four eggs that I talked about yesterday. I was still heavily under the influence of whatever they doped me up on, so beyond hearing and touch my other senses had abandoned me. I felt like when you are waking up from a deep sleep and cannot make sense of what is real, and what is imagined. I was lamenting the four eggs comment made by Nurse Abrupt, but then things would get foggy and I'd drift off momentarily. Not long after that Nurse Abrupt did the suppository thing, which I felt, but was too spacy to battle against.

I was scooted to the end of the table and ushered into a wheelchair. Despite my head feeling like a very large helium balloon, I was surprised at how well I felt. Nurse Abrupt glared at me and mentioned that 11 eggs were retrieved, which made me feel much better as I was still clinging to the four I heard mentioned earlier. I was taken to the recovery area, covered with a heavy blanket, and given coffee and biscuits. The Dude came in to sit beside me, and I could not stop gushing about how much I loved my retrieval. I kept saying, "I want to do it again" with zeal that should not be used in connection with IVF. The Dude just nodded his head and told me to eat my biscuits and shut up. I got my contacts back, and even after putting them in, kept asking The Dude if I could have them.

After a half an hour or so, Nurse Jolly came back, laden with three boxes of suppositories which she instructed me to insert up the infamous back passage. Knowing my fondness for this expression, The Dude snorted. We are so mature. I was given the all clear to get dressed, so I trudged along to the changing room, relieved that the hard part was over.

Leaving the changing room was a woman that was in the waiting room earlier. As I was entering, I said something to her about the door being unlocked so she would know she didn't have to fiddle with it. She thanked me and then wished me good luck. Still under the influence of whatever it was Dr Near Death gave me I wanted to cry at those kind words. British people don't talk to strangers in enclosed spaces, so I was taken aback and moved that she said that. Being an absolute imbecile, I just said thank you, without reciprocating the good wishes. So, if you are a blog-reader and happen to make the mistake of reading this blog, thank you, and good luck to you as well.

I am feeling fine today. I have been tired since yesterday, but I'm hoping with all the sleeping I did today that the tiredness will dissipate. Now that the retrieval is done with, I am worrying about the transfer. I know the transfer itself is easy, but now I'm concerned with what they will have to transfer. I phoned the embryologist today, and apparently only 6 of the 11 fertilised. I'm really disappointed with this, and obsessing that the remaining six won't develop as they should. I'm trying desperately to just see what happens on Friday, but it's difficult to invest so much physically, emotionally and financially and not worry about it. I guess only time will tell.

*Theatre: Operating room in Britspeak.
**My attempt to write with a Scottish accent. I know I'm no Irvine Welsh.

19 comments:

thalia said...

Your story doesn't disappoint, thank you for the funnies. I love the scottish accent, it worked for me. Did they leave you sitting in a wheelchair in the waiting room? That seems a little abrupt. They may have some posh real estate but they're not wasting it on having you lying down, I see.

6/11 is disappointing but not disastrous. Hopefully six will keep going, but at the very least we want TWO TO PUT BACK!

Transfer is a doddle, honestly, apart from the 'comfortably full bladder'. My recommendation is drink and eat as normal that morning, go to the loo about an hour before you're due there, then drink about 750 ml of water over that next hour. Then it will be nice and full, but not too full. Depending on what your bladder can manage, I guess.

Well done on having survived this far. I'm thinking of those happy little embryos rapidly turning into four cells as we type.

cat said...

Hoping that after all that hoopla you get only good news.

Theater! Were there others watching?

Oh my. Good luck!

Manuela said...

I love your description of Nurse Jolly and 'up the back passage'... a good chuckle indeed... and very visual.

Try to rest as much as you can... and let us do all the positive thinking about your embryos!

Pamplemousse said...

What is it about these London clinics and their obsession with things up the back passage? Eeeek! It disnae happen here.

Glad you made it through, in your own inimitable style. Sending you lots of dividing and growing embryo thoughts in a Scottish stylee.

I am away for the next few days so I will catch up with the good transfer news on Friday night. Hoots mon!!

DD said...

You slay me, really! ;D

Thanks for a very *colorful* description - hand motions and all.

You should have left the note about the supp as a secret warning to those that follow.

Good Luck!!!

Lut C. said...

Thank goodness procedures as this are only necessary once in a while. Sounds exhausting.

Good luck with this cycle.

Lori said...

Loved the recounting of the "up the back passage" issues. What a diplomatic phrase to describe something so, um, unpleasant. At least you sufficiently loopy from the drugs so it didn't cause any permanent emotional scarring.
I hope you're getting lots of rest. I'll be rooting for those fertilized eggs to grow like crazy.

Suz said...

Congratulations on having survived everything and I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for your six.

MC said...

Loved the story. I wish mine was as entertaining, it generally consists of me waiting around and deciding that this is definately the last time I go to the toilet before the procedure.

J and I are immature at ER he reminds me of how many people will be viewing my muff and we piss ourselvs laughing.

Six is a nice number. good luck with transfer.

DeadBug said...

Six is a good, solid number. Chances are really good that you'll have two strong candidates come transfer day.

The suppository thing is cracking me up. Such an uncomfortable way to administer pain relief! Then again, all I got was a few tabs of Tylenol, and I probably could have used some real pain relief on my first cycle.

Imagining your six growing and dividing perfectly, my dear.

Best,
Bugs

Ova Girl said...

Well done, you did splendidly! I hope your 6 go well. Lots and lots of luck and multiple crossed fingers. And make sure that back passage gets some rest! Och!

Susie said...

Congratulations on a successful retrieval! I'll be crossing my fingers for two good ones to transfer (and some to freeze, too).

And hey, I used to live in Bumblefuck, Pennsylvania as well!

Lindy said...

With my luck, I would have ended up dropping that note out of my purse at some inopportune moment. Probably in front of my mother-in-law.

Six fertilized is perfectly respectable.

I know exactly what you mean about the transfer. I wasn't at all worried about the procedure, but I was terrified of hearing what they had to put back.

fisher queen said...

'The back passage' sounds like something out of Lewis and Clarke. Very funny. Six IS a good number. Good luck!

Lisa said...

I feel EXACTLY the same way about wallpaper. Pure evil. I'm glad the retrieval went well and I'm hoping for nothing but good news from you from now on.

Molly said...

Six out of eleven is great, Pru. GREAT. I can't wait to hear how transfer went.

Congrats. And remember, only stick those things up your back passage when you are SUPPOSED to. No doing it "just for fun."

T said...

So you have painkillers for your ass? Is this what you're saying? Nicely done! 6 is good - remember it only takes - well for me five, but I'm ancient and you're a young lively thing (joking here, JOKING!). Loved the recap - my favorite was definitely that you wanted to do it again - welcome my fellow druggie!

I'm the dissenter - I always hated transfer (it really is nothing) - but I hate pap smears and all that shite too. Guess I'd just rather have drugs when a near stranger is down below...

Good luck - can't wait to hear how it goes!

thalia said...

Pruuu - how did it go today?

Jenn said...

Hope everything went well today.