The Golden Goose
“Ooouch!!! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! No! Wait! Hold on!” I shrieked dramatically. My husband is still at least 15 feet away from me.
“I haven’t even taken it out yet,” he says grimacing at me.
“Ok, I know...but still. Hold on. Let me figure this out” I plead. I really needed an Oscar for this performance because I was doing too much. You would think that I’d be used to it by now. We’d done this routine every day for weeks and I still had to mentally prepare for it every time. What a crybaby.
I decided that I didn’t have any other choice, it had to get done. I relaxed myself on the bed and lift up my tank top. I watch my husband walk over to my bedside. I close my eyes and take some deep breaths making up songs to take my mind off of what I’ve been dreading all evening.
“Ow, ow, ow! It’s not gonna hurt! Nope, nope, nope” I sing in my highest Mariah-esque soprano.
My husband stands over me looking annoyed.
“Ok...Are you ready?”
“Yes, just hurry up and get it over with,” I say, wincing.
“Wait, how do you want it this time? I mean where?”
Rolling my eyes I point to the right side of my abdomen. “Here.”
He grabs a sterile cotton pad and adds some cleaning solution and cleans the area on my abdomen that I’d just pointed at.
He then takes a needle that has already been perfectly measured with the hormones given to us by Shady Grove Fertility. These magical drugs are what will grow the eggs inside of me and add some extra too. Holding the needle in one hand and grabbing a love handle in the other, he injects the needle’s contents into me. He does the same thing once more with another needle on the opposite side.
Ahhhhh. This isn’t so bad. It was nothing more than a pinch. But I couldn't help but seeing Edward Scissorhands each time he walked toward me with those needles.
Each night around 10:00 pm, when MJ made it home from work, we went through this routine. Me being dramatic and screaming like a maniacal drunk and my husband laughing and shaking his head at me.
Then, every two days I would drive to Shady Grove Fertility before work for blood work and again on the weekends too.
More.effing.needlesssss. Have I told you guys that needles freak me TF out?! Yeah, needles galore.
In each of these appointments after the blood work is done, they have me go into a room, undress from the waist down and they then insert this vibrator looking tool that’s basically covered in lube. The correct term for what they are doing is a vaginal ultrasound but I like my colorful description much better. This ultrasound allows them to see how the eggs are developing. If they weren’t sticking the vibrator like object up my lady parts, sometimes they’d just squirt this jelly on my stomach for the ultrasound, just like they do in the movies.
It was definitely a slow start with getting the eggs to grow, but as the weeks went by the nurses would comment, “Oh yes, they’re getting nice and big. We just need a little bit more time.” I felt like a turkey that they were trying to fatten up for the Thanksgiving office potluck.
Minus the needles, I kind of enjoyed this part of the journey. Each time I went into that room for an ultrasound, I would look over at the eggs on the screen and think about the joy I’d experience being able to use these eggs to one day make my very own baby. Sounds so...Hallmark-y but it's true. I didn’t want a baby right that second but the fact was that if I did want one, I would have to wait. When the time comes, I will be ready, I will be stronger and I will be better because of this journey and all of the things that I’ve learned along the way. It is such a beautiful thing to think about. A beautiful silver lining.
Finally, a gazillion pokes and prods later, I was given the green light. It was time for the trigger shot.
Whoohoo! The eggs were ready for retrieval! Timing between the trigger shot and egg retrieval are key. Otherwise, 4 weeks of allllll of this shit will be for nothing.
An appointment was scheduled, and bright and early 72 hours later my husband was chauffeuring me to Towson, MD where these golden goose eggs would be retrieved, popped in their carton, and frozen.
I was a ball of nerves on the drive over. I would be put under general anesthesia for this. What would that be like? Anesthesia puts you sound asleep? Like, sound, sound? Who am I a Disney Princess? Light Skinderella? I was skeptical, like I was about most things. Egg retrieval meant putting some sort of needle up my whoo-ha and a needle to sedate me so that I didn't feel the needle going up said whoo-ha. Oh God, what if the drugs wore off in the middle of the procedure and all they did was stuff a rag in my mouth like in an episode of MASH?!
As usual, my husband talks me down off the ledge. I could get myself so worked up sometimes. Ok, stop it, Jennifer. It's going to be fine. We arrive so early that the doors to the building aren’t even open yet. We flag down a security guard to let us in.
We get to the office, sign in and wait for my name to be called. I nervously bite my lip and sit there in silence. After waiting 20 minutes or so, my name is called and they tell me that I will need to go with the nurse to the back and that my husband can come in once I have changed.
There is a big open room. There are about 8 beds in the room about 7 feet apart, all of which are separated by curtains that give you just enough privacy. I guess you didn't need THAT much privacy but it was still kind of odd to me. The nurse hands me a medical gown and tells me to get fully undressed and she will be back momentarily. The nurse returns quickly and asks if I’m ready.
“Ready?! But wait, I haven’t even kissed my husband goodbye!,” I scream with panic as I shook this woman violently by her shoulders. Well, I did all this in my head.
“Ummm, ready for?” I ask with nervousness in my voice. “I thought I had more time.”
Lord, Jennifer. You are just getting eggs removed today, not dying.
“Oh I just need to take you to get weighed and then we will come right back, and I will check your vitals, put in your IV and bring your husband back to sit with you until we are ready for the egg retrieval,” the nurse explains.
“Oh,” I exhale, relieved. Wait, ANOTHER NEEDLE?!
The nurse directs me to follow her across the room. Ummm, does she not remember that I am butt ass naked in this gown that opens in the back? I poke my head out and only see a group of nurses standing around in a circle talking about who knows what. Probably Powerball numbers or something irrelevant that people talk about at work. Ugh. Unprofessional asses. I scamper behind the nurse and hold the back of the gown closed with my right hand.
I step on the scale and the nurse jots my weight down on the chart and instructs me to head back to my bed. My husband is brought in shortly after. I lay there acting like I was about to go in for a lobotomy. MJ rolls his eyes and I start laughing.
“They’re about to give me an IV? Did you know they were going to give me an IV?!” I say in a panicked whisper with my eyes bulged out.
“How else did you think they were going to put you under anesthesia babe?” he says whispering.
In walks the nurse. “I’m ready to take your vitals and insert your IV.”, she says with a smile.
“Ok, hold my hand,” I say to MJ, being melodramatic.
My blood pressure is taken and the IV is inserted into my wrist, all without me passing out. Win!
It was still early. I don't think it was even 7:30 am yet.
I lay there talking about my nervousness to MJ who is folding my clothes neatly and probably hoping that they will hurry up and come to sedate me. I whine to MJ to take a few selfies with me while we wait, his least favorite thing to do. He obliges and shortly afterward the nurse calls for me to come with her. “What, you can't roll me in this bed as they do in the movies?”, I think to myself.
There I am, ass out again, peeking my head out like some burglar trying not to get caught. This time was different though. There are other patients in their beds also waiting for their golden goose eggs to be retrieved. AH! I walk swiftly behind the nurse rolling the IV stand with one hand and closing the back of my gown to prevent myself from showing everyone this J. Lo booty with the other. “It's because I’m black”, I laugh quietly to myself.
I arrive at the “operating room”. This is where the magic is about to happen. It’s a bright, sterile room. There are about 4 or 5 medical staff inside.
ALLLLLLLLLLL these people about to be up in my whoo-ha?, I think to myself.
They instruct me to lay in this chair that looks like one you’d find in a dentist's office but this one has stirrups at the foot of it. I don’t know why all of this is so surprising. How else were they going to get these eggs out? Maybe some part of me thought I was going to squat and lay them?
They have me lay in the chair and they put this covering over my knees. They tell me to scoot down and open wider. I crack them open a little. Oh shit! Are they about to get started?! I jerk my body forward to look at the doctor down below. “Um, you’re not sticking anything in there yet, right? I’m not even asleep yet.” I say anxiously.
As soon as those words fly out of my mouth, over walks a woman with a smile that almost puts me in a trance. She tells me that she is my anesthesiologist and asks me to tell her my name and date of birth.
I blurt out the info and then fire off my questions of my own. “You guys aren’t going to get started until I fall asleep right? And what if I wake up during the procedure? You’ll give me more drugs, right? ”
She laughs a little as if I’m some precious little puppy begging pathetically for a treat. “You’ll be just fine. I’ll be right here the entire time.”
This woman probably makes at least 350k annually and is pretty damn high on the medical totem pole. Why am I questioning her on how to do her job?
“Ok.” I lean back in the chair and open my legs wide.
“I’m going to give you the anesthesia now ok?”
She inserts the anesthesia into my I.V. and not even before it can get in there good, I say, “I’m not asleep yet! It's not working. I need more.”
The anesthesiologist laughs again and tells me to count backward from 10. I drift into a deep sleep and wake up an hour later right back behind the curtain where I started. My husband sits next to me.
Ooooh, that was good sleep. I was in a groggy sleep that I didn’t want to wake up from. The nurse comes to check on me. “Ok, we are going to let you lay here for half an hour or so and then have you walk around to make sure you are ok to be released.”
30 minutes passes by and I’m still a little loopy. How do I know? Because the nurse has me make a lap in front of everyone and I didn't even think to close the back of my medical gown this time around. I mooned every person in the vicinity I’m sure. Ooopsie!
The 4 long weeks of hormone injections were well worth it because they extracted 19 eggs.
You get an egg! You get an egg! And you get an egg! Hahaha.