Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The Boyfriend Chair

I feel sorry every day that K has to go through all of this because of me. All the magic being drained from the idea of natural conception, never seeing the look of surprise on your partner's face when you tell him he's going to be a father. These are things I feel like I've stolen from her and can't give back; and that's not even taking into consideration the countless uncomfortable procedures, needles, and the costs that come with the fertility treatments.

Even through all of that, she still tells me she can't wait to have a little Lefty running around, with blue eyes and spiky blonde hair like mine, getting into all kinds of trouble - and I know she must love me because she's married to me and she knows how much trouble I can get into. I imagine having a little K too, with long blonde hair, and huge brown eyes that you can see well up with big fat tears when she gets to hold a bunny, or a cat...or any animal at all, because she loves them so much - just like her mom. A curious mini-K that plays with dolls and hosts tea parties, but also wears cowboy boots and helps dad out in the garage, and wants to learn how to change oil and build stuff. Ya, we're both a little baby crazy at this point, but I feel like we've earned the right.

K was booked for a saline ultrasound to have a look inside her uterus to make sure there weren't any fibroids (whatever those are) or cysts inside that could hinder our shot at a successful pregnancy. Since I had the day off I decided to go with her to the appointment and being the supportive husband I am, asked if she would like me to come in with her. She immediately said no, which had me feeling partly relieved, and partly disappointed. Relieved because I really wasn't sure how I felt about seeing my wife, laid out on a table, with the doctor (K's fertility buddies have nicknamed him "Doctor McDreamy") poking around in her undercarriage, and disappointed because I'm genuinely interested in the process and felt like I was missing out. Lucky (and unlucky) for me, while we were in the waiting room, K had a sudden change of heart and decided I could come in with her.

We were escorted to a little change room and K was asked to disrobe below the waist, enter the exam room, sit on the bed, and cover up with the giant napkin. Once K was ready, the nurse came in and noticing that I didn't know what to do with myself directed me to the "husband chair" at the head of the bed (which reminded me subtly of the "boyfriend chair" I had used outside change rooms in my younger years when I was forced to follow my girlfriends around the mall and tell them how great they looked in everything they tried on). Shortly after that the doc came in and I realized that my intuition had been correct on many levels. Watching "McDreamy" messing around under my wife's napkin was just as awkward as I thought it would be. When he took out out the stainless steel speculum I simultaneously felt a sudden rush of gratitude that I was born a dude and wondered if my being there might be just as awkward for him as it was for me. However, when he pulled out the Harry Potter wand and covered it with a condom and a DQ swirl of lube, all the awkwardness faded away and curiosity took over. It was very interesting to see the inside of K's uterus on ultrasound and watch as they slowly injected the giant syringe of saline solution which could be clearly seen on the screen. The doc said this would likely cause some cramping and I kept checking K's face to see if she needed me (like I could do anything about it anyway), but she took it like a champ. Turns out K was still as healthy as a horse (an expression I've never really understood) and the doctor instilled some optimism about our chances of reaching our goal.

After the ultrasound we had some time to kill so I trudged behind K to a Starbucks in the nearby mall where she stocked up on her newly limited single daily dose of caffeine. Then over to the David's Tea, so K could show me her "super-ultra-favorite tea, Just Peachy". And then we wandered through The Bay and looked at furniture, where the "husband chair" seriously started to resemble the "boyfriend chair" before we made our way back to the clinic for our afternoon of injection teaching.

Giving needles isn't a new thing for K, as an EMT it's a big part of her job. Giving them to herself, however, is definitely new territory and with IVF comes several daily self-injections that must be administered on a strict schedule. To help ease some of the responsibility and maybe some of the anxiety of having to jab a needle into herself, I also came with her to injection teaching to learn how to administer her injections (I say that all proud and self-righteous but truthfully I just wanted to learn to give needles). The nurse took us into a little training room and extracted from the cabinet what I call the "Star Trek Needle", a regular syringe, some little mixer things, and the Easy Button.

We started with the space needle, which is a pre-loaded syringe (kind of like an epi-pen) which was super easy to use. Basically you just turn the dial to the correct dose, pop off the cap, "pinch-an-inch" of belly skin, jab the needle in all the way, and push down on the button. Then when you're done, if there wasn't enough medication in the syringe left for a full dose, it calculates and tells you how much of a dose you have to give yourself with your next medication pen. Fancy right?

We moved on to the regular syringe which was a little less intuitive, but K's experience let her breeze through it. It required mixing a powder medication with saline in one of the little mixer things, taking it up in the syringe, and injecting it, again in the belly. I asked the nurse if all the injections were administered in the abdomen, when she said yes, K noticed the disappointed look on my face and made sure to mention to  the nurse that I was sad I didn't get to jab a needle in her bum. Obviously I didn't get to stick K in this training session at all but they gave us a little red hockey puck shown in the picture to inject with the needle. I kept imagining it singing back to us "That Was Easy!".