The nurse asks that we arrive an hour before my 10:00 am procedure. My friend and today’s designated driver, Mandi, agrees to pick me up at 8:30 am. On our way to the clinic, I envy the purple plastic travel cup resting next to her seat. My medical instructions from the day before: no eating or drinking after midnight. I’m beginning to feel the effects. Of course because it’s forbidden, I now fully appreciate my freedom of consuming beverages.
We find a parking space after a few minutes of winding through the dimly lit levels of the garage. On our way to the stairwell I remind myself, “P5, two spots from the end, next to the black truck with big tires.” We reach the bottom of the stairs and join Hilari in the lobby to grab the elevator. As the lift rises to the 14th
floor, my stomach ripples with butterflies.
The clinic waiting room is overflowing with egg freezers, donors, IVF-ers and their partners. We make ourselves at home in the hallway; Hilari rolls the camera for an interview. I’m getting nervous; I can feel myself start to sweat. A few minutes later, the nurse calls my name.
With Mandi behind me and Hilari filming ahead, I follow the nurse into the pre-op room. She instructs me to change in the bathroom and hands me four items: the biggest
hospital gown I’ve ever seen and could probably fit four of me, a blue paper shower cap, a pair of thick black socks with white tread on the bottom and a plastic bag for my “belongings".
Leaving the bathroom, the only thing I can think about is the stupid paper shower cap on my head. Feeling like the mushroom lady from Mario Brothers, I quickly shuffle across the linoleum to my assigned bed. As I pass the camera, I strategically
maneuver my backside from the lens. I’m simultaneously grateful that my less than fashionable socks have tread. I hop into bed with the help of a silver and
black step-stool and the nurse covers my legs with a heavy white sheet.
In the next ten minutes: a nurse asks me a long list of medical questions, I sign more forms, I meet the intern assisting the doctor, the anesthesiologist introduces herself and Dr. Bendikson comes in to check on me.
The anesthesiologist stops back by to put in an IV. In the past, I would have
been anxiety ridden about the needle. Now, I feel like – another needle; no biggie. My four year old self should be proud. She’s come a long way from a doctor and three
nurses wrestling to pry her small fists open to gain access to a single finger for
one little drop of blood.
It’s almost time to go into the OR. The anesthesiologist returns to give the injection. As she pushes the elixir into my IV, Mandi says, “Tell us when you start to feel it.” Approximately seven seconds later, I start to giggle. The nurse confirms laughter is a telltale sign the drug is working. That’s the last thing I remember before I am overtaken by a peaceful black.