The darkness lifts as they wheel me out of the OR. I hear voices, but I can’t tell if they’re talking to me or about me. I attempt to speak and lift my head, but quickly resign. I really don’t have anything to say. Plus, my head feels like it weighs a thousand pounds. Hilari lightly touches my left forearm and says, “They got 13 eggs.” I smile and drift into slumber.
The nagging cramps in my belly are eased by an electric heating pad; its warmth travels to my toes. I hear my name and open my eyes. The nurse smiles and hands me a bottled-water. I’m fascinated by the yellow bendy straw floating in the liquid. She gently instructs me to take a sip and choose a snack from the silver tray next to my bed. I reach for the bag of Chex Mix. Before leaving the room, the nurse reveals that once I 've peed and put food in my stomach and kept it there, I can go home.
I munch on the seasoned rice squares and chat with Hilari. She just got back from the lab where the technician allowed her to view my eggs under a microscope. Right now, eight are mature.
The embryologist bounces into the room with a huge smile on her face. Pushing the privacy curtain aside, she presents me with two 4x6 photos announcing, “Another egg has matured.” I stare in awe at the bubble like shapes on the glossy paper. Each of these little circles is half of a person. These nine eggs are the coolest things I have ever seen in my life!
I gaze at the photos while the embryologist explains that five eggs will be slowly frozen and four will be flash frozen in a process called vitrification. She also lets me know that there are four immature eggs in the lab. If they mature overnight, they can be frozen and stored with the rest. Dr. Bendikson will call later this evening and give me an update.
Since I’ve accomplished the two important tasks of the day, going to the bathroom and eating without throwing up, I am free to go home. The nurse removes my IV. I walk slowly across the cold linoleum to the bathroom. I exchange my not-so-stylish blue paper hat and gown for my comfy gray yoga pants and a tank top. Honestly, I thought I’d be in more pain; I thought I’d feel much worse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally grateful I don’t feel like crap. I just didn’t expect to feel this normal. After all this time, a 20 minute drug induced nap and that’s it? I can’t believe it’s over. Looking back, the journey seems so simple.
Before leaving the clinic, the nurse hands me a list of medical instructions that include 14 days of pelvic rest. She confirms Mandi is driving and as a precaution, is able to stay with me for a few hours at home. The nurse recommends that when I’m hungry to start with soup and work my way to solid foods.
Mandi drives back to my loft and we park in a lot nearby. We stop in the small sandwich shop next to my building. During the summer, they give free watermelon slices to customers while they wait. I’m not really hungry, but I know I should eat something. Snacking on a cool, dark pink slice of melon, I place an order to go. One strawberry and banana fruit shake. It’s kinda like soup.
Making ourselves comfortable on the couch, we watch a couple episodes of The New Adventures of Old Christine. (I can’t begin to tell you how many times I laugh out loud every time I watch this show.) After a while, my stomach is full and my eyes are heavy.
Before she leaves, I thank Mandi for taking care of me and being my designated driver. After she heads out the door, I turn the lock and then drag myself to bed. Climbing in, I throw pillows aside to make room for my tired body and settle in for a nap.
Around 5:30 pm Dr. Bendikson calls to give me an update: two of the four eggs in the lab have matured; my final count is eleven. She tells me that the results are the best we could hope for. As I return the phone to its station, I marvel at the brilliant photos on my nightstand. One of those eggs could be my kid someday. Totally amazing!