So, I’m officially not going to paradise. The annual writing retreat in Mexico takes place during the two-week period I need to hang close to home and be monitored for ectopic pregnancy if the embryo transfer is a hit. It’s a gamble to cancel the ticket –- a gamble I lose money on immediately.
My non-profit Radar was able to buy the plane tickets for the retreat staff, but it can’t afford to blow $500 on my fertility whimsy. I cancel the ticket, reimburse Radar the $500 and wind up with a $250 voucher for an airline I seldom use. Oh, well.
The gamble is, of course, that I might not be pregnant come August, but then I’m putting my money on the transfer not taking, and this whole round being for naught, and even though the chances are at most 50-50 that I’ll get pregs (they might actually be harsher, with us on the losing end) I just can’t go forward in life as if I won’t be pregnant, when I’m doing all this work every day to see to it that I am. Sort of a headfuck, but again: Oh, well.
Stella the fertility nurse gets in touch again -– it seems in all the hoopla, Dashiell’s blood count labs fell through the cracks. She has to go to the lab and make sure all’s good in that realm, and I get excited because we’ll also learn whether or not Dashiell is anemic!
Tali sort of diagnosed Dashiell’s anemia, based on an ex-girlfriend who had Dashiell’s physique and eating habits. Basically, Dashiell eats a ton, gains no weight, and gets either cranky or super confused if she’s hungry. That combined with her sleepiness has convinced me that she’s anemic, too.
My diagnosis sent Dashiell to the internet Googling up anemia symptoms, and now she thinks she’s anemic, too! I decide to start cooking us weekly steaks, and think about grabbing her a bottle of that ghoulish German blood tonic that tastes like actual blood even though it’s made from vegetables, next time I’m at the giant health food co-op.
Stella needs me to go back through my birth control pills to give her some information about me and Dashiell’s cycle, and in the process I realize we both had PMS all weekend! That’s why we had The Chuppah Fight Saturday night! The fight was basically like this:
Me: Do you want to have a chuppah at our wedding?
Dashiell: I don’t know, I have to think about it.
Me: We’ve thought about it too long. Rhonda is going to do our flowers and needs to know what we’re going to do with the stage area. Can we just commit right now, yer or no, to the Chuppah?
Dashiell: (picking up phone) How do you spell "chuppah"?
Me: I don’t know, you’re the Jew.
Basically I am inordinately frustrated that Dashiell can’t say yea or nay on the Chuppah –- the wedding canopy used in traditional Jewish weddings. Brenda and Finn had one at their wedding last summer and it was just really beautiful. Plus, it symbolizes an open home, and I think if we get married beneath one Dashiell will have to agree to having more parties. As a Virgo, Dashiell doesn’t love a party.
Dashiell responds to my weird frustration with understandable coldness. I get it together and apologize for being such a bitch, go into the kitchen and do the dishes while crying. When I’m done I come back to the couch and try cuddling up to Dashiell with hormonal desperation, anxious to make the coldness go away. I’m like one of those giant, fluffy cats who goes right up to the most allergic person in the room and jumps on their lap.
Anyways, it was just PMS! It’s hard to track my hormones with my new birth control regiment; I just take active pills, no placebos, so I don’t get a period but I believe there is a mood-altering fluctuation there. Dashiell has been on these pills so long she doesn’t even bleed between packs, so she’s never sure about her PMS either. She takes on full responsibility for the chuppah and apparently forgives me since our wedding is still on.
“I hope it was a happy household,” Stella laughs nervously when I exclaim my PMS revelation to her. Later, when I tell Dashiell she declares that such hormonal influence makes the chuppah fight "not count." I couldn’t agree more. PMS fights aren’t real fights. Plus, we didn’t yell, so it couldn’t have been a fight, right?
I kind of don’t know if me and Dashiell either never fight, or if our fights are these brief, tense moments that blow over too quickly to really register as fights. That we have both been in relationships where there were FIGHTS (ring that word in flashing lights, please) make us more confused. Maybe we never fight, or maybe we fight really well. Either way, I’m pretty into it.
Nurse Stella reviews my chart and realizes I haven’t seen Dr. Waller for almost a year. She schedules a check-up with him, just to touch base after all my fibroid mayhem, before we get started for reals. She registers Dashiell and I for our IVF Injection Class, and gathers a bunch of paperwork for us to sign when we come in for it. Then she emails me my calendar and has me open it up on my computer while I’m on the phone with her.
The calendars are a LOT. There’s one for me and one for Dashiell, single sheets of paper that list all the meds we take each day, when we up the dosage, the adhering and removing of patches, phone calls to be made to nurses, blood draws at the clinic, it goes on and on, every day a jumble of tasks.
The more there is, the more there is to screw up, I think. But people do this! People with less brain cells, less competence, less overall togetherness manage to do this, right? I guess it’s possible that in the history of IVF Dashiell and I are actually the dopiest, least together couple to ever load a syringe of Follistem, but the chances are certainly low. It’s probably pathetic that I take comfort in this, but I do.
I also use this rationale to occasionally push myself to learn to drive. You can’t be the least competent person to ever drive a car, I tell myself, and go take the written test at the DMV, and pass, always, though barely. Then I stash my permit in a drawer, pledge to get driving lessons, make a couple inquisitive phone calls, and fall off completely.
That’s not what’s going to happen here! I’m going to be on top of this calendar! I print up one copy of mine to hang on the fridge, and two copies for Dashiell –- one for the fridge and one for her to have at work. I bring a yellow highlighter into the kitchen. I can’t wait to cross out each day with a glowing neon X.
As I go over the calendar with Stella, we realize there’s a glitch, and of course it has to do with my cursed travel schedule. I won’t be in town for the injection class, I’ll be in New York. I can either bump this whole thing off a week –- NO! -– or just start injecting my Lupron before the next Injection class.
“You can do it without the class,” Stella assures me. “It’s really easy. I’ll send you on online tutorial.” Since we’ve already established the odds are against me being the dumbest person to ever do this, I believe Stella is right. I can totally do it.
Not only am I fairly fearless about physical things, my ex is a trans man, and I shot him in the butt with testosterone for years and years. I also watched him ace giving himself his own shots. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. Especially since the Lurpon needle is pretty tiny, and the shot goes into my belly. No craning around to look at myself backwards, worried about hitting the sciatic nerve. Simple.
As Stella enrolls me and Dashiell into the next Injection Class, I realize that it falls during my mom’s visit. She’ll have to come with us! I actually think she’ll like it -– as a nurse herself, she’ll feel like she’s on stable ground. She’ll be able to sort of participate in the whole process, rendering it less mysterious. I wish Dashiell’s mom could come, too! Take Your Moms To The Fertility Clinic Day.
Stella schedules blood draws for Dashiell, and ultrasounds for both of us. She lets me know which week Dashiell will have to come into the clinic first thing in the morning, each day. As I move through the calendar I notice that Dashiell’s egg harvest –- is that what they call it? –- falls right when we were supposed to be frolicking in the Russian River, celebrating our friend Finn’s birthday. We already paid for our spot in the VRBO. Damn it.
Oh well, like the price of my canceled ticket to Mexico, charge it to the game.