Tuesday 12th January 2010
Gestation: 15 weeks, 4 days
One year ago.
“How long can sperm live?”
I look up from my book, from my side of the bed. There is Suse, bent forward in pain, grabbing at her left side.
The right-sided pain two days ago – that triggered our frantic post-vaccuming passion – was something else altogether.
This is real ovulation pain.
On the left.
The wonky old left. The ectopic left.
I pick up my phone, flicking to the internet. I google ‘how long can sperm live?’, figuring a bunch of internet mums trump my medical school memory.
It’s not a question I get asked much in Paediatrics.
I read for a moment. Suse watches me the whole time, her worried eyes boring into the side of my head. I skip past several sources stating that sperm can live for up to seven days, before settling on a more comforting one.
“This one says that, on average, they’ll live for one to two days, and that it depends on your vaginal milieu.” I turn to her. “I reckon your milieu isn’t up for much right now. You’ll have low fertilisation milieu, Suse.” I pause. “You’re a milieu miles from anything to worry about.”
I pull a little monkey face. It’s a momentary diversion, to remind her that the man she married is an idiot.
It’s a tactic I like to employ when I’ve got nothing else to offer.
“I need Panadol,” she says.
She sighs as she gets up, trudging from the room. She returns a minute later. She puts a hand to her forehead, again sighing heavily as she lies down, the other hand holding her left side.
“It’ll be okay,” I say.
“It’ll be okay? With pain like this?” I resist the urge to pull the face again. Like I said, I’m struggling here. “This isn’t okay, Mark. This isn’t normal. And I have sperm in me. Your live sperm. And they’re all over here on the left hand side. Right here,” she says, pointing. “Right up around the blockage.”
She turns to me.
“The acupuncturist said I have a blockage.”
She turns from me. We lie in silence for a couple of minutes. Both staring at the ceiling.
“He means an energy blockage, honey,” I say finally. “A meridian blockage. Not an actual physical blockage.”
“Feels like a blockage.”
Suse turns out the light, her hand still on her forehead.
In the dark, the sighing continues.
* * * * *