Wednesday 1st September 2010
One year ago.
Today is the first day of spring.
But, as I wake up at 2.11am to the sound of my wife crying, it doesn’t seem that we’re out of winter just yet.
I hug her to me.
“I feel absolutely awful,” she sobs. I feel bloated like a whale. My skin is crawling – tingling – like there’s ants all over me. I feel like shit. And I can’t get to sleep. I’m exhausted, so exhausted, but, I just can’t fall asleep.”
She rolls into another burst of tears, like an overtired child who’s eaten too much birthday cake and drunk too much soft drink, and now she’s banged her head against the shed.
That’s how it is for Suse.
She’s just banging her head against the shed. Over and over. Just trying to get to sleep.
Within minutes, in my arms, she has sobbed herself to sleep. She breathes heavily, deeply, in exactly the same way that banged-headed child would.
As I hold her, I love her even more, ever more.
This beautiful, imperfect wife of mine, who shares her fears, her insecurities, and her failings, only with me.
Only with me.
* * * * *
I get the call at work at about eleven. “Hey love,” I say.
“Hey.” She sounds washed out. She sounds a million miles away.
“How’d the ultrasound go?”
“Well…” She sighs deeply. She’s sighing a lot at the moment. “They said one was 22mm, one was 18, two were 16, and then there were three smaller ones that were all about 12. So they reckon there’s only four that are going to be any good.”
I feel the frown on face. “Which side?”
“What side were they on?”
“I don’t know. Does it matter? All I know is that there are only four that are going to be ready. Well, there are three more that are smaller, but it’s line-ball whether they’ll be big enough.”
“Are you disappointed in me?”
“What? No. I’m disappointed. But not in you. It’s…just…”
“…I’m disappointed in me.”
“If you had a low sperm count, you’d be disappointed in yourself.”
I catch myself nodding. “I’m just…I didn’t expect this, I guess… Four?”
“I fucking know! There were twelve good ones on Monday, and now there’s only four! She said we were lucky, really, because any less than three and they don’t go ahead.”
“Way to go on the positive spin, Shelley. Well we got that, I guess.”
“Yeah. Woo hoo. So. I get my final injection tonight.”
“7pm. Thirty eight-hours before collection…”
“…Which makes it 9am Friday.”
“I know, honey, but we only want one baby at a time. We don’t need anymore than that.”
“It’d be nice though, wouldn’t it? To have a few spare on ice, so we don’t have to go through all of this again so soon?”
“We won’t need to. We’re going to get pregnant.”
“Sure, sure. Positive, positive, blah, blah, blah. But if we don’t, you’d prefer it if you didn’t have to have me loopy like this too often, wouldn’t you?”
“Is that a question?”
“Oh, yeah, and get this,” she says, diverging. “I told Shelley how shit I was feeling, and she was surprised. Like this was unexpected. Surely I’m not the first woman on IVF to lose it with the drugs?”
“I don’t know, Suse.”
“Anyway, I’m done for today. I’ve called the girls at work, and I’m having the rest of the day off.”
“Good one, boss.”
“I’m getting a massage, and I’m growing these last three eggs to full size. This is my priority. I’m damned if I’m going to come out of an anaesthetic with only four eggs. I’m planning on seven.”
“You go, girl. I’ll back you all the way.”
“I’d better go.”
She sounds totally deflated.
And so do I.
* * * * *