Wednesday 28th July 2010
One year ago.
I sit in the pub, looking across the table.
“Just get on with it, I reckon.” Dan finishes this declarative statement, in his Scottish lilt, and takes a swig of his beer. “We did a lot of farting around at the start. I mean, really, when it comes down to it, I wish we’d just had a crack at IVF from the start.”
“I thought you started IVF pretty early?”
“Nah. Fuck no.”
“What did you try before that?”
“All sorts of shit. Including turkey basters.”
“I never knew that.”
“You never asked.”
“I guess I didn’t.” I take a swig myself. “Well, I guess they didn’t really know what the problem was with you guys.”
“Exactly. Unlike you guys, where you know you’ve got a blocked tube, we didn’t have that sort of certainty. We lost our pregnancy, and no one could tell us why. So we had to sort of start at the start. We did a round of hormones, and then tried the dye test, and gave it a few more rounds, and fucked around some more. And eventually we got onto the IVF. Personally, I just wish we’d done it from the start. It took us four rounds, after all.”
“Four harvests? Really?”
“Where were you this last three years?” he jokes.
“Being a guy, I guess. I mean, I guess I had just lost count. I don’t think I realised it had taken you guys that long.”
“It seems to have flown by for you, doesn’t it?”
“Funny that,” he says, laughing. “You only know how shit it really is when you’re the one standing in it.”
I sigh, taking another sip.
“So how many weeks are you now?”
“Bel’s thirty-nine weeks today.”
“Bloody awesome. I swear, you’re the only pregnant couple in the last year that I’m not jealous about. You guys have put in the hard yards.”
“I know. And some of our mates don’t even know how many rounds we did!” he says, in mock disgust. “We were pregnant before anyone else,” he says, nudging Adam playfully on the arm.
Adam has been quiet throughout this whole exchange. As the guy with a kid, he knows to lie low through the IVF talk.
I look back across at Dan.
“Where are you working at the moment?”
“The Women’s. In the neonatal intensive care.”
“Will you be there next week?”
“Really. What days?”
“Tomorrow until next Tuesday. Why?”
“Because Bel is being induced there next week. I might see you.”
“You don’t want to see me, mate. You don’t want to be coming to NICU if you can avoid it. Which you will.”
“Good point,” he says, nodding deeply. He takes another sip. “So you’ve done all of your tests?”
“Most of them, yeah.”
“But what about you. Have you done yours?”
“Wank into a cup?”
“Sure did.” He takes another sip.
“So what’d you get?”
“What was your score?” I look at him, suddenly understanding.
“What was my count?”
“Yeah,” he says, trying to sound casual.
“Ummm, I can’t remember exactly.” For as traumatic it was, I’ve forgotten very quickly. “Two hundred and something. Two hundred and twenty, two-thirty?”
“Bullshit,” he says quickly.
“No. No, I think it was.”
“I knew I shouldn’t have asked.”
“Why? What was yours?”
He takes another sip. We all do.
Nowadays, I can happily talk about wanking without getting embarrassed.
But, it seems, chats about sperm counts remain well out of bounds.
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