and so we start over. again.
for the past five nights, i’ve gotten the tools out: pen full of expensive hormones, check; bottle of alcohol, check; cotton pads, check; sharp little needle tip, check. i assemble the parts, dial the pen to the correct dosage and stab myself in the belly. i repeat this ritual nightly for seven nights, my motions mechanical and sure. this will be the seventh cycle of injections. my fear of needles dissipated after about the third shot. i figure that this round of ovarian stimulation puts me at well over sixty self-given shots in the stomach.
the needle theme continues at a laboratoire, where i go for blood tests to see how my ovaries are responding to the hormones. an ultrasound follows, and if all goes well, i give myself one final shot, this time to trigger ovulation. jab jab jab. so many little jabs. so many hormones. so many unwieldy emotions.
Froggy says i am a different person than i was a few days ago…before i started the injections. when she finds me sobbing for the hundredth time, she says, “remember, this isn’t you. it’s just the hormones making you feel so bad.” i try to believe her. i try to tell myself that these thoughts of quitting everything are just the side effect of too much estradiol. i try to remember the days when i don’t feel completely lost and alone. the tears are uncontrollable, though. they well and fall at the sight of little blond babies on the street, at the familiarity of the waiting room of the lab where i go for my blood draws, at the feeling of being completely disconnected from the masses on the tram. there is always a soggy, crumpled tissue in my pocket and dozen more pristine ones waiting in my bag.
this has worked before. twice. surely, it can work again. this is what i repeat to myself, all the while seeing little sun’s sweet face. Froggy tells me, “you make beautiful babies,” and i think she is right. i just want that verb to stay in the present and future tenses and the noun to really be plural.
i don’t mind the injections….i almost welcome the sting of the needle piercing my skin. the physical pain is nothing compared to the endless ache of little sun’s absence. i’ll take the hot flashes and night sweats and ovulation pains that make my ovaries feel like giant steel balls. i’ll take the heartburn and nausea and pelvic pain that makes walking a chore. i’ll take the contractions, the back labor, the exhausted pushing. i’d do it all a hundred times over…i just want there to be a little light at the end of this sunless tunnel. a little light to hold onto, a little light that lives.
and so we start again. in less than a week we’ll be on the road, heading north towards our welcoming neighbors. Froggy will drive us both through the early hours, past misty morning fields and half-hidden chateaus, across an unremarkable border and into a land with a different language. we’ll park in the much-too-familiar hospital lot and put the sun screen over the windshield so that we can doze a bit before my appointment, and then i’ll have another clinical date with little sun’s donor. afterwards Froggy and i will have our treats: delicious vegetarian fast food, a stroll around that charming little town and a grocery sack full of Belgian cheese, chocolate and beer.
the journey is exhausting, but it remains an adventure. i just wonder how many more times we’ll have to go on it.