I’m always amazed by the intensely personal questions people ask about a person’s decision to have kids. During the two years while we were trying to get pregnant, I struggled with that question and lied for the most part; pretending to scoff at the thought and implying that my career was too important, I was too busy. Yeah, right.
I wanted a baby more than anything and it hurt too much to talk about why I didn’t have one. So I lied.
Now that the single-child family is a bit of an anomaly, there’s the underlying pressure to have more. Because our child needs a sibling, or its our fiscal duty to do so to support our economy.
And while I do worry that Clara will grow up without siblings, and I do worry should something happen to one (or either of us), they’re not reason enough for us to follow suit. I’m not sure we’re strong enough as a family mentally, emotionally or (dare I say it) financially.
I stumbled across this old post from my fertility blog and rereading it, it argues the above points very well.
There’s some fertility technology talk in the post but all you really need to know is that a woman’s ovaries release so many follicles every month. The follicles contain the egg. Typically, the ovaries only release one follicle, but fertility drugs can increase that number. My fertility specialist always wanted to have at least two follicles to work with. Once the follicles reach a certain size (18-25mm), they’re ready for ovulation and, during fertility treatment, you may require a shot that will trigger ovulation before the follicle becomes to big and is no longer viable.
The following is my answer at least, as to why we’re having just one:
On Monday I went for my Day 10 ultrasound and bloodwork and waited to see the nurse and then doctor, after complaining furiously to the tech supervisor about the technician who did my ultrasound and obviously didn’t hear me say, “I had a laparoscopy and D&C recently, please be gentle.” It was the first time I flinched physically while having an ultrasound and the first time I left the room in tears. It was the first time I demanded to speak to the tech supervisor – and it probably won’t be the last time I complain if this rough-handling doesn’t stop. I’m tired of these technicians with their heavy hands and lack of sensitivity.
The nurse told me that I had no follicles developing but that the cyst that showed up on my ultrasound during my Day 3 had decreased in size and that was promising. I was told to skip my appts for Day 11 and 12 and to come back on Day 13. I could still produce follicles, they promised and I shouldn’t assume the worse.
I was back this morning at 7:20, endured an ultrasound during which one tech trained another and a 2 minute process took 10. That combined with the fact that they were 10 minutes late getting me into a room meant that I didn’t have time to wait and see the nurse if I was going to catch the last train (which I had too; driving wasn’t an option today). So I left, at 7:50, after asking the nurse to call me with my results.
At 10:00 I hadn’t received a call so I called the clinic and left a message.
At 11:15, my phone finally rang.
And the nurse? She was frantic.
She said: You haven’t surged.
She said: Your follicle is 2.3 we need to get you in ASAP for an HCG shot so that we can get the egg to release before it gets too mature.
She added: You should come on your lunch hour.
I said: HOW is it possible for me to have a follicle that size when on Monday there was nothing showing?
She paused for the longest of seconds.
Then she said: Oh, well that cyst we saw on Monday? Not a cyst, after all. It’s a follicle.
And I said: You got them confused?
And, of course, remembered the time they told me a cyst was a follicle.
And she said, defensively: The tech recorded it as a cyst.
So on MONDAY I had a follicle that measured 1.6. It only needs to be 1.7 on size to be viable. In fact, the ideal size for a follicle is between 1.7 and 2.1. Any thing after that then they’re too mature and there’s the risk that they will die. And that’s why they were desperate to get me in for a shot – so that the shot would trigger a release and the egg would still be viable.
I was at work, downtown, with no car. I had work obligations till 2 at the earliest, and another at 6. It was NOT a day where I could go rushing off to the clinic for a mistake that THEY made because they misread my results three days earlier.
I said: Impossible. I’m downtown without a car. I can’t get back out there.
She said: You really should have this shot though.
I said: I’M DOWNTOWN. I HAVE NO CAR.
I took a deep breath.
I continued: I don’t have the time today to come back to the clinic.
She said: So you’re not going to bother to come?
And this? This implication that I’m not committed to my treatment, to this process? This implication that I should be sitting around, waiting to rush off to the clinic at a moment’s notice? This is what pisses me off more than anything.
Does she really want to have that argument with me? Does she want me to tell her about the hundreds of dollars that we’ve already spent? The amount of HOURS that I’ve missed from my job because their clinic hours are accomodating but not really? What about the injections in my hip that aren’t supposed to hurt but that actually do, and throb for at least a day after? How many vials of blood? Or how about the surgery that I had last month, and the four incisions in my stomach that’s taken a full month to really heal and that still bother me if I move the wrong way?
But no, we’re not supposed to have that argument because I’m supposed to suck it up. I should be grateful that I’m getting the help I need.
But I tried anyway.
I reminded her that I was there on Monday and I was told I was not producing. That THEY gave me Tuesday and Wednesday off. That if they had read my goddamn chart properly, in the first place, I would have been back there on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday. They would have been monitoring the growth of the follicle, they would have known that I needed a shot. I wouldn’t have left the fucking clinic Thursday morning if I had been told that I had a viable follicle and I needed a goddamn fucking shot to trigger it’s release. I wouldn’t have left.
And what did she say?
She didn’t say, yes, we fucked up, I’m sorry, you’re right to be so goddamned upset because we’ve proven (once again) our incompetence.
Instead, she said: This is why we want you to wait for the nurse. If you had WAITED, we could have given you the shot.
I explained to her as calmly as I could (because my regular doctor keeps saying, NO STRESS) what it would take for me to get out there on my lunch to get a shot. That my husband would have to leave in the middle HIS workday to drive downtown, pick me up from MY work, drive back to the clinic, then drive me back to work and then drive himself back to work.
She, of course, thought that was a GREAT idea.
No, I said. TERRIBLE idea. What’s the alternative?
The alternative was to get Tay to pick up the shot and administer it himself. It would be better to have it done as soon as possible, but they agreed that having it when I got home from work was better than not having it at all.
And of course, when Tay went to pick it up, the shot they gave him, already mixed and in it’s needle, wasn’t the HCG that they normally give, but a shot that he couldn’t administer to me until 10pm that night. You know what this means right? All this panic to give me a shot in the middle of the day when there was an alternative that could be administered 10 hours later. That didn’t require me to leave in the middle of a work day, or have my husband drive 200 km, back and forth.
When I used to think about having kids, I used to wonder if I would ever want more than one. If I would feel the need to have a big family, to have the support in place that siblings give each other. I listened to everyone I know that’s a single child, heard them say about how lonely it was for them growing up, how envious they were of all my siblings. I carefully weighed the pros and cons and had finally decided a while ago that one would be enough, that I didn’t want to do more than one. And now, now that I’ve gone through what I’m going through, that I understand finally that having kids is not going to come easily to me – I’ve come to accept the decision that I’ve made to have just one.
But more than that is this sudden, blinding realization that one is all I’m EVER going to have, because this fucking nightmare that I’m living? It’s not something that I’m going to repeat ever again.