The IVF Support Crew

Eight years ago, I discovered endometriosis had robbed me of the ability to conceive naturally. When one hears the dreaded words, “you will need IVF,” one reels. They rattle on about syringes and doses, and side-effects, and you freak out some more. I went searching for my tribe and came across an IVF support group on Yahoo (those were the days), and found no topic off-limits. Nina, the moderator, was the guru of IVF. If you wanted to know anything, you asked this chick. A veteran, as were many others. They had battle scars, but they weren’t done fighting. I shared that the doctor mumbled so much at appointments that it rendered him incoherent, and  I would have to beg the secretary to come in to translate. We laughed about the “wand monkeys,” and the hideous internal ultrasounds, and how big our bazooka’s got on the drugs. We laughed at having to take an esky everywhere we went, and regaled each other with stories of having to explain why we were snorting and shooting up in public toilets. They became my advocates, and my battles with beastly staff were theirs too. “I would have blown a gasket at the rude bitch! Demand your money back love, and charge them 10% interest if it’s late like Brenda did. Build up those little arms so you can sock her,” wrote Shell. I typed back, “My plan is to make millions, invest in the fertility industry, and send free drugs to everyone.”   I had three disastrous cycles in a row, and the girls urged me to swap clinics. “Don’t give up!” they begged. We left the first clinic, and they were with me all the way. Finally, I was able to go to egg pickup. My girls, not demure in the least, had this reaction, “I don’t believe it Raph, you are finally having a trigger shot! Holy Shit! Sending you the stickiest, bestest, growingest, great-fertilizingest thoughts I can.” We all wondered what it would be like to simply pee on a stick to confirm a bit of horizontal folk dancing had worked. I got advice on what level I should spin the drugs to, in order to get the best follicular action. I felt rather naughty, upping it from what the experts advised, but it felt so right. I got one follicle, but it was a good one, housing an egg that became my daughter. I am still in touch with my mad mates. Emails with titles like ‘We found the sperm!’ after surgical extraction were commonplace. They wanted me to write a children’s book about the amazing travelling sperm, after I shared the adventures my husband’s three sperm went on after we swapped clinics. He strapped the large canister into the front seat, stopping off at his building site, on the way to the new place. If you are going through IVF, find yourself a support group, and you will have  best friends for life.

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