My fertility specialist: the grand wizard of long shots, the war-horse of reproductive endocrinology, the fertility fairy godmother of happily-ever-afters in the greater Atlanta area, and more. What can I possibly say about him that doesn’t make me sound like I worship the ground he walks on? Then again, why should I try to NOT sound like I do, when I quite obviously do? Now don’t get me wrong, I am a firm proponent of “To God Give the Glory.” Were it not God’s will that I have my two little miracle men, I know and understand that my cupboard would have remained bare. However, I also believe God grants certain individuals the ability to know His miracles, to recognize and harness the power and potential of those miracles, and to use that knowledge to propagate and multiply even more miracles in His name. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God works through Dr. Mark Perloe and the team at Georgia Reproductive Specialists. They have been granted the ability to tame the wild and natural, sometimes ticklish, nature of the birds and the bees, and as a result, rain manna from Heaven via test tubes.
So, yes, I sing Dr. Perloe and his team’s praises. They helped me feather my nest, so I’m happy to put put a feather or two in their caps.
But, back to building the best nest… Dr. Perloe took my forty-seven year old incubator – well preserved mind you 😉 but still – and began refurbishing it to ensure ample brooding conditions. He plumped up the lining with the hormonal and dietary equivalents of all the hay, and all the straw, and all the string, and all the stuffing, and all the horsehair, and all the… well, you name it, he used it.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk for just a bit about all that metaphorical hay and straw and string and stuffing … Let’s talk needles. Let’s talk shots. Let’s talk pills. And vaginal suppositories. And time. Lots and lots of time. It was quite the process.
First, the needles. In the beginning, the needles weren’t too bad. And that’s saying a lot because this girl has always had an aversion to shots of any type. But the first ones, the tiny jabs to the belly, those were nothing (not nothing, obviously. They played a critical role in readying my nest), but they didn’t hurt. They only even bruised me once, just below my naval. Those shots always hurt Mike more than they hurt me. I have to give him credit. He was, and continues to be, amazing throughout this entire journey. He would cringe every time he had to stick me, but stick me, he did. Because he knew I couldn’t do it to myself. He would dutifully fill his syringe, then penetrate and deposit the baby-making fluid of the day in this synthetic birds-and-bees mating ritual we were fulfilling.
But then came the nightly ritual of shots to my hindquarters. Now THOSE were a pain. (I won’t say the clichéd phrase, but you get the picture.) We did learn a trick (a little later than I would’ve liked) thanks to a nurse at GRS, and we began to ice my ass first. Still, they bruised and burned and even caused an allergic reaction, to add insult to injury. Now we were required to give those shots as close to the same time every single evening as possible to ensure maximum effectiveness; therefore, we arranged those shots to fall between 8:30 and 9:00 nightly for a very good and compelling reason. My husband is a football coach — and come Friday nights, rain or shine, the gridiron seizes center stage. That means that every Friday night during halftime, we had to find a private (or semi-private in multiple instances) place for me to drop trou so that Mike could thrust a needle into my bruised and angry buttocks. These locations were myriad and, let me tell you, less than ideal. I got shot up in the hallway of a gymnasium within audible distance of the opposing team. I got shot up in the back of a Kia Soul, my legs and torso contorted at a highly irregular and uncomfortable angle whilst a sweaty outside linebacker hunted for his mouth guard in the parking lot (and, thank God, blissfully ignorant of the slightly pornographic scene) not fifteen feet away. I got shot up in the floor of a coach’s office on a jacket chivalrously laid out by my husband across the spongy decades-old carpet. Let’s just say my arse was a pincushion that found itself jabbed in the strangest of locales.
Beyond the shots, I took oral medications and vaginal suppositories that turned my underwear a slight periwinkle if I forgot my pantie liners, which I was wont to do, since the hormones seemed to make my mind all fuzzy and floaty . It would seem I had contracted the infamous pregnancy brain — the chemical cocktails doing their job, just like the doctor ordered.
There were days when all of the hormones got to me. Once I wept openly when I cleaned the ceiling fan and huge, clumpy caterpillars of dust dropped from the blades. I decided then and there that there was no way I was fit to be a mother again. I couldn’t even take proper care of a ceiling fan, for God’s sake. Publix commercials, awash in rose-colored hues and sentimentality, regularly had me on the floor in a puddle of Kleenex, tears, and goo.
There were other instances, and another type of shot, a trigger, they call it, that I could recant, but this is getting to be a long post, and so, I’ll cut to the chase. Once all of the hay and straw and string and stuffing, etc. was assembled in the proper order and proportions, Mike made his requisite deposit and our truly selfless donor (who went through far more painful and labor-intensive procedures than I) contributed her part, Dr. Perloe and his wonder team tenderly laid our two precious, perfect 5-day blastocytes inside this biddy’s nest and coaxed it into successfully incubating two beautiful, bronze baby boys, hatched just shy of 35 weeks gestation.
To quote one of my favorite childhood books by PD Eastman: “There’s no nest like an old nest, for a brand new bird” – or two.