But once bitten, twice shy and all that. We said yes to the agency, we signed paperwork, we paid sums of money for treatment, but I felt very detached from it all. I just didn’t really engage with it. It was all taking ages, there were tests for her, tests for me, tests for B – the tests went on and on, the weeks and months went by. The process of getting our donor to the point where she could actually donate, that we’d been told would take three months, dragged on and on — if this were a film or TV programme, this is the point at which you’d see the leaves on the trees changing colour from autumn to winter to spring to denote the passing of time.
And yes I was frustrated, but I felt a bit impotent. The restrictions on what we could and couldn’t be told for patient confidentiality reasons (or maybe just out of fear that we might be mad stalkers who would stake out the hospital and ambush our donor at her appointments or something) made the whole process so opaque. It was difficult to know whether the clinic was dragging their feet and not expediting the process, or whether it was the donor, and of course, Covid…
So I didn’t really think of it as being a thing until we got a message telling us that our donor had started the injections to stimulate her ovaries. And then I started to think that it might actually be a thing.
But I still felt so curiously detached from it. I think it was partly a self defence mechanism. I don’t think you can go through the IVF process multiple times without having an awareness of what can go wrong. To be honest, the longer this process goes on, and the more times I see the different points at which it can fail, the more of a miracle it feels that anyone ever manages to get pregnant and have a baby ever. The stars aligning have nothing on the follicles that need to respond, the eggs that need to form, mature, be successfully extracted, successfully fertilised, grow in the right way and so on and so on and so on – and that’s just to get the bloody embryos, before we even get to the pregnancy bit.
I think it undoubtedly helped that it wasn’t me. It wasn’t me injecting the drugs, going for the scans, feeling the bloating, worrying about the random discharge. It gave me an insight into how B felt when I was pregnant last year. I was jealous of the way he could dissociate himself from it all. It wasn’t that he didn’t care. Just like it’s not that I didn’t care about whether it worked with our donor. But it’s easy to not think about it (alright to think less about it) when it’s not your body that’s doing it.
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