Update Part 2
May 29, 2012 § 1 Comment
I am surprisingly nervous about calling the surgery to hear the results of my blood tests. It is the thought that I could fail at the first hurdle, that if I am not ovulating, or if my FSH and LH levels are out of kilter, it will be the end of the journey. For some, results of that kind would only be the start, but for me, I’ve always known that I would not be prepared to take high doses of medication or embark on rounds of IVF. I’ve always admired people that do, and know their desparate need, but I’m clear that’s not for me. And there would be no way that I would be able to afford it.
I am uncertain why I know that months of invasive treatment would not be for me, I do not see it as evidence that I do not really want a child – I do. It’s something that I can’t put my finger on. Like my desire to begin this process in the first place. An unspoken drive that is determining my desire to proceed, and not to. Similarly, if I find that I am able to go ahead with treatment, I will only give it so many attempts. I will not try for years. Five, I think. I do not know where the number comes from, but it seems a good one for me.
I am getting ahead of myself. I have a phonecall to make. I wait five days, then six and I remind myself that I have a meeting with the clinic counsellor in just a couple of days time and my period is due straight after that. If the results are positive, next month I could call the clinic and begin my first attempt.
I eventually dial the number just a few minutes before I have to meet a difficult client. This is intentional. The thought of establishing a safe, quiet space, that will remain so after I have heard what the doctor has to say, terrifies me. The client I am about to see is one of the most damaged that I have worked with. I know that she will rage and cry as she has done on our last two interviews together. She is my insurance policy. If the results are bad I will have to quickly snap out of my own response and hear Leanne who will do all of the expressing for me. By the time she leaves, the pain of their significance might already be dulled.
It is a hot day and I am six floors up in a building in central London. The windows are open and the blind clatters in the breeze. Beneath me I can see the traffic and people and all that London is. The perspective is welcome. I dial the surgery number. I have been searching on the internet of what progesterone and LH and FSH levels should be, but they’ve all become blurred in my mind. I’ve never been good at retaining numbers. I have been lying about having passed my GCSE maths for the last twenty years.
I wait for the message telling me to dial 3 for test results and the receptionist asks if she can help. I explain that I am calling for my blood results. It takes her some time to locate them. I can hear rustling paper and a child crying. She eventually utters just one word – satisfactory. I am immediately confused. I have a pen and paper in my hand ready to write detailed information that I expect to mean very little to me. I thought that at the very least there would be a list of numbers or letters that I would meticulously record and share with the clinic. I know satisfactory. Its spelling comes too easily to me. The implications of the word, that all is well, don’t sink in. The receptionist is about to put the phone down, before I squeak that I think I’ll need more details than that.
The receptionist tells me that Dr Marion has written “tell the client it is satisfactory”. Can she give me the specific results, I ask. I can’t do that, she tells me. But this is the blood test results service, I say. You’ll need to speak to a GP for that, she replies. The familiar sense of panic arises in me. I know the next few days of my diary off by heart and there is very little chance of me making it to see a GP before the first day of my cycle. I tell her this, in my neurotic, high pitched voice that, before this process started, I did not think that I was capable of. The receptionist sounds tired. She tells me that she will ask the duty doctor to call me back.
I spend two hours with my client, Leanne. She is loud, angry and vulnerable, shouting abuse at one moment and in floods of tears the next. I feel my phone buzzing in my pocket. It buzzes again. Whoever it is has left a message. Even though my client always arrives late and aggressively insists that she does not want to meet with me, she finds it impossible to leave. By the time she finally does, there is only five minutes of surgery time remaining and I doubt it will be enough time to even get through the call centre options. But it is. I speak to the living Dr Fiona. She has a calm, reassuring voice. She tells me she will leave a full print out at reception so I can fax them over to the clinic. I am immediately grateful.
I run in to pick them up on the way to a meeting the following day. I read them in a local park on a bench that still smells of lager, fags and piss from the night before. I scan the print out. I am ovulatory and my FSH and LH levels are in proportion. Rubella is still detected. I do not have HIV or Hepatitis and my blood group is O+. I am good to go.
I call the clinic in a rush. I blurt out that my results are through and I want to proceed with treatment. I forget to tell the nurse my name and she has to ask twice before I can tell her. She calls me lovey three times but this only seems to make me talk faster. I suddenly worry that they will wonder why it has taken me so long to get to this point, it is months since I attended the initial consultation, and whether they will take this as an indication that I am not truly committed. I ramble about being busy and needing time to save more money, but the line is silent and I realise that the nurse has gone to find my notes. When she returns she tells me that everything seems to be in order. She says that Mr Xin, who is really a doctor, is in today and that she will make sure he sees the results, but she does not think there will be a problem and I can proceed. Lovey. She explains that all I need to do now is call on the first day of my cycle, the lab will then be in touch with an offer of sperm and I will go to the clinic for an insemination on the day of a positive ovulation test. I thank her, over enthusiastically several times, before I can end the call.
As I gaze across the park I spot a group in the scented garden, settled on blankets for the day, surrounded by picnics and buggies. There seem to be an equal number of men and women and they all have a baby of around the same age. The parents laugh and joke together as they rock and cuddle their offspring. Their babies appear ruddy faced and confident, as if they know what they have been born into. I think of how different my own child’s experience might be, with an unknown father and limited financial resources. I wonder if the group I am looking at will welcome us and I am full of familiar doubts once again. But I reassure myself that we will somehow be different, something other, and if successfull, we’ll find our own tribe and rules to live by.