It was after the appetizers and the wine, the beer and the freshly-baked focaccia. We’d had a delicious pasta and chicken dish, and joked and laughed. The cat had established Dan as her new best friend, monkey tail falling over her back, claws in his leg. My belly was full along with my heart, because I was with people, actual human beings, and I was having a great evening.
We cleared away the remnants of the meal; the bread basket, the pasta bowl, the spice grinders. Pumpkin cookies found their way to the table. I got up to refill my water glass. “So I think it’s time,” she said. He brought out the basket filled with thousands of dollars worth of medications, wipes, needles, syringes. She showed us the photo she’d taken of when the box had arrived, and she’d been blown away at how many things were necessary. He did the required prepwork in the kitchen, with some of the things that had to be kept in the refrigerator or mixed with water.
I watched my friend with fascination as she described a technique she’d tried, and watched Dan’s face fall. Her husband came back in the room with the shot ready to go. She lifted her shirt, showing the little bruise from the experiment, and I made myself watch as she pushed the needle into the skin, the little bit of fat near her belly button, and the plunger forced the liquid inside.
As dinner had been cooking and she’d been doing last minute prepwork on the meal, she’d described to me the protocol the doctors had decided upon. Lupron for now, and to finish the course of birth control pills. Next week, a baseline ultrasound to establish what her ovaries look like, quiescent, before the stims and the other things that will culminate in three ultrasounds during Thanksgiving week and, if all goes well, retrieval two days later. I thought about what the Thanksgiving meal will be like for them, as her ovaries ripen with (one hopes) no more than twenty or so eggs, and a trigger shot to come the next day. Something to be thankful for. Something to be hopeful about. I’ll be thinking of them, that day, when all will be a promise. If everything goes as hoped, they’ll have a baby by September next year.
If everything goes as hoped, we’ll have a baby someday. It will be Dan doing the shot prepwork, and me pushing the needle into the fat by my belly button. I’ll have bruises, and a giant basket of expensive potions designed to make my body overproduce eggs that we hope will culminate in some embryos, at least one of which we hope will culminate in a baby. I was honored that our friends let us watch the scene that we’ll have to mimic in order to someday be parents ourselves. It’s one thing to understand something intellectually. It’s another to have it actually happening in front of you. Tonight, I am thankful that our friends shared their experience with us.