As we got closer to the date of my egg retrieval, Dr. Patel examined me daily using the ultrasound. My eggs were not abundant, and even though Dr. Patel tried to boost my numbers with triple doses of some shots, we didn't see huge numbers. Initially we heard I had over a dozen, which we thought was pretty good and wondered why Dr. Patel wasn't as impressed. With eggs, it's not as much about quantity as quality- but having a large quantity improves the odds of having a number of good quality eggs. By the day before my egg retrieval, we were told we had only 4, maybe 5, good eggs that they would try to harvest. My nurse, Hansa came to give me my "trigger shot" after 11pm on Thursday the 17th. On the 18th we got a day off from the clinic and shots.
The morning of the 19th, on an empty stomach, we arrived early in the clinic. Though we were the first ones there, I was the last person to go in for the surgery. I had been visiting with new friends, Poonam and Jalina, and I walked through the recovery room, seeing both of them passed out from the anesthesia of the surgery. Dan and Poonam's husband, Enrico, waited in the hall, and I went into the operating room alone. I faced a crowd of doctors and nurses I had never seen before, and hadn't even realize worked in the clinic. Hansa was the only familiar face, and she was a comfort, but I was still so scared. I climbed onto the operating bed which was angled down so that my head pointed to the floor, and my legs were spread in standard OB/GYN stirrups. My arms were strapped to arm rests that swung away from the table, and I was strapped down and fully splayed like da Vinci's Vitruvian Man.
It was hard not to feel like I was in a torture chamber as I lay there, frightened, a million miles from home, undergoing a surgery that was in much likelihood completely pointless anyway, given our circumstances. A man put a needle into the vein on one of my hands, and I began to taste something like ether as a clear fluid drained from an IV stand into my veins. Hot tears rolled down my cheeks, and I whimpered and wished I could see my mother. A woman put a gas mask over my head, and in no time, I was out.
It was a surreal and unearthly feeling as I felt them wheel my body on a gurney into a tiny elevator and move me onto a bed in a recovery room. But it was comfortable, and it was a strangeness I remembered experiencing shortly after my C-section with Devon. The feeling that you are not entirely united with your body, and that you are completely OK with that. Little by little I came to my senses, and Dan was with me, looking over me. Other than me being a bit sore for a couple days, it was done. Mission accomplished. We had achieved what we had traveled to India to do, and it felt good.
But without our usual routine, and our regular visits to the clinic- without purpose- the rose-tinted glasses faded to grey pretty quickly. We were burned out. We'd had weeks of doing nothing but talking about our predicament regarding the Indian government closing the doors to surrogacy. The agitation, frustration and angst ricocheted back and forth against us as we and our new friends discussed the matter in and out, from every angle, debating what on earth we could possibly do to help our cases. We saw happy endings where couples got babies, and that was so happy (especially getting to hold a friend's little preemie!), but then we'd hear how long they had been working at this- 4 years in one case, 11 in another- and we'd groan on the inside.
I didn't enjoy the rides around town as much. Where I had previously been soaking up all the sights, good and bad, with wide-eyed wonder and enthusiasm; without a goal for the rest of the trip within view, the harder sights began to settle in and affect me emotionally- the crowds, the smoke from the trash fires, the smog.
Though the children we saw did not look unhappy or malnourished, it was hard to see them walking amongst the trash and city streets with no shoes (and in some cases no pants either). I saw a little boy, who was probably in all likelihood quite happy, skipping around a barren field of dirt, no shoes, no pants, flying a kite. I don't know what it was, but seeing him so exposed made me think of seeing my own little boy running around the house carefree and naked, and my mind compared the two boys' lives, side-by-side. I missed my own son immensely, and I wished I could care for the children here just as much.
We had done what we came here to do. We had reached the mountain peak. We could keep struggling, keep throwing ourselves against the iron bars of government, but we knew that realistically, we had probably done all that we could on that front. Now it was just a matter of waiting to see what the final verdict would be.
We found out the next day that just three eggs had been retrieved, and the day after that we found that only one had been fertilized. It's possible that by now, the other two may have been as well, but we just didn't feel like spending hours today chasing after information that, really, would do nothing more than satisfy our curiosity.
We have at least one embryo. As many as three. Regardless of how many, we know that IF they let us proceed, as long as its not years in the future, we will give it a shot. But even if the government comes to their senses and allows this, we still have such small odds, it seems. Despite medical intervention, we only got three eggs. Maybe only a single embryo. It's enough to give us a small amount of hope, though we are learning that that is not necessarily a good thing.
Hope keeps us in a state of limbo where we constantly question how much of our lives should we keep in reserve (ie money, emotion, energy, paid time off work), for a child that may never come to be; and at what point to do we give up and grant our existing child our full hearts and devotion, which he deserves? We don't want to be so focused on earning money and aiming towards this goal that we miss time with our one precious son. It's been hell being away from him for three weeks. If we don't have a second child, we will at least be quite relieved not to have to leave him for another month to come back to India to pick the child up.
So that's where we leave off. We are trying not to talk about baby stuff too much. We are worn weary from the ongoing assaults of emotions, and the feelings of being strung along by hope and half-hearted foreign promises. We've missed most of the holiday season, and we are more than ready to come home to our families and to what's left of Christmas and Yule. The one thing we both look forward to the most is a huge hug from Devon, if he can forgive us for leaving him for so long.