Two days have gone by since our first visit to the fertility center and it’s time for us to return to Dr. VaJayjay’s office. This is the last pre-go-have-sex visit, and today we will do another ultrasound and Lyena will get a shot that is supposed to boost her into ovulation overdrive (which I think would make a great name for a band).
We arrive at the office and are greeted by a whole new set of equally friendly green-scrubbed receptionists. The lollipop dish is still there and this time I give in to my inner child and grab one for later. Who knows, maybe I’ll earn it before we leave.
We take a seat in the testosterone-free waiting room but aren’t there long enough for me to get bored. After a few minutes, a nurse comes out and ushers us back to an exam room. As we set Lyena up on the exam table we start chatting. She tells us that she’s been working there for over 30 years (though she truly doesn’t look like that’s possible). We ask her what it’s like to work at a place like this and she says it is a job of extremes – either the most wonderful thing in the world, or the most devastating. I can only imagine.
It is this woman’s job to help people through a time in their lives when their personal investment is about as high as it can be. People don’t come to a center like this because they kind of want a child; people come here because they really, really want to conceive. These aren’t crazy Octo-parents addicted to breeding in litters; these are normal people whom nature has failed for some reason. This is basically the great last step. If the process is successful, the prize is a new life; if the process fails, the loss is complete and too-often final.
On the wall in the hallway is a corkboard covered in photos of children; some of the prizes from the work the clinic has done over the years. The nurse says that several parents bring their kids back to say hello and keep in touch and it’s easy to imagine the staff getting attached to these people they helped bring into the world. I ask her if she has ever assisted a couple in having a child and then helped that child conceive as an adult. She says she has, and it seems a bittersweet thought. On the one hand, she seems delighted she was able to help, on the other she wishes the help wasn’t needed in the first place. To the “other hand,” I can relate.
But enough philosophizing. On to the business of making a baby. A technician rolls a mobile ultrasound into the room and I recognize the iPhallus from our previous visit. I am a little more prepared, however, and am able to look it in the eye (or whatever) without so much as a waver in my masculinity. The Trojan-MAXXX is rolled in place and the familiar shadowy mess appears on the screen. The technician does her thing, but this time, I think I am able to make out the shadows she is noting as distinguishable from the other shadows dancing around the screen. Or maybe I’m just making it up. Either way, I get through the procedure trauma-free. One step closer to earning that lollipop.
The tech says everything looks good and leaves to deliver the results to the doctor. We are told to wait and he will be by shortly. As we wait, me holding my wife’s knees and feet in the truly inappropriately-named “stirrups,” I ask her if she’s used to this kind of thing. It seems to me that this is about as vulnerable a position a woman can be in and she appears way more calm than I would ever be. I’m not yet 40 and don’t have to deal with the regular examination of my private ports, but it strikes me that of all the things I’ve heard about turning 40, that is, by far, the worst. She explains that it took a while, but she did get used to it, especially when she found a good doctor that she trusted. After a moment she adds that the paralysis helps a lot – not being able to feel down there makes the whole thing a little easier. Another small victory for paralysis.
Dr. VaJayjay arrives and tells us the results of the ultrasound. “Everything looks good,” he says with a smile. We’re exactly on track for ovulation in the next day or two. Before we leave, he’ll give her the shot that will help strengthen the ovulation and maximize our pregnancy potential.
Then he pulls a stool over to look at my wife. Somewhere deep inside, I must have known this was an inevitability, but to have the moment actually come – and to have it happen so nonchalantly – seems, well, wrong. Shouldn’t there be some sort of formal procedure – some ritual for asking a husband’s permission to look at this part of his wife? I know it’s her body, but shouldn’t I get some say in the matter, however symbolic it might be? I mean, he’d probably ask my permission to dance with her, and she’s fully dressed then. But, alas, no. He simply sits down and asks me to hold her knee a little differently.
As soon as my brain stops colliding with itself, I comply and he reaches into a drawer in the table. He extracts a device that looks like a bit like a duck’s bill, or two metal Pringles hinged together. It looks like it was designed by Microsoft. My recently stunned brain takes a moment to register what the device is and I figure it out just as he’s about to… What a lovely shade of beige the wall is.
My wife laughs, but I don’t want to see this. I’m a romantic. And that is the wonder-place where the magic happens. And I don’t want to have my romantic notions sullied by anything as pedestrian as reality. No sir. I’d rather count ceiling tiles, thank you very much (there are 24 in the room, by the way).
Finally, the doctor snaps off his gloves and I am told it is safe to rejoin the room. Once again, he tells us that “everything looks good” and we are on track for baby-ville. The nurse will give Lyena the ovulation booster shot and we’ll meet him back in his office.
We help Lyena down from the table and the nurse asks her where she would like the injection. “I get a choice? Great! Anywhere below my navel.” The navel is her sensation line – anything below and she can’t feel it. If she gets a choice, she always goes below the navel.
The shot administered, we head back into the doctor’s office for the best news I’ve gotten from a doctor in probably ever. Go home and have sex. Doctor’s orders. We smile and say that, no offense, but we hope we never have to see him again. He leans back in his chair and smiles. “Likewise.”
As we walk out, I remove the lollipop from my pocket and pop it in my mouth. It’s going to be a good weekend.
Up Next: Prescription Sex