"Hi, this is Jane Allen. I'm returning a call from Dr Somebody that I Used to Know" I announced to the receptionist.
"I'm sorry" she replied "He says that if you have a lot of questions, you'll need to make an appointment to come into the office."
What the Fuck. Maybe I couldn't get away with that cheeky consult.
"Um. He called me." I informed her.
"Who is this again?" she asked
"J-a-n-e A-l-l-e-n." I enunciated
"Oh Jane!" she exclaimed "I thought you were someone else" Alas, the lifelong confusion when you have a proper name as your surname. "Oh yes-yes! He wanted to talk to you. Let me put you right through..."
"Well hopefully this IUI will be successful and you won't need to do IVF" he said for good measure, and then wasted no time getting right to the point. After some consideration for the fact that we haven't yet stimulated my ovies, we could try a short protocol during a natural cycle. That sounded good so far; no Lupron, no birth control pills. I could even appreciate Husband's mind at work - less drugs = less cost. "So, we could start with your next cycle, which would give us a tentative retrieval date of 25 September. How does that sound?"
I checked the calendar just to be sure, but I knew what conflicted with that date. It was two days after my in-laws arrive and it was the day my parents fly in. I could just imagine the logistics of Husband taking me home from my retrieval and leaving me alone with his parents while he goes to pick up my parents from the airport. My heart started pounding and I had to focus on my breathing. The mere thought of going through this during the in-law invasion was inducing a panic attack. "I'm sorry, but that's not going to work, my parents and in-laws are in town." I explained. "Well, talk things over with Husband and let me know." He replied. Um, did we travel back to the 1950s where the man has the final say? Dude, I told you that date wouldn't work! Then I realised why it was probably hard to understand. I'm sure most patients probably arrange to have their relatives stay with them during this process. I hadn't intended to explain my family dynamics.
Let me start by saying that my in-laws are very sweet and generous people who have been nothing but kind to me from the first time we met, which makes me feels so horrible for harbouring the feelings that I have for them. Although, while they are pleasant on the surface, I know they resent the fact that I am the reason why their only child lives on the other side of the world. The fact that I didn't take Husband's surname doesn't endear me much, either. In addition to that underlying tension, they're socially very awkward. They don't have any friends. They don't travel. They don't have any hobbies, except my father-in-law follows Formula One and my mother-in-law loves Barry Manilow. That's it. They only thing we have in common is Husband.
Whilst in London last summer during the Olympics, we walked past Buckingham Palace and my mother-in-law commented, "Oh, I've never seen it in person." My jaw nearly dropped, which has been the response of everyone with whom I have shared that story. Seventy-four years she has lived in England, less than an hour's journey from one of the most famous landmarks in the world and never saw it up close. Really? Not on a class field trip or family holiday? I started to feel badly for her. Thus, many -my parents, Myrtle, my aunt and uncle and to some extent me- didn't think they'd actually make the trek for this trip. I think they only agreed to it, as it would fuel more jealousy toward my parents if we went on holiday with them. A small part of me is proud of them for finally noticing that there is an entire world to explore beyond their front door, but it seems a day late and a pound short.
Have you even been at a party or social gathering where you're struggling to make conversation with someone who you don't know well and you start looking for an escape? Scanning the crowd for a familiar face who can rescue you. Stalking the server with the cheese puffs even though you don't like cheese puffs. That's going to be my life for the fortnight during their stay. Now imagine going though your stimulation, retrieval and waiting for your fertilisation report during those conditions. Of course, I will have my parents to serve as a buffer, but I haven't factored how they would play into this hypothetical transfer date. My parents don't know about our intentions to conceive, let alone our difficulties. As it's the only aspect in my command, I will tell them on my terms when I feel it is the right time. I can just imagine dropping this bomb; "So guess what? We're infertile and we need to do IVF. In fact, we're right in the middle of it!" The most legitimate logistical issue is that we are due to depart for Hawaii on the day that would need to be reserved for a possible day 3 transfer. "Husband and I are just going to run out for an errand! It's having the embryo that could become your grandchild placed in my uterus. Everyone be packed and ready to go by the time we get back!"
Nonetheless, I did as I was told and talked things over with Husband. The look of terror in his eyes confirmed that he agreed with me whole heartedly. That time is most definitely not going to work for us. Besides, we are officially on a break.