Monday, November 06, 2006
<-- L & I went to the Brunswick Heads Kites & Bikes festival yesterday; amid watching the talent quests and stunt bike exhibitions we made this kite, which flew surprisingly well
(With apologies to Elsewhere for shameless copying, but rather less skilful rendering, of the style of this engaging entry)
'It's quite a simple procedure,' says Dr K. 'All the hard work is done. We just slip the embros back in there.'
Our two embryos have been slowly multiplying in a test tube for three days. In preparation for the return of the twins, as we are calling them, L has to shower with a specially medicated sponge. Neither of us can put on perfume or use perfumed soaps in the morning. We wash in sorbolene. It slips off my body, not really seeming to cut through a day's accumulated city grime.
We arrive slightly later than our scheduled time of half an hour before our procedure. The day hospital is locked up; it's a Sunday and we have instructions to buzz straight up to the ward to get them to release the security system. No-one's answering. A person with a clipboard is striding about on the other side of the locked glass doors, but turns her head aside from our frantic gesticulating, gets into a lift and is gone.
'Friendly', comments Lovergirl. We're trying not to be stressed, to create a warm welcoming atmosphere in L's uterus. A calm resting place filled with nutrition and love and positive energy... It's not helped by the drugs L has been on. The side effects are 'depression, felleings of extreme worthlessness and low self esteem.' Apparently they have been creating an artificial menopause. I tell ya, the change of life is going to be fun, if these drugs are any foretaste.
Finally a distorted voice responds to the buzzer and releases the door. We race upstairs (calmly; nurturingly; lovingly) where the nurse is watching music videos. Some fourteen year old blonde child is wailing about never loving again. Nurse puts on a friendly face and hands me a form to fill out.
'When you've finished this, Daniella, let me know and I'll take you through.'
I'm not Daniella.
I'm not the one getting eggs.
Daniella comes up behind me. We get all straightened out, Lovergirl gets a form of her own which presumably means she gets her own eggs.
Once the forms are filled and boxes ticked, Lovergirl and I get into our theatre clothes. I fare better than Lovergirl, who has an unflattering white cotton gown sprigged with tiny pink flowers, covered up with a quilted white cotton dressing gown. My outfit comprises surgical scrubs - navy cotton drawstring pants and a large navy cotton T-shirt. We're both wearing paper shower caps and paper bootees. If our attraction for each other can survive this it can survive anything.
Then we go into the waiting room and wait.
I foolishly have forgotten to bring The Red Tent which is completely engrossing, and am left to leaf through No Idea's exclusive! first birthday photos of Our Mary's son, and catch up on Our Nicole and her problems being a codependent wife of an alcoholic.
Lovergirl is wistfully reading Vogue.
Finally they call us into the theatre. Dr K is waiting there, looking like a butcher about to sluice his floors- white pyjamas and big yellow gumboots, and snap! the same paper shower cap as us. We also meet the nurse, who has warmed up, and Cheong-Li, the scientist, who is holding the twins in a big syringe.
Lovergirl hops up onto the bed. Those of you who have had a pap smear or any other such girl's bits investigations will know the sort of bed I mean, with the padded leg rests holding one in precisely the position our mothers said was most unladylike. A huge square spotlight glares down. . I'm gripping L's hand, trying to be soothing, but actually having most unhelpful flashes of overidentification as Dr K rummages around to get the embryos in. He chats about movies as he pokes about - he's recently been to see An Inconvenient Truth - I presume it's meant to put us at ease, but really, I'd like it better if he focussed on the task at hand.
That's it. 'Done,' he says, and Cheong-Li peers at the syringe under a microscope to make sure the twins are out. It's surprisingly anticlimactic. I suppose people getting pregnant by more mundane methods find that, as well.
We get back into our day clothes. I always dress in a very femme style for the clinic. I suppose I'm trying to prove that I'm just as motherly as all those other women. I think I've got some idea that one day someone is going to leap out, take one look at us and say, 'Oh my god! Are they helping lesbians get pregnant at this clinic? Outrageous!' and then it will be on the front of the Courier Mail, and then there will be a big public outcry and it will be mentioned in parliament and all IVF clinics will be banned to horrible perverted lesbians. So I've got on impractical high heeled shoes, and an A-line skirt and wrap top in harmonious colours. Now that the procedure is over, I add a slick of lipstick. Hopefully no-one gets too close to see my unshaven legs - to fix that detail would be taking the world of heterosexual disguise a bit too far.
And then it's back into the waiting room with us.
Danielle and her young man are already there. Beautiful dark young people, they smile and nod but continue talking in a Middle Eastern language - they could be Israeli or Lebanese. I wouldn't mind if the hospital mixed up and we got their eggs. Margie is also sitting in a big lounge chair. She's a chatty redhead Louise met a few days ago when having the eggs out. Her husband is a quiet, mousy type who does something mysterious in IT. Margie is fascinated by us - are there other lesbians who have gotten pregnant? and what will we do about the father? She interrogates us, but in such an open, naive way it's impossible to be insulted. And much preferable to sideways glances and whispers as we leave. Anyway she talks so much we don't get a chance to give her any information.
The nurse offers Lovergirl brandy and cheese and biscuits, which strikes me as an odd post-conception refreshment. Margie and the mousy husband - Brad? Brian? Bruce? - leave and we go back to leafing through magazines. What are we waiting for, exactly?
Eventually the nurse says we can go and we gingerly walk back to the car park. What stops the twins from just falling out? I drive us back to the hotel and prop Lovergirl on the couch in front of 42 channels of pay TV. The rest of the day I play nurse, fetching and carrying and cooking.
Nothing to it, really, this getting pregnant business.