Siobhan and I go to our local café in Greenhithe (Auckland) EVERY day. It’s called The Collins and the barista there, Stefan, is a miracle that God put on this green earth. Nothing’s a problem for the guy. My regular order is 40 lattes and an Avocado Smash. Siobhan orders a decaf Americano and ½ of my Avocado Smash. She used to order a full strength Americano, but IVF rules dictate that caffeine be given the old heave-ho. Together we tap away on our computers and dream up ideas for a new animated Sperm series we’re writing. We also discuss the inner workings of Siobhan’s body and our frozen embryo. Which one will they choose? What if he’s Pakistani? Would we still have him if we found out he was Italian? Siobhan says yes. I’m more inclined to ask what went wrong.
The embryo transfer was 3 days ago at 12pm. We woke up late that morning and had to order our lattes to take away. Stefan was very confused, “Don’t you guys usually stay here for like 9 hours?” I had to explain that we’re mid way through IVF and I would be back in the afternoon to consume the other 39 lattes. On the way to Fertility Associates, Siobhan was busy Googling about the transfer. She really does put me to shame with the amount of Googling she does. Every time I finish a game of golf on my cheap Huawei phone, I look over and she’s perusing another online forum, “Did you know your uterus should resemble 2 jam buns when they insert the embryo?” I marvel at her diligent study, “I did not. Did you know I just beat a guy from Argentina in a 3 hole stroke play?”
On arrival at Fertility Associates, Vorny’s amazing acupuncturist, Rachel Wilson (from Naissance, pictured), was waiting in reception with needles in hand. I think I’ll nickname her Jabber. Not Jabba from Star Wars, but Jabber from Ponsonby.
I’m not exactly sure what the acupuncturist’s purpose is, but I assume it assists with blood flow before and after the transfer. Regardless, it was very entertaining (for me) and Rachel was a very calming influence. We were ushered into a small room and Vorny plonked herself in a reclining chair. Like a crazed magician, Rachel started throwing needles at Vorny with startling accuracy. It was like watching Britain’s Got Talent and pretty soon Vorny looked like a sleepy porcupine. To help her nod off for 15 minutes, Rachel suggested I play some meditation music on my cheap Huawei phone before she snuck out of the room like a friendly ghost. Instead, I very quietly sang the full Backstreet Boys playlist from Quit playing Games with my Heart to As Long as you Love Me. It was an impressive effort, I must say, although I was very disappointed with my rendition of I Want it that Way. My voice broke 3 times and thankfully Vorny didn’t hear it. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t want it ANY way after that woeful performance. Bloody hopeless! Rachel returned moments later and removed all the needles from Vorny’s body. I offered to sing I Want it that Way to her for some further critique, but alas, we were out of time.
The lovely Nurse arrived and ushered us into the theatre – the same one I saw the brilliant performance of The Egg Collection. I was, of course, expecting big things and once again Fertility Fingers, Dr Mary Birdsall, ‘delivered’, wowing the crowd (me) in a thrilling lead performance that only lasted 15 minutes. She even said a few words to me from the stage, “How are you Millen?” I was stunned and so emotional. This woman’s an impressive multi-tasker – inserting an embryo into my wife, whilst simultaneously starting a conversation with a third party (me). No man could do that, could he? Mary advised that the embryo was healthy and she’d even shaved the shell a bit so the little fella/girl could exit smoothly and embed him/herself in the lining of Vorny’s uterus. I instantly gave her a standing ovation and was immediately told to sit down. At this point, an honorable mention must be given to the Embryologist who had a small speaking role and the Nurse (in a mostly non-speaking role) who, although photography is banned in the theatre, took an awesome ultrasound shot of the transferred embryo safe and sound inside Vorny’s body.
I left the theatre in awe again. The Auckland Theatre Company really should take note of the groundbreaking stuff that’s going on here at Fertility Associates. I was so moved by the performance, I forgot about the 39 coffees I promised Stefan I would drink that afternoon. Instead, Vorny and I went to a pub quiz in Millwater. There’s several schools of thought as to whether one should rest up after the transfer or continue daily life with a hiss and a roar. We chose to split the difference and enjoy the company of good friends, whilst simultaneously making our noses bleed trying to figure out who was the 8th Prime Minister of New Zealand (It was Julius Vogel, by the way. Vorny just Googled it).