This post was written in December, 2015. We’d been trying to conceive since July 2014.
You can catch up on parts 1 to 4 here…
As I write this, I am coming to the end of a cycle of ovulation tracking by blood tests. It’s been quite the time consuming process and I have spent a lot of time hanging out with phlebotomists in pathology clinics. I have had to have tests at least every few days (sometimes a few days in a row) and it has been a bit exhausting!
When I first started doing it, I was already getting used to the fact that blood was being drained out of me constantly (I’d already had a bunch of blood tests done for other exploratory things). I was kind of blasé about it. I thought the biggest annoyance would just be the time it would take going back and forth to the hospital (where the pathology place is).
A few days ago, I started to feel the emotional effects. The ones I had been completely not expecting. I had been very clinical in my approach. Guess it all catches up with you eventually. I tried to give my right arm a rest but my left arm wouldn’t give up any blood. Twice. So I was getting upset at having to turn my right arm into a pin cushion. I started to feel drained (ha – literally!) when I had a bunch of tests all in a row, with no days off. I started to realise that the closer I got to the end of the tracking process, the more real it felt. Like, what happens after? I hadn’t thought about AFTER. I was just all about one foot in front of the other.
Since I started these tests, the Christmas decorations have been put up in pathology. That’s nice. The staff are all so kind. Like really. Like I would hug them if they weren’t always holding needles (and if it wasn’t probably inappropriate haha). There’s one lady who always says sorry when she sticks the needle in and says she’s just not sure why she does the job she does, but she’s so full of empathy and adorable that it distracts you. There’s the lady who is super efficient so you don’t have time to worry about anything. In and out. Then you’re out of there. There’s the guy who is young and makes me feel super old but who put me at ease with great chit chat and made me miss my brother (they have the same name). There are all of the phlebotomists who recognise me because I’m there so much and treat me like a real person. I am so grateful. I guess they make their living by having to put nervous people at ease, but I think it’s more than that. They are wonderful people.
Today, one of them told me that she knows I must really be feeling over it. She said she hopes that she sees me when I’m eventually pregnant. She had such compassion in her eyes. I hope for that too.
I’m starting to enjoy the drive in to the hospital. I make the most of it. I turn up my fight songs and sing (or rap) along. Lots of Bliss and Eso seems to do the trick. I park my car, put on my game face and I march on in there. I take a number like a boss and I catch up on my Facebook newsfeed while I wait. I have read great comment threads about feminism, ‘mummy blogging’ and racism. I get right on up in there, because I have the time to.
On the way out, I send a snapchat photo of my arm to a select couple of supportive friends, Mr Unprepared and my parents. Another one down. It makes me feel not so alone.
In the car, afterwards, I take a deep breath and brace myself to take on the rest of the day. Sometimes the blood test is forgotten in minutes. I hug the Little Mister (if he’s not at day care) or I take some time out for myself – even if it’s just a few minutes. I try to remind myself I don’t have to be superwoman and that having blood removed from my body constantly is not nothing. I have to go easy on myself mentally and physically. Sometimes I have a cry, but mostly I try to stay strong. I can’t help but feel guilty sometimes, when I feel depleted and sad. I mean, there are people going through way tougher stuff every day. I am in awe of those people.
I don’t know what the results of these tests will be (I suspect I am ovulating OK or at least my hormones will say so). I don’t know exactly what the next steps will be (it’s not like I’ve done this before – not this way). I am not sure if my doctor will catch it, so he can call us and confirm in real time when I’m good to go (haha). I don’t know what it’s like to go from here. I’m a bit nervous about the unknown. I have good days and I have bad days. I just hope that I’m a step closer to our dream of having a second baby*.
*maybe just give it another year and a half 😬