Sample Chapters – Chapter 19

We have lift off!

Despite being told that there was nothing I could do to slow the stimulation or reduce the symptoms, I spent the next few days trying to remain calm and relaxed. It was something to focus on even if it didn’t make any actual physical difference it was definitely helpful in focussing the mind.

I had a strange euphoric feeling inside. I just wanted to shout out “I’m going to have a baby”, so much so I found myself telling people, acquaintances, and clients, even complete strangers that I was going through IVF. Almost as the words came out of my mouth I couldn’t believe what I was saying. “Shut up Helen!” I’d say to myself. What on earth was I thinking? But I simply couldn’t help it. I was beyond giddy. I was so excited that in just nine months time I’d have my longed for baby and I wanted as many people as possible to help share my joy as early as possible. Most people wished me well and seemed pleased for us and I naturally took this as them sharing my joy that I would soon become a mummy again. Each time I had a conversation like that, it felt like we were already celebrating the fact that I was lucky enough to have the treatment, to have a chance of pregnancy and that I was about to have another baby. In my darker moments I realised this was utterly ridiculous and I was obviously getting carried away. This frenzy was frightening but it was something I struggled to curtail.

This was it! It was like we’d been rehearsing for ages and the main event was going to start this week. We really were on the first rung of that very exciting ladder and despite the worry and pain; I was so very excited and couldn’t wait to get cracking.

On the other hand, I was also terrified, which was equally as strange a feeling to be having. This was it indeed. A game changer. Life as we knew it was effectively ending and there was no turning back. It was no longer going to be the three of us. Work would never be the same, home life would change and the prospect of my whole life and future taking a different path in just a matter of days was really daunting.

Work was a great distraction and I worked harder than ever to try to clear down my projects, hand over to my colleagues and try to cause as little disruption to the business as possible during my week off.

I was nervous revisiting the clinic on Wednesday and had no idea what to expect from the next scan. I was still struggling with the pain and discomfort in my tummy and was still battling in my mind with wanting to progress but knowing in reality that the cost could be my health or even my life, and that of course wasn’t worth the risk. By now I was feeling really poorly. As well as having extreme nausea and a severely extended stomach that ached constantly, my sore throat had also really kicked in and developed into a streaming cold. I was terrified Denise would take one look at me and deny me the transfer but I was perhaps more terrified that I could convince her otherwise by putting on a brave face when in fact I should have been honest and stopped the treatment.

As it was, the scan showed that the levels had come down and the coasting had worked so it was go go go for Friday. We could proceed.

I have never punched the air, in my life. I thought it was something only Tom Cruise did in movies but as I walked out of the main entrance I found myself doing just that! I actually drew my arm back and with terrific force, thrust it in the air! What must I have looked like? “YES!” I could literally have burst. The potential that after all the build up, the cautiousness about the treatment itself, the drugs, the cost and then the over stimulation, we could then have been prevented from actually proceeding with the treatment had been a huge shock to us. Feeling so poorly and so low it was extremely hard to be positive, especially with the knowledge that there was little I could do to change the situation. To know now for certain that we were going to go ahead felt utterly exhilarating. I was ecstatic!

Thursday was really, really busy at work as I was trying to hand over my projects to the team and wrap up outstanding actions. Saying good night to the team felt strange. It wasn’t as if they knew what I was doing or where I was going as they had all believed I was just taking time out to spend with the family. Dom gave me a squeeze but said little and that was really helpful and sweet in a way.

It was raining so I said I’d give Emma a lift home and on the way we saw a good friend of ours, a barrister, who lived near to Emma, so I stopped to pick him up too. He looked smart in his suit and raincoat but was obviously getting drenched in the heavy rain. As I pulled up he ran to the back door of my jeep which was nearest too him and hurriedly tried to scramble into the back seat as another car pulled up right behind us. The rain was pelting down so hard and he was rushing so much to avoid delaying the growing traffic jam behind us, he couldn’t hear me shouting “other side!” as I tried to tell him Zac’s car seat was in his way.

Instead of stopping, getting out and running round the other side, the chaos caused him to keep pushing himself, and his briefcase into the back seat, over Zac’s car seat. To this day, that sight still makes me crack up laughing and that night in the car I nearly wet myself in hysterics! He is one of the most prominent professionals in the region, and there he was trying to stuff himself and a briefcase into the back seat of my car, through the tiny space left above a child’s car seat! All three of us howled and cried with laughter as we kept reliving the story over and over again.

Knowing what was happening the following day, and no doubt to hide his embarrassment, our friend quickly left Emma and I in the car as I dropped him off outside his house and I continued to laugh uncontrollably. It was a strange release of a pent up tension that had been building all day and I literally could not stop laughing. After several minutes and having wiped countless tears from my eyes I then realised that I was now actually weeping, crying, sobbing in fact.

“This is it Emma”. This really was a strange moment. I will never forget saying those exact words. From that exact moment life would never be the same again. As I left her at her house, my focus would immediately be on my family and what lay ahead tomorrow. Whilst we had been preparing for weeks, it felt that the time had now come for a gearshift and I was filled with terror at it not working and filled with anxiety about what lay ahead if it did. Either way, life was about to change and the weight of that feeling was immense.

Laughing so much had been a trigger, a very funny trigger and it was nice to laugh in a strange sort of way, but now I was terrified about turning the car round. Part of me wanted to get cracking but part of me was so frightened that the great white knight I had been so keen to carry me away, wasn’t going to be all that he cracked up to be after all. It felt like sometimes it’s best to simply retain the hope instead of rolling the dice and confirming inevitable disappointment. Keep it in the locker and you always have that hope. But now, just 12 hours to go till our appointment, there was no turning back, no denying that knight into our lives and we were about to embark on what I desperately hoped would be a thrilling adventure.

I wiped my tears, hugged Emma and drove home in silence. No phone, no radio, just me, my thoughts and just me.

Little did I know, there was to be more hilarity later that night. After dinner Jason was a real sweetheart and offered to run me a nice bath to relax in and prepare myself for the following morning. Whilst I was downstairs in goal in front of the radiator with Zac kicking ball after ball at me, Jason went upstairs to prepare the bath. Zac was insisting that he come in the bath with Mummy and I was trying to persuade him otherwise whilst trying to catch each ball flying towards me, when Jason called me to come upstairs. The promise that Daddy would come down and go in goal, had distracted Zac from wanting to get in the bath so I was looking forward to having some peace and quiet all on my own.

Candles were lit, the bubbles were piled to the top and my fluffy dressing gown was placed across the table waiting for me. The candlelight against the travertine walls gave a lovely warm glow to the bathroom as Jason proudly walked me in.   As I undressed he disappeared but quickly came back with a tall glass filled with ice and lemon. “It’s a tonic darls, you’ll have to pretend there’s a gin in there but I’ve squeezed the lemon well so it should still taste lovely!”

He was so thoughtful sometimes and I felt very lucky to have such a supportive, caring husband who knew that the night before what was going be a stressful day, I needed a lovely bit of TLC and a hot, bubbly bath. Jason left and I climbed in, leaning back as the water and bubbles enveloped what was by now a huge, round, swollen tummy. Exhaling, I closed my eyes and could just hear Jason and Zac’s laughter in the distance downstairs. It would all be worth it I thought as I put my head back and slowly started to relax.

And then I noticed. The bubbles were glistening. They looked really pretty, more pretty than usual and seemed to have a slight sparkle. I stroked the top of a pile of bubbles and yes; they were indeed really sparkly tonight. Oh no. I pushed the bubbles aside and looked at the water. The water seemed fine, seemed normal, but something wasn’t right. I shuffled round and sat up. Sending the water swirling round me I could see that the water was glistening too! I looked up and it was then that I realised this was no ordinary bath. My bath bomb was missing from the shelf.

“Jasoooonnn!” Jason, quickly followed by Zac, ran up the stairs. Turning the light on, it was now really clear to see the beautiful effects the bath bomb had made on my bath and which had by now, covered me from head to toe in teeny, tiny, gold and pink glitter.

I knelt up and the full effect of the bath bomb could clearly be seen.   The water was a pinkie colour and had tiny flakes of glitter all through it. Glitter was all over the bubbles, up the sides of the bath and worst of all, it was all over my skin! It was bloody everywhere! It was futile to ask Jason what on earth he had been thinking or to be cross, because as he said, he had seen I had a bath bomb that hadn’t been used for ages and presumed I was saving it for a special occasion. In his quest to provide the perfect evening with a gorgeous bath he had inadvertently added more stress to the situation.

I tried wiping at my arms and legs but obviously the glitter just stuck or moved. I got out of the bath and straight into the shower, scrubbing at my skin to try to get it all off. I dragged the towel across my body but could still see tiny flecks catching the light as I moved. Three showers later, I was now tired, even more sore and by that stage past caring whether all the glitter had gone or not. Jason had emptied the bath and was completing a similar task trying to rinse all the glitter from the sides and around the plughole, with similar limited success.

In just 12 hours I was to be in a theatre, naked from the waist down, with half a dozen medical staff at my lower end and all I could think now was that they would all think I had come dressed for the occasion. That I had arranged a Vajazzle on purpose! I couldn’t even bare to contemplate how much glitter would be left down, around or even up my lady bits but I was by now resigned to the fact that there was not a cat in hells chance that I would have managed to remove every single piece! Legs akimbo, theatre lights directly on me, you could be sure I’d be sparkling away tomorrow morning!

As I explained to Jason, the reason the offending bath bomb had been on the shelf for so long was that Jo had bought it for me as a present and having noted that it was glittery, I had long thought it would be too messy to use but it made a nice display item.   Of all the nights for Jason to think to use it! I could hardly believe it! Laugh was all that we could do and we had to see the funny side. I’d deal with tomorrow morning when I’d be dying of embarrassment and searching faces to see if anyone noticed then, but for now I just had to call Jo and ‘thank’ her for her gift. How thoughtful they had both been!