A Lucky Utility Bird

The Next Family

By: Kerrie Olejarz

We left the hospital.  We were in our last hours in Delhi. We were nervous and excited because soon our transfer would be complete and our fate would be out in the universe.

We also had to organize ourselves to fly out that night.  The long trip ahead was daunting.  We hung out at the hotel, packing up our last-minute things, when the phone rang.  It was the front desk saying there was a delivery for us.  Mark booted down and came back with a large envelope full of pain meds.  Dr Shivani rocks!

As the hours crept by we tried to relax and even attempted some sleep. The anticipation of the long travels was a solid impediment to sleep and rest.  Eventually I got my blood thinner injection ready, one last needle before I leave Delhi!  With the increased hormone values of IVF and especially the trigger shot I was at a higher risk for blood clots so Dr Shivani supplied me with a lovely injectable blood thinner.   I was just hours away from the start of my 40th birthday, and due to the time change, I would be 40 for 10.5 hours longer than if I were at home! Sadly, due to the meds and blood thinner I was forbidden to drink wine on the plane and had to make sure I got up and walked around every hour, so no sleeping for me.

Just before heading to the airport I checked email one last time to see that our transfers had been completed!  We had three embryos transferred to each surrogate and as excited as we were, we immediately went into “holy crap!” mode.  What if all 6 embryos took? What if 4 took?  Holy crap and O M G!  It was done and our chances had been maximized –exactly what we asked for.  We were officially in our two-week wait (not sure why it is called this as it is more like 12 days).

Just before midnight Rahul picked us up and we headed to the airport.  The air was really cool that night and our adrenal systems were in overdrive due to the news of our transfer.  The flight home was uneventful; we travelled through Brussels and many hours later landed at Pearson Airport in Toronto.   We did the immigration thing, then called Mark’s dad to come pick us up.  This is always fun as Poppa John gets easily confused when driving to the airport.  What takes a normal driver 15 minutes takes John 40 minutes.  We waited and waited for him, and it was freezing, but we opted to stay outside so we would be visible to him.  We continued to wait, our teeth chattering as the negative fifteen Celsius air circled us and the dampness of snow or freezing rain started to creep in.  Finally, there he was.  He was not fazed by the fact that it took him almost one hour to get to us.  My nose was bright red and my hands were frozen, but regardless, he finally arrived and we headed home.

It was great to be home but it sucked that I had to return to work the next day.  We unpacked a bit and relaxed.  We had a lot of email to catch up on, who knew so many emails would pile up in the 26 hours’ travel home?!  The next day I returned to work.  No one knew where I had been except the General Manager, or so I thought.  Apparently while I was in India he was asked where I was and he said “Mexico, to have a baby.”  It either showed his lack of interest in me, or lack of understanding, but I will leave that one unanswered.  I did not have much work to catch up on since I worked during my whole trip to India so it was just a normal day at the office for me.  Mark called me to see how I was making out and told me the family was coming over the next day (Saturday) for a small 40th birthday shindig.   It was hard for me to not tell my co-workers what had happened over the last two weeks, but my emotional force-field was fired up.

I could not have wine on Saturday as it was my last day of antibiotics, but Sunday I indulged and felt sick.  It turned out I was coming down with something and the next few hours were brutal.  Monday I arranged to see my Naturopath.  I sat in his IV room and had a three-hour treatment of vitamins, fluids, and homeopathic remedies intravenously.  I told him about the good luck charms I was sporting from our super supporters.  I had a fertility brooch from Hawaii, a treasure rock with the word “hope” engraved in it, a gold necklace worn by a friend during her entire pregnancy, and a charm bracelet from my sister with a four-leaf clover and elephant charm.  The doc looked at me like I was nuts, and probably wondered how many troll dolls I take to bingo.

Six days later I was still sick.  I think the stress of it all was even more powerful than the IV I had on Monday. I had been “voluntold” into doing the Christmas dinner at my house and was trying to find the energy to organize this.  Mark’s ever-so-frugal mother bought a turkey for me to cook.  It was called a “Utility Bird”, hmm…I wonder what that could mean?  My sister looked it up and it was a bird that got maimed in the processing plant.  Ours was missing a drum stick.  My sister also found out that these birds are usually sent to prisons for the inmates on Christmas, so this became the Prison Bird Christmas at my house.  Mark’s mom was highly offended at our never-ending references to the prison bird, but if you decide to really cheap out, be prepared!  Despite the fact that it was a prison bird, it cooked really nicely and we all enjoyed it.

It was very difficult for us to enjoy Christmas however, as we were preoccupied.  Mark and I had very little cheer and perma-knots in our bellies.  In typical tradition, Mark and I watched “Bad Santa” together as it is not Christmas without a little Billy Bob Thorton in our house.

The 26th of December is Boxing Day in Canada, and while most people were out shopping for what they thought were good deals, I was in bed sick, and Mark was still recovering from our trip and trying to deal with the anxiety.  We ate leftovers and stayed home, very uneventful.   I was in and out of bed, feeling like total crap.  Finally around midnight I took some Nyquil.  We hit the hay and settled in for a long deep sleep.

At 4 am the phone rang –a double ring, meaning long distance.  I jumped to the phone, answered it in a Nyquil daze and I could hear horns honking.  I knew in a millisecond it was INDIA calling.  My heart suck and then I heard Dr Shivani say “Kerrie” –small pause –“I am calling with the best Christmas present ever” –pause–“YOU ARE PREGNANT, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”   I started screaming and Mark awoke immediately.  Dr Shivani had such excitement in her voice; she was truly happy to make this call.  I continued screaming and yelling and thanking her and screaming some more! Mark was jumping up and down as he obviously got the jist of what was happening despite being awoken from a deep sleep.   Dr Shivani said she would send through the paperwork soon.  We had one surrogate pregnant with a beta of 150 which more than likely meant one baby.   I hung up the phone and Mark and I had a huge hug and gigantic smiles on our faces.

Now what… what do we do?  We were so accustomed to getting the calls saying we are not pregnant that we had no clue what to do.  It was too early for celebratory wine, so we brewed a pot of tea, recently purchased in India.  I texted a friend in Europe to tell her the news and then texted a few people who would be pissed if they were not on the first-to-know list.   Soon my cell phone rang, it was Europe calling with uber excitement!  I was stoned on Nyquil and in shock.   Immediately our walls of paranoia went up, knowing this was just the beginning of a very long pregnancy.  The tea was yummy and we just sat there.  We sat there, looking at each other with lots and nothing to say at the same time.   I figured I would quickly update the blog, and in my daze and haze all I could write was “pregnant!!!”  That was enough, it was to the point and more details would be written when I was alert and not so shocked.

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