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The Trigger Shot

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I'm ready to go ahead with the retrieval of my eggs.

Tonight at midnight, I get my "trigger" shot.

In the next 24 hours, the follicles that have been kept in the tubes by the other injections will start moving down.

The nurse at home jokingly mentions that if I have intercourse now I could have triplets! I muster an uncomfortable laugh.

We start discussing all the different treatments and it makes me smile to learn they use internal acronyms to define us.

I get goose bumps when I learn that some couples go through the IVF process so they can choose the sex of their child, that it's legal in the U.S. and many other countries to do this. There is a rainbow of ethical and religious nuances as we play God.

I'm also shocked to discover that male partners often undergo blood tests and intrusive procedures during IVF. I feel better now that my ignorant assumption that they were off having fun, that their only contribution reading dirty magazines for "inspiration," was incorrect. I'm also told the fertility center doesn't have a sperm bank. If I ever need/want donor sperm, I need to bring it to the center. It reminds me of the restaurants where you can bring your own bottle of wine and they charge you a corking fee.

The nurse leaves and I'm left alone with my body and thoughts. My skin is breaking out like I am 14 and my stomach is warm and bloated. I will not be able to do any exercise for another two weeks, bringing my period of inactivity to a full month. My immune system is weakened and I am hormonal, jumping at the slightest provocation. I go through a full day of work and fall into bed at 1 a.m., exhausted.

When I wake up at 6:20 a.m., the thoughts of the previous nights swirl in my foggy head and I have to brace myself to once again go through a battery of tests. I decide to leave the stockings at home today.

As I enter the elevator to go up to the clinic, a young woman is coming out of it crying. I am reminded of how pivotal motherhood can be for a woman and what a miracle life is.

Behind her is a couple, two women, looking lovingly at one another. I can clearly tell who is there to go through the procedure and who will be the emotional pillar she can count on. I almost envy them.

I go in all under control. Tomorrow is the day! I'm given my last instructions:
I cannot drink nor eat from 12 p.m. until 11 a.m., when I ll be admitted into the procedure room.

An additional piece of thrilling news is shared with me: When I wake up from the anesthesia, I will have cramps, and the more eggs they extract, the greater the cramps. Marvelous! I will also be a bit "confused" and I will have to take antibiotics for seven days which, when added to the veto on excercize and the moratoria on alcohol, seems like a lot.

I wonder for the hundredth time if I really want to go through with all this. I have proven I can be a chicken with golden eggs at an age when most statistics have given me up for half-dead... why do I want to put myself through anesthesia and an "operation" when I never needed any of it for 39 years?

I'm told I'll need someone to accompany me and pick me up from the procedure, a favor that will strain my independence. But in the last month, the center and it's rules have re-prioritized my life and turned my jet-setting ways upside down, grounding me and forcing me to face who I am on a daily basis.

I head to work, wishing I could just sleep -- I feel like I have not slept in ages. My pregnant friends tell me I have all the symptoms they had during their first few weeks of pregnancy. Joy. I'll consider this a dry run.