What to expect when you’re not expecting XVIII: The Sharps Container

by Lord Sutch

When you’ve made a commitment to writing out your story, and then that story ends up being way longer than you anticipated, you go searching for metaphors to represent what you’re going through because metaphors are one of the great pieces of human story telling.

We’re smack bang in the middle of yet another IVF round (we’re not even sure what number this is, 4? 5? I dunno). This one is our longest yet! It’s involved Kim pre-dosing by injecting a drug called Lucrin. This forces a menopausal state upon her so that it resets her to zero. Of course it comes with the happy by-product of all the emotional ups and downs that I’m lead to believe Menopause comes with so it’s been a really hard few weeks for Kim. After her last piece, I got a lot of messages from people saying things like “is Kim ok?” “That was a sad piece, is she doing alright?”. I had to go back and read it because my first reaction wasn’t that it was a particularly sad piece, and also because we weren’t in a particularly sad place. But re-reading it, I could see how people would perceive that. And then since that piece was published we have become a bit glum, a lot of that is down to the emotional ups and downs as a by-product of the drug but then a lot of it is the burden of going through this process again except this time with considerably less hope than previous iterations. We’ve moved into what I call the “cynically pessimistic” mood in relation to this. We started this IVF process with such hope and belief that this would be the fix to our problem, but to date it obviously hasn’t been. And we’ve sunken so much into it. Both financially and emotionally. You start to look at it all without hope after a while.

So a couple of weeks of Kim taking Lucrin we move on to the “stimming” as they call it, with Kim injecting the stimulatory drugs to try and grow the follicles. Now every night we’ve gone from one needle to two needles. We were given a sharps container to put everything in and it’s full. It’s completely full of needles, vials, alcohol swabs, syringes. There is so much. And Kim has to do it all. And it’s so hard. And I haven’t made it easy.

I had a work trip last week to Auckland right on night two of Kim taking the proper IVF medication and I promised I’d call her when it was time to inject. I didn’t call. I didn’t really have an excuse, I just lost track of the time and didn’t notice when Kim had messaged me to tell me she was “mixing” up the drugs. I felt like the biggest asshole. Kim was at home alone doing this really hard thing and all I had to do was call her. And I didn’t. And I don’t want her to feel like she’s doing this on her own but in that moment I think I did make her feel that. And the sense of teamwork is one of the most important things we’ve found when going through something like this. She needs to know that I’m here beside her every step of the way. Because as I’ve said so many times, this process is not a balanced equation and so I need to take as much off her shoulders as I can and I didn’t do that.

So the metaphor is that sharps container. It’s full of empty vessels. And right now we feel like we’re full of empty hopes. Obviously we’re really keen for this round to work but …. yeah. Life is happening around us, but it seems like we’re stuck in stasis (side note, I once sat in a meeting with a German man and talked about being stuck in “stasis” but pronounced it “stasi” because I thought it was a French word and you don’t pronounce the final letter. It went awkwardly silent and he just said “do you mean stay-sis?” and I just nodded and said very little else for the rest of the meeting). Kim just described it as “we’re running on empty but life around us is running at full speed”. That’s a really good way of putting it.


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1 comment

blusplash November 20, 2017 - 1:36 pm

I’ve appreciated reading your brutally honest account of what this has been like for you both. Thanks so much for being willing to be vulnerable and put it out there on the internets. I know it is cold comfort, but you’re not alone in this. (I serendipitously came across your blog when I too was told I had uterine didelphys, now also going through IVF after 4 years of trying but with some extra complications added in). Without a doubt, infertility is the most difficult thing I have had to face, and it is like a black hole that keeps sucking the joy out of life with no end in sight. It can be so lonely. So thanks for writing and posting this stuff – keep doing the next thing. All your readers are standing with you.


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