By: Kerrie Olejarz
That night we reflected on the past three years and all that had happened to us. Tomorrow was the beginning of a very exciting path and we definitely felt a little overwhelmed and cautiously excited. All the IVF cycles had been so difficult on my body that we were not sure if we could go through this again. We felt this was our last chance for my genetic link in our child. This egg retrieval carried a lot of emotional weight on top of the physical weight. We are good at taking these things in stride but for us this was the end –the final shot –and the excitement and tension in the air were intense.
We spent the next morning doing a little shopping. I was not able to eat or drink so we tried to keep busy to kill the time until about 3 pm. We went to Delhi Haat market to look at handmade crafts and scarves and then headed to a small store to buy some snacks for the rest of our trip. Once we were ready to head to the hospital, Sanjay picked us up and we headed to Dr Shivani’s office to pick up copies of our contracts. We saw Sunita there, our younger surrogate. She waved to us with a big smile and we wished her good luck for the transfer in three days. She could not understand us, but she smiled and made us feel very comfortable for the few minutes that we saw her. Dr Shivani’s team is so organized and very quickly recognized us and handed us the two large envelopes containing the contracts. As we left the office we said our goodbyes to our surrogate and the other ladies milling around. It was lovely to see them all, especially our Sunita.
Sanjay pulled the car up to the door and we headed to the hospital in minutes, super early for our appointment. We asked about the hospital’s nursery and one of the admitting staff took us down the hall to see it. In the nursery were two little just-born babies. They were a set of surrogacy twins, all wrinkled and pinky red! Seeing these two put my mind at rest; they were the reason we were here, trying to have our own little wrinkled bundle of joy. Dr Rekha escorted us to the second floor and settled us in Room 22. The room was a good size, with a hospital bed and full-size sofa. Two of the sisters (nurses) came in to start prepping me, and gave me the lovely hospital gown. They checked my weight and blood pressure, the normal pre-op process. The sisters spoke no English, but having been through a lot of surgical procedures I knew what was going on despite the language barrier.
We were set for the big show! Mark and I snuggled a bit on the couch and he annoyed me by snapping a few commemorative pictures. Then suddenly it was “go time”! I was super nervous! Mark gave me a hug and a kiss and wished me well; I wished him well with his sample collection. As I entered the OR I was relieved to see it was similar to home. The room was sterile clean, the equipment the same as any other operating room. There was a cut-out window to the IVF lab for quick transfer of follicle fluid and the gurney dead-center in the room, complete with the ever so lovely stirrups. The sisters got me settled on the gurney and soon the anesthesiologist entered. He not so gently grabbed my left arm and stretched it out to my side and strapped it down to the board. I started to feel nervous; it was time and I was mildly freaking out. I was in an operating room in a foreign country and the entire medical team was speaking in Hindi. I felt so alone lying there, despite being surrounded by all the medical professionals. I just kept thinking, “soon you will be waking up, post-op.”
My IV was inserted as Dr Shivani entered the room, dressed in scrubs and baby blue Crocs. She touched my leg and wished me the best of luck. Seeing Dr Shivani put my mind at ease and then within seconds, I was out.
In a groggy haze I awoke to Mark. I was a little confused at first as to where I was, but once my focus came back I was able to keep my eyes open and hear Mark talking to me. As I came to fully I felt really good. I had minimal pain –if any– and I was ready to sit up and wait for my discharge from hospital. Mark got me situated in a comfortable position. The sisters came in to check on me and asked if we would like coffee and cookies. I was starving so of course my answer was yes. While we waited for our coffee and cookies I asked Mark about his sample collection. He was very relieved that he was able to do it in my hospital room. He was told to do his sample, put the cup in the white envelope given to him, and bring it to the basement when complete. Fortunately, the hospital room door had a lock on it so he was able to focus on the task at hand, no pun intended, without fear of someone walking in on him.
Finally our cookies arrived, delivered by a sweet elderly woman. She got us settled with our snack and we paid her 50 rupees. I asked one of the sisters about my pain meds and antibiotics to take with me once I left. They looked confused, then said we should just go to a pharmacy to get this. It was 7 pm, and dark outside, and we had no idea where a pharmacy was! The sisters came up with a plan and asked if we could wait for about fifteen minutes. They called a local pharmacy for delivery –smart girls! Within ten minutes the delivery boy showed up and gave me my drugs. The cost was 460 rupees, about ten dollars Canadian, what a bargain for drugs!