Today was egg collection. The culmination of weeks of hormones and sleepless nights. Drama! Suspense! A crack team of fertility specialists poking around my wife’s lady bits!

The day started reasonably early with Mrs Astronomer on a nil by mouth regime, allowed only water up until 06:10. She was very nervous in the car on the way there. We got in at about 07:30, a bit early, but better that than late. Our own private recovery room, a bit of paperwork, confirming name and date of birth about half a dozen times… Then it was my time to do my bit. Shown to another private room with a lockable door and a pot with my name on it… And discreet instructions to wipe the leather sofa off afterwards should anything go wrong. I realise that I’ve completely forgotten to follow my own advice on the situation; I forgot to bring a coat to sit on, therefore had to sit on the extremely dodgy looking sofa. Still, nothing for it… For those of you who have never been in this situation before:

Wanking on demand is difficult.

I mean, it’s not impossible, but at the back of your mind is the feeling that everyone knows what you’re doing. You keep telling yourself it shouldn’t be hard, you’ve been doing it since the age of thirteen… Yet, nothing.  Eventually, feeling a bit silly, you have to accept the fact that there’s nothing for it except to bite the bullet, lie back and think of Emma Watson.

Shortly afterwards and I’m holding a small, slightly filled pot, and suddenly I’m stuck by the fact that there’s about a 40% chance that I’m holding my unborn children in my hand. Well, in a pot in my hand, but you get my drift. I’m amazed by the fact that if all goes well, this might one day be a person. I catch myself talking to it –

“Good luck. Life’s hard, but worth it, and full of wonder for the curious mind”.

Okay, now I feel silly.

Pop it in the hatch in the wall and vacate the room. Fill in the paperwork, try not to smile too much at the question asking if you got the entire sample in the pot. Try not to make eye contact with the nurse behind the desk in the corridor. Back in our waiting room, Mrs Astronomer has got changed into her sexy, sexy hospital gown, waiting for her part.

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Sexy gown, sexy socks. Not shown: Mrs Astronomer’s acute embarrassment.  (Lost Astronomer, Mar 17)

Eventually she gets wheeled off for her bit. I’m left twiddling my thumbs. What, exactly, am I supposed to do now? I mean, really. When you imagine having kids, you at least expect to be in the room for the conception.

And then there’s the waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Eventually she gets wheeled back in on a trolley. It’s only been half an hour, but my bright, clever wife has been transformed into a woozy, incoherent mess, and her part of the deal did not sound fun. Imagine someone who’s a bit drunk, needs to go to bed and really needs a hug. A lovely nurse brings tea and biscuits and informs us that they’ve got 10 eggs out of her (top end of average, which is 7 to 10). Meanwhile, Mrs Astro was trying to get her head around the concept of biscuits in a very fuzzy manner, whilst I dealt with taking notes and the paperwork. As we were getting ready to go and I was helping her off the bed I saw that the trolley was a bit of a mess of blood. Nothing serious, but still not nice.

Now she’s home, sworn off any kind of physical activity and demanding endless cups of tea.  There’s nothing much for us to do now except wait for a few days. Meanwhile, the clinic is mixing semen with eggs (which, as I write this, will have already happened), leaving to stand overnight… and then coming back in the morning to see how we’ve done. Some will have worked, others won’t. Of the ones which have worked, they will monitor them for a few days whilst the zygote undergoes cell division to see which are most likely to succeed. Of these few, one or two will be selected for insertion. After that, it’s out of anyone’s control. Fingers crossed, we’ll find out Thursday-ish.

On Thursday, we find out if we’ve cleared the next hurdle to parenthood.

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