Once again, Mrs Astronomer had a baseline scan to check out the state of her uterus. We were considering another round of IVF, but have decided against it for the time being. The reason is this:

There you go: An image of my wife’s innards. (Lost Astronomer, May 2017)

It’s a polyp tucked up near the entrance to one of the fallopian tubes, which is the  dark spot near the top left. The polyp is the roundish thing to the left of the short wiggly white horizontal line in the top third of the image. You may have to squint to see it.

We had two scans today, and they were very thorough. I had to drive up from Hampshire to grab Mrs Astro from the centre of Oxford; it’s exam season, so the place is chock a block with students in caps and gowns, all with flowers in their buttonholes. After negotiating the mean bicycle clogged streets, we got to the clinic and the battery of scans which awaited us. By ‘us’ I mean ‘her’; my role was once again relegated to sitting in the corner and not breaking anything. Once Mrs Astro had got her knickers off, her first scan was done by an ultrasound technician, who was very thorough. She detected a polyp (which we already knew about) and a cyst on the right hand ovary (which we didn’t). She sucked her teeth for a bit, before allowing Mrs Astro to put her knickers back on, sending us out to the waiting room for a bit whilst she got our chummy Australian nurse.

After a short while we got shown to another scan room; our nurse was cheerful and upbeat as always, asking how my new job was going and how we were getting on with moving house. Mrs Astro had to whip her knickers off again, get plonked on a hydraulic bed and get raised up in the air with her legs in stirrups, hedgehog sock clad feet waving in the air. The nurse got a catheter and a pair of forceps and with the help of a glamorous assistant (not me, I don’t suit scrubs) filled Mrs Astro with saline solution in order to separate the walls of the uterus a little and get a better view of the polyp. Amidst much wincing from Mrs Astro, I enquired as to her well-being, and spake thus:

“You okay?”

From the other end of the bed, hidden from view by a paper towel and the very bright lamp over her shoulder, came an antipodean reply:

“She’s got a catheter up her, some forceps and an ultrasound wand, whadd’ya think?”

Whilst the thought had crossed my mind, you still get points for asking.

After a bit of rummaging, our the nurse matter of factly ran us through the options; the polyp was probably going to have to come out before we went any further. As the waiting list is “very long”, we’ll have to be referred and wait. Privately, the operation could be done for a couple of thousand, and normally we’d go straight down that route but a lack of ready cash (curse you, house market!) means that waiting a little longer for the free option is just more sensible. Mrs Astro is a bit peeved that the polyp wasn’t removed before our first (free) go, but that’s the benefit of hindsight for the medical staff. There’s only so much you can predict.

Eventually, knickers donned again, we escaped. Mrs Astro was wincing slightly with cramps and leaking saline solution everywhere, poor girl. We’re now in a better place knowledge wise, and I’m relieved that we won’t have to do IVF right in the middle of my exams, which are coming up in a few weeks.

It’s hard enough revising stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis (don’t ask) without hormones and needles being thrown in!