Before I got sick in November I could count the number of times I’d had blood drawn one hand. I was irrationally afraid of needles. Each blood draw was accompanied by profuse sweating, shaking, crying and general fussing. On several occasions I passed out mid-draw. Once I passed out during the arm swab, before the needle even entered my vein.
In November the blood draw phobia and I were put to the ultimate test – I was terribly sick and the doctors had no idea why. I had countless blood draws, some of which required more than 15 vials of blood at a time. I had a super scary nerve conductivity test where they inserted needles throughout my arms and legs and shot electric current through them (this actually sounds way worse than it is. Should you ever need one, consult me before Google and I’ll put your mind at ease.) In early 2011 we started down the road of infertility and with it came more invasive procedures and plenty of needles.
It took a good 20 minutes to work up the guts to give myself the first belly shot of FSH. I still have to take a few deep breaths to steady my hands each time I inject myself. It’s just gross to watch that needle disappear inside my pinched belly flab. Gag.
Since November, Mr. Husband has attended Every Single Blood Draw and freaky medical procedure. He has allowed his left hand to fall victim to my fearful death grip so many times I have lost count. He has rearranged his schedule to sit next to me while the terribly kind and patient phlebotomist drew one measly vial of blood.
I”m proud to report that since November I have toughened up considerably. Several months ago I “graduated” from the reclining chair in the lab to the regular grown-up seated chair. I have not had a near blackout experience in even longer. I still, though, require Mr. Husband’s left hand. Until today.
This morning I flew around the house in a flurry of hormones. I felt nauseous, I was tired, my skin is ridiculously itchy and my face is breaking out. I could not get babies out of my head. On my way out the door I stopped to hug Mr. Husband and join in the chorus of unhappy cats (they were all meowing to alert us to the empty state of their breakfast bowls). “Birdy! I feel terrible! I’m nauseous. I’m crampy. My pants are tight. I’m so freaking itchy all over and NOW I have to get my Blood Drawn!!!! ALONE!!!!!” I wailed*.
“There, there, Little Belle,” Mr. Husband cooed as he stroked my messy hair. “You can so handle this. You’re tough, remember?”
I sniffled and poo-pooed this toughness in hopes that he would change his mind, cancel his class and attend this blood draw of one vial with me. No dice. It was time I grew up.
I tucked my tail, gathered my things and headed out the door. As I turned to wave a final goodbye I said, “I better have some estrogen in this blood sample!”
Mr. Husband started to laugh and said that he is nearly certain it is finally there.
I took the blood draw like a champ by breathing deeply and focusing on the baby that I so desperately want. As I walked out of the lab I felt strong, proud and like I could handle anything infertility threw at me. Do you hear that, Gods of reproduction? I finally did it. I handled my own blood draw. I’m now grown-up enough to have my baby. Please, let’s get this show on the road!
* I sweetly refer to Mr. Husband as Bird, or Birdy, Turdy Burdy, etc. I have called him this for so long now that when I do say his real name it feels strange and alien.