I can say with absolute certainty that the words “turkey baster” have taken on a whole new meaning this holiday season in the Baker/Kaprowy home. For it turns out, in addition to helping you roast a succulent bird, the device can also help you get pregnant.
I learned this interesting fact during one of my many trips to the gynecologist recently. After going over test results, my doc finally laid it on the line: If my husband and I were going to have a baby before I turn 50, we were going to need a little help.
Enter the turkey baster, otherwise known as an intra-uterine injector, whose job is to bypass the sometimes-inhospitable cervix (who knew?) and give those swimmers, as my husband likes to call them, a head start.
So one fine day earlier this month, I found myself spread-eagled on a paper sheet so the nurse could take a peek at my eggs, which, let me be the first to inform you, is a strange experience.
Keep in mind, I was still coming off the effects of the fertility drug Clomid, which had rendered me certifiably crazy for long stretches of each day. For the past months, my mood had bobbed unpredictably around like a freshly-paddled pinball, and the fact that I, a), still had a husband and, b), had one who wanted to have a baby with me was pretty amazing.
So when the nurse started rooting around my insides and a TV screen overhead showed images of the ultrasound taking place, I was, to say the least, emotionally unstable.
“Is that my ovary?” I asked bluntly, looking at a big, black circle among a sea of white, jelly-looking stuff.
“Yes,” the nurse said patiently.
I narrowed my eyes and craned my neck as far up as it could go without disturbing the process.
“Umm, it’s empty,” I declared, feeling the tide of my mood turning.
Pause, pause, pause.
“The doctor will speak with you about all of this in a few minutes,” she answered.
With that, my stomach lurched, and my mood spun on itself like a top. By the time my poor, old doctor came into the room, I was in tears.
“I’m barren,” I said hopelessly. “I knew it.”
He took a look at the ultrasound printout and frowned for a few seconds. But then a gleam of hope: He drew a circle. And then another. And another.
“Far from it,” he said. “Each of these black circles is a follicle, which contains an egg. Looks like you’ve got three on this side and more on the other.”
My mood shot up like a rocket, and I felt dizzy.
“Come back tomorrow, and we’ll give you a shot to trigger ovulation. On Wednesday, it’s implantation time. Just be sure to keep your husband’s ‘specimen’ warm at all times. That will give us the greatest chance.”
Fast forward to Wednesday, and I was again lying on a paper sheet. The morning had gone relatively smoothly, aside from the fact that my windshield was frosted over so I’d had to keep the bottle of specimen in my armpit to keep it warm while I scraped.
Apparently this “keeping it warm” thing was a big deal, as when I arrived in the doctor’s office, the receptionist looked at me in panic as I handed her the specimen from my purse.
“Go to the bathroom, immediately, and put that bottle in your bra. It’s got to stay warm, girl!”
This I did, not unaware that the cold finger of science — and not the warm thumb of nature — was pressing down hard on this baby-making process.
Finally, the doctor came in wielding the baster. It didn’t have a yellow rubber bulb at the end, as I had secretly imagined, but it served essentially the same purpose. A few relatively painless minutes later, I was perhaps on my way to getting pregnant.
Lying on the bed for the required 30 minutes was probably the most surreal half hour of my life. I was not to move, not even supposed to lift my head. All I could do was imagine the wriggling specimen heading to the follicle, an image that was all the more vivid thanks to sixth-grade sex ed. class.
I wanted to feel celebratory, but instead only felt a little robbed. This wasn’t how I imagined becoming a mother. For 22 of those minutes I threw a silent, very boring pity party for myself.
Then I started thinking of a baby. One with William’s blue eyes and, god willing, his hair. I started to smile. And then cry. And then laugh.
Man, one thing you can rely on is life sure keeps you guessing.
P.S. Coming next week: the results.