The Cicatrix


ART forced me to face an intense childhood fear of needles. My mother, for example, loves to tell the story of my tetanus booster in 7th grade, when I literally wrestled the pediatrician’s hands away because he tried to quick-stick me in the arm before I worked through my hysterical ritual of breathing, bracing, and internal pep talks. As you might imagine, this compounded the flutters of anxiety that dominated that initial decision to seek treatment, but (perhaps as some paltry silver lining) the needle phobia was incrementally allayed by the pin-cushion trials of IUI monitoring. Despite all the wincing and clenching over the poke for that first round of testing, I barely felt it, and I think I freaked out the poor phlebotomist with all my insane smiling and hiccuping giggles of relief. Wild, how fundamentally perception of things can shape reality until experience asserts itself anew.

Regardless of the orientation of the chair, I now insist that they use my right arm most of the time because I have developed a pellet-size patch of scar tissue in the crook of that left elbow, concave and cratered from years of overuse. Now it really does hurt, a bright sting sinking in, a snaking ache sliding out. For now, the right arm is still pliable and relatively painless.

It’s all an apt enough metaphor for approaching embryo transfer after many failures and losses. Even when the actual data is on my side (PGS, ERA, scar tissue clean-up, etc.) there’s a thick layer of post-traumatic stress that remains stubbornly unresponsive to rational arguments, including crossing that bridge when we come to it. It’s powerful enough that I was prepared to forego my own frozen blasts in favor of an egg donor to avoid this exact situation. If only I had a spare brain, soul, self to offer up to the experience instead of all this wincing and bracing, but, soldier on, as they say.

11 thoughts on “The Cicatrix

  1. All the best. And, if you need a spare brain, one of the candidates for President seems not to use the one nature delivered. I’ll leave it to you to figure out who I might mean. And if I distracted you with this for even a second, then my intention was fulfilled.


    • What ever do you mean? I hear he has “a very good brain.” And he’s come up with such groundbreaking ideas, like a wall, which is, what, like mankind’s 3rd oldest invention? It would all be funnier if he didn’t pose such a real fascist threat to liberty and national security.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Not trying to upset you but have you tried to see a reproductive immunologist? Dr. Jeffrey Braverman is in NY for instance. Many women who have been miscarrying or cannot get pregnant (like myself) found success after working with an RI. We also havea Facebook group if you like to join.


    • I saw Kwak-Kim in Chicago and failed twice with her protocol. I am also local to Braverman and think his practices are often unethical/irresponsible. Glad, tho, that people have had success under his care.


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