It didn't get any better as the day progressed when we barely said a word to each other, but still remained together throughout the day. As planned, we picked up Pao after the appointment, had lunch, then did the grocery shopping.
We came home to drop the groceries while waiting for Pao to finish her ballet class. I hid in my bedroom as he entertained himself out there doing God knows what, until it's almost 4 when he knocked softly on the slightly opened door.
"Are you asleep?" He asks in a low tone, trying to keep his voice down in case I'm napping.
I don't answer him, shutting my eyes tight to pretend I'm taking my afternoon nap. I planned to but I couldn't, because of what happened at the doctors's office. The news, the cancellation, going against what's recommended, urgh. Am I really doing the right thing by being stubborn to continue harvesting my two follicles?
What if things go bad? What if there's only fluid in them? What if the eggs are of bad quality? What if they fail to be fertilised? Am I ready for such heart ache? Will I recover afterwards? Or I'd be so heart broken I have to stop everything and go back to my psychologist before being cleared for another cycle.
The bed dips as warmth of a body radiates behind me, "I'll be back in an hour okay." He whispers which a second later I can feel his lips touching the back of my head with a weak kissing sound.
If Cleo's here she'd lie on the bed with me, exhausting me by digging every lingering issue I have in mind, providing her answers regardless it's a positive or a negative opinion. Just so I can sleep better at night.
But I know better than to disturb her during times like this. She's got enough on her plate, and Kimmie's too busy with her work because she's dealing with her first important assignment at a new company.
The warmth disappears, signalling he's already away from the bed and out of my room. Come back and hold me.
I was on the couch sipping my healthy juice when I hear the keys jiggle at the main entrance, along with a cute voice behind the door, "Why are we here, Papa? Whose house is this? Are we moving to a new house? Are we moving here? Is this our new house? Why are we here, Papa?"
Jogging to the door that's already being opened, I smile brightly at the shocked girl, "Tia? Is this your houseeeee?"
I grin as I feel my heart expands with love. It's definitely worth a try. Who knows I can successfully create a bundle of joy like this one right here.
"Whattt? So we can have a sleepover tonight?! Yayyy!"
Our cheerful encounter is interrupted by the male adult, "Had a good nap?" He asks in a different mood he was earlier today as he walks to the kitchen, "Are you guys hungry? Dinner will be ready in half an hour."
"Tia," she's totally ignoring him, definitely my partner in crime, "Can you show me your room pleaseeeee? Is it pink too?"
I laugh at her enquiry, "Am I that predictable?"
"Yes you are!"
"Si! Right, Papa?"
"Hmmm." Owen answers eventhough he seems busy with his meat. The way he treats his daughter always fascinates me, he really is meant to be a father. Because he's doing such a good job at it.
"Pao, should we go to the potty first before you see Tia's room?" Nancy reminds her which I quickly nod, remembering this girl has just graduated from wearing diaper.
"Can I come in?" He asks while knocking on my bedroom door.
I walk to the door instead of allowing him into my personal space.
"Where should we do it? On the bed? Couch? Kitchen?" He asks once I'm standing in front of him.
"Kitchen. Don't want you to mess my grey couch."
"Or the carpet." He adds, as both of us walk to the kitchen.
Our first IVF cycle was chaotic, from his bloody mess on the rug at our living room because of his struggle with the needle that he hurt himself to the point of staining our ivory-white carpet with his crimson red blood, to other sorts of funny-but-made-me-mad-as-hell incidents.
Well let's just say he learned a lot from those and became a pro at giving me injections for the next two cycles.
"Are you ready?" He asks after retrieving the drugs from the fridge which I nod, glancing at the watch. It's 5 minutes to 9 p.m. My usual druggie time.
"Here," he hands me an ice pack that I didn't realise was already on the kitchen counter.
"Thanks," I take it and put it on my left hip, the place I want the injection to be done. But then I realise the brand is different than the one I always use, "Where did you get this?"
"The ice pack. This isn't mine."
"Oh," he stops concentrating with his mini task and lifts his head, smiling, "I bought it. Didn't know if you have one so I bought it when I came this morning."
I just nod and keep the ice pack there, until a minute later he steps closer with the needle, "Ready?"
I take a deep breath before answering him, "Hmm."
"Alright, lift your shirt please."
I bend further on the counter in a forty five degree inclination. My right hand reaches the seam of my shirt, pulling it up to reveal my back while my left hand keeps the ice pack at the same spot.
"Your source of distraction is in front of you," he says as I remove the ice pack.
"In the mug, Precious."
My eyes quickly scan what's in front of me, and there is indeed a white mug that's looking familiar, because I used to have the exact same one a million years ago, captioned Drink me Mummy!
It is filled with ice cubes and my fingers automatically grab one the moment I feel him rubbing the alcohol swab on my skin.
"Take a deep breath," he whispers from the back, "I'm gonna start injecting you at 10."
The ice pack to numb my skin, the ice cubes to distract me from the injection, the count-from-10 when the needle starts penetrating my skin, down to 5 when he pulls the needle out, and by 0 we are done with the first shot.
"Good girl," he praises me in that proud daddy tone and of course, he finishes the ritual by kissing the back of my head as my reward.
Used to be reward. Now it's just awkward.
We repeat the same thing with the second shot and by the end of it, I've finished munching half the content of my mug.
"Alright, stay upright. We don't want blood in weird places." He remembers.
He remembers every single thing, to the point of how we learned it the hard way not to lay flat right after the injection. Because I had bad pain, real bad pain when I did that during our first cycle; the ER doctor found blood in my diaphragm.
"Show me your hand," he orders once he steps into my view.
Please, not this too.
"Reward for the bravest girl I've ever met," he smiles while taking out something from the pocket of his sweat pants, "I'll open it for you since you're being such a good girl tonight."
He unwraps my favorite chocolate bar then brings it to my mouth, which I open wide to receive it.
"You're welcome." He teases then discards everything in the pull-out dustbin.
I quickly finish the whole thing before he does the last thing on our ritual. No, we can't do that. It'd be too intimate. And weird.
"Do you want more ice? More chocolate?"
I shake my head multiple times, "I'm good." There's no way in hell I'm gonna give us a loophole for that last thing to happen.
"Alright. Do you wanna hang out? Watch tv? Or you're too tired?"
"Uhm," I'm fully aware he's wearing a pair of sweats and that ridiculous The Walking Dad t-shirt instead of his usual jeans-and-plain-white-shirt but, uhh, how do I do this. How do I kick him out in a subtle way?
"You don't have to stay."
"I told you I'll never leave you again."
"But Pao needs you. Hugo needs you. Your family needs you, Owen. I can take care of myself."
"You are my family. And right now, you need me. God forbids anything bad happens to you but I will regret it my entire life if it happens. So no. I will never leave you, Elle. No."
I pout as I bring both of my hands to my chest, "Stubborn."
"Ahhh the pot is calling the kettle back."
I roll my eyes before going to my room, closing the door to drop the hint that I wanna be alone.
Fine, call me stubborn for what I did at the clinic. But it's a given since I have two good follicles, growing to the size of more than 18mm each.
After my persuasive argument this afternoon, my doctor gave up and allowed me to continue with the treatment. Tomorrow would be my last day with these stimulation drugs then we'll have a scan and blood work before the final trigger shot. Fingers crossed!