This is how the Bible tells us it was done: first, He built the man out of red earth. Then He took a rib from the man's body and fashioned it into a woman.

I trawl through my mind, looking for spare parts. If necessary, I will take them by force.

When I prepared for this mission, I put together a small kit. It contains scalpel blades, a hacksaw, several mosquito forceps, metzembaum scissors for sharp and blunt dissection, and my favourite set of gold-handled needle holders. There are several packets of suture material with the needles swaged on. Sterile gloves. Antiseptic wash. And because I am a woman of mercy, there are drugs - local anaesthetic, opioids, and a stash of non-steroidals to take away. All this and a little jar of red dirt, just in case. The kit hangs lightly now, against my back, cushioned inside sterile drapes.

Over my shoulder is slung a quiver, blowdarts resting against my breast, tips capped. I have measured each dose carefully, underestimating slightly out of caution. I may have to track my prey for hours, and subdue her by hand. I hope I have trained carefully enough. My muscles tell me yes, but my mind is uncertain. I breathe slowly to recapture my focus. There is no time for anything else. Soon it will begin.

I wonder which of my potential targets will cross my path first.

From high up on a burnt-out first-story windowsill, I see the answer to my question. Anxious Bea scurries along, eyes furtive, path hugging the wall of the alleyway. Breathlessly, she ascends a stone staircase, thick with graffiti on either side, and enters into her Church Of Despair. I follow, scaling the church wall with the help of a mouldy, cracked, devotional statue and entering into the space above the ceiling via a hole in the roof.

Here I must move stealthily, lest my movements betray me. There is a beam of light rising through a crack in the plaster, and I edge towards it, and look down. The chapel is empty, but I spy a confessional in the corner and after a moment its door opens, and Anxious emerges to walk down the central isle, immediately below my peephole.

Quickly, I uncap a blowdart and shoot it forth. It hits. Anxious pulls the spent weapon from her flesh, and a look of confusion and fear explodes on her face. Unsure of whether or which way to run, her wildly searching eyes fix on a figure in the doorway. And she runs into the arms of Maternal Bea, who has arrived to perform her daily mission to rescue the followers of Despair, who worship under Bitchface, its High Priestess.

All thoughts of stealth removed, I slam my heel against the ceiling, adjacent to the peephole, and soon there is a rift large enough to drop through and onto the floor. By the time I bend over Anxious she is unconscious, but I can feel her pulse and it is strong. Deftly, I flick my kit onto the ground, and begin to unpack the needed equipment for the surgery. But my preparations are interrupted by the booming footsteps of Bitchface who approaches from inside the church, robes flowing, hands raised in the rapture and ecstacy of worship, ready to bring down the wrath of Despair on those who have dared sully its most holy of places.

But before I have time to cower in fear, there is a streak and a whoosh, followed by a damp thud, and Bitchface is looking in stunned silence at a crossbow bolt protruding from her chest.

"Now I know what you're thinking," says Hopeful Bea, swaggering out from behind a crumbling headstone. "Did I bring one crossbow bolt, or two? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. So I guess you've got to ask yourself one question..."

"What, in heaven's name, is going on here?" interjects Maternal Bea.

"That wasn't the question."

"Hopeful! You sit down. You're as much the zealot as she is," Maternal says sternly, gesturing towards Bitchface. "You and your Path Of Eternal Optimism. And if you know what's good for you," she adds, turning to Bitchface, "you'll do the same. That's only a flesh wound. Keep calm, and we'll make it all better. As for you -" I flinch, suddenly ashamed. "I think you've got some explaining to do, young lady. And I want it to start now."

"It was for our own good," I begin, half-heartedly.

"That's no surprise," Maternal replies, folding her arms. "You're acting very much like someone trying to pave their own road to hell."

"There's not enough of us, of me," I explain desperately. "Before, we had Mr Bea. What happens when he's gone? Away? I don't think we can do it on our own."

"And so you...?"

"I was trying to create a new Bea. An Independent Bea. Take a rib, and fashion it into a new being - one with strength, and fortitude, and grace, and other superpowers. It was going to be painless. I was going to do it gently. I was trying to help."

There is a pause, and Maternal reflects deeply, before coming to her conclusion.

At last she smiles kindly, and says, "Did you ever think to ask for volunteers?" Then she sighs. "Come on - you've gone this far. And who knows? It might work. Hopeful, Bitchface, you're both going to help. Together we'll try to perform this miracle."

"Now? Here?"

"Yes, Bea - and it makes me cringe to say this because it's so very corny - but yes, now and here, from the bones of our Anxiety, aided by our Hope and self-loathing, in the doorway of the Church Of Our Despair."


Bea said...

In case Meg is reading this and in case others are interested:

a) I have to get one of those emaily reply thingies like you have. Except I'm a terminally lazy blogger with stuff like that.


b) the new drug protocol is aimed at solving the luteal phase thing. So, incidentally, was the last one, but apparently the last one sucked. I had a good feeling about the latest one up until today, when it started.

Let you know.


Meri-ann said...

Can you make me a new me as well? I can't stand the sight of blood though so I probably won't be much help to you, but I'll willingly give you my rib.....
I heart your blog....

snowhite said...

Hey Bea,

Had similar daydream the other day - the questions was how much pain I would be prepared to take and the answer was 'as much as required'.

What protocol are you using for LP problem? I've also got problematic LP...

StellaNova said...

I hope it works! Both parts, that is - the new Bea and the new protocol. Although, I must say, I kind of like the old Bea too.

Bea said...


My luteal phase was not a problem until we started IVF. In fact, my whole cycle was generally fairly ok, with the exception of a couple of wonky ones each year.

Now I'm getting a prolonged follicular phase, followed by a shortened luteal phase. I have been spotting from 5-7 days post transfer for my last 2 FETs (much worse the second time). This spotting is despite using pessaries and hCG injections.

Last cycle we used FSH and an hCG trigger to make sure we got proper ovulation with a nice, strong corpus luteum. Which worked - followup progesterone tests showed all that was in order. But still the spotting.

This time we are using FSH from a much earlier point in the cycle, hoping to bring ovulation forward to a more normal 14-18 days, then trigger, pessaries, hCG etc.

It's a balancing act because a) I hyperstimulated on a fairly conservative dose of FSH during my stim cycle and was in hospital for ten days and b) I have a family history of breast cancer and am terrified of overstimulating even just a little bit (unless it's necesary eg for EPU) and so we're really, really aiming for only one follicle.

So far, no signs that it's working. Gah. Hurry the fuck up, ovaries.


Bea said...

I meant snowhite, of course, I'm sorry.


Vee said...

Yay I can post a comment using the "other" option. Bloggers giving the s%*ts.

I had written out a big long comment last night and lost it, now I don't remember what I said.

I really hope the new protocol will be the difference.
Do they do natural IVF , if you are only after one follicle ?..hmm probably not ?

Come on ovaries behave for the lovely Bea !

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