After receiving the information from my mama about the resources available, we decided to go through The Reproductive Science Center of New England. From this post forward, please note that this is OUR story. Your experience could be completely different: I am just going to go through our personal situation…
Before you can even set up an appointment, you have to complete a very extensive family history, conception history, and personal history. Jimmy and I faxed (I know, seems archaic now) our copy over, and got ready for the big day. I had all my charts ready, including temperature, ovulation predictor kit (OPK) outcomes, sexy time, period start and end dates, etc. The night before our consultation I was so nervous I could barely sleep…
We sat in the waiting room together: anxious, apprehensive, scared, and both secretly annoyed we had to take the time out of our busy schedules to be there.
“Why can’t we be like everyone else? You have sex, get pregnant, and deliver a baby. Why is this so hard? What is WRONG with US????”
We both sat with our thoughts in silence. A couple walked out from their appointment. They were much older than us, and looked almost startled to see us there. In my own mind, I figured they were probably wondering what the hell a twenty-four-year-old kid was doing in an infertility office. She spoke with the receptionist about configuring her treatment schedule around her work and travel schedule. As bad as this may sound, also racing through my head was the thought that this woman was the typical face of infertility. I came to the conclusion that she chose to make a great career, and now in her early 40’s she was realizing that something was missing. So why, at 20 years her junior, was I going through the same situation? Rather than seeing her as my infertility sister, as a woman sharing this dark journey and going through a struggle so hard, I saw her as a threat. I figured that she, just like everyone else, would get pregnant before me. And, since she had made this wonderful career for herself, she would be able to pay for anything she needed. Before I even had a diagnosis, I was wallowing in the potential reality that getting pregnant may never happen for us. (Do you see how crazy infertility can make you? Re-reading that now, it seems even more irrational. I was still in the “can’t-be-happy-for-anyone-else” “just-feel-sorry-for-myself” DARK phase. Again, thank GOD that stage passed!!)
Hearing my name snapped me back to reality, and the nervous sweat began. “Look at that,” I thought, “I’m already to blame for this mess. Why not call Jimmy’s name?” the irrational thoughts continued. We were brought back to the doctor’s office. She was a lovely, bright, young Reproductive Endocrinologist doctor with a warm, friendly smile. And, after the introductions:
“What brings you in today?”
Still defensive and angry, this question annoyed me to my core. Why the F**K did she think we were here? New shoes? A pedicure? I struggled to find an adequate response. I explained that we had been trying to get pregnant for almost two years. Jimmy interjected that I was exaggerating. (Jimmy was in a “denial” phase during my “angry, why me” phase. So guess what? I was angry with him, too.) The daggers I shot with my eyes pierced through him. “I apologize. We have been trying to get pregnant for 1 year and 10 months,” I laced the sarcasm so Jimmy would understand my frustration. He rolled his eyes. The doctor broke up what was about to be a public marital dispute by apologizing to us for our struggle:
“Wow, that must be really hard for both of you. I am so sorry to hear that.”
Her apology stopped me in my tracks. “Thank you! It has been really hard!” My eyes welled up with tears. Sometimes, you just have to hear that your situation sucks.
The doctor then started taking us through the different treatment options, and a “normal” calendar of events. In their office, the first step is for both partners to be tested for infectious disease: routine blood work that we could take care of that day. Perfect. Next is day three testing for the women. This is where I stopped her: “We were hoping to take care of the semen analysis first. The day three testing sounds more expensive and extensive, so we would prefer to take care of the easier test first.” She smiled politely. Looking back the smile reads: if you are worried about the cost of this test, you really have no idea what you are getting yourself into. She went on to explain why they test the women first, and that this was their office policy. This was the first of many times that I felt I was a part of a business model, rather than a patient. But, if I wanted to continue with treatment, I had to follow the rules. And, before I could move on to day three testing, I would have to have a pap from my OBGYN and a physical by my PCP. Once they received that information from each doctor, I could schedule my next appointment. (For me, this meant I had to actually find a PCP; I hadn’t had a physical since freshman year of college, from my pediatrician.) This really pissed me off because I was expecting my period and knew I wouldn’t be able to make the appointments and get the results in this cycle. Great, more waiting around…
We finished up with the doctor, and were taken to meet “our” nurse. We filled out more paperwork to have blood drawn. At this time, I had steam coming out of my ears. Jimmy didn’t bring his wallet, so he didn’t have his ID or health insurance information, so they wouldn’t allow him to have his blood drawn. To me, this was a slap in the face. Because during this time I took everything personally, this meant that he didn’t care enough about our treatment to even bring his wallet. It meant that he didn’t understand what I was going through, or how important it was to me. It meant that he didn’t want this as bad as I did, and essentially I was wasting my time because he wasn’t ready. I was so hurt! I angrily had my blood drawn, and insisted on a silent ride back to work. Ya know, just to make sure he knew how upset I was. Yes, over the wallet thing.
Seriously, infertility makes you CRAZY. Like, insane. It is every thought. It breaks down an otherwise healthy marriage. It changes you as a person, and transforms you into someone you don’t want to be. It is isolating, confusing, and really just fucking sucks. If you let it. And, I totally let it. If you’re going through it, try to find healthy outlets. Try to learn from my mistakes, and find other things that make you happy. It REALLY isn’t worth it to be that miserable, and certainly doesn’t help your chances for conception.
Up next: Infertility – Our Struggle Part VI: Day 3 Testing. My guess is that guys are not going to want to read this one, unless you want to know what your partner is going to have to go through. To say the least, I was a bit surprised!
How was your initial infertility consultation? Please leave a comment below to share your experience!