Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The accidental tourist

Well, well, what a very interesting and informative experience today's first visit to the RE turned out to be. Truth be told, I felt like something like an armchair tourist, abruptly plunged into the thick of things, into the action. All these months of reading as others discuss certain medical procedures, thinking "Huh" with an interested detachment. Then today, suddenly, it's me with the dildocam up the fanoir. And all the while, part of my brain is humming that surely, this is something that happens to other people, to serious travellers. Surely I am just an accidental tourist.

Here are some things I discovered today, in no particular order:

1. Wearing high heeled shoes with a complicated strap, hard to take on and off? Bad idea. I had to remove said shoes to be weighed and measured (still short, no discernable weight gain from the holiday- v. good.) Then I had to do it all over again when they sprung the ultrasound on me without warning. Never mind not having had a chance to spruce up the old bikini line, I could barely get my damn shoes off! Afterwards, it took so long to re-do the strap as I put the shoes on again that the nice nurse had to evict us from the room, with me hobbling along trying not to fall over.

2. In future, bring lots of change for the parking meter.

3. The waiting room at our clinic is a treasure trove of magazines. Lots and lots to read- I may cancel my subscription to Fashionista Monthly. Even E. was impressed at finding an old issue of Guy Gadgets. "Look," he whispered in awe, "just three years ago, my Palm Pilot cost £££Lots. And I only paid £Lots!". Yes, dear, that's good. Shut up and let me read about how tweed is the new black.

4. My RE shall from henceforth be known as Dr TickTock. Here's why.

According to Dr TickTock, assuming the diagnosis turns out to be "unexplained", the statistical average for conception is the same after 3 years of trying au natural as it is if we went ahead and did IVF. So in other words, if we tried for two more years, we'd be just as likely to get pregnant as if we did IVF tomorrow.

Did you just pause there? Yes, so did we. There were several things I took from that comment. Firstly, that the doctor is already leaning toward the "unexplained" angle. I mean, having gone over our medical histories today, I can see why he might be of the preliminary view that nothing is leaping out at him saying "PICK ME" as a cause for barrenness. But you know, that is not to say we necessarily want to languish in purgatory for another two whole years! Secondly, given that the current NHS waiting list for IVF is lingering around two-three years, it wouldn't surprise my cynical little self if that stat coincides nicely with the timescales in which medical intervention might finally be available.

Doctor, with that comment you appear, with all due respect, to be entirely missing the fucking point. It's far too early in the process to start settling on that happy co-out "unexplained". Plus, we don't want to wait two more years to become parents of our first child, never mind his or her sibling. That is the very reason why we sit here before you now, in the infertility clinic. TICK-TOCK already. Your moniker is now bestowed.

5. When lying/sitting in the dildocam chair, wand in situ, my hands immediately assume the "demure folded on chest as if expectant mother pose". Does everyone do this? Totally unconsciously, as if to nuture that oh-so empty womb. Empty that is except for the three, count'em three follicles already vying for supremacy. Two in my left ovary, one in my right. It was so nice to see them, I got a warm and fuzzy feeling. I felt like saying Hi kids! Wanna make friends with some cute sperm? Right this way, one at a time (or two, if you must). Everything else looked OK, as far as they could tell.

6. Not to be hung up on the whole ultrasound experience, but there is something decidedly odd about having your beloved partner stand at your side while a male doctor shoves a foreign object up your cooter and wiggles it around. Even in the interests of medicine, etc. I think E. was more worried about it than I was, though. Afterwards, on the drive home, he kept talking about how if we went to a private clinic, we might get a female doctor. I think at some point we need to have a chat about little it's going to matter as to who gets the tour of my nether regions during infertility treatment. To be honest, I was more disconcerted by the fact that during the ultrasound, the angle at which Dr TickTock was standing as he was wielding the wand meant that as I lay/sat in the chair-thingie, my bare right foot was sort of wedged up against his warm leg. Oh God, at least I hope it was his leg.

7. E. can do his next SA in a week or two, but there is a seventh month waiting list for my next test, an HSG. Seven. Months. Apparently this is due to the fact that they only do eight HSGs a week, and at least two people just don't show up because they got their period/got pregnant/forgot. Eh?

This announcement was followed by one of those lovely moments when you can read your partner's mind, because without missing a beat, E. and I, swiftly and in tandem, established where we can get the test done privately( (i.e not on the NHS), how long it will take (three to five weeks wait after referral), and what it will cost (couple hundred pounds). Check, check, check. All do-able.

As we were leaving, I looked back and saw Dr Ticktock pick himself up off the floor where he had collapsed under our barrage of questions, making a quiet note on our file: "Diagnosis: Willing to pay."

13 Comments:

At 12:07 AM, Blogger Heather said...

Mare, I'm so glad that you're not willing to just accept the dreaded "unexplained" diagnosis without so much as an HSG exam. WTF? I've never heard of any such thing?! Granted, it might not shed light on anything, but at the same time, maybe it will. Aarrggghhh, I'm so fed up with doctors. We're paying them to figure out what's wrong, so they damn well ought to bust their asses at least TRYING to find an answer.

Anyway, good luck to you. Here's hoping for some good news ASAP.

 
At 1:22 AM, Blogger Toni said...

I'm on the 'optimistic mode' high right now...so I apologize if I come off too happy here.

At least he's willing to work with you...and you're willing to pay. An HSG doesn't hurt too bad - and will definitely be worth it. AND it's supposed to increase your chances of conceiving afterwards b/c the 'garbage' that's in your tubes gets cleaned out. YEAH!!

Okay...I'm done. Sorry. :)

 
At 4:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the next time someone asks "Who's your daddy?" I'll say the dildo cam. I swear that thing has been up my cooter more in the past year than the real thing. I'm glad you guys can pay, otherwise it you might turn into the old woman who lived in a shoe. Like me, (except I live in Jimmy Choo stilettos.)

Marla

 
At 3:10 PM, Blogger Soper said...

Marla, I would live in Jimmy Choos, if I had a pair.

Mare, one must always wear strappy high heels for the dildo cam.

When I first told my OBGYN that, at 27, I wanted to start trying to conceive, she told me I didn't ovulate and to come back after trying for three months and she'd give me Clomid. Three months later I was pregnant. Didn't last, but I was pregnant.

Being married to one, I can say this with confidence -- Doctors Don't Know Shit.

In law school, I was horrifed to realize lawyers don't really know the law, they know where to find it. Same exact thing with doctors, only they get paid more and have cooler toys to play with. (With which to play. Damn the prepositions.)

 
At 3:15 PM, Blogger Lala said...

Dear Mare:
I understand how frustrating the "unexlained" is. I too had as HSG, it wasn't that bad(painful or embarrassing). I also had an ultrasound to see how many follicles I had on day three. I had 26. Talk about frustrated. Anyway, my point is that after two years of unassisted attempts I am finally pregnant. Funny thing is I've been reading the B.B. Brigade's blogs for quite a few months and now I feel guilty because I am pregnant. It's a double edged sword. Good luck.

 
At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yes, Jimmy Choos for all appointments :) I'm a shoe whore and I'm not ashamed.

Doctors see me coming and say -- "Hey, easy case -- will pay through the nose and we don't have to do anything because the problem can't be solved...I just need to keep stringing her along for, umm, carry the one, yes, 2 years because then I'll have the boat paid for." If you look at my doctor's feet closely, you'll see the boat shoes on them, boat courtesy of me.

xxxooo,
scrambledeggs

 
At 6:54 PM, Blogger Dee said...

Wow! I had no idea some of the intricacies of the NHS over there. Whew, good thing you and hubs are willing to pay...seems that's the quickest way to speed up things.

Glad that you were able to see the RE, see that you have some follies a'growin' (yea!), and that things are moving forward.

No worries about the strappy shoes, m'dear. I make it a point--like some of the other gals have said--to wear the cutest pair I can find, straps and what not be damned! A girl's gotta look/feel good in the midst of all the dildocam riding. After all, in the immortal words of Billy Crystal (as Ricardo Montalban), "It is better to look good than to feel good."

 
At 8:37 PM, Blogger E. said...

Well, that's frustrating as all hell. This Diagnosis: Unexplained business is such a boondoggle. Maybe I should hang out my RE shingle and tell everyone who visits that I can't explain their infertility (and by the way, that will be $300).

Big grrrr. I'm glad you've taken control and are not going to let them just let you languish. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a positive HSG and semen analysis.

 
At 5:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...wand in situ", indeed! God woman - you crack me up!!!

I especially related to #6...

When you take "time" into your own hands, you always have more power - and if that places you on the "willing to pay" fast-track, excellent.

:-)

Moogielou

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger Jen P said...

Trust me on this, you do NOT want to wait 2 more years to do anything. Pay NOW!! After 3 years, your chance of conceiving on your own is zippo. I wish I had moved forward 2 years ago. And paid for it all and bought the best doctors I could.

I wish you the best Mare. Tell this dr to shove it and get the best you can!! Best wishes!

 
At 4:12 PM, Blogger lobster girl said...

Ah yes, the first visit to the RE. Such fond memories ... Glad to hear that the first step, adventures with the wand, went well. Good follies, no cysts, etc. That's good.

And can I just say... 7 month wait for an HSG???!!! And 2-3 years for IVF??!!! Good for you for thinking of ways to bypass the system ... because ick. That's too too long to wait. Tick tock is right.

I am pissed at your doctor for throwing the unexplained diagnosis at you without so much as a day 3 blood draw or HSG. Curses to him, I say, may he toss & turn in his sleep, and be troubled by dark and humiliating dreams, until he does what he's supposed to do and get you pregnant. So there. harrumpf.

 
At 4:15 PM, Blogger lobster girl said...

Ah yes, the first visit to the RE. Such fond memories ... Glad to hear that the first step, adventures with the wand, went well. Good follies, no cysts, etc. That's good.

And can I just say... 7 month wait for an HSG???!!! And 2-3 years for IVF??!!! Good for you for thinking of ways to bypass the system ... because ick. That's too too long to wait. Tick tock is right.

I am pissed at your doctor for throwing the unexplained diagnosis at you without so much as a day 3 blood draw or HSG. Curses to him, I say, may he toss & turn in his sleep, and be troubled by dark and humiliating dreams, until he does what he's supposed to do and get you pregnant. So there. harrumpf.

 
At 4:16 PM, Blogger lobster girl said...

Ah yes, the first visit to the RE. Such fond memories ... Glad to hear that the first step, adventures with the wand, went well. Good follies, no cysts, etc. That's good.

And can I just say... 7 month wait for an HSG???!!! And 2-3 years for IVF??!!! Good for you for thinking of ways to bypass the system ... because ick. That's too too long to wait. Tick tock is right.

I am pissed at your doctor for throwing the unexplained diagnosis at you without so much as a day 3 blood draw or HSG. Curses to him, I say, may he toss & turn in his sleep, and be troubled by dark and humiliating dreams, until he does what he's supposed to do and get you pregnant. So there. harrumpf.

 

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