Monday, September 12, 2011

I just don't like your uterus...

This past Thursday, after much encouragement (and, okay, nagging), I finally called my OB-GYN to schedule a preconception visit or, as I call it, a why-can't-I-get-pregnant appointment.

To my surprise, they had an opening available just a week later, this coming Thursday.  I wasn't prepared to be coming in so soon.

I also wasn't prepared for the forms the scheduling nurse told me to fill out ahead of time, and couldn't understand why she told me I might want to go ahead and get started.  What?  I couldn't just fill out their little questionnaire in the waiting room?

No, not so much.  I had to log on to the clinic website and fill out roughly seven pages of highly detailed medical (and some not-medical information).  They asked everything.  They wanted to know my sexual orientation, and my partner's sexual orientation.  (Maybe they get a lot of confused lesbian couples who don't know where babies come from?)  They wanted to know whether I owned or worked with cats, or had ever had chickenpox.  They wanted to know every surgery I had ever had, and every surgery my husband has ever had.  (I have no idea how the metal rods he had put in to rebuild a broken arm are affecting our fertility.)

They wanted to know everything I had eaten the prior day, and I had to resist the temptation to lie.  (I had worked through lunch, and therefore my meal plan consisted of yogurt, black coffee, and Monster energy drinks.)

In between the questions of whether I worked with hazardous chemicals, had ever been exposed to rubella, or am of Eastern European Jewish ancestry, I was really looking for a little comment or suggestion box, something that asked, "Are they any other factors that may be affecting your fertility?"  Because then I could get to what I, at least, in my uneducated opinion, believe is the real issue:  I only have one fallopian tube and half an ovary, and they're pretty much held together with my uterus via scar tissue.  But, sure, ask me some more about whether I've ever lived in Africa.

Of course, even before my first appointment, I feel like fertility treatments are already working for me, since I already feel pregnant.  And by that I mean I'm cranky, anxious, and prone to mood swings.  I feel like I'm being judged for every beer, coffee, or piece of sushi.  I start feeling queasy every time I think of facing the doctor in a few days.  (I keep picturing the R.E. from "Baby Mama", the one who tells Tina Fey, "I just don't like your uterus...")

And, even though I'm going to the same practice as before, I'm dealing with a new doctor.  This isn't one of the friendly, baby-loving obstetricians I'm familiar with.  This is the guy you go to when there's problems.  He's the man in charge of the scary-sounding, complicated procedures, like hysteroscopies.  For privacy's sake I won't write his name, but even it sounds stern and patriarchal.  It makes me miss my old retired doc, even if he was a little unconventional.  (He had a "Napoleon Dynamite" poster in his office, and once showed up for one of my operations on crutches.  Though in his 60s, he had been snowboarding with his son in Utah the week before.  He performed my surgery just fine, anyway.)

Perhaps even worse, is telling the people I'm closed to.  There are some people, like my youngest sister and some girlfriends, for whom talking to about this stuff is super-easy.  I have friends who have been through the infertility wringer and can warn me ahead of time about the nasty side effects of Clomid or progesterone, or how much egg retrieval actually hurts.

Then there are people like my mom, who had three babies in four years.  I love her, but during her day, she could get pregnant just by being within 100 yards of a Y chromosome.  She is, therefore, hopelessly clueless.  She is one of those ones who says things like, "Just relax and it'll happen," like stress is what's blocking my fallopian tube.  Or, I told her I was looking into R.E.s and, after explaining that it stands for "reproductive endrocrinologist", I then had to explain what a reproductive endocrinologist does.  Her next question was, "Aren't you worried about having like, six babies?"  She somehow made the jump from "fertility treatment" to "IVF" to "Octomom", unaware that IVF is generally only used as a last resort (and there's no way we could afford it, or would implant that many embryos, anyway).

And, of course, it's not like I have any gal pals at work with whom I can commiserate.  For one thing, I'm the only "gal" in my division.  So as far as my coworkers are concerned, I'm going to have my teeth cleaned Thursday.  I can only imagine our future conversations.

Co-worker:  So how'd the appointment go?
Me:  I'm supposed to try OPKs and go back after my BBT dip to attempt an IUI.
Co-worker:  What?
Me:  Huh?  Oh, cavities.  I gotta go back next week for them to fill some cavities.

If you think about it, it's kinda true.

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