It’s strange being back at the fertility clinic. It’s like coming home to my parent’s house when I was a snooty teenager: dreading it, but at the same time, knowing you need to be there, and that the people inside will take care of you. I suppose I shouldn’t feel surprise that the nostalgia brings. I mean after all, it’s the second most common place I’ve been without pants. It’d be crazy for me not to feel something coming back.
It’s been over 6 months since the last IVF. I feel like it’s been longer than that. One of the receptionists is now heavily pregnant, making me do a double-take, and then immediately flushing with shame. Jesus, it’s not like, some rule that you can’t be pregnant to work at a fertility clinic.
My baseline ultrasound appointment was at 7:30am on Friday, and I was brought back by one of my favorite nurses right away. After the check up, she showed me how to use the Follistim pen that I was going to inject myself with that night. Then she said my doctor wanted my blood pressure checked at every appointment.
“I’ll let you get changed and I will come back with the blood pressure cuff.”
After she shut the door, I made the mad dash off the exam table, grabbed a bunch of paper towels to wipe off the lubricant, jumped around the room to get my pants back on, and was bent over tying my shoes when she knocked to come back in.
“Ok, all ready?”
She strapped the cuff on.
“Just to let you know, I probably should sit for 5 minutes because I’m nervous and was moving around a lot, so it might be high.”
She shook her head, “It’s ok.”
So of course it was 132/96. 1) Clearly I am still having some issues with hypertension. 2) She should have let me sit for 5 minutes. They like to see the top number below 130.
“Now we’re going to go weigh you real quick before your blood work,” she said cheerfully, like all infertile women who have been though multiple IVFs, injecting themselves with questionable hormones, would want to do this. I glumly followed her, wondering if all that fast food I had on vacation would now come back to haunt me.
I stepped on the scale and almost stroked out. Actually, my blood pressure is apparently still elevated so that could have been an accurate possibility. “Hot damn, do I really weigh that much?” I screeched.
She made a note in my chart. Probably something like, Fatty is in denial. “I know, this is really common in women going through this. It’s not fair.”
We go back to retrieve my purse, I get my blood drawn, my three other ultrasound appointments for next week scheduled, and then I am alone, walking to the bathroom to quick give my Menopur shot before I leave for work. I pulled down the baby changing table (I know, ironic right?) to set all my stuff out. It took me a moment, staring blankly at all the vials, to remember how to draw it up. I sang to myself as I injected because the Menopur burned. Then I threw everything away and walked out to the elevator, feeling oddly like I could cry.
The elevator doors opened and I walked in, clutching my IVF instruction booklet, with another girl. The doors closed and I could feel her looking at me. I looked up. She smiled, “Your first?” I suddenly thought of the fact that this could have been in a hospital elevator, leaving the OB/GYN, both of us at pre-natal appointments. I shook my head.
“Third.” And then I burst into tears.
“Don’t cry,” she said kindly, “I went through three IVFs, too, and I have a son who is sixteen months. I have two frozen embryos. I wish you nothing but the best.”
I almost asked her out for coffee but
- I had to get to work
- That’s weird
So I wished her luck as well, and left reluctantly when the doors to my floor opened to the parking garage. This will be ok. I will be ok. I just need to remain positive. I just need to keep chanting to myself every day:
- Not everyone is lucky enough to get to learn how to give their own shots.
- Not all women get to swell up and waddle because their ovaries are the size of golf balls.
- After all, it’s not like I have to have sex with my husband to get pregnant like some other women have to do.
- Isn’t this ball of anxiety in my stomach FUN?
And, you know, stuff like that.