Saturday, November 6, 2010

Melbourne Cup Melt Down

On Melbourne Cup day I had a 9.10am appointment with the fertility specialist. This appointment was going to be my first opportunity to find out what my early not period meant and what my next options are. I felt pretty good in the morning and got the surgery quite early. This was no doubt my first mistake. Sitting in the doctor's surgery with a whole lot of time to think.

I introduced myself to the receptionist, picked up the magazine from the top of the stack and took a seat. Flicking thoughtlessly through the mag I then look up and around the surgery, taking in all the photos of babies that happy mothers had sent in to the doctor, thanking him for their little bundles of joy. All perfect little faces, fingers and toes. I started to wonder how many babies don't make the board because they aren't so perfect. Or how many sad would-be-mothers haven't got a photo to send in. How do these thoughts even come into my head?

Clearly this board isn't supposed to trigger these types of thoughts. And then I notice the notice. Printed on a regular A4 sheet of paper with black type...The doctor is going to be on holidays from 18 December 2011 to 16 January 2011. Hmmmmm.... I think to myself, clearly it is supposed to be 18 December 2010 to 16 January 2011 - I can figure that out. Then I wonder, should I let the receptionist know? Has she already been told by someone else? Does it matter because I obviously figured it out. I would hate that mistake hanging in my foyer, so I resolve I will mention it in passing as I'm leaving. This is so easy and cheap to fix, and maybe she doesn't know and would like to have it fixed.

Back to the magazine (my second mistake) - I read a story about AJ Rochester - the former Biggest Loser host. She has an 11 year old kid. It was only after he was born she decided she needed to trim down. So she was overweight - and a lot bigger than me - when she conceived. I read about how much fun AJ had when she was fat and how she now has healthy relationship with food.

Continuing to flip through the pages there is a story on Octomum, another on the lesbian couple who is pregnant with quintuplets. I flip on, and there seems to be story after story about miracle babies.

I hear the receptionist telling someone on the phone about the holidays the doctor has scheduled, 18 December to 16 January, and think - this is a good time to mention the mistake on the notice (my third mistake). Once she hangs up I say in a friendly tone "Actually the notice on the board says December 2011, instead of 2010." The receptionist replies, with rolled eyes "I think everyone knows what it means." She pauses looks away and says "but thank you."

I try to remain calm. But I start thinking, surely she could have just said, "okay, thanks" even if she didn't intend to change it. Why doesn't she care? Doesn't she hate having that blatant error just hanging there. What about the doctor? Does he care it is wrong? How much of a shit does this surgery give about detail - whether it be the notice about the holidays or my medical details. I try to stop myself thinking about it, but it just goes round and round, until I'm beyond the point of no-return. I start to cry. I walk out of the doctor's surgery and find the bathrooms were I proceed to cry and cry. I'm trying to calm down - after nearly 30 minutes of waiting I find myself unable to pull it together just as my appointment time comes up.

Eventually I manage to dry my eyes enough to go back in. I sit down and pretend to flip through the magazine. Kerry-Anne is on the telly in the corner and another patient is now also sitting in the waiting room. Suddenly the receptionist is really friendly and trying to make small talk with the other patient. She starts talking about how she's a wonderful grandmother and I want to punch her in face. Perhaps the other patient isn't so sensitive on the mother/grandmother thing, but I can't believe this is part of the small talk she attempts in this surgery. I try to stay calm. Ignore her. Just the sound of her voice is now enough to set me off. Breathe.

Finally the doctor calls my name and as soon as I'm out of sight of the receptionist I'm in tears again. The doctor keeps asking if I'm okay - I'm quite certain he is accustomed to crying women given the strategic location of tissues next to the patient chair. He asks if it is something "we've done". I'm quite certain the receptionist has let him know there has been waiting room incident, but what's the point in saying, "your receptionist took a tone with me when I pointed out the mistake on the notice about your upcoming holidays." Normally such a tone wouldn't bring me to tears. So I say no, I'm just a little sensitive about all of this.

And the doctor starts to talk to me about the results of the 10 or so blood tests I've done in the last month. The ones that show the increase in oestrogen, the one that shows the LH surge that indicate when I should ovulate, and then the ones that show I really shouldn't have had my period when I did. I really like the science of it all, and it does calm me down to talk rationally about what's going on.

Given the premature break down of my uterus lining we now need to introduce some additional tricks with hormones to give me the best of chance of getting knocked up. We talk through the options. Doubling the clomid dose is a definite for next cycle, if we aren't successful this cycle. Additionally I can choose between learning to give myself HGC injections (the pregnancy hormone) to trick the body into thinking it is pregnant, and therefore keep the uterus lining, or I can get a compound chemist to whack together a pessary (for the uninitiated that is a pill that gets inserted in the vagina) - delightful - which I have to insert twice a day - and lie down for half an hour after doing so, to also trick the body into thinking it is pregnant!!!

Hmmmmm. I choose injection. From what the doctor is telling me the pessary option is quite unpleasant and then there is all the time just lying around when I'm already struggling to get ready for work in the morning I don't need the half hour of lie down time.

We talk about the results of all the other blood tests that indicate despite the chromosome problem that caused our first miscarriage, neither Matt nor I have any underlying issues with our chromosomes that would have caused that. Matt's got all the right hormone levels to make his contribution as do I. So on that front it is all good.

I tell the doctor I'm pissed off that I waited so long to get to be referred to which he replied, "there's no need to worry, there's plenty of life in the old girl yet." I tell the doctor I like his novelty tie, that is filled with hundreds of different coloured jockey hats.

So I've calmed down and leave again with a fist full of blood test forms to continue with the monitoring of my cycle and help get our timing right. I manage to resist punching the receptionist in the face and take a mental note that if possible I should make appointments for the afternoons, because she only works morning.

I make it to the office by 10am and only have to fend off a few questions about whether I'd been crying.

The rest of my Melbourne Cup was incredibly uneventful. I still felt sad, and have continued to feel sad this week. Rationally I'm so good at dealing with all this, but emotionally it is just so hard.


  1. Being as OCD as I am the incorrect date would have really pissed me off as well - very unprofessional on their part!!! You should have taken to the sign yourself with a big black marker to correct the error and then signed it with a smiley face and a "Morgsey wuz 'ere" to prove the point!
    I too cannot get over the numerous pictures of baby photos splattered all over the walls of fertility clinics - I mean wtf come on! It is hard enough emotionally making it to the clinic in the first place without having pictures of other peoples babies splashed up in your face when you are still so unsure about your own future. I think for fairness all the people who haven't been successful should get to send in their own photos of what they are now doing with their lives - i.e. pictures of them in paris, playing with their dogs, swigging bottles of champagne and looking gloriously happy, rolling around in all the money that they are saving by not having kids!!!...just to balance things out :)

  2. I love your suggestion on the no-kid patients sending in their glamourous holiday photos! I honestly thought I was the only crazy person who was being driven crazy by all the baby photos. It is good to know I'm not alone.

    I'm already thinking about going in to the surgery tomorrow and seeing the notice... I'm going to stay cool. I have to try and stay cool.