Four couples are sitting in the dimly-lit waiting room. There is no conversation and all eight heads are pretending to read the six month old "People" magazines. I sit there, with my husband, awaiting our turn. It seems inhumane to be awake at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday to see a doctor, but here we are. What is even more punishing is we had to wake up at 5:00 a.m. and have intercourse.
My name is called and my husband and I shuffle into the exam room. There is little conversation in here as well. Mostly along the lines of "what time did you have relations today?", "feet in the stirrups, scoot your rear-end towards the edge more", and "is the sun up yet?". Your normal, run of the mill Saturday morning verbal exchange with a physician. I answer her questions and mention that this cycle I really felt like I ovulated. She shrugs and says, "Maybe." Reaching in to take our "post-coital" sample, I feel weirdly like I'm at Jiffy Lube. That thought makes me giggle. I am rewarded with a stern "do not move look" and she goes back to work.
I get dressed and we exit back out into the waiting room. Avoiding the other couples' eyes as they avoid ours. We all know we had sex with the person sitting next to us that morning and are here for answers.
Basal body temperature.
These and other fun vocabulary words are all a part of couples who are having problems conceiving. This doctor I had selected to guide us through what should be a "have sex, make baby, the end" process isn't warm and fuzzy. She makes me feel bad about myself. When I have questions she is dismissive. The post-coital and Clomid trial we are going through she said is not likely to work.
Later that week, I contact a new "Fertility Medicine Specialist" and make an appointment. I arrive at their office and it looks like they are working out of boxes. This is not a comforting sight to me. One doctor moves a stack of clutter, has me take a seat and listens to the litany of what we have been through so far and my medical history; I feel like I can recite this story more accurately than spelling my last name at this point. I am weary. He asks who I am "seeing now" (like I'm dating the grumpy doc) and nods a lot. He calls out loud across the hall and another doctor, this one slightly older, bounces in like Tigger and is very warm and welcoming.
They may not look like they have their shit together, but what the hell? I want to keep trying. They write me a slip for bloodwork and give me crazy directions to the hospital lab, which is in the same building, but sounds like it's in Siberia. I go, they take the blood. I don't even flinch anymore. I know what vein to offer so I look less yellow and junkie-like for the next week.
Three days later I come home to a message on my answering machine. (This is 1999, get over yourself.) Dr. S. is babbling on and on about this hormone being this level and this being that and I barely pay attention until he utters his last sentence of "oh and your hCG levels were very high." I clutch the arm of the sofa and play the message twice over before calling his office. I got Dr. J. instead of Dr. S. but I asked him, "So, um, I'm, uh pregnant already?" Yes, yes I am. I knew I was ovulating when I was taking Dr. Meanie's Clomid. Jokingly I ask Dr. J. for my money back as $300 is a lot to pay for a pregnancy test. He laughs this off and schedules me for regular appointments through the first trimester before they hand me off to the regular OB.
Pregnant. Expecting. Thrilled. I called my husband at work and told him. I called my brother and told him he was going to be an uncle. I almost hired a sky-writer.
Hayley came at 37 weeks, assisted by a wonderful midwife and my husband, who pulled her out and onto my chest. I kissed her all over. Gross baby goop and all. She was worth the $300.