Armed with my vials, needles, syringes, and injection pen, I was ready to get started. I prided myself on being tough; and in truth, since I don’t have an abnormally intense fear of needles or blood, the shots were not that bad. After the first self-administered shot, poking myself four times a day became part of a “normal” routine. Yes, it hurt, but I figured if my diabetic patients could give themselves as many shots as they did for a lifetime, I could do this for a few weeks.
I start off using ice to numb the injection area, but eventually that was just a nuisance. I usually talked to myself out loud just to prepare myself before the poke. It was a quick pep talk reminding myself that, “You can do this! It will be over in two seconds. etc. etc.” A quick poke and burn, and then another poke and burn and I was done. When my stomach started to feel a little like a pin cushion I tried rotating spots; but even so, I bruised with each one. I didn’t mind. I was going to make a baby!
My schedule was dictated by the shots. I had to get a cooler to put them in just in case I wasn’t home when I needed to administer them. I did have Dave try to give me a shot early on just to see if it would make the experience better. Definitely not! Somehow, having control over hurting yourself makes it less painful.
Now came the tricky part-trying to work my schedule at work around the IVF clinic schedule. The IVF clinic didn’t offer appointments. It was first come first serve starting at 7:30 or 8 in the morning depending on the doctor. They had instructed me that some women, in an effort to get to work on-time, would get to the waiting room as early as 6 am to sign in. That sounded insane to me. Why wouldn’t they just offer appointments. How inconvenient! You would never know when you would be seen with this set up. I had my own patients to see twenty-five minutes down the road! How was I going to come in for daily ultrasounds and blood draws without knowing my timing? The answer…show up to the waiting room before anyone else. So, that is what I did.
I raced through the parking lot each morning as fast as my feet could carry me. If I saw the familiar face of another infertility patient I picked up my pace. I needed to get my name in first. I had other people depending on me. I couldn’t change my patient schedule everyday. It wasn’t fair to my patients and their needs.
We usually all ended up on the same elevator ride up to the third floor of the hospital. No one made eye contact. We all knew where we were going and why, but somehow talking about it just seemed like a violation of our privacy. The real though was who was going to get off of the elevator first to put their name at the top of the list. We all had jobs. We all had places to be. No one wanted to seem rude, but everyone jockeyed for position.
Often the lights were off in the waiting room. The heat had been turned up to an ungodly temperature, and the only people passing in the halls were surgery residents-many of whom knew me. I would quickly sneak to the coveted position in the room-the seat next to the vending machine in the corner. Here I was somewhat safe and out of sight.
We worked on an unspoken honor system. When the nurse finally arrived to take attendance she would start by asking who got there first, second, third etc. Each infertility patient would chime in with their name when their position was called. It was all about who walked through the waiting room door first. No one ever tried to steal a spot. The rush through the door might have been somewhat hostile, but once seated…everyone knew their position in line.
This waiting room should have been filled with comradery, with moral support, and ultimately with friendship. Unfortunately, our emotions were too raw. We each sat with our heads down, our hearts heavy, and our minds consumed with INFERTILITY. We were cautiously optimistic. We held onto hope. We held onto our fairytale dream of a happy ending. If only we had been brave enough to hold onto each other as well…it might have made the journey just a little easier.
From The Mom in Me, MD