Waiting at the clinic…

Fertility clinics are strange places. Perhaps this is true for any serious illness but (other than IF) I’ve only seen the inside of a doctor’s office for low-level issues.

I find it oddly comforting to see a packed clinic. It makes me feel like I’m not the only one dealing with all this and others struggle too in their own way. And yet, we’re isolated. It’s very rare that patients in my clinic talk to each other. Or even make eye contact.

And it’s such a diverse group of individuals – there’s a wide range of ages and skin colors and all walks of life. That gives me comfort too – there’s nothing special about me that I got stuck with this. Someone has to fall on the bad side of statistics sometimes and apparently I’m one of them.

Some come on their own, some with their husbands (or wives occasionally). I sometimes find myself guessing what their day life would entail (scrubs – doctor/nurse; suit – lawyer?; yoga outfit – umm, freelancer?). They even have different ways of passing time while waiting.. some on their laptops, others on their phones, other just sit there. And no one touches the ever present pile of magazines.

We’re all bound by this strange place in life we’re in. We’re in a limbo – neither carefree newlyweds or young adults, nor parents constantly running after their toddlers. We can’t easily enjoy the freedom of fewer responsibilities. Because we’re tied to responsibilities even before kids come onto the scene. The financial responsibilities of the treatments. The physical and mental load of keeping track of the appointments and medications (plus the aforementioned finances). The physiological strain of all the side effects and hormones. The compromises in so many ways – no caffeine, no wine, careful exercising, planning life around treatment cycles and treatment cycles around life. But we don’t even get to enjoy the positives of the tradeoffs.

I wonder what others think of when they’re here. Do they think they could have done things differently? Do they look at the stats and wonder what this cycle’s chances are? Do they trust the doctor to always know what’s right? Are they worried about the repercussions of another failure? Or maybe they’re just tired because we’re all here early in the morning before we start our actual jobs.

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13 thoughts on “Waiting at the clinic…

  1. I often used to wonder about the people in the clinic waiting room too. Sometimes I could almost guess what stage they were at in their journey. The ecstatic couple who had gotten a positive result and were in for the first ultrasound (those were rare), the totally dejected couple who looked like they had reached the end of their tether after yet another failed round, the hopeful and anxious couple waiting for their first appointment with it all ahead of them…

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  2. That was my fertility clinic too. Always packed with busy, professional women who never talked to each other.

    I remember once one woman was hooked up to an IV and she was telling someone else she had no idea what it was for but thought maybe it had something to do with Lupron (it was an intra lipid infusion). I was so shocked that someone could be that disconnected from the process, but I guess some people want to just hand things over to the doctor and stop thinking about it all.

    I still have an anxiety attack when I get off at the subway station that is closest to the clinic.

    I hope your time there is as short as it possibly can be.

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    1. I’m starting to get into that mode (well, not as much as having an IV and not knowing why!). Take my ultrasounds/bloodtests for instance — I have no idea what they’re looking for. Like last week, they measured HCG (among others). No idea why – I’ve been on BCP so not like I could even by mistake get pregnant.

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  3. I think it’s important to plan some nice activities to enjoy, even though there is the financial side, the waiting and worrying, the limitations. We went to Liverpool for a weekend during (our second ivf related) two week wait, saw some exhibitions, walked around the city, and it was great. It wasn’t expensive or too tiring, and of course didn’t take my mind totally off the waiting, but it was the best thing we could do.

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  4. This is so true. I’ve been to 2 separate clinics over the last 7 years and they are both the same; packed but no one talks or even looks at each other. I find myself trying to guess what their struggles are and wonder how they compare statistically to mine. It’s a crazy thing since we always think we are so alone and then we get to a place where there are other people who understand what we are going through and no one talks about it.

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  5. Fertility clinics must all be the same, because you could’ve been describing mine and the clientele. (Though I did read the magazines on occasion.) I hope I never have to go back to my clinic again and I hope your time at yours is finite, very finite.

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  6. I can’t tell you what those in the waiting room are thinking, but I remember being there, nursing the pain I felt in my heart, making mental notes about where I was in a cycle and fretting about getting more bad news. I remember surfing my phone, trying to find articles to distract myself. I also remember the jealousy from finding out someone there was newly pregnant, there for an early scan and overly joyous because of their success. And above all, I remember worrying that I was doomed to spend the rest of my life in a waiting room, never finding resolution.

    IF is isolating, even though those waiting rooms were often packed. Because no one wants to be there and there is so many negative feelings surrounding the situation.

    May your time in the waiting room be over soon.

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