With arms outstretched...

Compartment 14B

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Deep breath.

2005-01-03 - 12:45 p.m.

I was a little surprised by how disappointed I felt when I hung up the phone. I blinked hard and swallowed. My doctor had sounded perfectly reasonable when she said that 7 or 8 months wasn’t long enough to refer me to a clinic, even if that clinic had a 5-month waiting list for an initial consultation; that I should call her back in March or April if I’d not succeeded by then.

Intellectually, I knew where she was coming from. No 32 isn’t really that old and wouldn’t be a high priority for the clinic. If I didn’t wait now, I’d just wait later as it was unlikely they’d put a “rush” on me when they’ve got 38 year-olds ahead of me. And yes, 50% of couples trying get pregnant within 6 months and that meant 50% didn’t so why did I think I was special? I didn’t want to sound petulant or unreasonably anxious by pointing out that the majority of couples have fairly regular or at least predictable cycles. I know someone who was referred directly to a fertility clinic as soon as she wanted to start trying because she gets only about 4 periods a year. I’m on track for 6 a year so why do those two extras mean I have to wait a full year before even starting to find out why?

She seemed genuinely concerned about the “strain” that could be put on my relationship with my husband if we tried for too long. I don’t really get that because I wouldn’t say that charting or trying was a “strain”. Unlike many women whose journals I’ve read, I don’t get reduced to tears when I (finally) get my period at the end of each (long) cycle. I don’t face telling J with trepidation that we’ve “failed” this month. I don’t actually feel like a failure. Yes, J and I want kids but we don’t define our sense of worth by whether we get to be parents or not. At least, not yet.

What I do want, as soon as I can, is to find out if my ever-increasing cycle-length and short luteal phase is a real problem or if we can get pregnant either without intervention or, if some sort of “help” is required, what that level of intervention would have to be. J and I have talked very briefly about how far we’d want to go to conceive but haven’t made any hard and fast decisions. All we know is that there is a point beyond which we probably won’t go and as to what that point is, well, it’s hard to figure out until we are confronted with what it might have to be. It’s all well and good to think the world is getting overpopulated but until you’re faced with having to make a conscious choice it’s only an intellectual exercise. Watching J with our niece is enough to make my heart melt but I don’t really want to take my temperature every day for a year and give it the old college try on late nights when J has to get up at 4:45 for work the next morning if there’s no chance it’ll result in anything. I’d rather put the thermometer away and jump my husband when the whim strikes because he’s irresistibly adorable.

I suppose what I want from the medical profession is the knowledge that will enable us to choose the best course of action for us. And it looks like I’m going to get some answers. Less than 5 minutes after hanging up the phone with my doctor she called back.

“Do you just want me to refer you?”

“What?”

“Do you just want me to refer you to the clinic and let them decide how long you should wait before they call you in? I hung up and thought to myself, ‘She’s not going to be happy if I make her wait,’ so if you want I’ll refer you and you can fill out all the forms and paperwork and leave it up to them to go from there. Would you want that?”

“Yes.”

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