reproduction without reproducing

Back in June, I decided I was finally done with my longtime ob/gyn.  I simply had a few too many bad experiences there to go back. 

Getting the worst news of our life there was bad enough. Then in June I had the nurse from hell who said she didn’t have time to do a (long overdue) pap smear while my goods were right there, after she had kept me waiting too long. 

This office also had significant problems with scheduling and annoying staff. They had way too many patients and overbooked them daily. I had referred several friends there myself over the years. My ob/gyn, who I adored and had seen since my early 20s, had simply become too damn popular.

Once I realized she would not be delivering my babies — at first because I would need high-risk care if I had gotten pregnant again, but later because I never did — it became easier to let go and close that chapter of my life. But it’s still odd. 

Yesterday I finally had my first appointment with my new gyno. She’s not an ob anymore, but a gyno who specializes in women’s health and breast cancer. She came very highly recommended from my favorite nurse at my RE’s office, and they work in the same fine academic institution. I waited nearly three months to see her, and I was really glad I did. She was wonderful, listened attentively, said all the right things about my history, and helped me sort through my risk factors for breast cancer, which runs in my family. 

I hadn’t really thought much about the significance of this act of putting my reproductive life behind me. Sure I blog about grieving my fertility often, but seeing a new doctor that had everything to do with my parts yet nothing to do with babies was a new experience.

It started when I pulled into that familiar parking lot. How many days did I pull in that same lot with such hope, yet leave in such despair? How many times did I have to hold it together to walk the block between the office and the elevator to my car before I could crawl inside and let it out, fist on the dashboard, head on the steering wheel — before I had to pull it together and somehow deep breathe myself back to reality. Of course there were days I left in high hopes too, only to be mocked by the need for the next visit… 

As I walked into the building, I thought, how weird. This is where it all happened. This is where I had every hope for new life — every consultation, every blood draw, every IUI, my retrieval and transfers. This is where the last of our embryos live. The thought was startling. Even though they may be the bottom of the barrel, even though they would probably be unlikely to survive a thaw and even more unlikely to successfully embed and implant in my useless uterus, for now, they still live in a dish on the 7th floor, frozen in time. That kind of freaked me out. 

Hitting a different button in the elevator was strange. But what was most odd was talking about my reproductive health without talking about reproducing. She asked if, under the circumstances, we were “still trying.” I told her honestly no, I didn’t see how it could possibly happen with our litany of problems. Add a very meager lining and shorter periods to my list of pre-existing issues and it seems virtually impossible. 

She didn’t disagree. But she had the heart to say that in the event that I should somehow miss a period (before menopause, that is), to please call and come in because, as she reminded me, my tubal issues put me at high risk for an ectopic. I actually thought that was sweet. Not the idea of an ectopic, of course, but the thought that she was open to the possibility of the miracle of conception happening inside my body in the first place. 

Perhaps best of all, she was enthusiastic about our plan to adopt, and encouraged me to send her a copy of our profile when it is ready. Because you just never know. And that, I thought, was pretty awesome.

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~ by luna on September 16, 2008.

24 Responses to “reproduction without reproducing”

  1. That is awesome. Sometimes you find the support you need in the strangest places. I’m so glad!

  2. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for you to return to a building that has been the site of so many difficult experiences. But I’m glad that you managed to find such a wonderfully supportive doctor – it sounds like it was well worth the wait to see her.

  3. She sounds like a pretty amazing doc. I”m sorry for the description of those walks back to the car. They were so vivid, and I could feel your pain.

  4. Those sites of pain never go away, and I want to tell you how brave you are to face them with such integrity and honesty.

    I am so glad your new gyn is such a lovely person and competent doctor. What a rare combo!

  5. You deserve her after that other one!

  6. I am so happy that you found such a great provider. It’s hard to do, unfortunately. It almost makes up for having to revisit the memories every time you show up for an appointment.

    I unexpectedly found a great OB/GYN this summer. She actually performed my D&C and was so supportive. She had me come back in for a ‘follow-up’ a few weeks later in the same office where they had diagnosed my missed miscarriage and sitting in that room, with those memories, I began to cry. She explained that the follow-up was not necessary if there were no complications, but she gave the patients a choice to do it anyway as a way of emotionally closing the door by coming back. It’s a unique thing to have an MD who treats the whole person. I’m glad you found yours.

  7. That’s pretty great. I’m semi-dreading my annual this year. Same building as my RE.

  8. So glad it went well–sounds like a good match=) Good and compassionate OB’s are HARD to find!

  9. She sounds like a lovely doctor. Even with the 3 month wait 🙂

  10. Your post is very moving–and I can totally relate. There’s a certain doctor and doctor’s office I just can’t go back to. I call it “where the bad things happen” every time I drive by it. I am so glad that your new gyno is wonderful.

  11. Luna,
    What a relief you finally got a break with your new ob/gyn. I think its really important she listened to you. Like really listen. About being open to the possibility of miraculous conception, that was sweet and also more common than you think. A very good friend kept going through the pregnant + no sac thing repeatedly in the past two years.

    Medical care has become like an express lane for many reasons so I’m very glad she took the time out to get familiar with your history and offer the best support.

  12. Sounds like an awesome doctor, I’m glad you found her.

  13. She sounds like a fantastic doctor.

  14. Wow … Luna, we must be on the same avenue in our IF journey. Although I think you’re quite a bit further up the road than I am.

    Anyway, I totally “broke up” with my previous OB/gyn for the same reasons. I have an appt with my new one at the end of this month. And I know that it’ll be weird to honestly put my feet up on those “stirrups” again. Yuck. Brings back too many bad memories …

  15. She sounds great, Luna. It’s so important to have a doctor (of any variety) who really listens to you.

    When I last saw my new ob/gyn, she told me to be sure to send her a photo of our baby (the one we’re going to adopt, of course). That really touched me. And when we feel supported by our medical friends, we’re more likely to consult with them, which can only be a good thing.

  16. i love this woman, you see, that’s what i’m talking about – doctors with heart. my current ob/gyn is that way. when my baby died she cried with me. she hugged my husband and i. she has so much faith for my future, dispite the catastrophe that is my reproductive track record.
    everytime i see her, she asks how are you? and she actually waits for a response.
    isn’t it nice when they don’t give up on us?

  17. She does sound great. Finding a gyn-only is on my to-do list as well, but I haven’t had any success.

    It must have been very hard to go back to that building – so many memories.

  18. That is awesome. I think it takes a lot of internal energy to make big changes like that–especially leaving people you trust for someone new. But it can be such a good thing to do it. I’m glad the new doctor rocks.

  19. I’m so glad you found a great doc. And I think it’s actually great that you can have a fresh start with that building, and build some new and positive experiences there. It sounds like she is exactly the doctor you need.

  20. I;m glad you appointment went well. I think making that “adjustment” will be a life-ling thing. Not in a bad way…it;s just you see the world differently than most. Yours is not the usual path and you will be reminded of that by random things throughout your life. I think you attitude of “Hmm, weird” is probably a good one.

  21. That’s awesome when you’re on the same page like that. I think it’s pretty easy in that profession to be a pollyanna and miss a lot of patients who are struggling or just don’t have the same frame of reference. Tough to find one who’s both realistic and compassionate. Sounds like you have. Things like this make the grief just a wee bit easier, ya know? Hang in there.

  22. […] new ob, a breast health specialist, told me candidly she even questions the value of self exams for many […]

  23. […] in December 2008, nine months ago, we got (yet another) bill from our (in)fertility clinic for frozen storage. After our IVF failed despite a great response, we tried an FET in March 2008 that represented our […]

  24. […] I came to the realization long ago that my body was incapable of sustaining life. Once I accepted that, it made the transition to adoption easy, emotionally. Honestly it came as a relief when I stopped counting cycle days a few years ago. We reclaimed our lives from infertility. Without a doubt, infertility left its imprint on my soul, just as losing my son did. But it forever changed me when I could finally stop secretly hoping for that miracle BFP. Hell, I don’t even have an ob/gyn anymore. […]

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