This week is kind of a doozy--I have my 35th birthday on Thursday, Mother's Day on Sunday, and my annual lady-doctor visit tomorrow. You wouldn't think that a routine, non-treatment related visit to the doctor would be anxiety-inducing, but this one definitely is.
This is the third time I am going to the gynecologist with fertility on the brain--three years ago I came with sperm numbers in hand to see if we would need to try naturally for 6 months to a year or, given what we already knew about the male factor, if we could get an express pass to the fertility clinic. My doc perused the paperwork and said, "Yup, you'll need a referral. You'll just frustrate yourself trying on your own. This isn't terrible though--you'll get pregnant. You just need some basting." Ah, "basting," the incredibly clinical term for IUI (intrauterine insemination). I left with hope that next time I came I would be pregnant.
Fast forward to last year's annual exam--where I had to both say I wasn't pregnant (obviously, since I would have seen my doc for the OB portion of her expertise) AND that I had been diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Something that I was a little irritated hadn't been diagnosed earlier, but since I had been on the Pill for pretty much all my reproductive adult years it wasn't really anyone's fault per se. The basting wasn't working out so well, as we'd done 5 at that point with no results. It was a pretty perfunctory visit, with a "good luck to you" in there but not much else--I was firmly in the hands of the fertility experts, so what else was there to say?
And now, tomorrow. I get to go, the day before my less-than-exciting birthday, and STILL be empty-wombed. This is going to be somewhat awkward. "Basting" did NOT do the trick, and IVF so far hasn't quite put a baby in me, so I really don't know what will be said. And then there's the fact that when you go to a regular lady-doctor, there is no sign in the waiting room that says "Out of consideration for our patients, please avoid bringing children with you if at all possible." It is a baby mecca. A toddler mecca. A giant-pregnant-belly mecca. A place where excited couples are waiting to hear heartbeats and see hiccuping fetuses and have their pee sticks confirmed. A place where C-sections are scheduled and birthing plans reviewed. Admittedly, there is also the odd unhappy pregnant lady in there (the one with faulty birth control, the teen with her pissed-off mom), but that doesn't exactly make me feel better. I sit in the waiting room, read my book and try to drown out the cacophony of motherhood around me.
So my wish is this--why can't fertility clinics offer pap smears? That is really the only reason why I am going to this appointment. My lady parts are incredibly well-visited lately and I have portraits of my ovaries. My female hormone blood levels are known to me pretty much at all times. I KNOW I am not pregnant. All I need is a simple cancer screening. I don't know if other people have this issue too, but I am seriously wondering--why not? Reproductive Endocrinologists are highly specialized OB/GYNs. It would be awesome to add Pap Smear to the repertoire of procedures and checks done at the ridiculous number of appointments we go to as fertility patients. Please--save us from the fertility-patient-unfriendly waiting rooms of our regular OB/GYNs until we, too, have a nugget to view!