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Fancy Meeting You Here

A friend of mine just started fertility treatments at a local fertility center. Yesterday, she wrote about the fertility waiting room phenomena. I can't discribe the phenomena any better than she did when she said, "Nobody was looking at each other or talking, and the women with husbands were looking extra tense. We all have a common bond, but we were sitting there in our private worlds, not sharing. The vibes passing between people are basically, "you're infertile. I'm infertile. And I don't want to talk about it." It's like a bus station full of infertile people."

That's it exactly. Londo and I would bring books and just sit there reading, occassionally whispering to just each other. The fertility center waiting rooms are truly the most awkward of all the waiting rooms in the world. Londo did not come with me to all the appointments, like those when I was just having blood drawn, although he did come to most especially in the beginning. But there was this one time when he wasn't with me...

We had gotten pregnant after our third medicated IUI cycle, but the baby's heartbeat stopped at 7.5 weeks (this is a devasting story on its own, and I'm sure I'll write about it another time). When I didn't miscarry on my own, I had a D&C. After that, I had to go in every couple of days in the morning to have blood drawn so they could make sure my progesterone levels went back down.

Anyway, in the office the afternoon before, I let my coworkers know that I would be in late the next morning. I didn't say why, just that I would be late. One of the guys who I shared an office with, we'll call him R, said that he'd be in late too
because he was taking his wife to a doctor's appointment. I thought that was nice of him to be taking her. Then he said, "Actually, the doctor's out by you, so we'll be out in Maryland."* And I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be funny if he was going to the fertility center too? Nah. What are the chances."

I don't know what the chance are statistically, but the next morning I walked into the waiting room and you know who I saw! I was hanging up my coat and just happened to notice R sitting across the room with his wife. Our eyes met, I gave a little wave, and quickly sunk into a seat and pulled my book to cover my face. I believe we both probably turned bright red. We did not say another word to each other, or even look at each other. When his wife was called back and he stayed in the waiting room, I did not look up. When I was called back, I did not look up. I left as soon as my blood was drawn and drove into the office.

When I got there, no one else was in yet. I think our other officemate was working in a different location that day. I thought alot about what I would say, and I knew I should say something. You can just pretend that the pink elephant isn't in the middle of the room. Or I can't. It's not my way.

When he did get in the office, we said good morning and I gave him time to start up the computer. Then I just went for it, "So, I see you have the same doctors as I do." I thought that was a pretty good opener. And indeed, it opened us both up. Lo and behold, we were going through very similar issues. Neither of us really knew anyone going through fertility treatments who we could talk to about it. But suddenly, we could talk to each other. They were just starting out with the doctors, and they were doing IVF. I was able to explain his wife's mood and the effects of the drugs, he was able to talk about how hard it is to go through from a guy's perspective. It was really great for both of us.

And we probably never would have known about each other if it wasn't for the embarrassing moment in the fertility waiting room.

*For those who don't know the area, Maryland, Virginia and DC are all right near each other, and people in this area may live in MD, VA or DC but work in another state or the district. It's very common.

Comments

Becoming Mommy said…
I'm so glad you found someone to reach out to. I know of several people going thru this who have become very insulated and I really see it doing horrible things to them.
Cara said…
I didn't go through "fertility treatment" like you are talking about -- baby 2 was conceived using Clomid -- but the frustration and sadness of trying to get pregnant for 8 months, then getting pregnant only to miscarry at nearly 12 weeks, then try for another 6 months because my doctor didn't want to put me on fertility drugs, even though I'm over 35 ... I didn't really want to talk about it either. Just because I didn't know what to say. Pregnancy is the most public intimate thing around.
caramama said…
Cara - Seriously, pregnancy is the most public intimate thing around. What is it about being pregnant that makes everyone around you feel like they can touch you and ask you normally inappropriate questions and give you unsolicited advice? I had coworkers (women) commenting about the size of my breasts. Um, hello? Not okay pregnant or not. And fertility issues are hard to go through no matter where you are, especially when people ask when you are going to start having kids. For some of us, it's not that easy...
Shellie said…
Oh, how miserable that all sounded and how good you finally found someone you could share the experience with. I would never have thought that the waiting room would be so awkward if you were all in it together, but I guess it is intensely personal. Glad you finally got your baby!
nutmeg96 said…
I'm so tired of people asking when we're going to have kids. That said, I am SURE I asked Londo about that back when we were officemates years ago. You can't remotely understand why that is a terrible question to ask until you've been down the road we have.

One thing I have learned through all this, though, is that more people than I ever expected have gone through the same trials. Infertility seems so lonely, but there are tons of other people being lonely for the same reason.
Don Mills Diva said…
We have had infertility trials as well and I don't always like to talk about it but when you do it is astonishing how many people are experiencing the same thing...

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