(A little Sunday morning blogging with this cutie! This post was written after our initial consultation with the fertility specialist back in November 2015. Also, I apologize for any spelling and grammar errors. My husband is the English major and he wasn’t around to proofread my work. 🙂 I’m more mathematical. Hence, why we balance each other out nicely.)
As I said before, the decision to make an appointment with the fertility doctor was one that was hard for me. It meant that having a baby wasn’t going to happen for us naturally and it meant lots of poking, prodding and needles. I thought it would take us weeks or months to get an initial consultation appointment. That was not the case. My husband called (his schedule is more annoying to take off than mine) and we had an appointment the next week. They told us they would send us our new patient paperwork in the mail to fill out and bring to our appointment.
From what I had heard from my friend, I was expecting the initial appointment to just be more of a planning session. We would learn what tests needed to be done and what the process is for treatment. Easy peasy, nothing too scary to start. My nerves were pretty calm.
We received our packet in the mail the weekend before our appointment. While reviewing the documents, it mentioned the appointment could be an hour to an hour and a half long. It would consist of a full physical exam of myself and blood work. I’m sorry? Blood test?! I thought this was a consultation?! I started freaking out. Needless to say, I had one of my breakdowns that day. I lost it. All of it. I was terrified. My heart was broken that it had come to this, that we had to seek help in order to do something that our bodies were made to do. That was probably one of the worst breakdowns I had up until that point. It was too much. The whole thing. It was overwhelming, terrifying, and unfair.
Obviously, I barely slept the night before our appointment. I kept thinking that I had to have blood taken for the first time in my life. Our appointment was first thing in the morning. That worked out to be the best thing, so I didn’t obsessed and panic at work all day about the needle.
We sat down with the nurse practitioner and went over our collective medical history. She asked about my cycle. She explained the process and different methods (which I was very confused about). She then did a physical examination of me. It was no different than a regular, old gynecologist appointment. Uncomfortable? Obviously, but scary, no. I was breaking out in an anxiety rash on my chest because I knew I had to deal with needles but other than that I was fine.
We then reconvened in her office to explain the next steps. My husband would have to give his sample. (Literally, that is ALL he has to do! The woman has to be probed and stuck with multiple needles, and he gives a sample. Ridiculous!) I would have to call the first day of my period. On day 3, they would start me on Clomid, which is a follicle stimulating medication. (Apparently, Kate Gosselin was on this when she got pregnant with the sextuplets!) Between days 7-10, I would have to have an HSG test, which is a procedure where they inject dye into the uterus to see if your Fallopian tubes are blocked. I have to call when I get a positive ovulation test and then have blood drawn (again) to confirm that test. Six to eight days after that, I have to have blood drawn (AGAIN!) to check my progesterone levels. Basically, all I heard, was “blah, blah blah, blood test” about 5 times!
The appointment was over and it was time for the blood test. My first one ever. I know, it’s pathetic, a 27 year old woman who has never had blood drawn. I told the nurse straight up, “you get one chance to get it in the vein and please use the smallest needle possible”. I have heard too many horror stories about the nurse who couldn’t get the vein and had to stab someone multiple times or just dug around in someone’s arm. That was not going to happen to me. At this point, I was actually fairly calm. I didn’t have a rapid heart rate or tension in my back like usual when I have anxiety. I knew I could do it. She gave me the ball to squeeze and I kept squeezing it. She tied the tourniquet around my arm (that freaking hurt) and then I just chatted with my husband. I felt the needle go in (and stay in) but I just kept looking away and talking to my husband. It started to take what felt like forever. I kept thinking “geez, what the heck is happening down there?” I had this nagging feeling that I wanted to look at it but my husband kept telling me not to. Finally, when it was done, I looked over and saw 5 VIALS OF BLOOD! They had taken 5 vials! I mean, come on, do you really need that much blood? I feel like that is just excessive and greedy.
Then I was done. Back to work.
When I got home from work that day, the hubby had gotten me flowers and ice cream (my mom would also take me for ice cream after shots when I was kid, teenager, adult, whatever) for being such a trooper that day.
For most people, having their blood drawn is not a big deal. For my diabetic friend, it is just another day. But for me, it was a huge hurdle. It was something I had avoided for years, at all costs. Needles are something that cause me massive anxiety and fear. Having my blood drawn that day, meant that I can do this. I was fine during it and after it. It meant that I can handle this journey. Obviously, it didn’t mean that I won’t have anxiety about all the testing and needles again, but it meant that I know what to expect and can get through it.