Ugly crying and vaginal mucus

Pre-IVF 6, I’ve been pretty depressed because of the demon PMS tablets (great way to start another cycle – wasn’t feeling nearly shit enough about my horrible disaster-ball of a life). My wife and I are talking quite seriously about quitting our jobs, renting out our (newly renovated) sensible family home and moving to Melbourne, where all our fun, successful, child-free friends have moved. The unspoken *IF* in that resolution is, of course, *if I don’t get pregnant*.

Day 1: I went to the doctor about some sort of viral illness that I’d been suffering all weekend. I normally wouldn’t have bothered but I was paranoid that I had toxoplasmosis from the cat we recently adopted from my wife’s boss. The doctor didn’t seem too concerned, although I explained the imminent IVF situation. From his response, I don’t think he knew anything about IVF. I then realised I was being ridiculous, stressing over the well-being of a baby that doesn’t exist.

Day 2: My wife’s boss (the one that now has no cat) announced that she was pregnant. She had been infertile, allegedly. It happened naturally. My wife was devastated.

animal kitten cat pet
Bosslady is unlikely to have toxoplasmosis.

Day 3: Spent the day sitting at my desk ugly-crying, wondering if my marriage was over because I don’t want kids and wifey is still obsessed with them. I told my boss I would probably be quitting my job soon as it was too depressing to stay in this no-hope town in our big family home since I can’t have kids.

I accidentally opened an email I had been avoiding, one about booking a ‘scan’ for next week. Of course it included a description of the kind of ‘scan’ they mean. Even just thinking about typing it makes my heart hammer in my chest and my eyes water so I’m just going to not, but maybe you can guess. Whatever. I almost rang up the clinic and told them I couldn’t book the scan so I had to cancel the cycle. I didn’t because I was crying to hard to talk on the phone to anyone.

That afternoon, I ran into the receptionist from my PhD days and word vomited my problems at her. It made me feel heaps better. I didn’t tell her about the current IVF cycle, though. I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone about that. I don’t need anyone else knowing what a phenomenal failure I am.

Day 4: I realised that I really truly don’t want kids. When I picture myself with a baby, I have the urge to punch it in its squishy helpless little face in retribution for ruining my life. I’m 29 now and I think those crazy biological urges to have kids are finally over. Probably shouldn’t be around kids, also, in case they get punched.

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Don’t tempt me, babies.

Day 5: I told a few of my Melbourne friends about our plans to move there. I spent an hour with one of my work friends discussing jobs I could apply for. She doesn’t understand why I’m waiting and not just applying for new jobs now. Neither do I, honestly. I can only put it down to the big *if* hanging over my head. *If* I get pregnant, I’ll be staying in my sensible dead-end job with its good pay and maternity leave in this friendless, funless town in our respectable family home. Sounds appealing, right? Why am I doing this, again?

 

I/we chose a sperm donor. There were 5 to choose from and they all sucked. I suspect they are the bottom-of-barrel sperm donors as they’re all ‘ICSI quality’, aka. ‘sperm so shit it can’t even get in an egg by itself, which is kinda the only purpose of sperm’. The donors also seem quite old, from what I can gather, although they won’t tell you their ages. Wifey said she didn’t care which I choose and I should surprise her. We have to pick 3 in case we don’t get the first 1 or 2 donors selected. With only 5 donors on offer in the first place, there is very little avenue for choice.

In the end, I preferenced a dude with green eyes and brown hair over the rest because my wife and I have green eyes and (naturally) brown hair and I suppose it’s easiest for a kid to look like both its parents, particularly when its parents look alike, right? He was also half Italian, like me, and Italian men are generally damn good looking, even if they do sound like dullards.

berlusconi
Baby daddy: Some old Italian dude. 

 

My stupid ovaries are hurting like bitches and I look like I’m pregnant and my cute skirts don’t fit. Hoo-fucking-rah! What a fabulous decision this was!

Day 6: I forgot about the *one* *single* positive thing about IVF; epic vaginal mucus. I have been enjoying that the past couple of days. I am in constant abdominal pain and I’m now at the stage in the process where I have a constant migraine.

I went to a psychic today who told me if I keep doing this crap, I’ll eventually have a baby, but it probably isn’t worth it. I should quit my job and change my life and do things that I enjoy and be glad I dodged crappy life-ruining babies. Apparently, my life will sort itself out in my 30’s. I don’t really believe in that crap, but she was cheaper and more useful than my psychologist and it was totally worth it. I didn’t mention I was currently doing a cycle. I figured a psychic should know that, but she didn’t. Meh.

Extreme Excitement

It’s happening *again* and this shit show starts on my 29th birthday. On my 29th  birthday I stop taking the tablets that give me PMS and that should make my period arrive. I might even have a day of feeling OK to celebrate my birthday.

BONUS FACT: Chemical PMS has made me so angry that I broke my car door by slamming it. Haven’t told wifey. Totally didn’t know that was even a thing. I’m actually quite feeble since the surgery so it’s the last thing I was expecting.

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I honestly don’t know what happened, but it may have been something like this.

Yay! I’m starting on my birthday! How thrilling! My 28th birthday was embryo transfer #1, IVF cycle #2. That was a bust. The past year has been a bust.

99% chance the next month will be a bust too. YAY!!!

But, I digress. I got a call from a nurse last week. She was all peppy and upbeat and all that bullshit nurses are before they release you’re an old hat at this crap and they don’t need to pretend that you’re **going to have a cute widdle baby soon!!! OMG YASSS**

Because this was our first treatment at the new clinic, the nurses hadn’t gotten the memo about me being a cranky barren jaded bitch who does not want to hear their optimistic liar crap.

So, I got a call from a nurse last week. It was one of those upbeat calls where they tell you how *infinitely exciting* it is that you’ve started on your fertility journey with Dr X: Bullshit Fertility Shyster Extraordinaire.

Notice that a “fertility journey” isn’t really a journey. You probably won’t go anywhere except into a pool of debt. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get anything out of it… except that it’s invariably *exciting*. You will ruin your life… but you’ll be *incredibly excited* about the process.

Exciting
Thanks, IVF Australia. It sure is *exciting* when your staff are incompetent, your propaganda heteronormative and USELESS and your doctors more concerned with $$ than doing their jobs. (If only I understood my darn menstrual cycle!)

But, still, it’s refreshing to get the *exciting times* talk again. Just as it was refreshing to shut it down.

Big Kev
IVF nurses remind me of Big Kev. (International readers, Big Kev was an Australian weirdo who was very excited about cleaning products 20 years ago.)

I listened to the spiel. It was great. Those nurses would be great actors, I bet, because they do the talk with such conviction. *I* almost got excited about my fertility prospects. What an exhausting job they have!

“Yeah, look”, I said, when it had abated into a mild insistence that I take a day off work to travel for 6 hours to listen to some idiot nurse telling me how to inject myself with poison. “Can we forgo the part where you tell us how to use all the drugs? It’s just that this is our 6th IVF cycle and I guarantee we’ve heard it all before.”

As a new patient, I’m sure she expected me to be green as grass and *so excited about having a darling widdle cute baby !YAY PREGNANCY! OMG yass babYYYYY 😀 *.

She stopped rhapsodising about my forthcoming *extreme excitement* and simply said,

“Oh.” As in: “Oh. You’re fucked“.

“Oh.” As in: “Oh… 6 at your age… why are you even doing this? Are you crazy? You must be crazy.”

“Oh.” As in: “Oh. So you knew as well as I did that what’s about to happen is not in the least bit exciting so that whole charade was a waste of my time.”

I do wish this crap was over already. I rather just want to get started and get it over with, although I know wishing to be incredibly sick and to metaphorically flush money down the toilet is not something people traditionally look forward to.

But, perhaps, when it is over, I’ll have my answers. I’ll have satisfied my scientific mind with yet another experiment.

Aim: To analyse the impact of endometriosis on developing eggs and embryos.

Hypothesis: Regardless of the presence/absence of endometriosis, I am infertile AF.

I am SO EXCITED for the conclusion.

 

Next Stop: The Health Care Complaints Commission

Every time I tell someone about my experiences with IVF Australia and, more specifically, with doctor #1 (a.k.a Dr Douchbag), they have been incredulous. How can a doctor be that hopeless? That completely ignorant of the ramifications of his incompetence?

During our 6 month wait for donor sperm, (ex)friends (who turned out to be uberfertile, thus necessitating the discontinuation of the friendship, see TBH, I do hate uberfertiles) were going through the process at the same clinic (although, luckily for them, with another doctor). They were surprised that we had effectively been told to fuck off for 6 months. Their doctor had commissioned further tests like fallopian tube blockages (kinda relevant if you’re told you’re doing IUI) and had ordered fertility testing for both members of the partnership. Why not, when you’re waiting up to 10 months for sperm.

At the time, I believed there was nothing wrong with me, so I didn’t make a fuss. I just thought everything would be fine, although the complete lack of attention did strike me as odd.

I should have seen the warning signs. But, I just thought doctors knew what they were doing.

(What an idiot, right?)

I believe
My attitude to doctors, back when I was an innocent young fool.

A few months ago, a lawyer friend to whom I tearfully (and very drunkenly – no way I will talk about this shit otherwise) opened up to about this hell exclaimed,

“Oh my God! If you want to sue them, I’ll help you!”

(Lawyers, right?)

I reluctantly rehashed the experience to my psychologist who immediately recommended I make a formal complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commission.

So, that is what I am trying to do.

No one should have to go through what we went through. Furthermore, no queer couples should have to go through what we went through and I do firmly believe that has been a part of it. I honestly don’t think we would have been treated like this if we were a heterosexual couple. I don’t think doctor #1 had any interest in helping us get pregnant. A lot of his behavior was beyond ambivalent and was downright hinderous.

We should have been given our medical results. My concerns should have been taken seriously. Every other doctor we encountered seemed to see there was something very wrong. The more I read about others’ experiences in this, the more unfathomable it is to me that a doctor could tell a 27-year-old that after 3 IVF cycles, altogether yielding a *total* of one (pretty poor) blastocyst, that “there’s nothing wrong – do another cycle”.

What. The. Actual. Fuck?

Two weeks ago, I was reduced to tears after fighting IVF Australia for my medical records (and being denied them – no surprises there).

Last week, I cried my way through 2kg of IVF paperwork, looking for written proof of my story. They don’t like to give you much to go on. They don’t want any irrefutable evidence of their culpability. So, in addition to the buried memories that stack of paper unearthed, the exercise stirred a pesky voice that whispered:

“No one will believe you. You can’t fight them. They’re bigger than you.”

“Why did you ever trust them? You brought this on yourself. If you hadn’t have been so naive, they wouldn’t have taken advantage of you.”

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I’m not even exaggerating. It is 2kg. I weighed it. One day it will make a nice bonfire.

I can’t help but think that this is all my fault. Although physically, I now have a medical condition (endometriosis) to blame my barrenness on, I blame myself for my lack of action. Perhaps I should have stormed into the doctor’s office and demanded the results of my tests and then researched what the hell they all meant. What if I had called bullshit sooner and stopped blindly going along with more and more and more IVF? What if we had gone to two fertility clinics simultaneously, then maybe one of them would have been competent.

I don’t know how I am going to get through this, but what choice do I have? It’s not fair that I have to spend my days reliving this horrible experience. I never deserved it in the first place. It’s not fair, but the alternative is to lie down and take it and I WILL NOT be doing that, even if it kills me.

Some days I can’t believe it hasn’t.

For further reading on this thrilling topic, see my 2017 complaint to IVF Australia here:

One Year of TTC

Have we waited too long?

I will be 29 in two months.

I’ve been trying to get pregnant for almost two years now. If I couldn’t get pregnant at 27 or 28, it won’t happen at 29, will it?

My surgery was delayed. The surgery meant to ascertain (or fail to ascertain, as I suspect) a physical cause for my rampant infertility was delayed. No future date has been set.

For some reason that made me cry. It made me cry. All fucking day. I have an office to myself, so I sat at my desk sobbing. All. Fucking. Day.

Because we’ve already waited too long, haven’t we? We’re both getting older and pregnancy less likely. But they don’t tell you. They don’t tell you that you’d better get knocked up in uni. They don’t tell you to freeze your eggs at 18.

And so we’re old and fucked.

giphy

 

 

Waiting for Endo

In 5 days, I am having laparoscopic surgery to ascertain whether my faulty body has thwarted my attempts at pregnancy. Thus, I really hope I have severe asymptomatic endometriosis because at least then, I can have an answer. I can be told, ‘this is why you can’t have kids.’ I can understand why this has happened to me. I can give it a name and I can move on.

Two years ago, I can’t imagine hoping for a medical condition like I am now. Now I’m imagining the worst-case scenario as waking up from surgery and being told, “There’s nothing wrong with you. There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be able to get pregnant.”

And that shit is getting real OLD.

Can you imagine, spending thousands of dollars on exploratory surgery just to find out that, as you have been told hundreds of times before, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU?

I can. In less than a week, it will probably be my reality.

I am, most likely, physically healthy in every way.

The thought is depressing AF.

TBH, I do hate uberfertiles

Last night my uberfertile friend sent me a short message which ended with:

‘Miss you so much xx’

My first thoughts were:

‘Why is she doing this to me?’, ‘Why would she ruin my night like this?’ and ‘Where the hell does she get off messaging me?’

Then I imagined her lying at home with her perfect baby, lazily amassing gossip to pass the time. No doubt I’m a prized subject of said gossip, having been MIA from social events for the past year, busy becoming a tragic enigma.

shit fertile people say
Shit fertile people say.

We haven’t spoken in 6 months. The last time I saw her was at my best friend’s birthday party. After Mrs Uberfertile showed up, I struggled not too cry for the rest of the night, ultimately leaving early. I was a horribly unfun best friend.

I would have been furious at me. I was furious at me. I’m normally really fun at parties, instead I sat in the corner with my face in a margarita.

I apologised to my bestie the next day. She, in turn, apologised for inviting a pregnant person. I told her, quite rightly, that she shouldn’t have to screen her friends on my account.

I wish she had’ve, nonetheless.

I very much doubt that Mrs Uberfertile knows how much she ruined that night’s party for me, or how much distress she caused me in the week that followed. I’m sure she thinks I am thoughtlessly ignoring last night’s message, not dwelling on it and crying and wondering what to do with it.

Reply?

Ignore?

If reply, what to say?

The truth is, I don’t really want to end the friendship with Mrs Uberfertile. I feel guilty about how I’ve treated her. It’s not her fault she’s uberfertile. It’s not her fault she lucked out with a good fertility doctor from the start. It’s not her fault her body is really fucking good at not killing babies.

The other side of that truth is, I can’t be friends with uberfertiles and pregnants and parents. At least not when my wife and I are trying so hard to hit the sweet spot between too much IVF and just enough IVF to avoid later life regret at not trying hard enough.

It’s not about babies for us anymore, it’s about what we have to do to console ourselves to childlessness. It’s about knowing, in 20 years’ time, that we did our absolute best to have a baby and we couldn’t have done any more.

So, why associate with people who have such disparate aspirations for 20 years into the future? They’ll never understand. Why should they?

I wish uberfertiles would just stop contacting me.

Another One Bites the Dust: IVF Cycle #5

I was probably not in a good place when we started number 5. My wife did this one, I having given up after 4 cycles. She was terrified of it, although she’d seen the process 4 times before. It much different when you’re in the thick of it. This is one of the few reasons I am glad to be a lesbian – at least at times like this, your partner knows exactly what you’re going through. Or, in my case, what you’ve been through. This is one of the reasons I don’t tell people about this journey. No one can know how bad it really is unless they’re living it and I don’t want people to think I’m making a big deal over nothing.

But, honestly, I’m a bitch anyway. One memorable night, pre-cycle 5, I told her she was wasting our money, ruining her life and there was no fucking way she was ever going to get pregnant from this IVF shit.

Turned out, however, that she did.

They retrieved 3 eggs, 3 were mature, 3 fertilised, 3 grew. At 5 days, we showed up for the transfer and I demanded proof that there was something to transfer before we paid for the transfer. We’ve been caught out by that trick before.

There was something. 2 embryos were good quality, but our doctor refused to transfer both. Instead, one went in and the other 2 (one good, one bad but alive) went in the bin.

(I often wonder if this whole idea of freezing embryos isn’t just a ploy to make unwitting patients feel like they might just get a second, third or fourth chance of pregnancy out of a cycle. It seems that, invariably, we’re told; “we’ll see how they go and see if we can freeze them” and the call invariably comes the next day; “they all stopped growing – nothing to freeze”, which gives you no confidence that the one inside you is growing, which, invariably, it isn’t.)

But, in wifey’s case, the stupid thing actually grew for 3 or 4 weeks before it stopped. One day, she didn’t feel pregnant any more. Based on its size when we had the 7 week scan, that was the day it stopped growing.

She was skewered on an ultrasound dildo when we found out. She vomited. They let us out the back door of the pathology clinic and we went home to watch Netflix.

Giving Up

The TWW portion of IVF #4 was the same and the rest. Negative home pregnancy tests and a punctual period. I had felt different this time around, however, both during the stim cycle and the TWW. I could feel my baby in me. I knew it was there. I knew it had finally worked this time. I was pretty sure it was a girl.

But the thing is, you don’t know anything. You can think you know a lot of things, but more prudent people keep it to themselves, as I did. You can’t really know anything.

When I say that I know that this is the end of my TTC journey, I don’t really know that either. Two things I do think I know, at the moment, in 2017 and at the age of 28, I think I know that:

  1. I cannot do another IVF cycle. I do not want to. I will not do it and there’s no point doing it anyway.
  2. I’m not getting any more fertile. This is it. If I can’t now, I can’t ever.

I’ve know this for 2 months now. The knowledge is getting surprisingly easy to bear. It still makes me cry sometimes, like now, for instance. It still means that I’m a bitch to that pregnant girl at work and that I avoid all family gatherings because I can’t handle seeing my pregnant cousin.

But, giving up is surprisingly liberating. It’s one of the few things I have control over. Never again will I be sick like that. I will be able to do my job in a way that justifies my pay check. I’ll have the physical and emotional energy to maintain friendships. I won’t have to worry about how I can possibly maintain my house, my car, the adult aspects of my life.

It’s liberating to know that, from now on, you can go out in the world and be a person and probably be OK. You probably won’t collapse on the street. You probably won’t start weeping profusely in business meetings. You’ll probably be able to go to work every day. You’ll probably be able to go to parties without smoke bombing when someone walks in with a kid or a pregnant belly. You probably won’t have a nightmare tonight. You probably won’t have to blacklist friends because they can’t stop asking why you aren’t pregnant yet and can’t understand why such questioning is impossible to bear.

I do regret beginning on this baby making path, but I wouldn’t want to relinquish the knowledge I have gained from it. But, you probably can’t have both.

 

Our TTC saga – Part 1: Trying to try to conceive (TTTTC)

When we started on this journey, we had no idea what we were doing. We had no friends to ask or reasonable sources of advice beyond what the fertility clinics deign to provide. By fertility clinics, of course, I mean the very few private fertility clinics who are licenced to provide donor sperm to couples like us. So here’s a timeline of our experiences. I hope it will help other couples like us shed light on the whole process (or, perhaps, frustrate the crap out of them).

We chose to go with the artificial insemination route for several reasons:

  1. Legally, in Australia, if the pregnancy is brought about by a doctor who both mothers have been referred to (by another doctor) then the resulting baby’s birth certificate can bare both mothers’ names. This was very appealing because:
    1. We would both have legal and parental responsibility for the child, no questions asked, from the time they were born.
    2. It saves the stress and cost of the non-birth mother having to adopt the child later. It may even work out cheaper in the long run.
  2. We didn’t have a sperm donor so donor sperm was a better option. Fun fact: it is actually cheaper to buy donor sperm from the clinic than it is the BYO sperm donor. Or course, if the sperm donor is intended to be the baby’s father, then it’s pretty much free to BYO sperm. Go figure!

June 2016:

We had always talked about having kids but Chloe and I actually started to do something about it! I had finished my PhD in January and gone back to work full time in February 2016. I had applied for a few post-docs overseas and a job in Melbourne, Australia. I hadn’t got any of the jobs but, I didn’t really mind. I had a pretty good job already and that’s pretty lucky for any newly graduated PhD student. Chloe had a job too and our home and work places were all within a 6km radius.

I don’t know how it happened, but somehow we threw out the idea of me getting a post-doc overseas, moving far away and having a great adventure. Both of us were so keen to nest that it was hard to find the motivation to shake up our lives at that point. Our families were in our city, or close by. We were 27; a bit young, but not too young to have kids.

It was time, we decided. Time to nest and make babies.

July 2016:

Although we had our wedding in March 2016, we were finally able to hand in the paperwork to have our relationship ‘registered’ in July. In the state of NSW, Australia, they allow same-sex couples to get registered, which basically means you pay money to have a certificate. This certificate essentially means that you’re de-facto. We decided to do this for some weird reason (it’s expensive and practically useless since most couples living together are considered de-facto in Australia). I guess we didn’t want to give anyone an excuse to treat our relationship as being less than any other, if we could possibly avoid it. Having an official document to prove we were a couple seemed like a good back up for a lot of life maladies.

What we didn’t realise (because we are still the only couple I know to get ‘registered’ in NSW), was that, if my wife wanted to change her surname to my surname (which she did, because it’s a far superior surname :P), she’d have to change it before we got registered because, if she changed it after, we’d have to get registered again in her new name. Yet another reason why Australia should just get on with legalising marriage equality… you can get married and THEN change your name without getting remarried!!

The day we finally submitted the registration paperwork was the same day we went for our first doctor visit. We went to my GP. I had never come out to my GP (he was fairly new GP) so it was a little nerve racking for me walking in there with Chlo and announcing, “Hi. We’d like to have a baby. Together.” I wasn’t really surprised that he had never had such a request before. But, he’s a great doctor and asked us what we needed. We had done enough research about the process to know to request a referral to a fertility specialist who we knew would be able to refer us for a dose of donor sperm and the IVF clinic. We got our referral and were on our way. (My GP, BTW, was super excited and requested that he be my doctor through the pregnancy and our future baby’s doctor).

Now, a word about choosing a fertility specialist: if I were to do the whole thing again, I would have done my research into the fertility specialist above all else. The IVF clinic, when I enquired about what to do told us that they had one fertility specialist in our city. Our choice to use this doctor came down to an issue of travel. Do we travel for 10 minutes or do we choose to travel for 2-3 hours? It seemed an easy choice at the time. We were told to get a referral for the fertility specialist in our city and so we did. Interestingly, a couple of friends of ours who lived very near us were going through the same process and the same clinic a few weeks after us. They were told by the fertility clinic that there was NO fertility specialist in our city. I wish I had have been told that too. Worth mentioning too that our FS was just a referring FS, not actually part of the IVF clinic. My advice: stay away from doctors that are not part of the clinic and will not be part of the treatment. Also, read reviews on the FS in question (this particular FS has several bad reviews online, which should have been a flashing red light, but I just didn’t Google it!)

August 2016:

We went to a donor sperm information evening hosted by our chosen IVF clinic. I thought hosting an info session like that meant that they were pretty involved with helping same sex couples conceive. How did we choose the IVF clinic? It was a choice of two in the state (NSW) and I chose the one that seemed least homophobic. Seriously. I think I made the wrong choice in hindsight.

A few days later, we paid to go onto the donor sperm waiting list. We were informed the wait for IUI quality sperm was 8-10 months and the wait for IVF sperm was 2 months. Our friends, who were a couple of weeks behind us in this process were told there was a 6 month waiting list for IUI sperm. Go figure.

Spurred by these hopeful developments, I started looking to buy a family and doggo friendly house J We had our first fertility appointment the same day I took Chloe to see a house I liked. It was the first house I had looked at and the first one she had looked at. We went straight from the house to our appointment.

Our first appointment with the only person in Wollongong capable of proclaiming people worthy of donor sperm. It was anticlimactic. He referred me for all the standard tests: pelvic ultrasound, blood tests.  He said it was good we were starting young. That would make it a lot easier.

I bought that house, or, at least, had my offer accepted.

September 2016:

I went and got all those tests. It didn’t seem much point hurrying because we were preparing to wait almost a year for donor sperm. But, I got them anyway and called up the doctor’s office to see if I had to come in and get the results. The receptionist told me they were all fine and to come in once we were at the top of the donor sperm waiting list. So we waited.

November 2016:

Wifey and I moved into that kid-and-dog friendly house 🙂

December 2016:

My mother met a woman who had gotten pregnant using donor sperm and IVF. Apparently, she didn’t have to wait at all for her sperm. “Why don’t you go to IVF Australia? You won’t have to wait for sperm and B says they’re really good.” Out of two possible choices, we had gone with IVF Australia, gaining us a 8-10 month sperm wait. Thanks for the advice.

February 2017:

The compulsory time-wasting money-grubbing counsellor sessions at the clinic.

“Have you thought about who’s going to work and who’s going to take care of baby?

“Have you considered that baby things cost money?

“Do you know about maternity leave?

Anyone who gets to this stage and hasn’t spoken to their partner about who’s going to take care of the bloody baby is a nincompoop. So, counselling was pretty pointless because any person who has been waiting to do IVF for 6 months has ACTUALLY THOUGHT ABOUT THE RESULTING BABY! But the IVF clinic got $400 and we were approved to continue along the baby making road.

Mostly, I think these counselling sessions are for people who have to deal with surprise infertility and all the rubbish that goes along with that. Lesbians are immune to this, being already quite sure that they are not going to make a baby naturally. There’s always surprises for everyone, though.

After cycle 3, a date with Dr Douchbag

I had an appointment with our regular fertility specialist booked for the day after my scheduled pregnancy test. It makes me feel better to do everything as quickly as possible, especially after failures. The waiting and wondering makes me crazy. Being proactive makes me feel like slightly less of a failure.

(I was there by myself because wifey was at work. She’s a customer service manager and can’t take time out for appointments as easily as me. The perks of being a researcher mean that I can literally work anywhere, any time. Customers, on the other hand, only get serviced during preordained time slots.)

In the waiting room, I was sitting opposite a couple of girls my age. (If they weren’t a couple I will eat my hat.) I wanted to politely inform them that I knew what situation they were in and what their options were and that they really ought to go get themselves a competent doctor who will actually be treating them and not a shoddy-middle-man doctor who will be palming them off to another doctor and won’t think too much about them or even remember who they are.

I didn’t say that. It seemed a little forward. Besides, I was waiting too. Why should they believe someone who doesn’t practice what they preach?

They went in to their appointment. They came back out. They seemed happy enough. I wondered if they’d have more success than me. Statistically, they will.

Dr D called my name.

He began with the standard:

“Remind me who you are.”

Not to worry, mate, I’ve only been your patient for a year. You’ve only cost me twenty-something grand, you’ve only denied my wife and I medical records and information for the past year. I suppose you do that to all your patients, though, right? We’re not worth remembering. We’re probably not even worth keeping a file on.

I didn’t say that. It seemed unnecessarily argumentative. So, I answered his question with the facts; my name, my wife’s name, our medical history and why I was fronting up to his office on this particular day.

After ascertaining, from me, the sketchy details that I had gathered from miscellaneous lab-techs, nurses and doctors regarding my last cycle (he doesn’t bother to look these up – the clinic’s website, a task which, he has told me, is too hard), he concluded that the cycle was successful because there was one embryo that didn’t die before 5 day transfer. Hooray! Success!

When I pointed out that 90% of my 3 day embryos die before they become 5 day embryos, and that this is statistically very high for a 27-28 year-old, he told me there was nothing wrong with that, because, of course, there was one embryo this cycle that didn’t die within 5 days of existence.

I pointed out that I had more IVF cycles under my belt than 5 day embryos. That didn’t seem a very ‘successful’ track record.

He told me I’d only done 2 IVF cycles, because the first one was cancelled.

I wonder if this denial of the facts is how the IVF clinic generates better statistics.

I wonder what qualifies an IVF cycle as being ‘cancelled’. If you have eggs collected, eggs fertilised, show up for an embryo transfer, pay for that embryo transfer, are taken into the procedure room… I wonder if that is still a cancelled cycle. Seems like a very late cancellation to me. I would have loved it to have been cancelled several thousand dollars earlier.

Anyway. That’s an issue for another time.

“I’m writing up another cycle, and I’m going to put you on a different drug this time,” he says, handing me the paperwork.

“What drug?” (I feel like I have probably read about all of them by now.)

“It’s called, ‘Menopur’.”

…Which is the same drug he’s prescribed for every single one of my cycles so far and which I have told him on several occasions makes me really sick.

He can’t even keep note of what drugs he’s prescribed previously. So much for learning from past cycles. Perhaps he has shares in the Menopur company.

During this consultation, I asked 6 times for basic fertility test referrals for C. He told us last time that I had to do a third cycle before he would allow her to have any tests. After I refused to leave until he gave them to me, he finally handed them over.

Also, I asked to be sent for additional tests given that:

  1. It’s been a year since the first set of tests.
  2. I’ve had 3 failed cycles.

Nope. He won’t let me go for any more tests until I do a fourth cycle. A fourth cycle just the same as the first, second and third.

Because, if you blindly do the same thing again and again and again, the outcome will change.

That’s the definition of insanity, right?