Wisdom from the Stirrups


My RE is notoriously good natured, always jovial and joking. He always makes me feel comfortable even if some of his comments are a little off the cuff. I’m always happy to be dealing directly with Dr. M rather than one of his colleagues, or through one of his nurses. So when I found out he was doing my cyst aspiration I knew I was in good hands.

Having been in the procedure room previously for my egg retrieval, it felt familiar yet slightly frightening. It is a sterile room, so I had to be gowned up, booties on my feet and hair under a mesh cap, serious business. The last time I was in that room I was on some pretty heavy drugs so my memory is a little fuzzy. This time I felt very exposed, as it is just a bed in the middle of the room with a light directed on me. Normally when I am in for monitoring I can keep a sheet draped over my knees but more full access was required so I was laid bare and this time without J by my side. I’m sure I was just as exposed for my egg retrieval but at the time my state of mind didn’t allow me to care all that much. At one point the nurse had to press on my abdomen to get my ovary lower so Dr. M had better access. You’d think after everything I’ve been through I would no longer feel embarrassed or self conscious but I felt so vulnerable.

The nurse assisting with the procedure was very nice, and both her and Dr. M chatted with me during the process. He always tells me (and his other patients I’d imagine) that I’m brave whenever he’s inflicting some sort of discomfort on me. I always just tell him I do what has to be done in the circumstances. He told me people probably wouldn’t even believe the places I’ve had needles. I lamented that my friend’s husband is trying to play the pity card because he has to have a vasectomy. Dr. M asked me why he was having a vasectomy so I told him because him and his wife have 3 kids and the last one was an accident. As soon as the word was out of my mouth, Dr. M groaned and said “Accidents happen in cars, we’re all adults and we know how babies happen…it may not have been intended but it certainly wasn’t an accident.” Truer words have never been spoken.

He went back to joking with the nurse, how he’s been married for almost ten years and he said after a certain number of years the fires of passion cool, and nothing does that better than entering kids into the equation. To which I responded “So does this whole situation”, indicating my surroundings and referring to all J and I have been through. He didn’t have a smart remark for that. On that somber tone our discussion turned to successes and failures (with life in general) and I mentioned the failure of a friend’s FET cycle. He seemed genuinely saddened and expressed as much when he told me the clinic staff feels the pain along with their patients when they know they’ve done their best and it still isn’t enough.

Dr. M told me that parents always just tell their kids to do their best. But what happens when their best isn’t enough? When no matter how hard you try at something the effort you put in may never yield the results they deserve. He then went back to making fun of my tattoo and joking about how easy men are to manipulate. Though he may come off as crass, and sometimes flippant; he cares, and he knows the pain. He feels it himself when despite the best efforts of all parties involved, the goal is not reached. I’ve always liked Dr. M with his impish smile, and charming accent but seeing his compassionate side has let me know my embryos and I are in the right hands.

Hopefully the next time I’m in that room will be when one of my embryos is being transferred back to my womb to stay.