October 29, 2018
Life is weird. And then, you end up at the same fertility clinic as the Kardashians. I’ve now been ultrasound’d in that same room on that same exam table as Khloe. Insert Scott for Kim and me for Khloe and there ya go…not that particular doctor yet, but I’ll see all three in the practice eventually. Plus, even the Kardashians can’t escape the curse of the easily-ripped paper sheet to cover your undercarriage!
Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this as an NBCUniversal employee (NBCU owns E!), but I don’t keep up with the Kardashians or the Jenners. (I had to Google to read/watch more about their visits to this fertility clinic. I’m also totally #TeamTaylor with all that Kanye/Kim/Taylor Swift song business!) The show just isn’t my cup of tea. However, I do have (a bit) more respect for them showing this side of their world in the show. I don’t know how much is reality vs. produced “reality,” but infertility is easily something to keep to yourself, and they decided to shine a light on it in their own way for other women. Before I started sharing my posts with all of you, it maybe gave me a tiny bit of solace to think that Kim got this test done and Khloe had to do this embarrassing thing too. I’m not a celeb worshipper or anything (except for Willie Geist and he’s a journalist, not a celeb 😉 ) but it did weirdly help. I would also thank them for providing Scott and me with some much-needed tension relief throughout the first steps of our fertility adventure. “Do you think Kanye sat here while they drew his blood?” “Do you think he tried to explain fertility to the doctors?!” “Did he wear his MAGA hat to talk about Kim’s uterus?” “I wonder if that was the same ultrasound probe used on Kim & Khloe…am I vagina sisters with them now?!” Scott and I often use silliness to take the edge off.
Since I haven’t named any of the other doctors in my story so far, I’m going to give our fertility clinic doctors a nickname too. I guess it’s easily Googled, but I’m sticking with my format. Similar to an OBGYN practice when you’re pregnant (or, so I’m told), you have your main doctor but will probably see all or most of the other doctors in the practice too. I’m going to interchangeably call all three doctors at our clinic “Dr. TT,” as in, our (fertility) “Treatment Trio.”
Monday, October 29th, was a day I both dreaded and looked forward to as it was our first appointment with Dr. TT. I took the day off from work because I knew my brain wouldn’t want to talk to anyone about jobs that day. I didn’t know what to expect, and I spent the entire weekend before our appointment keeping my mind busy by deep cleaning our entire apartment and meticulously organizing all of our various life paperwork into a new filing cabinet while watching every Friday the 13th. Jason took Manhattan, and I took a pic of this partial drawer for photographic evidence of my undiagnosed form of OCD below. (Note to self: Split the medical records file into two so you have separate folders for both you and Scott.) I skipped watching the Florida-Georgia game because my brain couldn’t take any amount of disappointment (and the Gators definitely delivered it).
Monday finally came and Scott and I headed to Beverly Hills. The building the clinic is in is just like any other office building…nothing fancy. We walked into the waiting room, signed in, and no issues with phantom appointments this time! There was a giant bowl of Starbursts on the counter of the front desk and I learned that Scott likes red Starbursts which I do not like…soooo, should we even have a child together with such discord in our marriage?!
I had filled out all the necessary paperwork ahead of our appointment and when the front desk woman looked through it she said, “You filled this out perfectly the first time! Doesn’t happen often!” and my inner self who needs “Straight As” in all aspects of life beamed. As we signed up for the clinic’s app (yep, fertility clinic? There’s an app for that!), I started to notice the music playing in the waiting room. I began to get scared it was a bad omen (I promise I’m still not into crystals…at least at this point). It was almost like a “Barren Couple Playlist”….”Ashes” – Celine Dion’s song from Deadpool 2, “Bleeding Love” – Leona Lewis, “What About Us” – Pink, “Photograph” – Ed Sheeran, and then, the pièce de résistance, “Chasing Pavements” – Adele. Like, all in a row…like, whhaaaaat?! I looked around to see if any of the other people in the waiting room were noticing this playlist of infinite sadness, but I seemed to be the only one and I continued to point it out to Scott with each new song. My husband is the best. He knows me, he knows this brain, and he knows when to tell jokes and when not to tell jokes. Scott had kept everything very light-hearted that whole morning, keeping my brain out of the weeds. Of course, I want to make sure he’s ok in all of this too so I kept asking him if he was ok…and asking…and asking…and asking. When I began focusing on the playlist of impending fertility doom, he shifted my attention to Cash Cab playing on the TV in the waiting room and we finished out our time waiting for Dr. TT with some mobile trivia. (We would *clean up* in Cash Cab by the way!)
My name is finally called and the nurse leads us back to Dr. TT’s office. Dr. TT came out to shake our hands and welcome us into his office. There was an assortment of bobbleheads in the window right outside of Dr. TT’s office which he joked about as we walked by them. There was just a calm that came over me in that little bit of joking and I felt like we were in the right place (still not into crystals). We sat down and he offered us more Starbursts from the bowl on his desk. Scott took a red one. I abstained. Dr. TT joked with us a bit about why we were there to see him, and then I walked him through the different appointments I had with RR and Dr. GG. He knew both of them from working in L.A. for so long. I told him Dr. GG saw either an endometrioma or cyst by my right ovary. While he didn’t say anything directly, Dr. TT had a look of disapproval as soon as I mentioned Reproductive Reaper’s name and he said he doesn’t like the word “geriatric” when it comes to anything with women and pregnancy. He said *he* was geriatric being a man of advanced age, but no woman in her late-30s or 40s who was pregnant or trying to have a child should ever be assaulted with the word “geriatric.” My brain: Praise, hallelujah, THANK GOD! Like, I don’t think I have deep-seated patriarchal issues to get over or anything, my dad is awesome, Scott’s awesome, my parents were totally equals in our household growing up, Scott and I are complete equals in ours. I’ve never felt “beneath” a man on the personal front. I mean…work-wise…yea. If one more dude interrupts me in a meeting and repeats what I just said again except like he came up with it, I might lose my ever-loving mind, but damn if I don’t think men doctors are nicer about this whole reproduction subject than women doctors are from my own experience. You’d think it’d be the opposite and women would be more in tune with the emotions women feel about all of this stuff. Wait, why is he lining up Starbursts on his desk right now?
Dr. TT began walking us through the different elements of fertility…using Starbursts as a visualization of a woman’s cycle days and what happens on each day. He used Scott’s fave red Starbursts as the days we should “have a date” (Dr. TT’s term for “have sex”). Some pink and yellow Starbursts were in the mix too….a bit hard to explain the whole Starburst cycle visualization here, but I’ll never look at Starbursts the same again, especially red ones.
Dr. TT then walked us through the different tests that needed to be done on both Scott and me and assured me the office would track when/where I needed to be for each of those tests. (No leaving with piles of fuzzy paperwork and a bunch of cycle days to track and hit on my own!) He also strongly suggested we get bloodwork done for genetic testing. (I’m aware some may not agree with genetic testing and some may not even agree with the overall science of fertility treatments. I respect your beliefs and hope you respect that all of this is solely our decision to make.) He said it helps eliminate that much more worry in the process. This brain needs every bit of worry eliminated as possible so it can make room for new worries. Not out of sadness but more out of being overwhelmed, I started crying. Not like ugly sob cry, but definitely tears streaming down my face. Dr. TT handed me a tissue and said, “Gypsy, give me your tears.” He paused as if Scott and I should laugh, but his joke soared right over both of our heads. I mean…we’ve both seen Borat, but years and years ago, and both of our brains were still processing my reproductive cycle as visualized through Starbursts, and Scott was probably thinking about red Starbursts even more now. Dr. TT Googled the clip to show us and told us a story of how he mistakenly saw Borat with his college-aged son and wife and how he wanted to crawl under the seat from embarrassment the entire movie. I’ve included the clip below if you’d like to see it. I am not responsible for any political incorrectness. I’m just telling you a story here.
I know Dr. TT gives this talk and cycle/test Starburst explanation a ton of times to a ton of couples in a day/week/month/year, but it truly felt like we were the first people he had ever talked to about it. He was kind, genuine, and funny. Scott later said he also felt Dr. TT was reading my emotions the whole time too (I teared up a few times) and picked up on when to joke and not joke.
After we talked about all things cycle and tests, Dr. TT wanted to do an ultrasound to get his own look at my ovaries, uterus, and count the number of eggs I currently had. He said 12 eggs was the number we wanted to hit. He guided Scott and me into the ultrasound room. RELATIONSHIP FIRST! I’ve never had a significant other in the room with me while getting an ultrasound probe inserted into my vagina and Scott’s never been in the room with any past significant other getting an ultrasound probe inserted into her vagina either. *Achievement Level Unlocked* Dr. TT starts taking a look around at my insides and my good friend, Big Black Blob, quickly shows up to join the party.
Note: I am not a doctor. The conversation below is through my not-a-doctor-lens. Scott’s also not a doctor so he couldn’t write it for me either. I also don’t know what Scott thought during all this so he’s not represented in this conversation. I’m going to guess he was thinking about the same things as me except without the probe navigating around his pelvis.
Dr. TT: Oh yes, that’s an endometrioma. No doubt about it. It’s very close to your right ovary and looks like it’s partially attached to it.
My brain: Well, that was quick.
I purposely did not Google “Endometriosis” much after my appointment with Dr. GG. I didn’t want to freak myself out. I sorta knew what it was, but wanted a medical professional to tell me I had it and exactly what it is vs. WebMD because we all know WebMD always ends with CANCER.
Me: Is having an endometrioma the same as having Endometriosis? Are they one and the same?
Dr. TT (well, via a Googled definition…I don’t remember exactly what he said!): Endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis. With endometriosis, displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas may form. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions — abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other. Endometriosis can cause pain — sometimes severe — especially during your period. Fertility problems also may develop.
My brain: Fuuuuuucccccc…(sorry Mom!)
Me: Will I need surgery before we start any potential fertility treatments?
My brain: Please don’t say scrape, please don’t say scrape…
Dr. TT: No, no. I don’t operate on Endometriosis until after there’s a pregnancy and a baby. Surgery could potentially cause your right ovary to quit producing eggs altogether and we want every egg we can get! Often, pregnancy helps clear up Endometriosis too so don’t worry about any of that right now unless it’s causing you a lot of pain. Do you have painful periods or intercourse?
Me: No, I was surprised when Dr. GG said it was possibly an endometrioma because I’ve never experienced super painful periods.
Dr. TT: Perfect! We’ll continue to monitor it, but don’t let it get in your head when it comes to having a baby. Let’s see how many eggs you currently have…
My brain: Please get over 12…a baker’s dozen…hell, 15 or double it to 24…I want to lay all the eggs.
Dr. TT: Let’s see…the endometrioma is very close to your right ovary so let’s see if we see some eggs there. 1…2…3…it’s possible the endometrioma is cutting off some of the egg production in your right ovary.
He’s moving the probe all around in there and eventually tells the nurse to mark me down for 3 eggs on my right side.
Dr. TT: Let’s see how many are on the left…
My brain: Come on, left ovary…don’t let me down. I need at least nine eggs from you and a few bonus eggs would be awesome!
Dr. TT: hmmmm…so there’s 1…2…3…………………………………….4……………………………………..
He tells the nurse to mark me down for 4 eggs around the left ovary. AND, THAT WAS THE GOOD OVARY NOT IN THE SHADOW OF MY OWN PELVIC DEATH STAR.
My brain: Seven. Seven eggs. 7+5 = 12. 12 is the goal. I have 7…seven eggs. Just call me “Seven Eggs Martin.”
Dr. TT: So, 7 eggs…below what we were hoping for, but don’t lose hope! This is what my whole job is based on and I’ve started with way fewer eggs in the past! Plus, you’re going to keep “having dates” and get pregnant naturally which I guess means I’ll lose out on some money, but we’re all fine here. We’ll all still be able to pay our mortgages if you get pregnant without us. That’s how I prefer it so go have some dates while we find out more about what’s going on in your bodies. We’re going to get you scheduled for the fertility tests this month and work up a plan of action. Let’s schedule an appointment for the week after Thanksgiving so we can discuss all the results and see how we should proceed. Also, we’re going to get some bloodwork from both of you and get started on the genetic testing.
My brain: Seven friggin’ eggs.
I got dressed and the nurse took us over to get our bloodwork done for the genetic testing and to check some of my hormone levels. The nurse asked if either of us was squeamish when it came to bloodwork and then she told us they see more men pass out from bloodwork than women! Ha…wimps! Did Kanye pass out?!?! Scott didn’t pass out. I didn’t pass out. All was well.
Our last stop on the fertility clinic tour was with the insurance liaison who was going to walk us through what was and wasn’t covered under our insurance plan. Thanks to NBCUniversal, that was a super quick conversation. We sat down, she told us we have amazing coverage, we agreed (and thanked the gods…maybe I should pick up some crystals?) and that was that. We paid our co-pay, confirmed the “results appointment” for Monday, November 26th, booked a few more tests for both of us throughout November and then we got sushi.
Halloween was two days away and I love all things spooky. However, I didn’t realize Ghostface (Google: Scream or Scream 2 or Scream 3 or Scream 4 or the MTV series, Scream) was going to be on the other end of every call I received for the next week asking, “Do you like scary test results?”…but “I’ll be right baaaack” next week with that post.