So, I’m having my husband call the doctor’s office to try to get some information out of them. This makes me feel like a bad feminist and a bad adult, but I’m clearly not having much luck getting information out of people, and I don’t know how much longer I can maintain my weak grip on sanity if I don’t have some kind of blueprint.
The problem right now is that they’re monitoring me every other day — like really, every other day, as in I have to go in on Sunday to get a scan — and no one will give me an idea of how long that’s going to go on.
To be fair, I only really tried to ask once. I asked the nurse how long the monitoring phase — i.e., the transvaginal ultrasound phase — would last and she said, “Well, we’ll probably want to do a lot of monitoring.”
“So, how many ultrasounds, do you think?” I asked.
“We’ll want you here a lot,” she said.
That would have been a really good time to say, “So, if you look at my chart, you’ll see that I was sexually abused during my childhood. Transvaginal ultrasounds are, as you can imagine, pretty stressful for me. So could you just let me know what the worst-case scenario is?”
I did not do that, though. I smiled brightly, like an A-student, and thanked her for her help. That’s on me. But the thing is, the same issues that make ultrasounds hard for me also make it hard for me to speak up. I was trained very early to smile brightly and look happy and appease. Without dragging you into my sad story, let’s just say that things were easier on me, in the bad old days, if I did a convincing impression of someone who’s having a mildly pleasant day.
Also, I dissociate. Like, during the ultrasounds, when they do give me information, I can hear them, and I remember what they’re saying, but I can’t always speak. It’s like they’re very far away, and I know my voice won’t carry that far, or like I’m having a nightmare and trying to scream, but my throat is paralyzed because I’m sleeping. It’s next to impossible to ask questions in that situation.
Two ultrasounds ago, I asked the doctor what he meant by “slight fluid present” and he didn’t answer because he was busy, and I couldn’t make myself ask again. And then last time, the doctor really hurt me with the ultrasound wand — they’re all different docs, and have different levels of skill — and I couldn’t say, “That hurts. Please stop.” I was too frozen.
So today, my poor husband has to call and ask:
- How many ultrasounds I’m likely to need.
- What the deal is with the “slight intracavital fluid.”
- Why my estradiol levels declined slightly from the first to second ultrasound this week.
- Whether the doctors are all aware of my history, and able to check in with me to see how I’m doing, so we don’t have to wait for me to unfreeze and ask for consideration.
I’m just really embarrassed about all of this, and also sad. Also, I think this first cycle might be my last cycle, if it doesn’t work. I’m in awe of people who do this for years, but I don’t think I’ve got it in me.