Going to the doctor
The First Step
My First Doctors Appointment
My first appointment was a nerve wracking one, full of anticipation and hope but so nervous as what I might hear. I didn’t know what to expect; I definitely had a touch of the White Collar Syndrome and I was terrified she would just dismiss me. Luckily she was excellent she listened carefully and asked gentle questions but took me seriously. Maybe it helped that I went it with facts, I knew I had tried most things I could at this point. I hadn’t had a positive ovulation test despite doing one every day for the last 3 months, my periods were irregular and barely there. None of the questions she asked me were unexpected and she carefully explained that although general referrals to the hospital don’t happen until the 2 year mark, now was a great time to start the basic tests. She signed me straight up for 2 blood tests – 1 to be 7 days before my period was due and the other between day 1 & 5 of my cycle. I was also told I would need an ultrasound at the hospital both internal and external and I would get an appointment in the post. She also advised Tom would need to go to see his GP and have his semen tested. After taking my blood pressure we were both alarmed to see it so high (nothing to do with the half bottle of Pimms I drank the night before, for Dutch courage, I am sure), but luckily 2nd time round it came right down. After taking my height and weight she so delicately and carefully explained my BMI at 29 put me in the overweight category (not news to me I am a good size 14 and like food) and although it was not at a point it would affect my fertility or ovulation, anything I could do to get my BMI down would be good. Put bluntly I need to lose weight. Again not a shock I was prepared for that. A friend did later advise me that it was probably in preparation for IVF if we got to that stage. You only qualify for IVF if your BMI is bang on.
Blood Test one
Straightforward and simple it felt insignificant in many ways but so important in other ways. The nurse was sensitive and considerate; she explained next blood test would involve a lot more blood being taken but nothing to worry about. They weren’t just testing hormones, there was a whole host of things they were testing like my Thyroid, liver, kidneys, haemoglobin etc. This was reassuring as that meant there were lots of things it could be and we would be in a position to rule them out one by one.
Blood Test Two
This was surprisingly more tense and uncomfortable, mainly because I came on earlier than expected so couldn’t get the blood test done at my usual GP but had to go to the Walk in Centre. After 2 ½ hours of waiting with a whole array of people I was summoned through and the nurse kind and polite asked if she could look at my medical records, I of course agreed. I’ll never forget the way the words infertility testing came tumbling out of her mouth and how she just kept using it, throwing it around as if it was my name. Although I am adamant she meant no harm and would probably be mortified if she thought she had upset me, it was a shock to me. I like to think I am not a person who shocks easily but it took my entire drive to work and most of that day to digest how I was feeling and why I felt so uneasy. Ultimately I think it was just the realisation of what we were potentially facing and my name being used in the same sentence as Infertility was upsetting. I was cross that I was so affected by a word, one measly word, but the meaning of it was so painful and so hard to process. It’s not like she sat there and said I was infertile but it just seemed so unexpected and we weren’t there yet, there are so many other things it could be!
There was no doubt I was dreading this appointment, nothing like the thought of someone sticking a wand up your Hoo Haa when you are on your period, to make you feel anxious. Luckily going on my own meant I had to put on my big girl pants (pun not intended) and just deal with it. When they do the external scan (the one you normal have one you are pregnant) you have to have a full bladder, so I was desperately fighting the urge to pee (tough when you are someone who pee’s religiously every half hour) when I was called through to a private room. Whilst I was led on the bed with my wobbly belly all hanging out, waiting for the nurse, my mind was free to race away and think of every possible scenario. Did I want her to find something? Did I want there to be nothing wrong? Was she going to laugh at me?
She was however lovely and very kind. I was shocked when she asked how long we had been trying, I assumed she wouldn’t really know much and would just do the scan (perhaps naïve of me), but it made it a bit more reassuring that they were taking it seriously. The external scan was no drama, although they press pretty hard considering you have a full bladder, I definitely had to clench! She let me wee before the internal scan and I explained I was bleeding a bit still but she was very reassuring. Although the internal scan was no more intrusive than a smear test or having a coil fitted, it’s still unpleasant and uncomfortable as they move it around. She was able to tell me there and then there was nothing wrong with my ovaries, nothing there that caused her concern. She did inform me that polycystic ovaries is a hormone imbalance though, so they wouldn’t expect to see that on the scan but in my bloodwork.
All in the trauma only lasts 15-20 mins and they do their best to maintain your dignity, I survived and rewarded myself with a cream tea for my efforts! Now we just wait for my follow up GP appointment in a couple of weeks to get the results of all my tests….