Office Visit: Endometrial Biopsy (Sometime in December of 2007)
I wake up nervous. I had thought the HSG was going to be no big deal and I almost passed out after that procedure. Luckily my mother in law insisted on driving me. The cramping afterwards was pretty intense; I hadn’t expected it at all. This time I want to be prepared for what I’m getting into. I Google ‘endometrial biopsy.’ Shit. These women say they pain is so bad they should have been put to sleep. One blogger posts, ‘I screamed and dug my feet into the exam table. My asshole doctor just kept going while tears were streaming down my face.’ Seriously? This is what I read and I have an hour before my appointment. I start to freak out. Another woman says to take a vicodin beforehand. I don’t have vicodin so I down three ibuprofen while accepting my fate.
Today I’m having an endometrial biopsy, a cheek swab, and I’m dropping off Mike’s swimmers for a Kruger’s test. I am instantly self-conscious when people want to know in detail what each of these test are. I try to listen to Dr. X’s explanation but all I’m really thinking is ‘please don’t start crying, please don’t start crying…’. Yes, he’s a good doctor and I like him. But the circumstances are awful. I don’t want to talk to him about my fertility. I don’t want to hear about my uterine Velcro and the tenacity of my husband’s sperm. Starting a family should be between me and Mike. I don’t want to talk about timing and frequency and our history. But I need this doctor. Because I can’t do it without help. There’s something wrong. We don’t work. I don’t work. So when I try to understand what these tests are about, all I can think is…I’m broken. I know I should be educated about my body and this process. So I get home and Google each of the things I’ve done and I’m going to do. I get it, mostly, but I’m flustered when I try to explain it to anyone else.
So I turn the computer off thinking these women are either pussies or I’m screwed. Dr. X. told me to drink a LOT of water before my appointment, but nothing within the hour of my procedure- that would mess with the cheek swab test. I tend to take things he says literally and I’m on my way to SLO and I have to pee SOOOOOO bad. No biggie, I think, I’m sure they wanted me to have a full bladder to a pregnancy test before the procedure. I had also read that this procedure would cause a miscarriage if I were already pregnant. I get to the office, early of course. I hate that. It’s not like I want to spend extra time in that waiting room. I just get freaked out before my appointments so I rush over the grade. I check in with *Alice and pray that I start having nice thoughts towards her. I don’t know why, but I do not care for the receptionist. I know I am not his only patient, but I feel like when I call she should at least fake recognition at my name. ‘Hi Alice, this is Meghan Beck calling,’ ‘Yes?’ Nothing, no ‘Hello Meghan.’
I walk up to the desk and she shuffles papers and then looks up at me. ‘Can I help you?’ ‘Hi Alice, I’m Meghan Beck and I have an appointment at 10:00.’ She finally smiles and tells me to have a seat. I really do have to pee. I try to think about something else. Anything but the fact that I’m in an office because I can’t have a baby. The sign in front of Alice’s desk says,
‘People don’t remember what you say, they remember how you make them feel’
Why does she make me feel so bad?
Alice finally gets up and brings me back to the exam room. She tells me to unrobe, waist down, then shuts the door. I drop my undies and wrap the tissue-like robe around me. Where should I sit? I guess on the exam table? Now I’m lying down and I stare at the ceiling. The whole room is painted in this horrible mauve color. The walls had to have been white at some point, but someone thought it would be nice to pick a warm, pretty color. But mauve? Really?
My bladder could not be fuller and I have to pee so badly. As I’m lying here I start thinking about the last procedure I had, the HSG. It started out ok and then the cramps started. The blog posts I read earlier this morning start to haunt me. Don’t think about it. Think about something else. I start to contemplate how long it’s been since I’ve had a bikini wax. Wait, that’s embarrassing that I’m thinking that. The doctor doesn’t care. Alice couldn’t possibly care (can you imagine what hers looks like?)
There’s a quick knock on the door and Dr. X. comes in followed by Alice. Surprise! Today she’s doubling as a receptionist and assistant. Dr. X. makes small chat but I’m not really listening. It’s actually quite impressive how calm I appear. I even make some joke and he laughs but all I’m thinking is can I pee yet? Apparently there is no pregnancy test. Dr. X. explains the endometrial biopsy; a way to look at the health of my cells and to determine if my uterus has the velcro needed to reproduce. I nod and he reaches for a big contraption. I hate this part of the deal. In the cheesiest voice I’ve ever hear, Dr. X. says, ‘Okey-dokey Madame (yes, he says Madame). Gently spread your legs as if your knees are going to touch the walls.’ I want to start laughing but all I can think is let’s get this over with.
The apparatus that looks like a dildo is actually an ultrasound device and now it’s Doctors turn to laugh. ‘You certainly took my advice!’ he says. ‘Would you look at how full your bladder is?’ There’s no need to look, I’m thinking. I’m well aware of the fact that I might pee on this table. Dr. X. then goes on to explain that with a full bladder, this procedure will only be slightly uncomfortable. Oh? Now he has my attention. I brace myself as he clamps me open. So far so good. Now he begins to insert something that looks like a catheter. Uncomfortable, but nothing like those other women had said. I start to relax. Wait! It hurts! He wildly pushes it up and down, scraping my uterus. I’m afraid. I remember one woman posted that the doctor’s assistant had held her hand during the procedure. I turn my head and look at Alice. She doesn’t respond so I just close my eyes. ‘Only a few more minutes,’ says Dr. X. I can do this.
It’s uncomfortable but not excruciating. I go to my peaceful place. ‘Jesus, Jesus, you’re name is like honey on my lips,’ I sing the words in my head, ‘Your spirit’s like water to my soul.’ Ever since I was a little girl I have sung this song to soothe myself when I’m afraid. ‘Your word is a lamp unto my feet, Jesus I love you, I love you.’ I sang this as a child playing hide and go seek, then as a young woman in my new dorm room away from home. Now I sing to God in a doctor’s office having my womb scraped because I can’t make a baby. Jesus, I’m scared. Thank you for meeting me right now, whispering to me that I’m not alone.
‘Madame, you did magnificently!’ Dr. X. says I did good. He takes everything out and it’s all I can do to wait for them to leave before I pull my clothes on and rush to the bathroom. I’m sitting on the toilet for what seems like forever and I’m relieved. It’s done. As I sit here I feel guilty for being annoyed when the Doc calls me Madame and I am ashamed that I have judged Alice. I am lucky that Dr. X. is my doctor. He is an expert and he knew that a full bladder would make this a more comfortable procedure. Those other woman have not had my experience and I am grateful that I have been treated with care.
I return to the office and he scrapes my cheeks with a q-tip for the cheek swab part of the appointment. We then move to the lab room where he lets me check out Mike’s guys under a microscope. Apparently he has ‘champion swimmers,’ but some of them are abnormal. Not to worry, Dr. X. tells me, we can select healthy ones. Now we talk about ‘the next step.’ In vitro fertilization, IVF.
I ask when we will really get to start. I can’t bare to get my hopes up again. I thought we were doing IVF months ago, only to find out we had more testing to do. And then more. During our last visit we had talked about IVF and Dr. X. told us he would transfer two or three embryos. This automatically put us at ease. He told us that he does not like to ‘play God.’ Even though it is achievable, he does not do gender selection. Mike and I left that appointment hopeful and excited. I desperately wanted to go with three embryos, but I thought Mike would want two. I started picturing multiples and my heart was overwhelmed with the possibility. That night Mike and I were in the spa under the stars. I braced myself and asked Mike how many embryos he thought we should transfer. THREE!!! He said THREE!!! We knew that the chances are not certain that I would be pregnant with three, but it would increase our odds for having twins. He wants the same as me! We both want three! He is the best husband ever and we might have three babies!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
I tell Dr. X. that if we get to move forward with IVF, after we get these results back, Mike and I want to transfer three embryos. I swell with pride and feel like we are about to create our family. He looks at me and shakes his head. What? Why is he shaking his head? ‘No. Two for you.’ What? WTF? Why two for me? What’s wrong with me? Why two for me and three for others? What? ‘You are young and the chances for a successful transfer are high. There are too many complications with three. Two for you.’ Oh. Two. Which means probably one. Instantly I feel as if I’m on the outside again. Someone else is deciding my future.
I thank Dr. X. and hand over $1000.00 to Alice for today’s visit. I step outside the office and make it to the elevator before I burst into tears. It’s too much. I can’t even gage my emotions. In the past two hours I have felt frightened, sarcastic, edgy, relieved, thankful, hopeful, then protective and confused. I get in my car and I am devastated. Not only because we’re going to try for two, but because I just came from an office where I have to depend on someone else to help make my baby. Because I don’t have the $1000.00 I just wrote a check for. Because every night I fall asleep with my heart aching for children. Because I have this void and there is nothing that my husband can do or say to comfort me. Because Mike does not bat an eye at the thousands of dollars this is costing us. Because when he looks at me I see he wants it too. Because it is taking so very long and I feel like we’re stuck. Because in actuality, it was a good visit. It didn’t hurt horribly and there is hope we are one step closer. For all these reasons, I sit in my car and cry.