Friends Encourage Friends to have Babies, Doctors be Damned

September 28, 2009

I remember way back then, in the midst of my story, a friend’s wedding was coming up and she was being coy about TTC. But I dragged it out of her.

“I mean, why wait?” she says sheepishly. Then she gets down to business. “The clock is ticking. I can’t afford to wait. I’ve already got the fiance booked for a motility test and I’ve got my exam the same week. Actually, I lied to my doctor’s nurse and said we’d been trying for six months.”

Is the whole world having babies all of a sudden, or am I suddenly in tune with another plane of this universe — the one where wannabe moms convene? We can sniff each other out and offer all sorts of useless information and advice, no matter how personal.

“Well, you’re not wasting any time.”

“Nope. We’re not. But I figured you guys would be ready to start trying by now too. We should have kids around the same time so they can play together.”

“But we live in different countries!” This is ridiculous — I’m getting pressure and it’s not even from my mother-in-law. “Have you been talking to my husband,” I ask suspiciously.

“No, of course not. Listen if you’re trying, you need to start with folic acid. You should have about three months’ worth in your system beforehand. And, I’ve been reading that drinking coffee and alcohol reduces your chances…”

I cut her off. “That’s nice. Look, que sera, sera. I’ve gotta get back to work.” As soon as I hang up on her, I lean back in my chair and exhale deeply.

I really can’t help how I felt back then. In retrospect, maybe I should’ve picked up on her urgency. But with unexplained infertility, there is no telling what would’ve happened back then anyway. By writing this down, I am reliving it, but I am also expiating. It’s important, I think, to not have regrets, to remember everything good, and learn and go forward.

On another note, here’s a recent situation with the shoe on the other foot.

I am having lunch with a good friend that is also 41. I used to buy into all that crap about 40 being the new 30 — yeah, well tell that to my ovaries! But she is still buying into that crap and I am not going to lecture her. I can, however, offer what I have learned over the past six or seven years.

She is still TTC after about eight months. Appallingly, her doctor told her last week that she just needs to try more often, from day 8 to 20, every day. I raise an eyebrow. Yet I know exactly how she feels. I was there (as you’ll read in upcoming posts). No one wants to think he or she could have a fertility problem. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, I caution my inner instinct to pounce with warnings and dire statistics. So I tell her about cycle monitoring.

Up here in the cold north, cycle monitoring is covered by provincial health insurance. It’s probably covered by loads of insurers in the US. It is also cheap. And some of the least invasive help you can get when you’re TTC. My friend had no idea about it. Her doctor hadn’t told her. My opinion is that everybody — but everybody — trying to conceive should be told about cycle monitoring. Those of us in the DE boat already know that at 41, you should only cycle monitor for about three months before you try something more drastic.

Why is it that doctors are so ill-informed? I actually think her doctor is doing her a huge disservice by not fully informing her of the various options out there. Never mind the frequency of sex, they should tell you that you can only get pregnant about two days out of 30. How about those numbers? That’s 24 days out of 365. That’s 15 per cent. You’d think the way we were indoctrinated in grade school about original sin, that so much as a smear of semen would impregnate you no matter what point your cycle (and right now, I’m wishing it were so!). My friend has never had an in-depth conversation or consultation about fertility with her doctor. She’s getting all her information from me. Me, of all people! It’s always the women that have to pass it on. Have we not moved forward the last couple of thousand years?


2 Responses to “Friends Encourage Friends to have Babies, Doctors be Damned”

  1. Pam Says:

    Her doctor isn’t the only one. Unless they are specifically OB/GYNs, and even then that doesn’t guarantee a clued in doctor, they really don’t keep up on all the options out there. MY GP, who is really great, didn’t raise the issue with me. I had to say something to her and I was definitely in my early 40s then…and then she referred me to an RE who only did IUIs (small office)and then, even with the stats against me, insisted on doing a number of cyles with clomid and then injectibles. I didn’t know any better otherwise I’d have been asking for a referral to one of the big guns in the city. Fast forward 5 years and we’re facing down our final FET with DEs and I don’t even know that this is going to work. Five years ago, I may have been able to use my own eggs with IVF, but maybe not. I’ll never know as I wasn’t referred to an RE who did IVF.

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