Awkward Moment #1.

That awkward moment when you run into somebody you know in the waiting area of the fertility clinic.

Today Sea and I headed back to Clinic One for a blood tests (for both of us) and ultrasounds (for me).  I arrived alone, Sea having less time to take off work was joining me post-ultrasounds.  Clinic One was just as I remembered it: bustling waiting area, multiple receptionists sitting bored at a long desk, countless pictures of babies adorning the walls.  As Call Me Maybe played over the PA system, I was directed by a slightly shrill receptionist to the other side of the clinic to wait for my ultrasound.

I hadn’t been to this side of Clinic One before.  In fact, Clinic One is so sprawling that I hadn’t even noticed the large waiting area to the left of the entrance.  Here the chairs were placed into long rows, as if awaiting a bored class of people trying to get pregnant.  A large fishtank with a sign instructing me not to bang on the glass formed a sort of divider between two sections of chairs, the only nod to privacy.  A woman who looked to be about 70 sat– legs crossed and foot tapping– waiting.  And then, that awkward moment: seated in the center seat of the first row of chairs was I woman I know.

What do I do?  Is it too late to pretend that I haven’t seen her?  Oh no, she’s making eye contact.  She’s smiling.  Does smiling mean I should say hi?  Do I sit next to her?  What do I say? What do I do?

I stood, totally unsure about the etiquette of how to greet acquaintances in this context.  At a party?  Easy.  On the street?  Fine.  But here, in a clinic that people only visit to make babies– not, I imagine, to admire the range of tropical fish in the large tank– I didn’t know what to do.

She was still smiling, moving her purse from the seat next to her, so I took this as an invitation and sat down.  Awkward, joking, she asked why I was at Clinic One.  “Oh, you know, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do with my Thursday morning… so I decided a transvaginal ultrasound was the best choice.”  She laughed, and as we sat waiting we talked about our experiences with clinics, doctors, paperwork, ultrasounds.  It never really stopped being awkward, but it did start to feel… alright.  At points it was even nice to be talking to a person, in-person, who is also in the midst of this strange process.

She was called in for her scan before me, and I was again alone.  Having waited 90 minutes for our last appointment with Clinic One, I had come prepared with a knitting project and a library book in my bag, and no expectations of a speedy exit.  Though the receptionist had told me that the wait would be five minutes, I spent twenty minutes trying to focus on my knitting and not on the too-full bladder (crucial for a good ultrasound, I’m told) before being called in to my appointment.  The ultrasound technician chatted with me between counting follicles.  She told me that my uterus was beautiful and that I was a good patient.

With my uterus’s ego bolstered, I met Sea in the waiting area, where she pointed out a picture of quadruplets among the endless twins and triplets.  No.  Just, no.  Before I could really process just how terrifying quadruplets would be, Dr. Text appeared, looking every bit as frazzled as he had during our first visit.  After a hurried greeting, he rushed towards his office with the expectation that we would follow.  Again our conversation with Dr. Text was so dizzyingly fast, I barely remember what we talked about.  There were more scribbled diagrams and casual jokes, and then Sea was shuffled off for her bloodwork and I was ushered into another clinic room for a physical.  The physical inexplicably involved another transvaginal ultrasound*: as my second one that morning, it was redeemed only by the fact that I did get to see the images this time.  What did you do today?  Oh, looked at my ovaries…

Having determined all was well, Dr. Text rushed out as quickly as he had come, leaving me to dress and find the blood draw area on my own.  The friendly technician joked with me as she tried to find a vein, “Oh, I think that I feel something!  I hope that it lasts forever.” and encouraged me to laugh it out as I grew increasingly pale.  Thoroughly poked and prodded I was sent back out on to the street with a friendly reminder to call on day one of my cycle.  Yes, I thought as I walked away, see you in two weeks.

*I’ve decided to keep a running tally of the number of ultrasounds I have during this whole process. Ultrasound Count = 3


9 thoughts on “Awkward Moment #1.

  1. You’ve had more ultrasounds before even TTC than I have this entire pregnancy! I am a little jealous that I didn’t get to see my pre-conception ovaries.

    This person you know & saw in the waiting room: is it someone you see often? I’d wonder how to manage that going forward. (Do I mention the meeting? Don’t I?)

    Is this your monitoring cycle starting in 2 weeks? What are these blood draws & ultrasounds for? Just to make sure you’re healthy and everything looks OK?

    I sure do have a lot of questions! haha

    • Honestly my ovaries were pretty unidentifiable– I’m simply taking Dr. Text’s word that that’s what they were.

      I see the person I ran into a handful of times a year. Luckily, she solved the issue of whether or not to mention it by sending me a friendly Facebook message this morning, saying that it was nice to run into each other and perhaps we would again. I’m actually wondering now if I’ll run into other people I know… I know a lot of queer and trans folks around here, and Clinic One seems to be where the babymaking queers congregate.

      So many ultrasounds, and its just begun! Yes, cycle monitoring starts in (about) two weeks. We had our first visit/consultation with Clinic One just after my cycle had begun– too late to start monitoring but early enough that it feels like a pretty long wait. I think fertility clinics are inherently really medicalized and also geared towards infertile people, so lots of blood draws and ultrasounds. Also, the more tests they run the more money they earn!

      These preliminary tests are just to make sure that everything is okay, and to do the regulated STI testing. Interestingly, Sea was also required (by the government, not by the clinic) to have full STI testing done.

  2. Good idea to keep a running tab of ultrasounds! We should have done that… and now I wouldn’t even know where to start. I haven’t had the awkwardness of running into people I know, however, my clinic is located in the hospital that I work in, so I would have to duck into the door while avoiding colleagues. In retrospect, although it was handy, I should have had at least one degree of separation. Ah well. Good luck with your journey – I will follow along!

    • Actually Clinic One is located in the same building as my work’s partner organization. There is some staff/volunteer crossover, which means I’m worried about running into somebody from the moment I get there to the moment I leave. I’ve also wondered if a degree of seperation wouldn’t be helpful. But as you said, ah well! It also gives me a convenient excuse for being in that building (at the last visit I ran into two friends as I was leaving!) Luckily, with the partner agency right there, I could easily be in the building for a meeting.

      And thanks, re: the photo! It was our modification to Clinic Three’s paperwork.

  3. Wow, another one of those situations not covered in Miss Manners! That hasn’t happened to us yet, but I imagine it will sometime soon, now that we’ve started using the giant fertility center instead of the friendly little GYN.

  4. Pingback: A third doctor and a second follicle. | Beginning From The Start

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