I take the elevator up to the 11th floor, and follow the familiar signs down the hallway to Clinic One.
Heterosexist Receptionist, who hasn’t changed at all since 2013, greets me by name. She already has my file out, which has a neon orange sticker on the front that says “KEEP FOREVER”. She flips through the file briefly, before directing me to the familiar rows of beige chairs: “Wait there. Your ultrasound will happen soon.”
Sea, who is skipping work for the occasion, joins me in the waiting room. As “Somebody That I Used to Know” plays over the speakers and endless numbers representing endless patients are called, we sit and stare at the fish tank. Waiting. I think again about how everything looks exactly the same, though the fish are presumably replacements for their 2013 counterparts.
Finally, we’re called into the ultrasound room. I make small talk with an ultrasound technician who I don’t recognize, as she scans my empty uterus. “So, you had a c-section?” Right– another thing that’s changed since our last visit to the clinic. She tells us that, aside from some scar tissue, everything looks good and sends us back into the clinic waiting room.
After about 1000 years of waiting, a part of the process I had forgotten, the doctor calls us in. Dr. Text, the doctor who helped to make Bingo, left the clinic over two years ago. This doctor is new, or new to us anyways. He’s friendly, and happily doesn’t make any assumptions about who will get pregnant or how we’ll do it. We agree to go with what worked last time: IUI, with a short cycle of Femara. He runs through the barrage of tests he wants to do (bloodwork, more bloodwork, and a pap test thrown in for fun) before explaining that, in order to make sure all of the results are in, he wants to wait another cycle before we start trying again. Having spent months wading through referrals and more referrals (“Yes doctor, I’m still gay.”), I’m unexpectedly disappointed to have to wait another month. I argue with him, explaining that the chance that anything is wrong is impossibly slim and that our holiday travel plans will probably turn another month of waiting into three, but he crosses his arms over his chest, resolved. I give in and remind myself that there’s no rush– that whatever baby comes out of this will feel like the right baby at the right time.
Plans made, Sea rushes back to work. After new doctor does my first pap test in too many years (I’m low risk and lazy), he shakes my hand and sends me back to the blood lab. The technician who calls my name remembers me and wonders about how it’s been two years. I try to remember if she’s the one who asked when I was going to start wearing dresses, but I’m not sure. As she hovers over my veins, she says, “So, you want a boy this time?” The question mark is only perfunctory, and suddenly I’m sure she was the one who asked about the dresses. It takes her three attempts to find a vein. I’m surprisingly nonchalant, considering that I was once deathly afraid of needles. Pregnancy, birth, and parenting have clearly shifted my criteria about the things that hurt.
As I head out of the clinic, Heterosexist Receptionist calls after me: “See you in December!”
And just like that, we’re back in the stirrups.