Infertility: Help finding answers

Posted by Rose in Infertility, My Personal Journey on 17-11-2010

Infertility: Help finding answers

My last ob/gyn was a jerk.

I thought I had a great doctor.  I was comfortable with him when I went for my annual exam.  After my husband and I tried getting pregnant for a few months and I read that the recommendation for women over 35 is to see their doctor after 6 months (those below 35 should go after a year) of unsuccessful attempts at conceiving, I made an appointment. I was at about 8 months of trying at the time.

I still remember the visit. The doctor came in and sat down. As soon as I started talking he looked down at his paper and began writing.  I told him that we had been trying for months to get pregnant but it wasn’t happening. When he was out of things to write he stared at my file, nodding his head every now and then. I told him (my voice now full of desperation) that I’d like to start testing or whatever the process was for finding out what was wrong with me, to find out why I can’t get pregnant.

Finally, I got a response. “Your husband should be tested first.”

“Great,” I said, “he’s in the waiting room and he’s ready to do whatever we need to do to figure out what’s happening.”

He smirked and looked through me, and said that the … board of something ob/gyn something-somethings … doesn’t recommend testing until after a year of trying to conceive.

Now, I knew this to be true for women under 35, but women over 35 who have been unsuccessful at becoming pregnant after 6 months should start looking for help with their medical professionals.

Since I’m not so good at keeping my mouth shut, I answered my gynecologist with a raised eyebrow, “but I’m over 35.”

He insisted. One year.  See you in May. It was February, I think.

Now I’m thinking, geez louise, I’m running out of time!!!  I’m 37 and this guy wants me to wait until I’m that much closer to 38.  My insides were panicking. I felt like screaming.

I left the office, met my husband and shook my head ‘no’ to let him know how it went.  No words were really needed, and  I tried to hold my quivering lip as we walked through the waiting room stuffed with miserable pregnant women, none of whom seemed to know just how lucky they were.

I was shaking by the time we got to the car, and it was a long, quiet ride home. I broke the silence with, “Why won’t anyone help us?”  Sure it was just one doctor, and a really broad generalization, but I was feeling so frustrated, and had no control over what was happening – or in our case, what was NOT happening. And all I was asking him was to help me figure out WHY I can’t get pregnant.

(We suspected he turned me away because I didn’t have health insurance.  Infertility testing and treatment is anything but cheap, and I suspect he didn’t want to deal with a potential ‘charity case’, though we paid cash, in full, and were prepared to adjust our budget however we had to in order to pay for tests or whatever else we needed to do. I guess I’ll never really know ‘why’)

Everything happens for a reason, I say, although I probably would have punched someone square in the jaw had they said that to me that day on the frustrated ride home from Dr. Apathetic. It was that day, though, that we decided to change doctors.  I made an appointment for a consultation with a different gynecologist. Ironically enough, it was scheduled for May, at the 1 year mark since we had started trying to get pregnant.

The PA (physician’s assistant) we saw was great.  She understood our frustration and need for answers. She was, too, faced with difficulty getting pregnant.  She was the one that broke the news to us that we were now considered ‘infertility patients’, because we had been trying for a year.  She recommended having my husband’s sperm count tested first, and if it was good, she recommended having an HSG (Hysterosalpingiogram).  Ecstatic – we were finally going to get some answers.

Although I originally thought my gynecologist was great, I learned a valuable lesson through his apathy.  I deserve answers, and I pay with our hard-earned cash to get them. I don’t like spending money and not getting what I pay for – nobody does.  Lesson learned: Find a doctor with a willingness to help you find the answers you so desperately seek. “Time is money”, as the saying goes – and we’re paying in fertile cycles!

Leave a Reply