July 29th – Baseline

Today was baseline day. This is the appointment that lets us know how to proceed and if our original plan needs to be tweaked. I’m going through this process at a discount military facility so they do things differently than a “normal” doctor would. For example, my appointments are generally grouped with others. Basically, we have a report time of when the clinic opens and then go from there. Today, the report time was 0700. Husband dropped me off and then drove back to the Navy Lodge where he dropped off the car and then walked back to the clinic. Parking is terrible so this made more sense. Also, I knew they’d be checking my lady bits and wanted to be as fresh as possible. I arrived at the intake desk around 0640 and grabbed a number. I was lucky number 7. I sat down in the socially distanced seats and started reading about meditation. Almost immediately, the IVF nurse started calling patients up to the desk. I was surprised since it wasn’t quite the start time. I was called up right at 0700 and spoke with Dana. That’s actually who I communicated with the most during the process of turning in paperwork and getting scheduled. It was nice to put a face to a name. To be honest, I expected her to be a lot friendlier but wasn’t exactly surprised that she wasn’t. Military facilities are notorious for lacking in bedside manner. That’s been the drawback of going this route.

Anyway, Husband showed up just as I was checking in. Dana gave me a bag of syringes and supplies along with a sharps box. She told me everything to do for the day and then I headed over to sit and wait. The first on the list was to have the vaginal sonogram and meet with the IVF team about the plan. After that, I was to have bloodwork done and then stop the pharmacy for my protocol drugs. I was called back for the sonogram almost immediately. The tech set me up in the exam room. I got undressed and sat on the table to next to the monitor. The room is extremely small. I was seen by Dr. Rolly. She was friendly enough. She told me she was the oldest on the team but would be leaving soon. We laughed a little and then she got started. She turned all the lights off so she needed help finding my lady parts. I thought that was weird. This was a vaginal sonogram/ultrasound (I’m not sure on the correct terminology). It went quickly but I learned that I don’t have very many follicles. She said she saw 4, maybe 5. This procedure was done to see my antral follicles which I’d never even heard of. I realized then that I didn’t know much at all about what other people go through. I didn’t have to have these things tested because we knew why I couldn’t conceive. I don’t have fallopian tubes. I never had a reason to find other reasons. First negative of the day. After this, we went across the hall and sat down to discuss everything.

This was a small two-person office. It wasn’t very nice at all. Very military-facility like but it provided us with a space to talk. She looked at my file and then started talking about my weight. I lost weight prior to being approved and then the pandemic hit. I was out of work and gained about 10 lbs which put me over my BMI. Even though my last documented weight was okay, this doctor insisted on weighing me that day. I don’t know why. I’d actually asked a nurse prior to coming in if my weight would be checked again and she told me that it would not be but to maintain healthy eating and exercise habits. It was at this point that I knew things weren’t looking great. Basically, I’m a few pounds over what I need to be. It was humiliating that the doctor insisted on weighing me. Nothing like my experience with Dr. Ghazal in Newport Beach. She asked me how the weight was going and I said maintaining. She asked if I wanted to be weighed and I said not really. She said, “Well you have to do it. You can come back tomorrow.” Why would I do that is what I thought. I told her to just do it then. She did. Whatever. She added an inch to my height to make my BMI work and basically said she was doing it because they care. I don’t know about that. Then we went over my follicles. I don’t have many. She saw 4 or 5 which is low. She mentioned canceling the IVF. I asked her if waiting any amount of time or taking any supplements would improve that and she said no. I was hit with a ton of bricks. I wasn’t expecting this. All of my bloodwork was great. She said nothing was an indicator of this low number other than my age. I think she was just uninterested because of my weight, to be honest. I did feel like crying but I didn’t really feel anxious. It’s hard to explain. I haven’t been anxious about any of this. I know it’s going to work. I just wish I could celebrate every milestone and that wasn’t one of them. 

The doctor also handed me a huge packet of paperwork we were supposed to be going over. Instead of going over it, she obsessed about my weight and low number of follicles and cancelling and just not being what I needed at that moment. It was terrible. The problem is, she didn’t give me any information. I had to pull the information out of her. It felt like she was looking for excuses to not proceed. I don’t know why. I just feel like she didn’t want this FAT BLACK LADY to get pregnant. I asked her if waiting would change the follicle count and she said “no”. She mentioned me being able to get my money back at some point. It was all just too much. The truth is, I only have one ovary and I’m 39. Both of these things contribute to the low count that she saw. Nothing to do with weight though so that’s good. Anyway, we quickly looked over the paperwork and then she received a knock at the door. That was basically her queue to leave and I felt extremely rushed at that point. She left and only told me goodbye and she walked away.

Then, that was it with that part. She mentioned they’d call me in the afternoon with my lab results and to verify that I’d be proceeding. I walked to the exit down the hall then met up with Husband in the waiting area. He wasn’t able to come in with me due to the pandemic. I was trying to explain things the best I could, but I’m honestly still confused. All I grasped was low follicles which means low number of eggs and decreased opportunity for success and possible cancellation. Also, she mentioned me being able to get some of my money back and it was just all a lot. I couldn’t articulate it well under my mask and in the lobby, so we agreed to talk about it later. I went to the lab and had blood drawn and Husband went to the urology department to sign some paperwork. My blood draw went really quickly so I headed to the pharmacy.

I had to go to two different areas for my meds but even that went quickly. The pandemic has really slowed things down. I left the pharmacy with my shopping bag…literally…of meds and headed back to find Husband. These stops were on opposite ends of the building but not too far apart. I met up with him and we headed downstairs and out the building. We were out of there by 0830.

Finally, outside, I was able to tell him the news. He seemed let down and confused…just like me. Basically, the doctor didn’t give me any advice about what to do other than maybe get my money back. No vitamins and wait. No maybe another time. No lose weight and try again. Nothing. We agreed that we had to go forward and at least try. We walked back to the hotel. I was so tired from getting up so early. I slept for a couple of hours. I think I was emotionally drained too. I was trying to keep it together and to just stay positive. Sometimes that takes work. 

I know we need to do this. I know we want to. I know it will work out in our favor. I’m not really worried. I’m disappointed in the lack of compassion but I’m not worried about this working. My next appointment isn’t until next week. Tomorrow we head to see family down south. 

Love always, Monica

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