I was greeted by AF on the morning of my would have been due date. The same thing happened to another blogger, who astutely described that there is no stronger reminder of your infertile status. At least in my situation, AF's arrival brought an end to my 41 day cycle and the prep for my third FET could begin. When I arrived at work, I found a piece of paper taped to my computer screen. It was my 2015 Expense Request, which asks if I intend to take FMLA time in the upcoming year. As I took it down and tossed it aside, Michael Scott came by and collected the report from my younger colleague. "O-oh I was waiting to see your response to that question!" she cried excitedly, until my colleague informed her that she needs to have knee surgery next year and will be out for at least six weeks. "I'm hoping to be taking a maternity leave in 2016!" she added. Fuck me if I still don't know how to answer this question for my 2016 Expense Request.
"Hi Jane!" My RE was all cheery when he entered the room. "I haven't seen you in a while. What's new with you? Any home improvement projects? Interesting cases?" I wasn't really in the mood for small talk. Just tell me all is quiet with my ovies and that we can proceed with this transfer. As Misery was reviewing my medications, I tried to verify that my transfer would occur during my vacation week. "Oh, I think it will be toward the end of August." she speculated. "Why so late?" I asked "My previous ones have been on CD 22." "Well, we really don't go by your cycle date..." she stammered, "It all depends on how your lining progresses ... blah, blah, blah... We'll see." she concluded in an effort to get me out of the exam room.
Well, that shouldn't be a problem. My lining has always been stunning. Since the correction of my septum, my endometrium is the one thing upon which we can rely. The next day, I had to call to reschedule my next monitoring appointment and I spoke with New Girl. "He has you tentatively scheduled during the last week in August." she confirmed. What the fuck? That's CD27! If it wasn't enough that I had to wait out a nearly six week natural cycle; now you're making me hold out for another month! What's the rationale? Why the change? Why should I think that I am enough of a veteran in this process that I could anticipate my transfer and plan accordingly? At least I'm smart enough not to argue about it now. I know I'll only be told to wait until my monitoring appointment.
It's time for me to play the adult version of the 'Is This a Big Deal?' game. If it is my best interest to delay the transfer, I can get on board with that. It may be worth the hassle of having to re-schedule my vacation time and move a lot of patients. If it's due to my RE's availability, if he has some time off, then just tell me that upfront. More so, it's a big deal in the sense that the momentum is fading. This IVF cycle has become akin to my dad telling a story. He drones on and on, and by the time he approaches the point; you've long lost interest. (I'm sure you can relate to this right now...)
"Are you getting excited for your transfer?" asked my Lead Physician as I told her about possibly needing to reconfigure my time out of the office. I didn't know how to answer. My other colleague asked the same question just prior to retrieval during my first cycle. At that time, I was more fearful that the cycle would be a waste of time and resources. Now I've already lived through that experience and I don't feel so afraid. Rather, apathy is consuming me. I almost don't care anymore. Success or failure, I just want to move forward with my next steps. I walked her through my plans to do two single transfers and then clean out the freezer and transfer the final two embies together. "Jane, you're already setting yourself up for failure..." she informed me. I am infertile and I have recurrent pregnancy loss. This is what I do. Failure is my norm.
A few hours later I was in the break room, chatting with Co-worker, when I was approached by one of our primary care doctors. "Jane, I need to refer a patient to Ob/Gyn, but my medical assistants can't schedule with anyone. Do I need to ask the girls in the front to set up an appointment?" she asked. I was about to reply that I have no idea how the scheduling process operates, and then walk away; but Co-worker answered quickly. "She's booked out for the next two weeks. Everyone's schedule is completely full." The primary care doctor explained the patient's situation; she received a Depo shot just over 14 weeks ago and has had persistent bleeding for the past few weeks. This isn't an urgent issue. She doesn't need an ultrasound or a biopsy, just reassurance and time. "Well, it's annoying that I can't schedule her with my own colleagues." she commented in a snide tone.
I silently sighed. I understood her frustration. Two years ago, Husband called to schedule a consultation with a urologist. He received the run-around from the call centre, and after five days, he still didn't have an appointment. I feared that he'd lose his nerve and bail, so I emailed the practice manager. "I am finding it embarrassing that my husband cannot schedule within my own affiliation. He has a PPO, so he does have other options to explore." Two days later, he had an evaluation with Dr Richard Hurtz. I didn't even have to explain that the urgency for the visit was his 35 year old wife who hadn't conceived in 6 months while her best friend was knocked up on her first attempt. I felt badly for any patient with a true emergent issue, who didn't have such connections.
"I need to rearrange my vacation time, so I'll be opening a few days on my schedule." I softy revealed before heading back to my desk. My mother never practiced Catholicism after she left her childhood home, so I must have inherited her Catholic guilt. A wave of depression crashed over me. Even though it wasn't an actual vacation, I was looking forward to having a reprieve from the office. Now that has been taken away from me, although the silver lining is that it is easier to come back when I've only been out for part of a week. I feel so trapped in this space. I can't escape from this role. My younger feminist, who insisted that I needed to have a career -as being "just a mother" was inadequate, has won.
When I arrived at my desk, I discovered a sticky note from Michael Scott, reminding me that my expense request was due by the end of the day. It was time to admit something I hadn't acknowledged to myself. Although it was never my original intention, I've been viewing maternity leave as an outlet for my impending burnout. Actually, I originally planned that I would return earlier, and work on a part time basis. Now I want to take as much time as I can, plus that baby bonding time that will allow me to go to the spa. It's time to acknowledge that I may need to create an alternate solution to address my work fatigue. "Do you plan to take any FMLA time during 2015?" That question was still confronting me. I wouldn't ever write the word 'yes', but I also couldn't bring myself to print the word 'no'. I left it blank and placed the form on Michael Scott's desk.