This post (and future posts), will be about the challenges I face in getting my mental health needs met, that is specifically that I need another person present, during IVF procedures.
Click above to visit TFC-SC
I am going to pre-empt this by saying the staff at The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast have been wonderful, kind and polite! I don’t have anything negative to say about their service, other than it hasn’t been able to accommodate what I need yet.
Finding the service
So, when I first started researching IVF on the Sunshine Coast, I discovered The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast (which I will forever shorten to TFC-SC). TFC offer affordable IVF. IVF without all the bells and whistles. Due to our low income status, I could have been paying as little as $300 per IVF cycle.
I was over the moon, to say the least. Suddenly, my dreams of having a family were actually possible. Up till this point, I’d just crushed my soul time after time, telling myself we may NEVER be in a financial position to have a baby and to bury every maternal feeling at all times (just WRITING about having to bury my maternal feelings makes me teary).
So, I read their website. I read it again and again. I scoured it for every bit of information I could. I think I know their website front to back by now.
I called and booked an appointment.
I went to my GP to get a referral. I filled out forms. I organized proof of low income status… I was excited.
I waited in agony for 7 days until my appointment.
The clinic was clean, tidy and… you know… doctors waiting room looking. The lady behind the counter was friendly, she took my paperwork and said she’d see if she could get the low-cost IVF paperwork approved before we left today.
The nurse saw us. She took us through how the whole IVF thing worked with there service. From what I remember and understood, they can do pretty much the whole process in their clinic. They have a day-surgery space in house. Rotating doctors who do the surgeries depending on who is rostered on, etc.
I was so nervous and excited! Husband was with me (of course).
We discussed PCOS and how my periods were unreliable. I could have a period every 2 months or my next one might not hit for 6 months. She suggested I start on the pill as soon as my next period happened, so we could get my cycles predictable as you must start the IVF medications on the first day of a period, so obviously knowing when that would be is important.
I asked if Husband was able to be present for the tests, the needles, the scans, etc. She said yes. WIN!
Then she started talking about the egg pickup or extraction, fertilization and then returning the embryo… I asked about Husband being there… she said no, it was against policy. He could not be present during the 2 procedures…
It started to go south
I think my ears went deaf at that point.
Blood started pounding in my ears, I couldn’t breath, I was hypersensitive and I felt like I could feel every molecule in the room against my skin, prickling and irritating it. My clothes were heavy, suddenly it felt like gravity had grabbed my clothes and was pulling it to the ground. The urge to get the clothing off was strong, if I could get it off me it would stop pulling so hard…
I couldn’t talk. I was so focused on not crying, so focused on not letting the nurse see I was crumbling inside, so focused on keeping that anxiety and panic at bay… because in that moment of saying no she just told me… you can’t have a baby.
Try to understand my position
She left the room to speak with the admin lady. While she was gone I tried not to cry. I didn’t want her to come back in and ask ‘what’s wrong?’.
I’ve experienced that genuine concern for another person suddenly turn to ‘are you serious? is this woman serious? how fricking ridiculous is she being right now’ tone/voice/look when they realize I’m crying because she said no.
But it’s more than a no.
My fears are real, anxieties related to medical procedures are common and should be treated with dignity and respect. I shouldn’t be so afraid, but I am. Having to hide it all just makes the emotions bigger.
When she returned and asked what was wrong I lied and mumbled some half ass excuse about being so emotional that I might finally be able to have a baby. I guess she bought that excuse as she started going on and on about how yes, the IVF journey can be a rollercoaster… blah blah… great to meet you… blah blah.. I was barely holding my cries back… the lady at reception said we had qualified for the cheap IVF…
I was fast approaching ‘bawling my eyes out and howling hysterically while curled up in a fetal position’ status…
I couldn’t tell her what was going on. I needed to get out. I needed to leave before I became hysterical (and wouldn’t THAT have been freaking embarrassing? Grown ass woman behaving hysterically because she said no… I’m so embarrassed at the thought).
Because I knew, when she said no, that I would not physically be able to walk into that surgery room alone. That I would become hysterical and then everyone would look at me like I was crazy…
So, that is Part 1 of my experience with The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast
Stay tuned, and I’ll post Part 2 – the follow up, and link it in here.