Like, in the history of inseminations. And to think I was stressing over a couple of red lights. I WISH I’d hit a red light. The only way it could have gone worse is if they had spilled Miguel’s specimen all over the floor.
So I arrive 15 minutes early at the lab, and Miguel’s sample is all ready to go and it is his best ever count! Bonus, now we’re running early and have an awesome sample. I scoot down to the car, make the short drive to the other office and find it easily. It’s 9:25 and I’m totally on time for my 9:30 appointment.
I go in, and stand around at the empty front desk, jangling my keys and clearing my throat and what not. Live sperm here, people, let’s go! I hand over the thermos and immediately ask for the restroom, so as to get it out of the way and not waste any time when they’re ready to bring me back. Back in the waiting room, another woman enters with a similar thermos. I think, “they better not take that bitch back before me.”
A little after 9:30, the nurse brings me back and gives me the “waist down, cover with drape” drill. I sit in there and try to read my book, checking my watch every few minutes and trying not to think about dying sperm. At 9:45, I start to get a little upset and am trying not to freak out. At a little after 9:50, I clutch the paper towel around my waist, ass hanging out, open the door to the exam room and call out “Hello?”
The nurse appears from around the corner with a questioning look and I execute the perfect bitchy watch check that conveys all the frustration I’m feeling. She gets all flustered and stutters, “She’s not here yet, she’s at Dr. Out of Town’s office seeing his patients.” At this point, I’m no longer to keep the freak out in check and cry “I’M one of Dr. Out of Town’s patients, they sent me here. What is going on?!?!?” As she scurries off to find out, I go back in the exam room and call Dr. Out of Town’s office myself. (It’s a good thing I did because that asshole nurse NEVER came back to tell me what was going on.)
I ask the nurse why I’ve been sent here if the doctor is over there right now seeing patients. I was right across the hall picking up the specimen. How does that even make sense? And she explained that Dr. Pinch Hitter just likes to do the inseminations in her own office so that’s the way they have it set up, she’s left here so she’s on her way to you right now.
Then I say, “I don’t even understand why I’m here. When I first met with the doctor, he said and I quote ‘You will see me and only me.’ But now without any explanation I’m being treated in an entirely different office.” The nurse explains that the doctor is at a conference, and has arranged for coverage and she’s a great doctor and I don’t need to worry about the quality of care, I know it’s an inconvenience, etc. I’m not worried about the quality of care or the inconvenience, you stupid twit! I’m worried that as I sit here waiting a half hour past my appointment time, SPERM ARE DYING! And I don’t have sperm to spare in case you haven’t heard. I mean, Jesus.
I just can not get over how cavalier every office I’ve dealt with is. Patients already feel vulnerable and powerless, let’s pump them full of hormones and then fuck with them, why don’t we? Would it have killed them for someone to tell me at some point that the doctor was at a conference BEFORE I had a full-on melt down? For all the secrecy surrounding his absence, he’d had a heart attack for all I knew. Why not explain as much as you can and relieve at least some of the uncertainty patients are feeling?
And as I sat there freaking out and trying not to cry about my sperm dying, I was freaking out about the freaking out and how utterly powerless I was. I was stuck there in that room, half naked and completely at their mercy. It’s not like I could just take my sperm and go somewhere else. And, now, I’m hugely upset, and crying which is not a good environment for an insemination when you’re supposed to be all zen and relaxed. So it was creating this self feeding cycle of stress.
When the doctor finally came in at 10 past 10, I was full-on sobbing as I put my feet in the stirrups. There is nothing more fun than having a speculum up your crotch as you’re trying not to completely loose your shit. Luckily, the doctor, while hugely taken aback, I’m sure, got right down to business. If she had tried to take time out to calm me down and comfort me, I would have gone completely the other way and flown off the handle, probably screaming, “JUST DO IT, JUST PUT IT IN BEFORE ANY MORE DIE!”
When she was done, she came up to my head and apologized again, very sincerely, and said that I shouldn’t worry, they keep the specimen warm in the thermos and it’s good for a few hours, blah blah blah. When I called my doctor’s office back as I left (the nurse wanted me to call back when I was done so she’d know I was okay), the nurse said, we checked with the lab and they said not to worry the sample is good for a couple hours, again blah blah blah.
I’m sorry, but I call bullshit on that. At the time they did the insemination, it was almost 3 hours from sample collection, not the 2 that they and every other clinic schedules. If it really didn’t matter how soon you did it after collection, then you’d schedule it for 3 hours all the time, not 2. You can’t tell me that not a single sperm died off in that 45 minutes extra it was sitting there. What if that sperm was the one that would have fertilized the egg? And I KNOW that there was probably plenty of viable sperm still left; it didn’t all die, so maybe I’m being a little melodramatic, but you can not deny simple statistics. The more sperm you have, the more chance it has of hitting an egg. That’s why we’re in this situation in the first place. So when you take our very best sample and basically drop it down to the quality of our average samples with your dicking around, I think I have a right to be pissed.
I tried to google around last night to find support for this theory, but I am the worst googler ever. I never find helpful info. I found out how long it can live inside a woman-up to 5 days if the conditions are right. I found out how long if it’s just exposed to room temperature air-some within minutes, none more than an hour. But I couldn’t find out what the rate of die-off was in insemination situations where they’re keeping it warm.
So just something new to obsess about for the next two weeks before we find out the results of this cycle. It’s always something…