Visiting the fertility clinic for the first time after a successful pregnancy was a surprisingly pleasant event, at least in my experience. In some ways, it felt like coming home – familiar and (oddly) comforting. I knew what to expect, and I was looking forward to the friendly faces and encouraging conversation I came to know so well. Perhaps it was mostly that the weight of desperation and despair had long since lifted from my shoulders with the birth of my daughter, but, this time, it’s a dramatically different experience.
After registering and updating my information (including insurance, which doesn’t matter anyway, as our infertility benefits have been exhausted), my husband and I take our usual seats near the large windows. I hadn’t really noticed before, but this time it occurs to me that the rather large waiting area, full of comfortable single chairs and sofas, never held more than a handful of people at a time. On first glimpse, you would think they simply overbuilt, but then you notice how the people space themselves for optimum privacy. No awkward glances at someone sitting across from you. No possessively clutching at your purse and coat to make room for someone else. There’s plenty of space for a very good reason.
The first person we speak to after the registration desk is the financial counselor. After recapping our phone conversation from a few weeks ago and pointing out which expenses are included in our prepayment and which are not, I write the second largest check in my life and hand over my credit card for the balance. Ouch.
Next up is the nurse. Again, everything we discuss has been discussed before, and the only new thing is to pick a date for the transfer. The optimist in me finds it strange that I actually get to pick the date of conception. I find myself trying to quickly calculate potential due dates, then decide to make the most of the long Memorial Day weekend, and choose May 26, a Thursday. Since the clinic is 200 miles from where we live, they recommend an overnight stay after the transfer, so that I can rest. It will be a 5-day weekend for the both of us, practically a vacation – or a second honeymoon. You know, just like all those fertile people who get pregnant on their honeymoons!
My FET protocol is about as simple as you can get without doing a completely natural cycle – or at least that’s how it strikes me, compared to a fresh cycle: Birth control, oral estrogen, vaginal progesterone, baby aspirin, and a prenatal vitamin. NO INJECTIONS. I will need to repeat the saline sonogram and trial transfer.
So, that’s it! The fun starts May 9, with my baseline ultrasound. Of course, the first thing I noticed when the nurse showed me the calendar was that I take my last birth control pill on May 5 – the date I miscarried 5 years ago. Has it really been 5 years already?