The above .gif has become my mantra in my professional life. A lot of people constantly wonder what it’s like to be a woman in tech, and it boils down to 1 of 2 things:
- Be assertive and be a “bitch”
And I mean this in the kindest fashion. If that’s possible. Being a woman in a male dominated field, those are essentially your choices. Or at least your choices as I see them. It’s been my personal experience that any time I assert myself, I am initially viewed as being bitchy. But I refuse to be taken advantage of, or to back down. Because of this, I end up being viewed as bitchy. That’s okay.
How do we fix this? I’m honestly not sure. I just know that’s been my experience working in a male dominated environment, and coming to terms with it has been freeing. They might think I’m being a bitch, but they also respect me, and that’s okay by me.
In my attempt to blog more frequently, I am enlisting my readers help. The biggest struggle I have, given this is basically a lifestyle blog, and I am a very boring person, is what to blog about? So what do you, dear readers, want to hear about from me? Topic ideas, questions, or even where you find inspiration from. Any and all ideas are welcome!
Most women should be familiar with who and what an OBGYN is. They’re that obnoxious doctor we have to see once a year for our annual women’s exam. What does this entail? An internal and external exam, as well as a swabbing. We go to verify we’re still STD free, our cervix and uterus look normal and there’s nothing hinky lurking in our girl parts.
They’re also the doctor you will see once you are pregnant. They’ll do your ultrasounds, run your bloodwork, check your blood pressure and screen you for gestational diabetes, and once your bun is cooked, deliver your baby either naturally or through a c-section.
So there you have it. Your OBGYN is good at swabbing and catching babies. They aren’t, however, good at helping you get pregnant.
This is something we see time and again in the infertility community. You go to your OB and talk about starting your family. They counsel you that all you need do is ditch your birth control and they’ll see you in a couple months! You try and try and you might eventually call them back. If it’s been less then a year, and you are under 35, they will likely counsel you to stay the path, as it is normal to take up to a year to conceive (If you are over 35, 6 months is when you should seek help). And they’re correct. 95% of couples will achieve a pregnancy within a year of trying to conceive.
The problem arises when it’s been a year and you make that call. A lot of OB’s want to “help” and will claim to be “infertility specialists”. Keep in mind what I stated above. OBs are good at swabbing and catching babies. That’s it. That’s what they do. A good OB upon a year of trying with no success should give you a referral to a reproductive endocrinologist.
A bad OB will try and help. They will give you clomid without monitoring, not properly check if you have ovulated, or if the clomid is causing excess cysts or thinning your lining. They will claim you have no need to worry, as your young and have time, etc. Just keep taking the clomid and you’ll be pregnant in no time!
All in all they will just waste your time. The sad part is that this is something you see and hear frequently. Because you trust your Dr. You expect your OB to be compassionate and know that you need guidance. Reality is you have to be your own advocate, especially when it comes to your fertility. Whether they are being sincere in trying to help or not, they aren’t doing you any favors by not passing you on to a reproductive endocrinologist.
As some of you may know, I travel for IVF. Traveling for IVF is a thing for a number of reasons, but the main driver is cost. The traveling I do for IVF however is just within the US. I travel because my insurance does not cover the cost of my medication or treatment and there are places that are significantly more affordable to do a cycle of IVF, just not within my own state. International travel for IVF is also common, especially for those using donor eggs.
Above is a tweet from yesterday that pretty much perfectly sums up how traveling for IVF feels for me. I’ve already given up on ever making love to my husband to create a child. I’m okay, and at peace with the fact that my children will be created through science. What I can’t get over however is the absolute knockdown, drag out fight I mentally and physically have to go through just to get there. And while the majority of it is related to the finances of it, a good 20% can also be accounted for in the hours I spend on the phone between Drs offices, labs, and my insurance.
So what does traveling for IVF look like? Let me give you a run down.
- First step is finding the RE you are looking to use and setting up an initial consult for over the phone.
- Once that appointment is made, you will receive a fax number to give to your current RE to fax your records to the new office.
- You will have your consult. They will go over family history, fertility history, past treatments, bloodwork, scans. Basically everything they received from your local Drs office.
- You might get orders for more bloodwork or tests. Now comes the fun part.
- You have to find someone locally to do those tests. It’s been my experience that this is when the local RE’s really stick it to you. They don’t want to run the tests since you aren’t using them and you don’t want some random lab tech doing your HSG when they don’t do them regularly.
- You finally find an office that will do these tests. You go have them done and faxed to your new Dr.
- New Dr calls and goes over what they received. You plan your IVF cycle. You receive standing orders for baseline bloodwork, stimming bloodwork, and pregnancy checking bloodwork, baseline ultrasounds, and stimming ultrasounds for your cycle.
- You now have to call around to find out where you can have these done locally. If you’re unlucky like me, your old RE will do your ultrasounds but not process your same day bloodwork. You’ll end up driving 45 minutes between each location, one for ultrasounds and one for same day bloodwork.
- Once the cycle begins, you ping pong every other day from both locations between 5am and 8am. You then wait for a call sometime around 2pm from your travel nurse with your dosages for the next 2 days. Rinse and repeat for up to 15 days.
- Once you have triggered you take off work, pack your bags, and drive 6 hours one way to a hotel and sleep. Wake up the next day and go in to meet RE and see the office for the first time in person.
- Fill out all the legal paperwork.
- Write massive, soul crushing check.
- Get knocked out and eggs retrieved. Husbands drops his sample at the same time so everything is ready to go.
- You’re woken up and then you leave. Now you have one of two things happen. You are lucky and have vacation time somehow or you can just afford to stay and hang out for 5 days, or you’re like me and you have to drive home now so you can go to work the next day.
- You wait anxiously over the next several days to hear how your embryo’s are doing while also starting those wonderful intramuscular shots of progesterone in oil.
- Depending on how many embryo’s you have, etc, you either drive back out there on day 3 or day 5 to have some embryo’s transferred back.
- You then wait 9 or 12 days and go back to the bloodwork lab and wait for the results.
- You get yet another call around 2pm telling you to keep taking your meds or to stop the meds.
- If you stop the meds, let’s repeat this again in a month and a half.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful I even have the chance to travel for IVF so that I can afford it. But IVF itself is an intense and hard thing to deal with, without the added stress of travel. I wish my insurance company would stop treating my disease like a lifestyle choice and provide me the coverage needed for treatment so I could make this a less stressful process.
Until then though, it’s almost time to saddle up for IVF #2.
Jealousy has become a constant companion in my life. Not a desired companion by any stretch. It is, however, always close at hand. It’s a knee-jerk, gut reaction to seeing everyone around me moving into the next phase of life and passing me by.
Overall it’s a highly unpleasant place to be.
One thing I would like to make clear to outsiders however, is that it isn’t about you. I can be simultaneously happy for you, while also jealous and inconsolably sad for me.
I know a lot of people want to make this better. That they don’t wish to hurt me. But there isn’t anything anyone can do.
I guess I could bottle the emotions up, I tend to do that without thinking anymore, but that isn’t healthy.
Reality is, I am jealous.
The definition of jealous is:
feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages
I envy the ability to have sex and become pregnant. I envy treatments that works. I envy the very idea of being pregnant. I envy people who have babies. I envy the idea that you can plan to have any child, let alone more then 1.
I’m not begrudging or resentful in my envy, I just desire the same for myself.
I need to stop letting it be a dirty word/idea.
It is simply truth. This is how I feel. I have to stop being ashamed of how I feel or made to feel shame over it. It is what it is. Maybe someday I will be able to let it go, but today is not that day.