There were no clinic rooms available for the scheduled IUI this week, so we had to use an old office with a medical exam table jammed into the corner of it, with stirrups that didn’t pull out so I lay like a frog, the light wouldn’t stay shining on my goods so Devon had to hold it for the nurse, and there was no regular speculum around so they used a smaller one (which actually worked out well for me). Ah, the joys of trying to get pregnant in a not-for-profit clinic in an old, run-down public hospital.
I may be in the minority, but I would actually prefer to go somewhere like that, instead of a top-notch clinic that spends my money on overpriced equipment and ambiance. I’m not there to soak in the views or spend time looking at art. I’m there to get knocked up. I’m there to form relationships with the staff, and I have had such amazing experience with that staff. They are public health nurses, and probably get paid half of what a technician in a fancy-schmantzy private clinic would, but they truly love their jobs, and I appreciate that more than I can say.
The price I pay for service is just as expensive as if we were to go to a private clinic, but I want my money to go to an organization that I believe in – and I believe in this one wholeheartedly. As clinical as this process is, the reality of the situation is that a near-stranger is there for the conception of my child. And though I know sperm doesn’t immediately enter the egg and become a baby right then and there, it’s still a very special couple of minutes. I care who I share those minutes with. Although I wish it could only be Devon and me, we will always have a third wheel, and I’m glad that this week our third wheel is an eccentric nurse of 40 years who makes us laugh (under our breath) at how batty she is. [As she was putting the boys inside of me on Wednesday, she told me that if our donor was infected with HIV, freezing his sperm would get rid of it, “so not to worry” but if he had TB, we were in trouble].
Maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for nurses, having basically been brought up by them in my late teens when I lived in the psych ward. Maybe I just don’t want to stare at a piece of art or office plant and wonder whether the hard-earned blood money that I’m putting into this process paid for that instead of something more practical. Maybe it's because money and things have never been that important to me, outside of survival.
Throughout our appointments over the past year, I feel as though the staff have become a type of family. We haven’t even been TTCing for that long, but we are already treated like family. We get hugs after our procedures. We get very personal phone calls when it’s a “no, not this time”. The receptionist gives us recipe ideas. We are offered cake after a staff member’s birthday party. When looking through the baby book where past patients have placed baby photos, we are reminded that our baby will be there soon.
Is it the most comfortable place in the world? No. Would I rather look up at white ceilings instead of water-stained boards? Maybe. Would I rather not have to wait for one of the two clinic rooms so that the procedures could be done faster? Not if it meant speeding through a process that constantly reminds me to slow down and say, “Holy shit… we’re creating a life here.”