Yesterday I went to see my GP about something totally unrelated to fertility. I know! Apparently, there is other stuff in the world...
To help you picture the scene, my doctor is a tiny, skinny, 50-something, grey-haired, glasses-wearing, fairly nondescript-looking woman with a strong Israeli accent. She may be tiny but she doesn't exactly hold back. I am fairly used to this after quite a few years of being her patient but this particular conversation really blew my mind.
This is how it went:
Me: Hi doctor. I just wanted to ask you about blah blah.
Doc [checking her records]: So, you had a hysteroscopy last week?
Me [fairly upbeat]: Yes, that was all fine which is great. But I wanted to ask you about this other thing...
Doc [impatient]: Hold on. How long have you been trying to get pregnant?
Me [starting to get nervous]: About a year.
Doc [looking perplexed]: Are you not going to do IVF?
Me [flummoxed]: Er, sorry?
Doc [checking records again]: How old are you? 38?? Omigod! My daughter-in-law is 36 and she just got pregnant and is having a terrible time!!
Me [confused and a little bit scared]: Right. And that’s relevant to me because....?
Doc [incredulous] : Because your ovaries are basically drying up now and you don’t have a lot of time!! Why don’t you do IVF now?!
Me [starting to get a bit upset now]: Er I don’t really want to...
Doc [shouting]: I don’t understand what it is you’re waiting for! You’re 38!! It’s been a year!!! How much longer are you going to give it??!!
Me [wondering why I am being shouted at by my own doctor]: Ok. I don’t want to do IVF now, I’m well aware of how old I am and how long I’ve been trying but I’d like to carry on trying naturally for now. I actually came here to ask you about...
Doc [fairly red in the face now, I am obviously really upsetting her]: But how long for?!! I don’t understand why you’re waiting!!
Me [vulnerable, imploring, trying not to cry, at the same time wondering why I feel bad for upsetting the doctor]: I just really don’t want to think about IVF now. It’s expensive, invasive and a very big decision. There’s nothing major wrong with me physically so I think it’s a good idea to keep trying naturally.
Doc [totally exasperated, about to self-implode]: THIS MAKES NO SENSE!! YOU WILL KEEP TRYING AND KEEP TRYING AND THEN SUDDENLY IT WILL BE TOO LATE!!!
Me [regaining my composure, realising my doctor actually has mental health issues and I am the fairly normal one in this conversation]: Ok. The bottom line is that whether or not I do IVF is my decision. I will continue to try naturally for as long as I feel happy to. I don’t want to discuss this any more.
Doc [coming back to earth from whatever faraway planet of madness she’s been on for the previous five minutes]: Yes. Cool and calm. That’s the best way. I have a patient who was trying for 11 years to get pregnant, tried IVF three times, nothing, decided she would stop trying and BANG!!
Me [completely bemused by the sudden change of tone but soldiering on with the conversation nonetheless]: She got pregnant?
Doc [happy now]: She got pregnant.
Me [forgetting what I actually came in for]: Well, that’s great. Thanks doctor.
Doc [satisfied with a job well done]: Ok. Take care. Bye bye.
Not much to say to that really, is there??
Until next time.