I liked the new fertility doctor right away. We sat down in his office and he smiled at us across his desk and I immediately thought, “Oh, thank God.” He had a kind face, and when he listened, I could tell that he wasn’t thinking of anything else — not his kitchen remodel, not another patient, not the box score for his favorite sports team. He was totally focused on our case.
He didn’t demoralize us with statistics, but he was honest about what we needed to do next.
“You’ve had three IUIs,” he said, looking at our chart. “Is that right?”
“Yes, plus the one that was cancelled for overstimulation.”
He looked up from the file. “You know what’s next,” he said.
He nodded. It wasn’t news. We already knew that would be the recommendation. I’m 41, and we’d had three failed cycles. IVF was the last-ditch, and an expensive one: $20,000 per cycle at our last clinic, and probably not much cheaper anywhere in the greater New York area.
The next step was a physical exam, and things immediately got interesting.
“The opening of your cervix is TINY,” he said. “TINY, TINY, like a pinhole.”
“Do you think…?”
“YES,” he said, and then very professionally did not say what I could see him thinking, which was, What the @#$% was the matter with your last doctor?
It’s possible that I’m projecting.
Anyway, it turned out that the reason my hormone panels were mostly fine and I wasn’t getting pregnant wasn’t because the assays were wrong, like one of our doctors suggested, or that my egg quality was bad despite the very decent egg quantity. It was because my cervix was essentially closed, almost like a natural diaphragm, and it was very unlikely that any swimmers could get through.
Unlikely, but not impossible.
“Hmm,” he said, looking at the ultrasound. “This lining is very thick.”
“Oh, that’s good, right?”
“Yes.” He frowned at the screen for a second. “In fact, if you don’t get your period next week, I want you to come in for a blood test. It wouldn’t totally surprise me if you were already pregnant.”
That’s bananas, I thought. And at the same time, I also thought, I am definitely, totally pregnant. I’m the most pregnant. I’m getting an A in pregnancy.
That was around 12 weeks ago. And now I sit here, wearing maternity jeans as I write this to you, at the beginning of the second trimester.