Thursday, 14 February 2008

A 28-year-old, nulliparous lady

Got a letter from the fertility clinic today. It was an interim report on our referral appointment, addressed to my GP, but we'd been sent a copy. It's good that they're keeping us in the loop and progressing things, but the way the letter is worded sums up everything that's clinical and inhuman about this whole experience.

I am described as "a 28-year-old, nulliparous lady". Bonus on the lady front - my private education ensures I articulate myself well even when inside I'm chanting "fuck, fuck, fuck" - but even I, with my two English degrees, didn't know what nulliparous meant. Turns out it means "has never given birth to a child". Bit of a sledgehammer to the heart, that one - though I suppose it's better than "childless" or, my own blog moniker, "barren"!

The letter goes on to recount my medical history ("nothing significant of note"), smear history and summary of menstrual issues. It does the same for hubby (though with fewer references to periods and more references to sperm). It then says, and I quote:

"As a couple they have a history of primary sub-fertility. Their coital frequency is normal and they deny any sexual dysfunction."

Do you see what I mean about how it's worded? I'm not saying I'd have preferred it to state baldly that we "shag three times a week and aren't into kinky stuff", but come on.

It then talks about my blood pressure, which was "raised at 142/95, but that could just be the stress of attending clinic". She's not kidding. In my defence, I'd say anyone's blood pressure would be raised if they'd just been informed they were to have five vaginal swabs and a scan with a Renault Espace. (Also, little does the consultant know my blood pressure is always high. Like my dad, I exist in a perpetual state of semi-apoplexy.)

The next paragraph describes my "normal, anteverted uterus" - which research tells me means "tilted forward" - and my crazy right ovary, which "displays multiple small antral follicles arranged around the periphery". I liked that term, arranged. Made it sound like an exhibition - like it had made an effort to dust off the old follicles in preparation for the scan.

The same paragraph goes on to state, somewhat intriguingly, that "there was no evidence of hirsutism". Whether this means simply that I don't have a beard, or that during her miner's-lamp explorations the consultant was also checking my most intimate crevices for hairy patches that put me in mind of the transformation scenes in werewolf films, is not elaborated on.

That particular paragraph concludes that "both ovaries were accessible". (Yes, but not without serious manoeuvring by the Espace. Everything was accessible to the four winds after that thing withdrew. I travelled home feeling not unlike the Dartford Tunnel.)

The letter finishes up by surmising that our "primary sub-fertility" is likely a result of "an ovulation factor", i.e. PCOS. It then describes what has to happen next - that is, bloodwork (done) and HSG (aaaargh).

It says nothing about the process for booking in for the HSG, though, which I'm a bit concerned about. My period's due next week, on my birthday (but of course) - it's unlikely it'll come, as it likes to string it out for weeks, but if it does I need to get the appointment sorted pronto or we'll miss another cycle.

Oh well, Valentine's wine to drink and chocs to nibble. Hubby's card this morning simply said, "I hope that this is the year". I wept into my Special K.


shinejil said...

My lands, I nearly snorted tea out my nose at this very funny post. I especially loved the image of your poor ovary bringing out the follicle knickknacks and arranging them for the dildocam.

Welcome to blogland and I hope all goes well for you.

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I think that it is so cool, I love the medical stories ,"a 28-year-old, nulliparous lady". is for me so amazing, I believe on it, it can be possible in the future!!22dd

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