Having arranged the appointment with Shiny Private Clinic for me, the nurse said she’d send me all the details of ‘the procedure’ in an email. Duly, a few hours later, an email arrived. I printed out the consent form, checked the address in the email, made sure I’d remembered the ibuprofen and sanitary towels, drew myself a little map, and this morning plodded off to work in perfect serenity.
I lie. I was nervous as hell. Just, not about the location.
At the appointed time, therefore, I was in the wrong clinic, explaining myself to a bewildered receptionist who couldn’t find my name on the schedule. But wait! I was on the other clinic’s schedule! The other clinic? Yes! Just around the corner! So I sprinted back out into the drizzle, cussing these fancy-pants multi-location private fertility services and their expensive cupboards dotted all over the city centre like £1000-confetti.
It was fine. Bewildered Receptionist had called Correct Receptionist to let her know I was belting down the road, scarf flying out behind me like a banner, leaving a filthy blue contrail. Apart from the bit where she had to shout ‘push the door now. No, now! Now! Push!’ through the intercom at me while I pulled frantically. My nerves let me down.
Anyway, it being a tiny private clinic concentrating on egg retrieval and imaging, I was being handed my surgical gown and fluffy slippers within minutes of my solving the door riddle. And then a very sweet young nurse introduced me to a very sweet middle-aged doctor, and between them they introduced me to the first comfortable pair of stirrups I have ever wrestled with, and then I lay back and stared at the ceiling of the tiny room while they hoisted me five feet in the air and winched my delicates open with a speculum (I hate specula. Hate hate hate. Hate).
Doctor: Oh, is your period is just finishing, then?
Me: Well, it’s day 12 of this cycle, but I usually spot for about a week at the end of my period because I have adenomyosis.
*Pause, while they insert the catheter, inflate the little balloon that holds it in place (this does not hurt at all. I am astonished), and then remove the speculum and replace it with the dildo-cam (this is less comfortable). The doctor then turns the ultrasound screen so I can see it too. Imagine! Being allowed to behold my own innards!*
Doctor: And there’s your ovary…
Me: *silently, so as not to startle man who has three kinds of hardware up my personals* HOLY FUCK IT LOOKS LIKE A NORMAL OVARY! Ooh, look, you can see the lead follicle and everything. I give it a week to pop. Bets, anyone?
*Nurse presses plunger on syringe full of saline attached to catheter above-mentioned. Absolutely nothing happens*
Doctor: Hmm, I can’t get a clear image of the inside of your uterus. Do you have fibroids?
Me: *pointedly, see above* I have adenomyosis.
Doctor: Oh, yes. Well, I’m going to need to adjust all this to get a better view.
*Out comes the blood-streaked dildo-cam (ew), and the catheter, and rather a lot of fluid (nothing says ‘dignity’ like something dripping down the cheeks of your arse while medical professionals hunt out the wipes and the lube bottle). In goes the speculum again. Fiddle fiddle. Out with speculum, back in with dildo-cam, at a somewhat more uncomfortable angle. And another syringe-full of saline is squeezed up there. Again, nothing happens, though at least they can see where my uterine cavity should be, if I had one. They crack open a new bottle of saline and top up the syringe. For fuck’s sake*
Doctor: Oh, no, look, there it goes! I think the adenomyosis has made your uterus rather stiff. I can’t get the cavity to stretch open fully, but there’s no sign of adhesions or polyps. Are you alright?
Me: *surprisingly* yes!
Doctor: To check your fallopian tube is open, we use a foam, so it shows up on ultrasound.
*The foam is so white and high-contrast it practically sparkles on the ultrasound screen. It wooshes straight through my uterus and blossoms out the end of my fallopian tube in short order. We all stare at it.*
Doctor: Your tube looks perfect.
Me: Thank you.
And throughout, the Doctor and the Nurse kept telling me I was being very brave, and I felt like a total fraud because it really did not hurt. It was uncomfortable, and the speculum pinched, but pain? Nope. There was gore, though, me being me. I needed a fresh surgical gown to shuffle back to the changing rooms in.
And that was it. I paid them, they gave me a single hefty dose of Azithromycin (in case of chlamydia! which you don’t want forced up your passages!) and warned me not to have any alcohol after taking it (boo!), and then the Nurse sat me down in a corridor and carefully made sure I was feeling fine, not in pain, not feeling faint or sick or anything, before releasing me.
So I went and had lunch, took my Azithromycin, and went back to work for the rest of the afternoon. And that was that.
So, step two. We go back to Doctor Fourth Opinion, to do LIT. And then cry havoc and let slip the bunnies of fornication. And see where we’ve got to by the time I’m 38.