I've been asked how it felt to go back, and I'll get to that, but I need to write this post first, for reasons which will eventually become obvious, if you're prepared to hang around that long. It's about taking kids to the clinic.

Before PB came along, my opinion was that parents should make reasonable efforts to avoid bringing their kids to fertility clinics. I always went on to say, however, that I understood that sometimes these things just have to happen, and that probably hurling actual firebricks at either the parents or offspring involved was taking your hurt feelings just a smidge too far. (Silent glaring and the odd foot "accidentally" stuck into their strollerway is almost certainly enough.) Here, on the other side of the fence, I maintain this view.

PB came to the clinic with us the other day. I expect it will be the first and last time. This is because, in future, Mr Bea will not be required to come along, and I will go alone, like I used to - how in hell do couples ever organise to both go at that notice, anyway? - leaving the Prata Baby home with his Dad. In the future, you see, my appointments will be before Mr Bea's usual working hours.

In the future, it will also be more desirable to leave The Prata Baby home, because my appointments will be during the hours that FS sees the bulk of his appointments, before he skips off to the day theatres to start retrieving eggs or popping back embryos. They will be during the hectic, morning rush-hour, when the clinic throngs with activity, and toddlers would get severely in the road, both physically and emotionally. In the future, my appointments will involve blood draws and vaginal ultrasounds - neither of which are child-friendly scenarios.

On this occasion, however, my appointment was in the middle of the day, when nobody much is around, except the pregnant people waiting to see the obstetrician next door. Mr Bea's presence was required. The only other babysitting option was my MIL, and she would have had to madly rush halfway across town from her usual Thursday morning business, then she would have commenced a deep and particularly vexing course of maternal worry that would have continued forever and ever, until the end of treatments, and possibly beyond. Given all this, I decided it was reasonable to bring The Prata Baby to the clinic, this once. In fact, I decided it was unreasonable to expect us to do it any other way.

We came upstairs immediately before our appointment time. We were in the waiting room for less than two minutes, and we saw one other patient on the way in. She was a fertility patient. She came out of FS's room, went straight up to the desk - which placed her with her back to the waiting room - paid, and left. I'm not sure she even noticed the toddler tucked around the corner, near the toy box, quietly looking at a book. When we came out of the room, there were two obstetrics patients in the waiting room. They both smiled at PB and said hi, then Mr Bea took him downstairs again whilst I paid and finished up.

Sometimes, it's hard to see where the other person is coming from - especially when your world is in crisis. Sometimes, it's just as hard to remember how you used to feel once the crisis is behind you. In this case, I think I've managed alright on both counts.

Now obviously, having the Prata Baby there coloured my view of the clinic and the appointment, which is why I wanted to go through this first. Next post, I'll get to the D&Ms you asked for.


Betty M said...

I've usually found myself a lone voice on the subject of children at fertility clinics. I always quite liked to see them as I felt it proved that a) sometimes this works b) the process is not so hideous that people never want to do it again and c) someone who has been through this already is coming back to my clinic and thereby giving a nod of approval to its services. When I was having my second I occasionally had to bring my first to clinic. I came with snacks and toys to distract her and if there was an opportunity to leave her somewhere else I did but I can now add a d) to my list which is that a parent only brings a child when there is no better option unlimited childcare is not available to everyone particularly given the odd scheduling practices of clinics.

Heather said...

The key to this post is that he was quietly reading a book. My issue has only been with parents who PARADE their child around the waiting room showing everyone how SMART and WONDERFUL their child is. I am sure their child was brilliant and fantastic but I was in the deep dark ugly space of infertility.

There was once this other lady who had her son with her and he sat quietly in her lap and she was feeding him breakfast and it wasn't a big deal. She made him sit in the chair next to her when he wanted to get down (my clinic doesn't have tv or toys or anything for kids) and she didn't let him run around. I appreciated that.

At my regular local doctor, kids run amuck and that is ok - that is expected. But my RE is JUST an RE - they just do fertility treatments so once you are pregnant you don't go there anymore so it isn't expected. I think that is the difference for me?

sorry to have written an novel...

SassyMama said...

Although I was a bitter infertile and sometimes found children at the fertility clinic to be as salt in my wounds... I always felt as you did, that there were bound to be times that a fertility patient who had a child would have no other option than to bring said child with them to the clinic. I was jealous but I could deal with that. I just hoped that mothers would find other childcare options when possible.

When my fertility specialist wanted to see the triplets I purposefully scheduled a time that I thought their waiting room would be empty... and then asked to go in the side entrance to avoid the waiting room altogether. The staff thought I was being extreme as from their point of view, their patients find it hopeful to see children in the waiting room.

Sounds like you handled the whole thing well. And I agree-- sounds like you "managed alright on both counts". Looking forward to hearing about the rest of the appointment.

Lut C. said...

I would like to think that was how I thought about it when we were still TTC #1. I don't think I ever blogged about it, though I probably commented on a post about this topic over the years.

My RE works in a regular OB/Gyn practice, except at the early morning appointments I could expect there to be kids and PG ladies around.

I'm sure I was equally envious then of those parents(-to-be) in and outside the waiting room as I am again now. Which is my problem to resolve for myself.

As you, I try not to bring Linnea to appointments, but it might happen if no good alternative is available. That means going to most appointments alone, including transfers (when applicable).

You sure did consider going there with PB from a lot of angles. In the end, you'll never be able to please everyone.
Besides, I'm sure the staff was delighted to see him.

MrsSpock said...

My RE shares a waiting room with an OB practice, and it killed me more to see OB patients bring in their newborns, than to see a fellow IF patient bring in their 6 yr old. I almost had to take J once, and thankfully was able to find child care. If I had had to bring him, I would have made efforts to keep him as inconspicuous as possible.

Ellen K. said...

Wow, I have to do a lot of catching-up!

I think I only saw a few kids at the clinic, with just one baby (younger than 1), which I admit pissed me off then because WTF was the rush, couldn't they enjoy their possibly hard-earned child, etc. Of course I did not deign to talk to the mother (I'm being sarcastic here), so I have no idea what her circumstances were. The other children were older -- in grade school -- and I don't know many infertile women who long for a 10-year-old, so I wasn't bothered.

But now I look back to our IVF cycle and feel that it would take some NASA-order logistics for at-home moms to arrange childcare on such short notice. The monitoring appointments usually lasted about 15 minutes and had to be done between 7 and 9:30. That seemed like a big window at the time but would be tight with very young children and falls during the morning rush. I'm glad your husband has a flexible schedule that will allow him to take care of PB. That definitely wouldn't ever happen for me; D. was only in town for 1 day (ER) of our entire IVF cycle, and family all lives 45 minutes or more away.

Again, NASA-order logistics. I applaud any mom who can manage it on the majority of appointment days.

Portia P said...

Gosh - isn't this a hot potato! The lengthy comments say it all.

I also have struggled with the kids at the clinic conundrum. Pre B, I felt it hugely insensitive to bring children to the clinic but that was mostly where there was the patient plus another adult and the child. Could the second adult not have wheeled the small person around for a while?
Having said that, I had less of an issue with IVF children.
I've had to take B to appointments on occasions. I have no childcare and for some blood draws i've had no choice.
I've alway felt hugely conscious of the feelings of others, and made it clear (when i've had the chance) that he's the result of treatment at that clinic AND after multiple go's. Others have said it has given them hope.
We're all different - some take hope and others (the bitter and twisted IVF'ers like me) throw daggers.
Oooops - now i've added another huge comment! x

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