An open letter to all fertility clinics
Dear IVF Clinic,
Can you please have some respect for my vagina?
I realize that you see vaginas all day long, but I don’t show my vagina to people all day long. In fact, until I started doing IVF, she didn’t hang out in front of a room full of people. This is a bit of a shock to both of us.
I’m not a prude, and I understand that due to the procedure, everyone in the room is going to see my vagina and, inadvertently, my anus too, but there is no reason to have a room full of people parading around with my ass and her on display for, what felt like, 5 hours before you started.
A single towel to cover her until the procedure would have been peachy.
Let me explain what happened.
I was going through one of my transfers, probably about round 8. So, I knew the drill.
I lay down, the embryologists show me the embryos, I confirm that it’s my name on the label and I’m not stealing anyone's embryos, and then they insert the embryos. It doesn't hurt. It’s like inserting a tampon. Easy and quick.
But, you have to relax. They want the uterus to relax to accept the embryos calmly.
Well, they got me set up in the room as they usually did. Bare-assed, butt propped, and legs WIDE open in the stirrups; doctor needs to fit himself and the tools between your legs.
But they didn’t start right away; they just set me up.
And they didn’t give me a towel or a blanket to cover up.
My vagina, and inadvertently my anus, was front and center for a room full of people that were busily walking back and forth in front of her, and having conversations in front of her and just ignoring her like she wasn’t there.
It was [to the melody of “12 Days of Christmas”] "Four helpful nurses, Three embryologists, two ok embryos, one bored doctor, and a scared but hopeful vagina in everyone's face!"
I lay there and pretended not to care because I was trying to relax like they say you have to or else the transfer won’t work. But it was jarring and uncomfortable.
Plus, I’ve never been spread eagle in front of someone without a really positive, hip-hip-hooray type of reaction.
I laid there debating whether or not I should say something.
My train of thought went something like this:
"Whatever, this is no big deal, they see vaginas all day long."
"But they don't see my vagina all day long. All I need is a towel."
"Maybe they don’t have a towel."
"Of course they have a towel. And it is a simple request so just ask."
"But why don't they think that I should be covered in a towel right now?"
"Because it’s no big deal woman. This place is the grand central station of vaginas. Plus, they should be starting soon."
"But I feel uncomfortable so why don't I just say something? I’m going to say something. Right now. Right now. Now."
"No, it’s fine, Just relax. Take this time to visualize those embryos growing into healthy, loving, charitable…"
"OMG Tasha! Just say something!"
"But others must not care, so why do I?"
"Stop it. Focus on relaxing, back to visualizing my embryos going in. If this finally works, I will have two beautiful children holding hands as they frolic through some farmlands that I don’t have access to."
"Cover me! Why isn't this starting?!”
So, how could this have gone better? We always look at ourselves first, right? In this case, I simply didn’t use my words. It's a theme in my life. I can talk myself out of my intuition at times. This is a bad thing, and a whole other topic we can discuss later. I could’ve just asked for that towel as soon as I felt uncomfortable and saved myself a lot of internal crazy-talk.
And I’m sharing this with you, so you don’t make this same mistake.
And now, let’s finish that letter.
In closing, put yourself in my stirrups. It’s a bit embarrassing. And being exposed and ignored makes it nearly impossible to relax. Please try to understand and please consider a simple solution- a towel and a Valium. I’m sure I wouldn’t even notice the pill added to the bill.
With love and warmth,
Tasha and her vagina
Now, I’ve never been one for drugs. I just stick to heavy drinking when I need to cope. Just kidding (I'm not kidding). My friend kept on insisting that I demand Valium before the transfer, and I kept on telling her it wasn’t necessary.
BUT, my last clinic had Valium as a part of the protocol. They knew how to do it right. I had a private room, acupuncture for before the transfer, and Valium before, and then acupuncture again after. All in that one private room. I never had to move, and I never wanted to leave.
Ask your clinic about their transfer procedures. And, if they cannot do acupuncture before and after the transfer, as highly recommended, figure out where the nearest acupuncture clinic, that specializes in fertility, is located. And, if Valium is not a part of their protocol, get a prescription for one pill.
That was my favorite round of IVF, and my last. It brought me by daughter.
I’m not saying that Valium made the round successful, but I have vivid memories of the entire process being peaceful, professional, easy, accommodating, comfortable, and really relaxing...because I was a stoned.
And now I’m open to trying any drug! I’m kidding! (I'm not kidding).