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Rock Star Embryologists, Alexander Technique, and Visiting the Past

Trying not to get in a habit of relaying my dreams, but…

I was at my old clinic last Tuesday and woke up Wednesday morning from terrible IVF dreams.  The strange part was that the majority of people in my dream were not people I associate with my clinic, though they all insisted that they were treated there.  And my doctor wasn’t my normal doctor, but instead I was being treated by Michael Tucker, the embryologist who helped create the first ICSI baby and the first baby from frozen eggs (what?  You don’t own a complete set of the Topps All Star Embryologists and Reproductive Endocrinologists trading cards with all of their SART stats on the back?  I’m just missing two–Pak Chung and Eric Surrey keep evading me no matter how many packs I purchase).

In my dream, we created six embryos that cycle and he kept telling me that it showed that I obviously wasn’t infertile if we could create embryos, and I kept telling him, “but our problem is implantation and the clotting factors.”  So in my dream, we were down to our last two embryos and we were about to transfer them and I had cold feet about the whole thing, wondering if our family was better as is.  A non-IF friend (who in the dream was an IVF vet) kept cheering me on and Michael Tucker told me he’d let me remove the straw from the cryopreservation tank which was all kinds of not-possible in the manner that I drew it out of the liquid smoke.

So we transferred the two in my dream and I was silently depressed about it and everyone was massively pregnant around me.  And then Michael Tucker told me that it was important that within a half hour of transfer, Josh drive down to Richmond, VA to have a session of Alexander Technique.  I kept asking people if this was truly important considering the embryos were in my body and Josh’s part was over, and pointed out that this wasn’t even possible since we’re probably 3 hours from Richmond.  But everyone kept agreeing that Josh needed the Alexander Technique session for me to have a successful IVF cycle.  I woke up before beta day.

I’m not sure what this dream means except that I had just been at the clinic the day before giving a speech and in real life (distinguishing reality from the dream), I met up with some of my favourite nurses and staff and sonographers (and saw one of my old doctors in the audience).  I haven’t seen some of them in six years.

I didn’t think that I would be so sentimental about visiting with people who remind me of one of the worst times in my life, yet we keep going back to visit the NICU staff yearly and I cried hugging my old sonographer last week.  It was a little bit like Alice revisiting Wonderland, except that the clinic wasn’t a happy space with talking rabbits and tea parties.  It was a really sad place where I often felt a mix of frustration and self-hatred.  I can’t understand why I want to go back to these places.  I can simply say that I do.  That I like revisiting the past, even the sad parts of my past.

If you’re done with your clinic, have you ever gone back to visit?  Do you want to?  If you aren’t done with your clinic, could you ever see yourself wanting to return years later and visit everyone again or is it good riddance to that experience once you’re on your way out the door?


1 Heather { 01.11.10 at 9:31 am }

I could never go back.
Probably because I no longer have a uterus, and I’m still bitter about it 10 years later.
Sometimes I dream about being pregnant. Like a REAL, nice, normal pregnancy (that doesn’t involve me sitting in the hospital for months at a time). That makes me sad.

Eh. No, I’d never go back.

2 susy { 01.11.10 at 9:45 am }

I WANT to go back, I just haven’t / don’t. Actually I went back once, and it felt weird, like my whole story and (at the time possible) outscome was radiating around me like an aura of IF history. As much as the happy ending are what we want, I can’t help but feel like it’s a jab to someone’s jaw at the moment, b/c some days it was to me, and some times it was the medical staff that would ’cause it’. I’m glad you saw your faves again after so long. 🙂 Even though there wasn’t any tea.

3 a { 01.11.10 at 10:25 am }

I satisfied myself with sending in our success story for their website. I didn’t really spend much time there because I didn’t need any monitoring, but I would love to go back. Because that would mean I was pregnant again. Sigh.

But to go back for any other reason? No, really don’t have any urge – most of my treatment was on the phone!

4 loribeth { 01.11.10 at 10:43 am }

I have absolutely no desire to go back — although it sometimes bothers me (for some weird reason) that my RE still has the DVD of my HSG (that I stood in line at the hospital’s records centre to pick up) in his files. And I do still find myself there in the occasional dream.

I can remember being quite ticked off, in fact, that nobody called us after our last cycle failed & we never came back for another one. I kept expecting someone to call & ask if we were going to cycle again, & if not, why. I probably expected too much.

5 Pie { 01.11.10 at 10:56 am }

First off, I almost fell off my chair laughing about the trading cards…all you need is E.S.! Too frickin’ funny, thanks for the laugh.

I’ve had 2 clinics now, and I am sure I never, ever want to set foot in the first one ever again. They have not been very kind, so good riddance to them. And I guess the second clinic is much better, kinder, but no, I don’t feel any emotional connection to them. I’m not very nostalgic I guess.

6 Hope Springs { 01.11.10 at 11:23 am }

I said goodbye to my clinic today. I had my review appointment after failed IVF #2, and the consultant said he didn’t think there was any point in trying again. I’d already decided to have one more go somewhere else.

I was really sad to be leaving this friendly place where you really get to know the staff and feel that they care about you. When I called this morning to check that the appointment was still going ahead in this snow, the nurse who answered the phone knew who I was and confirmed my appointment time without my even having to say my name – and even knew which direction I was coming from and was able to give me a heads-up about the state of the roads.

The clinic I’m hoping to move to is much bigger and more impersonal and may not take me on anyway. I cried as I left, but I don’t know whether I’ll ever go back.

7 Battynurse { 01.11.10 at 11:29 am }

I could see myself going back to my clinic to visit. I really like my doctor and feel like him and his staff genuinely want me to succeed. My first doctor? No way. Although I would like to say hi to the NP at his practice as I really liked her.

8 nh { 01.11.10 at 11:56 am }

I went back just before Christmas (I was at the hospital for another appointment). I went in to say thank-you for all the help they have given us, and to tell them about our adoption plan. The nurses were lovely, and we all ended up hugging in tears. It was positive, and they want us to stay in touch, and let them know how things go.

So yes, I probably will go back again, at some point, when we are further down the path from where we are now.

9 tash { 01.11.10 at 12:11 pm }

As much as I adored my old clinic and RE, it really pained me to pick up the phone and just call them for my records. For a number of reasons I really don’t think I’ll go back to my new local clinic, even if I should need such services again someday.

Sometimes I think dreams are metaphors, metaphors that employ recent people/places/events in order to convey a message. So I’m wondering if this has less to do with your personal fertility questions/issues, and more to do with something you’ve been thinking you should do/try, but you feel you needed a bit more support from experts/your husband. Dunno, that’s my take.

10 Eve { 01.11.10 at 12:12 pm }

Wow, what a dream!!!!!!

I’ve had two clinics and two TOTALLY different emotional experiences. My first clinic was very cold and matter or fact, and I rarely even saw the doctor. I was able to get pregnant through my treatments there the first time, though not when TTC #2…but I have only icky feelings thinking about that place.

My second clinic and doctor I only saw for my IVF cycle. They were WONDERFUL…from the receptionists to the nurses, AND my I saw my RE on every visit, as he did all his own u/s. I will DEFINITELY be going back to visit once the twins come. I wouldn’t do it while pregnant, b/c it would be so hurtful to the other women waiting there…but I have nothing but warm and fuzzy feelings for them (maybe it’s b/c my cycle was successful…but I’m not sure. They were just a WONDERFUL practice).

11 IF Crossroads { 01.11.10 at 12:37 pm }

Today was my final visit at my clinic. It also happens to be my 1yr. anniversary with them. It was really weird walking out those doors and down that elevator knowing that I might never be back again. Really, really weird.
This past year was the hardest and saddest of my entire life. I walked out those doors today and felt the pain of my journey surrounding me. Even though this was a satellite office with a wonderful nurse and receptionist, I still felt a great deal of self-loathing every time I walked in there.
Will I go back?
I’m not sure.
They would like for me to when the baby arrives.
I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that for some time.

12 Kir { 01.11.10 at 12:42 pm }

I’d like to go back, because the dr’s, u/s techs , nurses, became friends. I used to say it was like camp, where you know that you’re eventually going to have to leave , go home, end this experience, but in the middle of it, everything is so dramatic and full of promise. Like a romance during camp…you want to believe it’s going to work out in the real world, so you strap yourself to these people in the same place and time…and you hold on.
I’d love to take the boys back there..but I always think that would hurt someone else, that waiting room doesn’t need to see my sons. So we don’t. I send pics twice a year…and thank them, for giving me a gift I couldn’t make myself.

13 Geochick { 01.11.10 at 1:03 pm }

Wow – crazy dream! I didn’t do IVF but I did 3 IUI’s with my clinic and I haven’t been back since the day I started my period after the 3rd one. If they had gotten me pregnant, I probably would have a different viewpoint.

14 chickenpig { 01.11.10 at 2:03 pm }

I’m sure we’ll be back, probably sooner than later, because we have 4 embryos in storage that we need to deal with. If we want to donate them to science, we have to actually take possession of them and deliver them to a clinic because they can’t. If we want to dispose of them, we have to both sign the paperwork. We can have the disposal paperwork mailed and/or faxed and then sign it in the presence of a notary, but that is just a pain in the ass. So yeah, we’ll visit. Still don’t know what to do w those embryos, though.

15 cubby { 01.11.10 at 2:40 pm }

I am still feeling the love for my RE and all her awesome staff. Dr. Smart and Gorgeous at Boston IVF was the perfect blend of professional and compassionate. Considered going back when exploring TTC # 2. Peripartum cardiomyopathy put that idea to rest. However, I had the chance to thank the RE, nurses, admin staff etc. who helped make it happen, sent in a photo of the baby…but, although I really want to, I can’t see myself possibly hurting another person by bringing the baby into the office.

16 Briar { 01.11.10 at 3:22 pm }

Mine was full of lovely people but no thank you – I would prefer never to return.

17 Kim { 01.11.10 at 3:49 pm }

If we have success, I might want to go back one day. But right now, with all the issues I’ve been having with IF and this clinic (which might have finally taken a good turn today with a talk to the nurse manager), I can barely stand to go in there.

It helped me to read that you had such negative associations with your clinic (and look how you turned out!) 😉 I made TH go with me for the beta blood draw today b/c I couldn’t go it alone. Somehow this makes me feel slightly better today.

18 LJ { 01.11.10 at 3:58 pm }

I loved the nurses at my clinic, but I don’t think I could ever go back there. I wish I had gotten a chance to say goodbye to my nurses, but I knew when I was leaving two years ago, that I’d never be back.

19 Kate (Bee In The Bonnet) { 01.11.10 at 4:32 pm }

I have some pretty negative feelings toward one of the REs and one of the nurses at the clinic I used, so even though they provided successful medical treatment of our infertility which resulted in a twin pregnancy, they did not provide good emotional/mental treatment for our infertility, which resulted in completely unnecessary stress and fear and strife.

So, no. I don’t think I’d go back there. I would meet the one RE I liked at another location, or even at the clinic if I could ensure that I wouldn’t run into the guy I didn’t like and the nurse who kept second-guessing me.

Once I actually become a parent, I may send a birth announcement or some such thing, but I will definitely address it to Dr. Lolly, and *not* Dr. Main Dude. It’s just still too much.

Of course, I did have a flip-past dream the other night where H and I were deciding to do a FET, and were talking with Dr. Main Dude about how many to transfer… so maybe subconsciously I’m not as “done” as I think I am after getting pregnant with twins!

20 JC { 01.11.10 at 5:59 pm }

Major props on the trading card, hilarious!

21 Cindy { 01.11.10 at 6:00 pm }

Haven’t visited or sent a card yet….but I am super excited because Michael Tucker helped make MY BABY!!! He’s the lab director at my clinic…and has personally reviewed my files….so I need a copy of that card. 🙂

22 Josh { 01.11.10 at 6:36 pm }

Having to drive to Richmond to take a class in Alexander Technique would have been enough to wake me up screaming.

23 WanabeMommy { 01.11.10 at 7:06 pm }

Ugh… no way. Clinics are about as happy as morgues.

24 jaymee { 01.11.10 at 7:18 pm }

i have been back to one of our clinics. i loved that re, and when i was in need of one for metabolic problems he is the one i ran to. it was a horrifyingly traumatic experience. he was against me having an ablation, so when i showed back up post-surgery he was irate. the last time that someone talked to me like that was when i was a small child. there was also the fact that i was taken down the hall full of baby pictures. when we were trying to conceive i was always asked if i wanted to go down that hall and this time no one thought that it may be a painful thing. after that visit i sat and cried in my car for almost an hour. i made the best choice i could for myself and just because it was not what he would have advised i was treated so very badly.

25 wifey { 01.11.10 at 10:02 pm }

I don’t think I’ll ever leave my clinic. My RE sees women for yearly exams and PAPs, and I’d so rather go sit in a waiting room filled with my fellow fertility challenged ladies than I would in a regular OB/GYN office. I’ll be going to my fertility doc until I’m 70.
(My feelings might change if/when we do IVF, because I’m sure the emotional investment is huge, and I might freak the fuck out after a failed IVF).

26 Jamie { 01.11.10 at 10:18 pm }

I only saw an actual RE briefly. I started out with my OB, had a m/c, went back to OB, got sent to RE, had a m/c then went back to OB and got pregnant before I went back to RE.

Okay, I know that wasn’t exactly what you asked but I do feel like I really bonded with my OB. When I was cycling, I would go in once a month for an u/s and she did both of my D&Cs. After all my OB visits, I had my six week follow and as I was leaving I couldn’t believe I didn’t have an appt to come back. Before she left the exam room I wanted to fling myself at her feet and shout, “Let’s hang out! I know we can be friends!”

27 Tara { 01.11.10 at 10:38 pm }

I am done with my RE clinic and I would love to go back and chatty chat with my RE and the couple of nurses that worked there that I liked that helped make my miracle happen. I’d love to show her to them and tell them how special she is and thank them…. except it would never be like that. Everything has changed since we were there for our last cycle, including the staff. And I just don’t think they’d care as much as I do. They’re making money and doing their job. I’d like to think we had a special “connection” but that was probably just me trying to romanticize a shitty situation. Also – I wouldn’t feel good about walking through the doors with my daughter for fear of further hurting the hearts of the infertiles who are there undergoing treatment.

Soooo… in summary, in my fantasy world I would totally love to go back and visit and let them all dote over Ruby and feel proud of the beautiful angel that they helped create, but in reality… never gonna happen.

28 nycphoenix { 01.11.10 at 11:03 pm }

I have no bitterness to my clinic but I don’t see myself going back there. I don’t see the point to it. Its not their fault I have POF

29 Jen { 01.12.10 at 1:53 am }

We went back after we had our son, to take them a picture to put up on their wall of success. It was a family Christmas picture we had done right after Jack was born. It was good to see them and give them hugs. Our RE was so not Mr. Personality, nor was he warm and fuzzy, but despite that, he will always hold a special place in our hearts. That said, after this last IVF cycle which was an utter flop, I’ve still not scheduled a follow-up appointment, and that upset was March 5th. So, guess I’m not in any hurry there am I?

30 calliope { 01.12.10 at 11:00 am }

wow. that is an intense dream.
I am not done with the clinic where my embryos are at boarding school. But I don’t really have many warm fuzzies with the place. I mostly associate it with the Hep C/donor egg saga and that makes me sad because then it makes me think of the liver doctor I saw that then treated my Grandmother and that makes me miss my Grandmother. It’s all connected. I do, however, keep in touch with one nurse from the Alabama clinic where I had 13 IUI’s. This was a nurse that was so supportive and lovely and had an awesome habit of slipping me drug samples into my purse. I e-mailed her updates throughout my pregnancy and when W was born she sent the sweetest card. I try to only think of this nurse and not the dozens that were involved with my journey that treated me horribly because I am single.

31 But a Moment { 01.12.10 at 5:00 pm }

I, too, feel like it would be a punch in the gut to someone waiting in the waiting room. I remember how those “success” visits felt when it was me in the lobby chair on the verge of tears. I couldn’t do that to someone else.

But the clinic does have some of my frozen embryos and if a second child is in our future, I will again be sitting in those lobby chairs. . .

32 Bea { 01.14.10 at 5:26 pm }

I would like to go back one day. I think just so I can remember how much better life is that I don’t have to go there. But probably I will end up going to try an FET, so I will have to be there, so it won’t be the same.


33 Baby Smiling In Back Seat { 01.15.10 at 10:55 am }

I was actually thinking about that yesterday since I was in the neighborhood. I wouldn’t mind seeing one nurse (the one that actually performed the successful IUI, and who was so excited when it worked) and the ultrasound tech, but everyone else I don’t care if I ever see again. I’m supposed to send them pictures of the babies. It’s on the list, along with a hundred other things.

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