Monday, November 06, 2006

The Waiting Room

Okay, DD ( and Erin ( have started something in which I feel compelled to join. The question is basically, what is your RE's waiting room like? Quiet and subdued or chaotic and chatty? Okay, chaotic and chatty may be pushing it, but do the women (and their partners) look each other in the eye, at least, or is it all shoe-staring and gum-chewing?

I think it's fair to say that most waiting rooms, whether RE, OB, pediatrician, dentist, etc., are quiet and subdued. Sometimes it's nerves that keep us quiet. Sometimes it's our sense of propriety. Sometimes it's the circumstances that have brought us there.

My RE's office (both offices, actually) have multiple waiting rooms. One for the general public--women who are still waiting to see anyone beyond the receptionist--and another (or two) for women who are in between bloodwork, ultrasound and consultation.

At my first visit back to the RE, after the three-month post D&E hiatus, I was in the general waiting room and another woman sat near me with her infant in tow. She and her six-month old daughter in a car seat were cooing at each other. I know it is frowned upon for patients to bring their children to these visits, but I wanted this woman to know that I wasn't offended, so I struck up a conversation with her. As a reward, I was flirted with by a sweet baby and offered some words of comfort by her mother when I told her why I was there (not in great detail, mind you). It was a nice moment, wedged between the tedium of waiting to see anyone beyond the receptionist and the nerves of being back in the ultrasound room where my last pregnancy was pronounced doomed.

However, as I was waiting in the inner sanctum waiting room, the woman and her now-hungry baby and I were again face-to-face. More chatting and flirting ensued, and it was nice enough, until another woman joined the mix. It was quickly apparent that each of us had children, so conversation about children flowed freely. In reflection of how quickly children grow, the third woman said something chirpy along the lines of "That's why I decided to have my children no more than 2 years apart..." blah, blah, blah. And, despite myself, I felt slapped in the face.

I had thought that everyone going to see the RE for reproductive issues (as opposed to excessive facial hair, acne or extreme menopause symptoms) had...reproductive issues! The third woman was so blithe in her remarks about timing her children (and having three children, no less), that I admit I suddenly felt that SHE was an outsider, and the first woman who had used the RE to have the flirting baby was my compadre.

I am confident that I am usually not so petty. Perhaps because the ability to space my children any way I wanted was a belief that was shattered for me, I am unusually sensitive to it.


Two other episodes stand out for me.

When I was told that the doctor was regarding my last pregnancy as a threatened miscarriage, I went in for a follow-up ultrasound to check the size of the yolk sac (and everything else). In the inner sanctum waiting room, along came that woman who actually wouldn't shut up or stop asking questions. She had a sad story, from what I remember, and at the time I thought "I don't want to become her (and lose this pregnancy)." Doesn't make me sound very nice, does it?

Anyway, out of the inability to tell her to mind her own business, I told her a little of why I was there. Mercifully, the interrogation was interrupted by my ultrasound. The tech told me that my yolk sac was still a "good size." (Just a small digression here: if you heard a tech say that your anything was a "good size," you'd take that as a positive, right? Well, it wasn't, it was "too big" and the jerk should expand her vocabulary.)

When I retreated from the ultrasound room, back to the inner sanctum, the woman was still there firing questions at me. "How was it? Is everything okay?" And all I could think to say (because the tech had finally explained what "good size" meant) was "We'll have to see what the doctor says." I really think I used the word "We" as if now this nosy woman was part of my tribe.


Lastly, when my husband and I went in for an ultrasound and discovered that the baby had no heartbeat, the staff led us to an unused office of one of the other doctors, so that we wouldn't have to sit with all the shoe-starers and gum chewers. It was nice, but also felt like some kind of punishment, if that's possible. My husband and I remarked on the news clippings of this doctor on the wall, and the gifts baskets that lined the filing cabinets. Then we got ourselves into fits of laughter imagining what would happen if we started partaking of the gift baskets, better yet, the files, or maybe turned on the computer and started looking up, oh I don't know, porn--only to be walked in on by our RE, coming to find us for the consult. Gallows humor, I guess. But, it wouldn't have been possible in the face of other IF hopefuls.


Sitting here, thinking about it, hoping that the pregnancy I'm in is the one that will work, I can't say I'm eager to open myself up to the women that might sit around me at the RE's office. For the same reason that I have stopped googling pregnancy symptoms: I have no room right now for borrowed trouble in my wee little mind. I don' t want to know the bad things that could happen and do happen, and maybe even knowing the happy things will make me just too damn wistful.


At 5:49 PM, Blogger Kathy McC said...

You're good. I would have slapped her. Sounds like the appointment went well.

There's nothing worse than re-visiting the place where you got bad news. I know exactly how you felt.


At 9:59 PM, Blogger theoneliner said...

good grief...what a biotch. kathy is should have slapped her. and don't deny the fact that you have it in you. ; > )

next time take pop-pop with you. ain't nobody gonna ask questions then. nobody.

At 10:48 PM, Blogger Hetty Fauxvert said...

I find that a good book is a good defense as well. Bury your nose in the book and no one will bother you. If they do, just grunt without looking up, and they'll desist. (Also, if you're the type that eavesdrops -- which I admit I am -- the book will hide that transgression pretty well too!)

Continuing to keep fingers crossed for your success. Also keeping fingers crossed that you don't have to deal with idiots too often!


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