Dec 7, 2010

the waiting room game

During the past year, I have spent a lot of idle time twiddling my thumbs in the waiting room of the fertility clinic or the waiting room of the ultrasound clinic (about 50% of my monitoring ultrasounds have been at the fertility clinic, while the other half I've had at the ob/gyn ultrasound clinic located in the same hospital as the fertility clinic). I usually try to bring an article or book with me to pass the time, but I'm invariably too anxious to fully concentrate and instead end up using most of my time in the waiting room to assess the other clientele.

Perhaps my fascination with the other people in the waiting room stems partially from having never met any other IFers in real life (I am sure that we know couples we are struggling with IF, but none who have discussed it openly with us). I always wonder why the other women are there, what treatment they are doing, how long they've been trying, etc. I also tend to jump to conclusions about their story based on their attitude (some women come in grinning from ear to ear, others are crying, some are visibly worried or annoyed etc.).

At the ultrasound clinic, most of the women are visibly pregnant, there with spouses, and generally happy and excited, so it is easy to guess what their story must be. At the same time, you see plenty of women who aren't visibly pregnant and/or who appear nervous, worried, or sad. I bet that as an ob/gyn ultrasound technician you get to deliver mostly good news and spend most of your days among couples who are happy and excited, but that you also see your share of awful tragedy as well.

I have always found it interesting that those of us who occupy the fertility clinic waiting room often suffer so much alone in silence and use the internet to find comraderie and other women like ourselves and yet, we spend so much time physically among our own ranks in the waiting room, but do not speak a word. I am not saying that I wish people did speak to each other in the waiting room. In fact, I have pretty ambivalent feelings about being approached by anyone in that setting. Frankly, as nosy (and perhaps hypocritical) as I am, I enjoy my privacy and would rather not be questioned by strangers when I am feeling so anxious and vulnerable. I just think the dynamic is interesting. So, am I the only one who is so helplessly curious and nosy about all those other women in the waiting room or are you sizing me up, too? :)


  1. I'm definitely nosy and/or curious about others in the waiting room! Unfortunately, due to some abnormal cells and a LEEP procedure, the majority of my waiting room time was done at my OBGYN's office, which was pure and utter torture! It was a Preggo Parade, one giant, beautiful belly after the next. It didn't help that my doctor was perpetually running late, and I would have to endure the aforementioned torture for sometimes an hour!

    But I'm with you, I am not sure that I would really welcome a conversation in the waiting room at my fertility clinic, but then again, it could be refreshing :)

  2. Yep, I am with you, being surrounded by pregnant bellies is torture! Since everything that goes with the territory of IF has become our normal, I sometimes forget that my experience trying to get pregnant is not the experience of the masses. Nothing like a room full of visibly pregnant ladies to remind me that I am the piece that's not like the others (not that I have anything against them on an individual level, after all I do hope to become one of them:)

  3. Very interesting topic. And reflecting now, I feel conflicted because realistically we should introduce ourselves and offer each other support. At the same time - I'm totally with you on maintaining my solotude and anonymity.

    This also reminds me of the first time we went to an RE's office. I was sitting there next to my husband and this woman walked out who looked like she was BARELY holding it together. She picked up her phone, sputtered out the word "No" and burst in to tears... Not exactly an iceb-reaker, ehhh? I still wonder what that "No" meant....

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  5. Interesting post. I find that going to my regular OB/GYN's office for regular stuff is unbearable with the all the preggos, baby photos, etc. And, yes I am curious about the women at my RE's office waiting room. But, I know SO many people IRL with varying degrees of problems, some with IF, some that have gone thru one or more miscarriages, some with secondary IF. I think I determined that there are like 13 ppl in my real life, which is amazing to me. Of course, most of them I only know about b/c I have been so open publicly about our problems that they have opened up to me.

  6. I got burned by the waiting room curiosity though. While waiting at the ER in the woman's health section (miscarriage #1) I saw another girl obviously just as nervous as I was. Turns out she was having complications from her abortion. Made me feel even worse :(