Friday, 25 February 2011

Bring on the waterworks...

I'm not sure if the title of this post means the same thing in different countries, but bear with me...

Today's post is not the one I'd envisaged. Today was my 1st acupunture session and I've been feeling great this week and I'd imagined a post full of humour and positivity about the weirdness, and hopefully effectiveness, of lying around with needles sticking out of my meridians. But it didn't turn out that way because (hence the title), I cried virtually all the way through the appointment.

It took me completely by surprise. I'd been rehearsing my little infertility story in the taxi on the way over there and was thinking, fairly smugly, 'Thank goodness I'll be able to get through this without crying this time!'. Because I have a history of bursting into tears whenever I need to explain our situation to a medical professional, family member, friend, casual acquaintance, shop keeper etc. But I really have been feeling better recently and managed to tell a new friend all about it this week, with a minimum of tears and sniffling.

So, I sat with Dr F (an American - this will become relevant later), he looked at me intently, asked me how I was feeling and I burst into tears. Actual tears dripping down my face, accompanied by a dripping nose. I sniffed and wiped my nose with my hand as Dr F neglected to get me a tissue (what kind of Dr specialising in fertility treatment doesn't keep a bumper box of tissues on his desk? Surely I'm not the first weeper?!).  I managed to get through our story and started to calm down as he went into the questions about my periods and bowels.. hard to cry whilst trying to decide if your periods are lite, lite plus, regular, regular plus or heavy (seriously).

Then I told him I have Coeliac disease and he started to talk about the fact that I have an auto-immune disease and, although not really factored in by Western doctors, this was considered significant in Chinese medicine. The thought of my immune system rejecting our potential baby set me off again*

And then I couldn't really stop. I lay on the bed ready for the needles and the the tears just flowed out of the sides of my eyes, down my face and into my ears. This carried on whilst Dr F inserted the needles (which was fine by the way) and then left me to 'rest' for half an hour. Gradually the tears dried up and by the time he came back into the room, I was feeling better. Not better in a profound, weight-lifted, positive kind of way.. no, no, just a 'Thank God I'm not weeping like an idiot any more', kind of way. I went to the bathroom and removed the bits of tissue (I had to ask Dr F to get me one in the end) which were now stuck to my eyelids, in my hair etc and tried to recover my dignity.  Then it was time to pay and 'See you next week? Same time?'.

So what was that all about? As I said, I do have a history of crying when I talk about our infertility, but I am a regular and prolific crier anyway (at books, movies, crap TV series, American Idol etc), so that's not too surprising. But, as I said before (me thinks she doth protest too much...) I've been feeling great recently. I feel that leaving work was the right decision, that taking a couple of months off before IVF was a good idea and I feel ready for it. So why, when confronted by a concerned face, do I still collapse into a heap on the floor (imagine the Wicked Witch of the West after a run in with a bucket of water)?  I haven't worked it out yet. Particularly because I don't have this response with the Chinese doctors at the local fertility clinic. Maybe because they don't have time to look concerned and mock-interested or to ask that fatal question 'How are you feeling?'. Maybe it's a good thing that I'm having this treatment here in China. Maybe, if I were at home in the UK, I'd be dissolving into tears at every clinic appointment, with every touch on the shoulder from a nurse, with every hint of concern from a doctor. So maybe I'm in the best place... physically, if not quite emotionally!

* I realise that, compared to women who've suffered miscarriages and losses, I have little reason to cry at this point.


  1. Oh dear, you have every reason to cry if you need to. This happens when people ask you in the right (or wrong) moment how you are. It's such a sensitive and private issue. It sucks that we have to deal with it out in the open in the first place.

    It happened to me at my last appointment and I'm sure it will happen again. I'm thinking of alternative treatments for calming my nerves and I haven't even started any fertility treatments.

  2. Don't feel bad--I think this is all completely normal. I've cried in front of countless people... I can't even keep track anymore. I'm sure your doc is used to it (although where was the kleenex??).

  3. Here from ICLW.

    UGH, the uncontrollable waterworks are one of the things I hate most about this IF journey. So frustrating.

    Very weird he didn't have a box of tissues handy for you though!

  4. I don't think you are alone - I had to get round this one by printing off (and having spares) of an A4 sheet of my fertility history. Instead of speaking I could just hand it over. Sending love xxxxx

  5. You are certainly not alone... and you have every reason to cry - this is an awful journey and a sympathetic ear can be enough to turn it on for me too. Thinking of you and wishing you all the best on your next step :) xoxo

  6. Totally understand your feelings! I have been in the same place myself a number of times. The other day the older Chinese woman who helps clean our place casually asked me how I was doing and I burst into tears while she hugged me. It was so awkward. Hoping for lots of joy in the near future for you guys.

  7. Thanks so much for your comments, girls.. very much appreciated and I'm glad that you all understand how I felt and maybe have been there yourselves.
    @Kate - like the idea of the fertility factsheet to hand over. For me, the 1st sentence is the worst, so maybe I just need a sign around my neck, saying "We're infertile!" Usually, once I get into the details I'm not too bad (Friday being the exception!)
    I've had some more thoughts about my waterworks that I'm going to post in a bit but, for now, THANK YOU xx

  8. I don't think that you need to excuse your grief. You had a tough year last year, and infertility really takes it out of you.

  9. I expect this kind of important information in future also so keep it up this nice work.

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