After my disappointing appointment with Beverly, I went through the piles on my desk and dug out the list of counselors covered by my insurance. So many of the names were from Beverly's practice. Hmm...what to do what to do. I decided to call Linda, the psychological gatekeeper who matched me up with Beverly in the first place.
Damn. Voicemail. "Hi, Linda. This is Jacki Jaguar, I met with you about two weeks ago to discuss finding a counselor to help me deal with my infertility. I met with Beverly and, well...it's just...I think...could you just call me back, please? I'd appreciate it. My number is 555-3333. Thanks."
What did I want to tell Linda exactly? My first idea was to ask her if she's sure she doesn't have any openings to meet with her since I felt so comfortable during my first meeting. My second thought was to ask her why she felt Beverly and I would be a good match. My third thought was to ask her if she could match me with someone else because Beverly and I weren't going to work out. My fourth thought was to tell Linda that Beverly is probably not the best person to refer infertile women to in the future because she makes douchey remarks.
I figured I'd ponder those choices while waiting for Linda to return my call. I studied the list further. There was another practice where I was covered to see several of the counselors. Let me call them. A woman's voice quickly greeted me.
"Hi, my name is Jacki. I'm wondering if you have anyone at your practice who deals with infertility?"
"Mmm....no. We don't have anyone who specializes in infertility. They all deal with general issues. Sorry, take care."
That was abrupt. Fine then. I didn't want to come to your dumb office anyway. I cross that practice off the list. With both of the large practices x'd out, the once very long list has dwindled significantly. I notice one name whose office is right nearby, close to work, close to home. In fact, it's in the middle of the two. I dial the number and am immediately kicked into voicemail.
"Hi, my name is Jacki. I'm trying to find a counselor who deals with infertility. If you could please call me back at 555-3333, I'd appreciate it. Thanks and have a good day."
I hung up the phone thinking that it probably wouldn't pan out but at least I did something today in my effort to find a counselor. Not much, but something. I spent much of the remainder of Wednesday thinking about this counseling thing. What am I looking for in a counselor? First, I want someone who "gets" it, meaning that they understand that it's a very stressful thing to deal with and that it's a medical condition. Someone who won't break the standard rules of speaking to an infertile. But as the day goes on, I realize there's more that I want. Not need, but want. I want someone who I don't have to explain the basics of infertility to. Like with both Linda and Beverly and with other randoms docs like my primary and the rheumatologist, as we discussed my infertility, I had to teach Infertility 101 as I explained how I'm doing with it. Simple stuff, like how Clomid works and the purpose of injectables and what PCOS is. Don't get me wrong, I love that they ask so that they can understand, but the truth is I do that all the time with regular people. And, generally, I like it. I like that people want to understand what I'm going through and I want to talk to others about it. The more it's talked about, the less the stigma that society places on it. But for just one hour every week or two, I would love to not have to explain it. To have that whole sixty minutes be devoted to me, how I'm dealing with my infertility rather than waste any of that precious time informing the doctor of how infertility works.
On Thursday afternoon, as I lie around in an effort to convince my ovaries to stop aching, the phone rings. It's Jennifer, the counselor I left a message for.
Her: Hi, this is Jennifer Longlastname. I'm calling for Jacki Jaguar.
Me: This is she.
Her: Hi. I got your message yesterday. So I understand you're dealing with infertility?
Her: I'm so sorry.
Me: (thinking: I love you.) Thanks. I'm just hoping that I can find someone to help me deal with it. I saw someone yesterday, but she's not going to work out so I'm looking for someone else.
Her: Well, I don't specialize in infertility if that's what you're looking for.
Me: I don't necessarily need someone who specializes in it. I just need someone who "gets" it, who understands that it's a medical condition and won't say stupid stuff like, "If you adopt, you'll get pregnant".
Her: Is that what the other counselor said to you?!
Me: Yeah, along with comments about how I need to relax. I'm looking for someone who won't say that kind of stuff.
Her: I can't believe a counselor said all that. That's not helpful at all.
Me: Yeah. I agree.
...at this point, she starts to stumble along a bit, like she's unsure what to say.
Her: Well...I don't specialize in infertility, but...I could still talk with you... if you like...because...well...umm...
Me: (thinking: Is this woman okay? What the hell?)
Her: It's just that...well, I'm not really supposed to say this, but...I dealt with my own infertility before I had my first child.
Me: (thinking: SHUT UP!? No way!) Really?
Her: Yeah, so while I don't specialize in it, I may be able to understand what you're going through.
Our conversation continues on for a couple minutes before we schedule an appointment. There are two things that Jennifer wants me to be aware of before I commit to meeting with her in person. One, she can't see me until September 29th. Two, she is 24 weeks pregnant with her second child. She was very sensitive about her pregnancy, completely understanding that I may not want to see her because of the blatant bump that would be in the room as we'd discuss the lack of my own. I think about it for a moment and book the 29th. After we scheduled, she stayed on the phone with me for ten or fifteen minutes just talking about how I'm doing with everything and where Mr. Jaguar and I are in our treatment plan right now. It was awesome.
I got off the phone and immediately burst into tears of relief. God handed me exactly what I needed and even threw a hopeful, little bump into the mix.
"Thanks, God," I said aloud.
There's one thing I did differently this cycle. This cycle...where the meds have worked, where FertilityFriend gave me crosshairs, where I'll finally measure my luteal phase and where we got to do an IUI. I always wear my Common Thread bracelet but at the beginning of this cycle, I made myself a new one. Instead of the plain or beaded one I normally wear, this one has a small nameplate charm across the front of it. The charm is engraved with a single word.