Behind the Curtain

It seems to me that most of the exam rooms in fertility clinics are alike. Table with stirrups, “guest” chair, ultrasound machine, tiny sink/counter area, and a curtain that can be pulled closed so that everyone in the hallway doesn’t have to see you half naked when the doctor opens the door.

Am I right?

My issue today is with the position of that guest chair and the curtain.

Catch is with me at 98% of my appointments. She very rarely misses an opportunity to see me with my pants off. The dildo cam is like an added bonus for her. I think she derives great pleasure from seeing it sitting there with its little swirl of lube atop an elongated condom.

The two of us walk into the room together. She sits in the chair. The nurse closes the curtain. I strip and position myself on the table. This is the drill.

When the doctor comes in, she can’t see around the curtain. She knows I’m there because a) she can usually see my feet and b) she has been told that her patient is waiting for her. By the time she clears the curtain, she has generally announced her presence and greeted me. Seeing Catch in the chair ALWAYS throws her off. Every time. The three of us joke about Catch tucked away in the corner at almost every appointment. “I’m never sure if you’re going to be there!” my doctor exclaims.

Yesterday takes the cake, though.

I saw a different doctor for the first time. He walked in and started introducing himself while looking down at my chart. He acknowledged me, and then—still looking down—he turned toward Catch and said, “And who’s this young man? Woman? Woman! Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!”

We laughed. We all did. It was… funny?

It seemed funny in the moment, anyway. It even seemed funny when we were waiting in the conference room later on and he came in and greeted us with an exaggerated, “Hello again, LADIES.” He really was a nice guy.

I feel bad for Catch, though. As honest and innocent as the whole, “Oh, I didn’t see you there!” thing is, she is always an afterthought in that room. She gets really happy on the rare occasion that my RE will direct a comment or question to her instead of to me. She wants involvement beyond tucking my underwear inside my folded clothing.

I do understand. I am the patient. Catch is the holder of my hand. I just wish there was some way to give her more of a presence inside that tiny little room. Some way for her to be more than just the girl(?) who may or may not be hiding behind the curtain holding my pants.

I am the one being poked and prodded, but there is no way I could do this without her. She is as important to this process as every growing follicle and every frozen sperm. She is my rock. She is my world. I hope she knows that.

13 thoughts on “Behind the Curtain

  1. That’s so true! We didn’t have a curtain but since the table really is the centerpiece of the room, the doc’s eyes always went to the person on it first. We tried to let the one of us who wasn’t on the table say hello first or to say it at the same time. That sounds weird but in person it really wasn’t. The person on the table just waited a beat so that the other’s voice drew attention. We also opted to have the non-table person stand next to the table instead of sit because it naturally made it easier to be acknowledged!

    • I also stood next to the table when the nurses attempted to knock up my wife. And I made a particular point of wearing a dress those days so I would be recognized as feminine. Silly, but what about this process ISN’T a bit ludicrous at times?

    • That’s actually a great idea. We’re going to try that. At the very least maybe it will spare her being mistaken for a man! Although, dude–she has double Ds and she doesn’t exactly try to hide them. Sheesh.

  2. Awesome that she is there with you at the appts. Even though those appts are sometimes super short like 15-20 minutes my hubby goes to each one. He always thinks it’s funny I say thanks for coming with me today but I really do appreciate that he comes to each appt. Wonderful you dedicated this entry to her. Hope the appt went well!

  3. She knows it! And it’s reciprocated (you can tell by the repeated abuse of being forgotten! I’ve been there). And I wouldn’t have changed a second of it! Nothing can take away the feeling of knowing that you were there every step of the way (especially since we can’t physically help make the baby)

  4. Hah even though I was the patient I feel like my spouse was always the dominant force in the room, but that is just her personality b/c she asks so many questions due to her anxiety. Guess it just has to do with personality. Everyone in the OB practice knew us all because of her lol. I’m sure male partners often feel similar.

  5. My spouse is the louder one of the two of us, I’m more the one who watches and listens and isn’t as memorable. It’s kind of nice for the introvert in me, I don’t have to have attention when I don’t want it.

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