This post should be titled something helpful like “How We Chose Our Clinic” but this title is definitely more attention-grabbing if you ask me!
The day came where I finally mustered the courage to fill out the New Patient paperwork for the FIRM on November 9 (six weeks and two days after being diagnosed). I went home sick from work that day, (I work on a college campus and had been hit with the college plaque), filled out the paperwork and took a nap. I was startled awake as my phone rang. It was the FIRM! I was shocked as it had only been a few hours since submitting our paperwork. I talked to the scheduling nurse and who was eager to tell me that could get in before Thanksgiving, so I made an appointment but was too nervous/excited to go back to taking my nap. I had to start compiling my list of questions (we will get to that soon)!
Here we go, it was Monday, November 19, 2018, and our appointment was at 3:00 pm. I always schedule appointments for the end of the day because 1) I get so worked up for appointments that I need to go home and decompress afterward (spoiler: I will later find out that this is due to my medical anxiety) and 2) I’m always afraid of bad news and knew I couldn’t handle seeing anyone for the rest of the day. The FIRM’s satellite office is so close to home, which is great, but that meant it was 45 minutes away from my office.
Jeremy and I met at the office near our house (I will refer to this as “the office” and the main location in Jacksonville as “the main office”) and nervously walked in. We were greeted by calm music and comfortable looking furniture, and the sweetest blonde nurse behind the check-in window. Voice shaking I said “Hi, we’re the Stephens and have our first appointment today,” followed by me nervously fumbling with our IDs, insurance cards and a credit card. We were given a clipboard with a few forms and told to have a seat for a few minutes. Luckily, we were the only ones in the waiting room which was nice. As usual, I hadn’t finished the paperwork by the time we were called back and made our way to the vitals room. Notice I keep saying we because we were both there, yet when we went back only my vitals and my weight had to be taken. I just thought “What kind of horseshit is this? HE is 50% of the problem!” Luckily these thoughts stayed in my head but Jeremy was quick to make light of the situation, which NEVER helps my blood pressure.
After all of the unnecessary stuff (in my opinion) was out of the way, we are told to hang tight and our doctor would be in to grab us. The next two minutes felt like 20. Then, our savior from God walked in, Dr. Freeman as I will call him. This may be dramatic, but he had this glowing aura about him that just screamed: “I WILL GET YOU YOUR BABY” and I swear I could have hugged the man right then and there. BUT I dialed it down as we introduced ourselves and he walked us down the hall to his office. Then the most magical thing happened, after he asked us what we like to be called (most people assume our names are Katherine and Jeremiah), we say “Kate and Jeremy” and from then on, he referred to us as “Mom and Dad” and I immediately teared up (as I am crying now writing this) because once you are given an infertility diagnosis, you feel like no one will ever call you mom or dad. And from that very moment, we knew we were meant to be at the FIRM and with Dr. Freeman!
I won’t share much about our first appointment here, I’ll save that for my next post about what I expected versus what actually happened during our first visit. However, one of our biggest questions was regarding what treatments can be done in the satellite office, and we were shocked by the answer! All monitoring (ultrasounds and bloodwork) and fresh IUI’s can be done here, which instantly took SO much pressure off of us thinking that we would have to travel for every single appointment. So, I would say that is how we chose our clinic, but really, our clinic chose us. Between the feeling of being in the right place, the instant compassion and ease of appointments, the choice was an easy one for us.
I want to end on a funny note because it wouldn’t be right for me to leave out this tidbit of slightly embarrassing information. (Remember, our appointment was in November and although we live in FL, it was a fairly cold so I had on a thick sweater.) When our nurse was taking my vitals, she chose a blood pressure cuff that I could tell was too small especially on top of my sweater that had ruffles on the sleeves. As she set the monitor to begin, barely inflated, the entire cuff literally exploded off my arm and I can still hear Jeremy laughing about it. Ugh, talk about embarrassing after I had already told her that my scale at home read several pounds less just a few hours earlier! I blame the sweater for everything that day…