Tired of Driving to the Fertility Clinic
Tired of Driving to the Fertility Clinic
There are roughly 1,028 fertility clinics in the United States. That’s great news if you live in a city with one. But for residents of certain cities or states, you’re probably driving an hour or two to the closest center for your treatment. Deciding to move on from your gynecologist to a reproductive endocrinologist is daunting on it’s own. You must make more time for appointments, scheduling tests, recovery, and potentially ultrasounds, drug prescriptions, egg retrievals, embryo transfers, and blood work. Depending on your course of treatment you may be driving to the fertility clinic twice a week some months.
Hopefully your partner will be able to attend the appointments with you, but there will be times that they can't. The first time, maybe the two of you will talk the whole time, wondering what it’ll be like, hopeful to finally have a new plan after months or years of trying to conceive on your own. But by the fourth or fifth trip travelling can feel like wasted time. It cuts into your work, your sleep, your plans for a normal day. The time might be spent worrying about the next procedure, wondering if it’ll work, counting out the days until you have to make the trip again, and worrying about the work you’ll have to miss or what to tell your boss this time.
It’s important to accept the commute to the clinic as that - a commute. People all over the country have accepted commutes of great distances to get to work every day. Be it twenty minutes or two hours one way, they figure out what to do with it. I think it is important to reserve the space in the car for something to look forward to. You’re already going to be there, so spending time thinking about things you can’t control while you’re there is frustrating and unhelpful.
Here are some ideas about how to make this time in the car together worthwhile:
Podcasts - There are tons out there, one for every interest. Yes there are fertility-centered podcasts (I recommend Creating a Family) and ones that will grasp your attention so that you don’t want to get out of the car (I recommend Serial).
Audiobooks - There is a good chance that you and your partner watch a show together some evenings of the week. Find a book you’re both interested in and tune in for your long trips to the clinic.
Catch up with friends - Inevitably there will be trips you take alone due to your partner not being able to take off work. Use the opportunity to make a phone date with someone you don’t get to talk to very often, potentially in a different timezone. (Use your headset or bluetooth!) Infertility is so isolating, you may have a friend who is also going through it. Use the opportunity to connect and talk about it, or something completely different altogether!
Meditate - Keeping your eyes open of course. Use the first ten minutes in the car to center yourself, and focus on your breathing. You can focus on your senses, or name colors of cars you see, or imagine a rich, fertile ground for an embryo to rest.
Music - A good standby for car rides. Music helps us to create memories, so if you’re finding new music during this time there is a good chance you’ll start to associate it with this trip. That is okay. I’ve known people to listen to an entire musical (I recommend Hamilton).
Food and Drink - Get excited for the road trip by stopping by your favorite coffeeshop for a decaf specialty coffee or tea you don’t usually get every day. Investigate the city you’re driving to ahead of time. They may have a breakfast or lunch spot you wouldn’t ordinarily get to go to. I know it’s a few extra dollars, but you deserve a reward.
By committing to these long trips for your future child you’re already making parenting decisions. Long drives now may lead to long drives to your 12 year old’s soccer tournaments. Learning to not dread them now may help you look forward to them later, wherever you’re going.
Allison Ramsey is a licensed professional counselor and fertility counseling specialist in the Asheville area. She’s a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and completed their certificate training in mental health counseling for infertility. Contact her to start feeling better.