Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Word On Waiting Room Etiquette

I am pregnant now, but that doesn't mean that the years of IF pain are suddenly gone. I think those scars might stick around for a very long time.

Yesterday, something happened at our IVF clinic that I am still in shock about. It is something that I honestly would not have believed if I hadn't seen in with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears. I have heard some pretty insensitive things over the course of the past two years, but yesterday's event takes the cake. I purposefully did not write about it yesterday, because I did not want to take any of the joy away from the excitement of our 8 week ultrasound. But now I have to share, because well, sharing is what this blog is all about.

Rewind to yesterday afternoon. As usual, my husband and I were more than a little nervous riding the elevator up to the 10th floor. We were shared the ride with a 30-something blond woman, who was holding a packet of our clinic's intake papers. We didn't share a word, but from those papers and the nervous expression on her face, I guessed that she was a first time patient.

We stepped off the elevator and into the reception area of our clinic. Now, let me paint the picture for you here. Our clinic does not have a large waiting area. It is shaped like an L, with the long part of the L running by the reception desk and the shorter end of the L is where the limited amounts of chairs and couches are. There has been more than one appointment where I could not find a seat in the waiting area. It's tiny.

So, when we pushed open the frosted glass doors, I was immediately assaulted by the sight of not one, but TWO sets of twins, one set looking about eighteen months or so, and the other set around a year. There was also a baby stroller, covered, so I am assuming that the infant inside was still pretty young. Now, there have been kids in the waiting room before, but never like this, where baby almost outnumbered adult.

My husband went to use the bathroom while I checked in. After speaking to the receptionist, I had to literally step around the toddling older twins. I paused to avoid stepping on the little girl and in doing so, stopped to admire both sets - after all, I'm not heartless, and I love children. The mom of the one year olds caught my admiring (and probably a bit wistful) glance and said in a loud, self-important tone, "This is what happens when I get pregnant."

To clarify, I asked her, "Did you get pregnant through this clinic."

She responded back in a perky (loud) voice, "No. These are natural. I had no problems getting pregnant."

"How lucky for you," I managed to choke out.

Okay, I will stop here to say:

#1: What the frick was she doing in the clinic waiting room anyway? She was obviously not a past patient. I decided to give her the benefit of the the doubt on this point. I thought maybe she was there as a surrogate or egg donor.

#2: The door CLEARLY states that this is a fertility clinic. And there are no other medical offices on this floor, so it's not likely that she accidentally got off on 10 and turned the wrong way. No, she knew she was in a fertility clinic. Why would you ever loudly proclaim your fertility for an entire room of obviously fertility-challenged men and women?

#3: Don't even get me started on the whole natural thing. Is my pregnancy unnatural in some way? Is my baby less natural than her baby?

If the story ended there, I guess you could say that I asked for it. I stopped to admire the babies, I made the (stupid) mistake of asking her about her children. Fair enough, I deserved what I got.

But the story doesn't end there.

I went and found a seat in the crowded room. As usual, the other women and I exchanged those surreptitious glances, wondering what the other is "in for," but not breaking the barrier of silence and pain. I noticed the blond sitting down on the other side of the room, looking painfully over at the twins when she thought no one was looking. Her naked envy was hard to watch, especially because I am fairly certain that my face held that same look.

My husband joined me a minute later, having missed my "natural" conversation with the twin mom. For the next ten minutes, we nervously waited our turn to be called back, trying to think happy thoughts. During this time, we were subjected to various comments from the fertile such as, "Oh, my children are my life. Don't you wonder how you ever lived without yours?" And of course the inevitable, "We were blessed with the twins, but we don't want any more children. So, now I have to be on the pill again. Those hormones make me crazy!"

Now, to be fair, the mom of the other children kept her tone low and almost seemed embarrassed as they continued their conversation. But continue it they did. Finally, I noticed the woman seemed to be preparing to leave. I started to breathe a sigh of relief when she did the unthinkable.

She cleared her throat and made an announcement to the entire room:

"Good luck, everybody. Maybe you'll end up with twins [Gestures to her children], or triplets, or even quadruplets! Or maybe you won't. Either way, God only gives you what you can handle. And maybe you just aren't meant to have kids!"

And then she left. Finally.

Leaving everyone open mouthed, looking at each other in disbelief. The blond lady finally said aloud, "I guess she's right. God must not give me more than I can handle, because she finally LEFT!"

We were called back right at that very minute, but I was still fuming, still am angry a day later. I know, I know, she probably thought that she was being nice. And you have to look at a person's intent, blah, blah, blah. You know what, though, sometimes ignorance is not an excuse.

Okay, I feel better.


BrownEyedGirl said...

What a complete idiot! ICK! That's all I can say! I'm sorry you had to endure her ignorance.


Anonymous said...

i'm de-lurking because i'm absolutely FURIOUS about what that woman said. clearly she was only there to boast about herself. ugh! maybe i am a horrible person, but i feel that women like that NEED to experience miscarriages and infertility just so that they become more human. yes - i WISH infertility and miscarriage on her! i dont care how mean or horrific that sounds - she doesnt deserve to be part of society. ugh!!!

Anonymous said...

It's not entirely clear from your post but it sounds like she was in the waiting room and then just *left* the clinic? So, is this how she gets her jollies; hanging around fertility clinic waiting rooms, making an ass of herself?

Sorry that you and all the other waiting clients had to put up with her!

Tracy said...

I.AM.LIVID. I want the number for your clinic so I can call them and find out who that IDIOT is.

It would have taken every ounce of control I have to not stand up and challenge her to "take it outside." What a complete and utter b-word.

And NO. Ignorance is NO excuse. You have GOT to have some tact in this world, and if you don't, then you need to be called out on it.

ARGH. I am so mad right now.

I'm so incredibly sorry you (and the others in the waiting room) had to deal with that.

Tracy said...

Seriously. You should call your clinic and complain. They should have a little chat with her, whoever she is.

alison said...

Some people are just so painfully STUPID! I don't get it. I'm sorry you had to deal with that.

Cari said...

Clearly a disturbed individual who has no sense of decorum or compassion. And, who was this freak? Why was she there in the first place?

I'm enjoying your blog!!

Julie said...


That is crazy!!! You know I go to your same clinic, and would absolutely freak if that happened! What did the receptionists say? Was E there? I can only imagine the looks of horror on his face...

So sorry you had to experience that. I hope if she is there for donor reasons that someone has the guts to tell her to chill out and be respectful.


Emily said...

Okay ... yes, I've been lurking around blogs and stumbled on your post and just felt the need to comment.

What the H-E double-hockey-sticks was that inconsiderate (insert bad word here) doing there to begin with? That was absolutely disgusting and disgraceful of her to do that!!

I'm with Tracy here ... I think something should be mentioned to your clinic about that person and how distasteful it was for you and for any of their patients there.

I am so sorry you had to endure such torture.

Anns said...

What an insensitive, stupid, ass.
That's it. There's no more to say.

Mrs. Piggy said...

Love the story telling,the story just kept getting better. Of course my mouth dropped at the end.
Wow, I just cant get over what she said, and screw ignorance, that bitch is just plain RUDE!
GRRR...i wonder if that got the patients in the waiting room talkin!

Adriane said...

What bullsh*t. That lady makes me sick. It's hard to believe people can be so oblivious and insensitive.

Maria said...

What a stupid bitch. Pardon my French. Who the hell does she think she is saying something like out loud and in a fertility clinic. I would've had a hard time refraining from slapping her.


Fertilize Me said...

WOW - i'm suprised she made it out alive! That is just completely HORRIBLE

Sunny said...

Holy freaking crap. I am at a loss for words but BOILING MAD!

Kim said...

Jesus. I don't even know what to say. Did you say something to your RE or the office staff? I would have for sure. What the HELL?

My Reality said...

Oh.My.God. I would have given her a piece of my mind. Or perhaps a taste of my fist.

waitinginline said...

I just...I don't...I'm not even sure what to say. What in the freaking world was that stupid ignorant &^%$* doing there?!?! And to be so openly insensitive!!! I mean, come on! Who tells a group of people sitting in a fertility clinic that maybe they just aren't meant to have kids?!?!?! Grrrrrrrrrrr

I am sorry that you and everyone else in that room were subjected to her. I'm a firm believer in what goes around comes around. Too bad I'll never know what she gets in return for that display.

Samantha said...

WTF is up with that?! Blond lady speaks for us all! We've all had our share of poor taste comments, but you win with this story!

BTW, I just caught up with your 8 week scan. Congrats!

Melissa said...

Oh man, what a beeyotch. I would have popped off back. Some women are just utterly clueless.

Smith said...

Here's one for the next time someone comes in and yaps like that:
How about I yank your uterus out and make a f-word swim cap out of it you socially degenerate speed bump.

Depressionista said...

Unbelievable. I am stunned. All of us who've gone through IF have dealt with the rude comment here and there, but this is just over the top. I agree with everyone who said it would be good to call the clinic and tell them to have a chat with Mrs. Fertile. Jesus.

She probably had to leave because she was late for her afternoon in the pediatric cancer waiting room, where she would loudly announce that her children were perfectly healthy and that God wouldn't give them or their poor sick children more than they could handle. And then, I don't know what, on to kill some puppies?

Kathy V said...

So uncalled for. What was she there for other than to torture people? She obviously did not have an appointment if she just got up and left and obviously she wasn't waiting for anybody if she didn't take anybody but her own kids with her. Cheers for the blond woman who expressed herself after the woman left and saying so. This whole process is tough enough anyway and then to have to deal with somebody so insensitive in the waiting room of the fertility clinic. What is wrong with people. I believe that these people have no filter between their brain and thier mouth. They think and the words just fall out of their mouths. The rest of us, even when we are curious, just sit there quietly. I am so sorry that you had to go through that at your appointment. You probably did the right thing by not punching her in her face or something. I probably would not have been able to keep my mouth shout and I would have said something to put her into her place.

soapchick said...

Oh my goodness, I don't think I would've been able to control myself so well. I think I would've told her to leave but with some not-so-nice words. Ugh, I'm sorry you had to sit through that. I honestly feel sorry for her kids, they have to grow up with "her" as a mother! Ugh!!

Laura said...

Wow! I got mad just reading that - can't imagine actually having to sit through it. I am surprised somebody didn't tackle her!

Tina said...

Idiot is not even the right word for that woman... I could think of more colorful names to use - but I won't post them on your blog. ;)

I would just LOVE to know why this woman was there in the first place! If she was not at the IF clinic for, well, IF treatment...then, why?

I have a preschooler (conceived through Clomid/IUI) and I NEVER take him to ANY appointments at my doctor's office. Not only for my convenience and privacy, but out of respect for those in that waiting room whom may be TTC and having problems. I guess sometimes a situation like that is unavoidable for some women - but, then at least have the respect to not rub it in another face.

One word for her: Classless. Hope her kids turn out to be more empathetic.

Jen said...

What a bitch! I mean just when I thought your story couldn't get worse it did. Unbelievable.

Gumby said...

Complete and utter BITCH! She is so lucky I wasn't in that waiting room because she would have gotten an earful, and belive me, I would NOT STOP until I had that bitch in tears and running to get out the door.

Gumby said...

Oh, and I would most DEFINITELY complain to the clinic, in person and in a written letter!

Dov said...

No, you don't need to look at her intent! She was RUDE! Really, unbelievable.

Antigone said...

Why are the stupid women the one's with all the kids?

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that someone had the GALL to say that! Did you ever figure out why she was there? What a hag, pure and simple.

Barb said...

Holy Sh*t! Blond lady was awesome with thinking on her feet though.

bluehairedwoman said...

Hi, I'm a new reader, sent by a friend. My jaw is practically on the floor after reading about your waiting room experience. I bet that stupid fertile beyotch thought she was giving helpful advice. That's the thing- these people are just so clueless.

Good luck to you!

Lizzybo said...

Incredible!! I wonder why she was there in the first place? Did she just want to gloat?

About a week and a half ago I was in the waiting room at my IVF clinic forced to endure the pain of seeing a woman there with her 2 babies. I was there to see if by some miracle I was still able to finish my first IVF cycle. I was in tears after having to deal with her and her children for about a half an hour.

I got my miracle, btw, at least to stay in the program. Won't know the result for another week.

Thanks for writing about this. It's something that always bothered me and I think it's terribly insensitive to bring little ones to the fertility clinic. However, I've never had the guts to say anything to one of the offenders, just to the staff at my clinic.

I want to make little cards to give to the offenders as either I or they leave, just to inform them of their inpropriety. I'm not afraid of letting them know - they should know - but I'm afraid of the confrontation making things worse.

lifefromhere said...

absolutely ridiculous! I feel for the woman in the waiting room too. at least she had a sense of humor about it. I agree the clinic is responsible for maintaining a safe and professional atmosphere and they should know...

Freyja said...

What a b!tch. Nothing else to be said.

Anonymous said...

That woman sounds horrible. Karma is a wicked thing, and I hope it pays her a visit.

Ellen K. said...


I agree with previous comments: Karma's a bitch.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's all I can say. What a total ass, and yes I would complain to the clinic, because no one deserves to hear that. It's tough enough actually sitting in those waiting rooms without being verbally assaulted by a moron. Sorry that happend to you and the other people there.