In brief, what has been happening is that Heather and I argued about whether it was important for her to see the miraculous Dr. King; I made approximately 397 phone calls to check whether her insurance was accepted by Dr. King's office, then filled out 398 forms; we went to see Dr. King Tuesday; Dr. King told us to see a specialist; and that specialist's office won't treat lesbians.
Dr. King was darling, although we didn't have a chance to witness her medical miracles as Heather kept her clothes on throughout. The office thought Heather was there for an annual exam, which we learned when gowns were presented to her, and which made my presence all the more embarrassing. I'm a first-timer, but I don't think even lesbians go to each other's pap smears.
What Dr. King told us is that, while her office didn't really do fertility treatments (which we knew), she could offer some advice (which is why we were there). So, expected. The advice, though, was a little more thought-provoking than the usual.
"Even a straight couple in perfect health can try to get pregnant for a year before it happens. The way you're doing it, you have a 20% chance each time. Now, you could keep doing that, but it could take a long time, and I don't think you want that. Even if you're ovulating regularly, Clomid can be good. It's a double-edged sword because it can thicken cervical mucus, but it also increases the number of follicles you have. The more follicles, the better."
My fertility-drug cynicism was properly subdued. Heather's had never developed to start with, so all this sounded great to her. "I'm ready to do this," she repeated.
IVF slid into the picture. "If you want to do this now, it's going to be your best shot. Obviously, though, there's the money."
Dr. King said that there was only really the one game in town when it came to fertility: Fertility Associates. I said, well, all the information on the website talks about husbands, and when we e-mailed about them treating a single woman, they didn't respond. Dr. King agreed: "Oh, yeah, definitely. The two older guys-- they won't even bother with you."
"There's a lady there, though, Dr. Duddy, and she'll probably help. I'll have my assistant call and try to get you an appointment. If that doesn't work, there's a great guy in Nashville. That's a four-hour drive, but he's really open about gay couples. He won't make you drive out there every time; we do as much of the lab work here as possible."
Heather and I were elated, feeling like we had a new source of hope (even if it was $20,000 away). It was as though we'd been given permission to skip dinner and go straight to dessert. IVF isn't easy, I'm sure, but it would be a lot more satisfying than paying $1,000 every month for a measly 20% chance. If we don't have to rule out every single possibility to qualify, then fuck it. Let's start in on the cake.
When we hadn't heard anything from Dr. Duddy's office in two days, I called them, figuring if I dropped Dr. King's name, we'd be cool. Turns out, Dr. Duddy no longer works there.
I relayed this information to Heather during our lunch break, then took her phone back and tried again.
"Hi, this is Heather. We just spoke about Dr. Duddy. Do you know if anyone else in your office will treat lesbians?"
The sweet-voiced receptionist sounded surprised. "All our doctors see everyone."
"Well, I was told otherwise."
She hesitated and said she'd go check.
I listened to the hold music, then it cut off, Heather laughed, and I called back.
The sweet-voiced receptionist said she'd been about to pick up and was sorry I'd been cut off. "Now, I checked, and anyone here can see you and give you some ideas about where else to go, but they can't treat you."
Heather said there's supposed to be another doctor in Huntsville.