My theme this year is IVF/ICSI, a process we’re starting at the moment and today it’s U for Underwear.
I think that this is probably one of those things that all women will at some point or another. When I go in for a routine smear test, or for that matter, any kind of test that requires you to remove your underwear I carefully hide my underwear beneath all of my other clothes.
I have no idea why this is, I mean it’s not like the nurse doing the procedure really cares that much about my underwear. I’m sure most of the time she has way more interesting things to be thinking about. Plus, it’s not even like she gets much of an opportunity to see them.
When you’re having IVF treatment you’ll get used to the routine fairly early on. In both of the hospitals I’ve been in for treatment the set up is the same. You’ll have an exam room with the bed, the funky stirrups and scanning gear, and off of that will be a little room with a toilet in it. In that room will be a basket for used linen or gowns and stuff for cleaning up after examinations.
You head into the toilet, strip from the waist down, hide your pants in your jeans, put on the gown/wrap yourself in the fabric you’ve been given, and then head out ready to expose yourself to the waiting nurse. I actually got so conditioned into this routine that I kind of reached the point where whenever I walked into a room with a medical professional I was ready to strip from the waist down and stick my feet in the nearest pair of stirrups.
The point I’m getting at with all this is that you have to be prepared to give up a certain degree of dignity when you go through any kind of fertility treatment. People are going to be prodding and poking you in some places which normally very few people are allowed access to; IVF kind of makes that whole region of your body into a bit of a free for all. And you’re going to get very, very used to taking your underwear off. So you might want to treat yourself to something a little bit special in that department, so that at least when you’re putting them back on after another uncomfortable scan you’ll have something to make you smile.
Now if you’ve got a friend or family member going through treatment I’m not suggesting that you buy them fancy underwear. That would be weird. Unless you’ve got the sort of relationship where you can get away with that sort of thing. But just remember that the person going through treatment will be revealing way more of themselves at appointments than they would usually like to; offer some sympathy, you’ve probably had some equally embarrassing or uncomfortable appointments yourself and may understand more than you think.