When I walked into that Onikan clinic, I knew I had no business there. The place was dingy, and everyone there had a sad, forlorn look on their face. As I sat in the reception, I though wistfully of my former clinic and wished with all my heart that I was there instead. But as we were still reeling from wedding expenses, cash was short, so I had opted for this hospital, which was free for me on my HMO. When I was eventually ushered in to see the doctor, my heart sank at the sight of this brash, unfriendly, female doctor, who more or less barked at me, making me long for my doctor’s gentle, paternal attention even more. And every time I came back for an appointment, it was always the same thing. I would walk in with my heart in my stomach, and walk out feeling even worse. Somewhere deep down, I knew I would not get pregnant in this awful, unfriendly place. But I didn’t listen to my heart…and instead proceeded to waste a full year of my life here.
When I went back to my original doctor, my heart soared, and it felt like a home coming. For the first time, I actually felt hopeful. And we proceeded to try, cycle after cycle, but nothing was quite working out. He didn’t see the need to rush, and wanted us to follow a more relaxed approach. But my impatience soon got the better of me, and off I went searching for a hospital that would give me the quick fix that I wanted. And then I found that Ikoyi IVF hospital.
When I got the reply to the e-mail I sent, I felt uneasy. One would have thought I would be oh-so-excited about their supposedly lower prices, but there was something about the Hospital Administrator’s choice of words that didn’t quite sit well with me. And when I met with her, she seemed more interested in what I was wearing, than the questions I had to ask. And the uneasy feeling never shifted. Even though the doctors were not as unfriendly as those in the Onikan clinic, and the decent white and blue decor was a far cry from the eye sore that was the Onikan clinic, I was depressed every time I left the hospital. Once again, I didn’t listen to my heart, and my IVF cycle with this clinic failed woefully.
By this time, I knew that ignoring my gut feeling had been my downfall in my TTC journey. And I knew that it was time to do things differently. So, I went back to the doctor of my heart, had a far more attentive and relaxed IVF cycle, and got my beautiful girls.
All these, and a few other non-TTC events, made me a firm believer in the fact that following one’s gut instinct is critical, particularly when it comes to TTC. One of my closest friends was diagnosed with multiple, large uterine fibroids, and I immediately referred her to my doctor. Because my heart had accepted him as the very best option for me, I automatically assumed it would be like that for everyone. My best friend, and a number of other people, had been successfully treated by him, so I didn’t bat an eye sending this friend of mine off to him. I didn’t even bother calling to ask how it went, because I took it for granted that she would also have a good experience. Imagine my shock when I finally spoke with her, and she told me “Ah, Nicole. I can’t use that your doctor oh! The guy gave me goose bumps, and not in a good way”. I was confused. Goose bumps??! When I questioned further, she said her spirit was uneasy the moment she saw him, and if it wasn’t for the expensive consultation fee she had already paid, she would have turned around and fled. Uneasy spirit ke??? For my doctor??? I just couldn’t comprehend it. But the more I thought about it, the more I understood. Just as my heart had rejected the other clinics, hers had rejected mine. I immediately decided to respect her decision, and helped her shop around for another clinic.
Another friend of mine, who also had fibroids, was shopping around for a good clinic. I introduced her to my doctor…she didn’t like him. Okay, fair enough. I introduced her to another one. She found him okay, and was just about to register with him, until she mentioned where she worked and he began to name drop some of her colleagues he had also treated. Ha! Error! She never went back to him, for fear of him also dropping her own name to other patients. So, the hunt continued for the ideal hospital, but none of them registered well with her. One day, we had a heart-to-heart discussion, and she expressed her fear of having the operation in a Nigerian hospital. Ordinarily, I would have argued vehemently in favour of a Nigerian hospital. Why would she want to pay all that money, when there were cheaper options that were almost as good?! But I knew too well the importance of that thing called gut instinct.So, I proceeded to search for offshore options for her. And even when we had narrowed it down to 3 hospitals, one in the U.S, one in the U.K, and one in Dubai, even though the U.S and Dubai hospitals were much cheaper, she was drawn to the Surgeon in the U.K. hospital, so we supported her choice.Thankfully, she had a successful surgery, and never for once regretted paying all that money for care she felt most comfortable with. Who knows what would have happened if she had chosen one of these doctors she didn’t like? Who knows if she would have made it out of the operating room alive? Those are questions we thankfully don’t have to answer.
I believe that our gut instinct has been given to us, to act as red flags when we approach precarious situations. Warning signs, if you will. Unfortunately, a good number of us have not trained ourselves to recognise these warning signs, and forge ahead, regardless. Sometimes, it takes being bitten a few times (as was the case with me) to finally recognise these warning signs, and take action immediately. To recognise them, pay attention to your reaction to certain situations and circumstances. Do not ignore feelings of unease and discomfort, heaviness in your heart, a sinking feeling in your stomach, sweaty palms, and unidentifiable feelings of sadness and despair. These are some of the typical warning signs that something is amiss. Ignoring them is at your own peril!
Baby dust to all, my people!