The first time I went to the US, I had been working in China for 18 months. It was the early 90s - before the big cities started to have Western supermarkets and stock Western goods in a lot of places. You could only get cheese in Beijing - there was only one type available, and the excitement when we had visitors from Beijing and they would bring a block of standard Beijing cheese with them was huge. Deodorant had to be sent from England, and even if Cadbury's chocolate had been available locally, my volunteer's salary wouldn't have been enough to allow me to buy it.
I went straight from there to the US, and the biggest feeling I remember on my first trip to Walmart is of bewilderment. There were such riches in there - you'd have something on your shopping list and not only would you be able to find it, but you had a choice of several different brands. The choice paralysed me - I wasn't familiar with these American brands, and I just didn't know which one to pick. I ogled and admired, and then I left the shop with empty hands.
I'm facing the same problem now.
When we first realised we might have a problem, I discovered that there was a hospital five miles from our home which offered fertility treatment. It was the natural choice, and the only one we could get to without travelling for at least an hour each way. When I realised how intensive the treatment was, and how many visits to the clinic would be needed, I was grateful that it was so close.
After Mr No Nonsense was so dismissive of our chances at the follow-up appointment after our first IVF, I wondered if we might be better off going somewhere else. But there was nowhere else nearby, and proximity and the fear of the unknown won out over the thought of having to juggle travelling for a couple of hours a day during treatment with working full time and everything else. Plus, although Mr No Nonsense was a little brusque, Nurse Perfect was, well, perfect, and I was happy to stay with her and the other staff, all of whom knew my name and treated me with friendliness and consideration.
Now we're looking at it again. I've come round to the idea that if we chose somewhere near where we both work, we wouldn't have so much added travelling time, because I could just nip in there on the way to work.
And this is where our problem begins - because halfway between my office and DH's office, and about five to ten minutes' walk from both, is Harley Street. And Harley Street is stuffed with fertility clinics. So suddenly I'm that 23-year-old in Walmart again, bewildered and dithering.
Do we go to the chap who specialises in couples who've had failed treatments elsewhere, who gets the best results in the country and who gives you a blood test every day during treatment (including Saturday and Sunday - eurgh, more travelling into London) and adjusts your medication according to what it shows? But he's also the most expensive in the country, and I've read a number of complaints about the impersonal way patients are shuffled through the waiting-room and the fact that they're often seen up to two hours after their appointment time - which would negate the advantage of being near the office.
Or do we go to the chap who used to work with that one and has now set up on his own? He uses similar methods, has studied under the master, but is less well-known and so less busy (and less successful).
Or do we go to the clinic that's attached to one of the famous teaching hospitals, where the daughter of one of my colleagues had a successful treatment last year? That may not be possible, because I've heard that they have quite a low cut-off limit for FSH levels, and mine is probably above that.
Or do we try the one which offers a deal on three treatments for the price of two? We did say we'd try three times in total, and this will be our third attempt. Can I cope physically and psychologically with another three attempts?
Or do we go to the one which specialises in treating older women with gentle IVF, where they use lower doses of the stimulating drugs and aim for fewer eggs but higher quality? Fewer eggs than I had on my last cycle would mean one mature egg - that really would be putting all my eggs in one basket, but if the quality was better...?
Or do we choose one of the others that I haven't even looked into yet - but maybe I should, because one of them might be the perfect one?
I think I'll be happier once we've made a decision - in reality, that means once I've made a decision and then explained my reasoning to DH, because he takes no part in all of this research, however much I try to get him interested - and presenting him with all these options would just upset and confuse him.
But who's to say I'm not upset and confused too...?