There’s no such thing as a dumb question, right?

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Our IVF consultation appointment is this Thursday. I want to have a thorough, prepared list of questions to ask him. I want to leave that appointment with a clear understanding of what to expect. I’m the kind of person that will be up all night agonizing the things I didn’t ask, so I’m trying to be proactive. Here’s my current list, what am I forgetting?

  1. Based on my history, what are my odds of a live birth (and with how many cycles)?
  2. Why are their FET success rates so much lower now than in 2008 (50% vs 25%)?
  3. Do you know if your success rates went up in 2013?
  4. Why did IUI fail for us? Why might IVF work?
  5. Why was I able to get pregnant 3 times on Clomid/Femara, but not with injectables?
  6. Any sense in doing more IUIs before moving to IVF?
  7. Do you do a 3 or 5 day transfer, and why?
  8. What supplements should I be taking?
  9. Do you use vitrification? (a super fast freezing process, thought to be better than conventional freezing methods)
  10. Why would a cycle be canceled?
  11. How soon after the first fresh IVF cycle can we do a FET?
  12. How many eggs do you hope to retrieve?
  13. Will I have a specific nurse assigned to me? 
  14. Do you do bed rest after the transfer?
  15. When can I get started?
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Resolve to know more about your treatment

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National Infertility Awareness Week is coming to an end. I wanted to do one more post in honor of it and to be a part of the Bloggers Unite Challenge (we are celebrating 25 years after all!).

After 29 months of regular doctors’ appointments, I’ve realized how important it is to be your own advocate with your treatment plan. No one know yours medical history as well as you do. No one cares about the outcome of your treatment as much as you do. It is up to you to keep your doctors and nurses on their toes and ensure you are getting the best treatment possible. It’s not always easy to second guess your doctor, but they are people too and no one is perfect. Since I’ve taken a more active role in my treatment, I feel more empowered and more confident of the path I’m on. Here are some tips that have helped me take charge of my treatment:

Ask questions. This one is obvious, but easier said then done. It is very important to understand why a doctor may choose one way over another. Don’t be shy, a good doctor will be thrilled to explain his methods. Why start stims on day 3 instead of day 5? Why implant 2 embryos instead of 1? If you think of something after your appointment, call your clinic’s nurses line!

Do your research. Before choosing an IVF clinic (if you’re lucky enough to have multiple in your area) check out their stats on SART (Society for Assistant Reproductive Technology). All IVF clinics are required to report their stats to them, so it’s a great place to compare success rates. You can also compare your clinic to the national success rates. The stats I find to be the most indicative of a good clinic are percentage of cycles resulting in live births for fresh and thawed cycles (don’t ignore the # of embryos implanted or cycles cancelled either).

Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, question it. I’ve followed too many instructions that I wasn’t comfortable with to later regret it. If you feel like you need to do the IUI 24 hours after trigger instead of 36 hours, let them know. Obviously you need to take the doctor’s opinion to heart, but perhaps they weren’t thinking of something in your history. I’ve had nurses look at my history too quickly and give me the wrong dosing schedule. It’s up to you to know your history and be your own advocate!

Get a second opinion. Some doctors are better than others, some are more familiar with your specific condition, and some just may have more experience than others. It’s important for you to be comfortable with your doctor. If you just aren’t jiving with your doctor, find another one. Both times I’ve requested a change in doctors it’s even been within the same office. No one should question your desire to change, don’t be nervous to make the call, it’s more typical than you think.

Utilize the IF online community. If you wonder if anyone else has had luck with a specific treatment plan, there’s no better place to go than the IF online community. Post it to a board, blog about it, or ask in a facebook group. Your RE may have seen hundreds or maybe even thousands of patients, but that can’t compare to the millions of us online. Should you take your medical advice from ONE person online whose not a doctor? Of course not. Compare stories, ask around, and gather information. Bring it to your doctor and discuss it together, perhaps they’ll learn something too.

Just remember this is your journey, don’t be passive in it!

For more information please check out:

Throwback Thursday – Dr. Crazy Glasses

Here is one of the many stories that at the time I thought to myself, I should be blogging about this stuff.

After my second miscarriage, I was having some pain along with a few other strange symptoms (honestly I can’t remember what they were, but I remember being alarmed). I called my OB office to see if I needed to come in. They wanted me to come in that day, but my OB was on vacation. Instead they scheduled me with a different OB at their other location.

I waited FOREVER in the waiting room but finally got called back. Into my room walks a short little lady with a bright rainbow colored shirt, purple shoes, and crazy orange glasses. She must have been at least 70, but was trying to hide it by dying her hair a very unnatural looking black. My normal OB is the poster child for female doctors, so this new lady just cracked me up (even before she opened her mouth).

She started off by saying how sorry she was about the miscarriage and how it was extra sucky that I had to come back in, but that she’d get me all fixed up and send me on my way. We made a bit more small talk and then she began the exam. As I’m in the typical on my back legs spread OB position, she says to me as she is inserting the speculum, “So what do you do when you’re not having miscarriages?”  For whatever reason, that hit me just right and was about the funniest thing I’d ever heard (and still makes me chuckle!). I think if it had come from any other person, it might have upset me. But this lady was such a character; it was the perfect thing for her to say. I can’t remember how I answered, but I think it was something to the effect that it felt like it had become my full time job lately.

After the exam, she spent about 15 minutes with me making recommendations on how to proceed with my next pregnancy. She recommended books, gaining weight (she gave me doctor’s orders to eat ice cream nightly, which I’ve taken very seriously), medications, and a few other random tips. While she’s talking she’s writing it all down for me, in completely illegible scribbles and pictures (I wish I could have found them, would have made a great picture for this post!).  I couldn’t believe this doctor I’d never met before was taking so much time to give me advice (albeit a bit scattered). When she left, she gave me a hug and told me she’d pray for me.

When I got into the car, I sat there for a few minutes and played back in my head what just happened before I called my husband. I felt like I had just been punked or was on candid camera. Such a bizarre doctor experience! Luckily I had the scribbled paper to prove it or I’m pretty sure my husband wouldn’t have believed me. I haven’t seen her since, but hope to again if I ever get pregnant.

Anyone else have a crazy doctor experience?

(For what it’s worth, I did have an infection and had to take a week of antibiotics)