Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Next Stop: Test Tube Babies

My appointment today lasted twelve minutes.

I had barely sat down before the French Doc, in her inimitable manner, exclaimed she had good news and they could offer me IVF, and last year they wouldn't have been able to.

"Isn't that good?" She prompted, clearly surprised by my slack jawed response.

"Well, yeeessss" I started cautiously, opening up my note book, "But I've got a few questions..."

Suddenly I felt a bit pathetic with my copious notes but, manfully, I persisted.

I explained I was worried that even though for the last six months, I have ovulated more regularly than ever I was concerned that possibly my womb lining still wasn't up to scratch.

She shrugged off that concern with a "No, no you have been having lots of scans, they would have picked up on anything unusual. You have been very carefully monitored you know."

True, I've had more phallic instruments inserted in the last six months than a porn star at a dildo convention, but there was still a niggle.

"What about a laparoscopy?" I ventured.

"No need whatsoever." Which stopped that route of questioning.

Next I tried to couch my question with a blushing; "I'm sure you must hate people who come in having done lots of internet research ..."

"It doesn't compete with 20 years experience" she confirmed

"... but there are a few more tests I wonder if I should be having."

"We've done all the tests right at the start."

"Really? Only I looked through my notes and I didn't see any mention of thyroid testing"

"All done, all done I always do them at the start," she pulled something up on her computer to prove it. "We don't send all the results out because it is a waste of paper" She remarked somewhat cryptically. (I'm all for my hospital being green but an extra line on an existing letter...?)

"OK" I wasn't about to persevere with the other tests recommended "what is the waiting list for IVF?"

None apparently, well not once I've managed to get an appointment with the IVF specialist. Which stunned me, I have been preparing myself for a waiting list of 18 months or similar.

"And the side effects?"

"Very few. The only risks are really associated with being pregnant so if you want to avoid risk you should avoid pregnancy." Not the most helpful suggestion I've heard, but I let it pass.

And why didn't the IUI work?

"No way of knowing, I'm not going to make something up." Fair enough, another closed route of questioning.

The husband asked what the stats were. Apparently (for their clinics so bear in mind these stats aren't universal), the percentage chance of success with IUI was 14% for IVF, however, it leaps to an encouraging 50%.

I asked how many embryos were transfered (still hoping for twins). "Oh never more than two" she assured me "there is a push for just transferring one."

"I ... er ... wouldn't mind two" I stumbled.

So it seems set.

I was whisked off to book the next appointment, this time with the IVF specialist. And, although there is no waiting list for the actual IVF there is a six week waiting period to actually see the main dude.

So now, once more, I wait. This time for the IVF appointment on the 18 of March.

Fuck, this might really happen.


  1. Wowser! Economic with words, is she? And brooks no argument? Formidable!
    (In a cod French accent.)

    50% though, that's good! And 18 March, that's good, too. Things are looking up, WFI!

  2. Darn tootin' it might really happen! Twins, to boot! (Imagine that being said with a Canadian accent) And I've seen test tube babies... they're cute!!!

    So excited for you! 2010 will be your year. Guaranteed.

  3. I've been a lurker for awhile, and just wanted to come out and say congrats! Wonderful!

  4. Wow. Well, March 18th isn't too far away! I hope that you feel somewhat informed even with her lack of explanation.

  5. Ya wooo!!! That is great news. Moving on is good! Congratulations and good luck!

  6. That is good news! Best of luck with the IVF doctor!

  7. That is fantastic news - good old NHS! So it could all start happening this Spring,so glad there aren't long waiting lists and that you've already got your initial appt in your diary. I feel excited! Wig xxxx

  8. HOLY SHIT! Congratulations on being fast-tracked! I hope you don't mind her not being so much about empowering the patient through careful information sharing!

  9. That is exciting. IVF could be in our future too so I look forward to reading about your experience. Fingers crossed!

  10. Yay! Glad you are on to see the IVF specialist. Hopefully he can offer you more answers than the French Doc.

  11. Test tube babies? Yes, please and yes, please. This is so gonna happen. :) Sounds like Madamemoiselle is all about efficiency with office supplies AND with words. Cheers to the next big step!

  12. Wow. I'm excited for you now.

    And feeling all nostalgic due to your use of the term 'test tube baby'

  13. How exciting. And, how just very terse and not incredibly explanatory... Ah, well. I guess at least she seems to have thought it all out already. Woohoo!! :)

  14. Wow, she doesnt beat around the bush (sorry no pun intended!)
    It is good that she is so confident.
    18th March is just around the corner!! Really hope this works for you.
    I have mine on Monday, I hope I am in the chair for a little longer than you, but I doubt it!!!

  15. Hoo-bloody-ray!
    This is seriously exciting (despite the fact that I absolutely bloody HATE it when a Dr can't see that the person in front of them is well educated and has a lot of questions and palms them off with " you don't need to know this information I have about your body because I have a medical degree and you don't and so will not understand this complex stuff that requries a medical degree to understand and your poor puny little brain will collapse if I give you all this information you think you want"...
    Whoa ... sorry. Maybe I was channeling my ownexperience a bit there.....

    In short. This result is completely and utterly AWESOME.

  16. 6 weeks isn't that far away. Good luck!

  17. Deep breath.

    I've had appointments like that, with exactly that sort of Dr, speaking in exactly that sort of fashion. And I walked away feeling like a circuit board on a production line, who had just had the IVF chip successfully installed by a robotic arm, with a 6 week wait for switch-on by Head IVF Dude.

    This should be a team approach, and you are in charge of the direction that team heads in. If you want IVF: wonderful. No waiting list? Hooray! But if you still have questions or uncertainties about your treatment: don't let anyone finesse you into feeling too inadequate to question, challenge and discuss. I once let one of the UK's best-thought-of fertility consultants make the most almighty (I was going to say cock-up, but my mind boggled in time) mistake with my IUI sperm insemination - all because I was too intimidated by the White Coats! Clipboards! Degrees! Speaking over my head in the operating theatre! Deities! to speak out when I was uneasy about the correctness of the procedure. They had to refund my money, apologise, and re-do the cycle. It wasn't so much their mistake (and a whole wasted cycle at a time when I begrudged a DAY'S delay on the road to pregnancy) that upset me, but I was enormously cross (with them AND myself) afterwards that I had been made to feel so acutely nervous about my own intimate medical care that I was too embarrassed and nervous to speaking out.

    My Counsellor immediately picked up on it and robustly challenged the feelings of inadequacy surrounding my failure to conceive that had enabled the incident to take place in the first place. Had they been talking about an invasive procedure on any other part of my body, I would have had far less hesitation in letting myself be road-rollered.

    Also, the staff are prone to losing sight of the holistic whole in Repro clinics. There IS a production line element to fertility treatment - as one course fails, you naturally proceed to another - but the person driving the movement forward should always, always be the patient.

    So. Her answers sounded spot on, just so... closed. I don't for one minute mean to suggest she is not giving you the best scientific care (and I'm sure you are infintely less Baaaa!like than I was to begin with!) but it's disappointing that she didn't take the time to explore your reasons for asking the questions that you did.

    Rant over!

    I'm delighted that March could see you IVF-d up and - hopefully - in the right 50%?

  18. She sounds like a bit of a beeyotch.

    But that is great news on the swift appointment! Yippee! xx

  19. How fantastic! Great news today! Wish you luck, can't wait for updates!

  20. Wow I'm sorry about the Dr being a bit of a beotch. I'll be thinking about you, I know taking the next step is scary and sometimes not easy. Wishing you lots of luck! Looks like you can drink for 6 more weeks ;).

  21. I cant decide if I want to punch your doctor, or shake her hand. I kinda feel like I want to punch her, maybe.

  22. My entire experience at my clinic has consisted of tons of testing, 3 IUI's and now IVF. I've been their patient for almost a year, but it still seems surreal that's it's happening so fast. The French doctor sounds a bit curt, but she seems to have covered all your bases. 6 weeks to go! So excited for you!

  23. I'm glad you are able to move forward so quickly!! My only concern would be how she dismissed your questions so quickly. Follow your gut and push for any testing you think is necessary...It has the potential to save some future heartache.

    All of that said, Woo Hoo!! You are moving forward.

  24. Wow thats great news. Is this a funded treatment? I ask because I cannot get more than a single egg transfer over here for it and because I am under 40. I really wanted two too but I have now researched the rates of twin vrs singleton births and there is a greater chance of them getting sick. I also have witnessed someone with twins and they are pretty full on and unfortunatly didnt qualify for help and have to rely heavily on family for it.
    Good luck with the next steps, 6 weeks will fly by. Isn't it bazarre when you go in thinking you are prepared for an appointment then it takes a different direction and you are left gobsmacked?

  25. She sounds proper scary. I have visions of you and your notes, flapping through them! But well done for persisting and yay on things moving quickly! xx

  26. no side effects from IVF??? Congrats on the good outlook on it, but really???

  27. OMG! OMG! OMG! Sorry about all the exclamation marks but really, I can't believe how easy getting IVF on the NHS and an appointment with an IVF specialist is in your area. Take it from me, it is great that you only have 6 weeks to wait. Oh, and another bug bear that comes with me living where I do and you living where you do is that we are limited to a single embryo transfer! Do I sound bitter? I'm not bitter at you, I am bitter at the bloody system.

    I think it is great that you are moving on to the next stage however, I'm right there with you on how scary it all is! (My final exclamation mark, for good measure).

  28. Here from Hairy Farmer…

    Sorry to hear about the appointment you had with the French doctor. But thrilled you’ve only got 6 weeks to wait for your appointment with the IVF specialist. I remember when we first started I really knew nothing about what lay ahead of us. I hadn’t even googled or read blogs, and now I wish I had or I would been more outspoken in my treatment. We’re about to embark (soon I hope) on our last FET with DE and because our previous cycles failed, I asked our RE if there was anything we should do (laparoscopy, blood work, something). He said no he’d done it all and even went so far as to suggest a surrogate and new donor even though we had excellent embryos (we don’t have funds to follow his recommendation). This was last fall, so I got an appointment with the OB who had done my fibroid surgery 3 years earlier and described our IVF cycles for her, and then told her I really wanted to make sure that we hadn’t overlooked anything. Even though I had had the requisite blood panel when I first started with the RE, she ordered a huge list of bloodwork, some of which I never heard of (and I know he never did). She also sent me for a transvaginal and pelvic ultrasound as well as a sonohysterogram. When I met with her a month later, she said my uterus was fine. But she did say I was heterozygous for MTHFR. This isn’t necessarily why my cycles failed, but it could have contributed and she’s recommended upping my folic acid to 5mg from the 1mg I was taking. She also sent me to see a doctor of internal medicine in case she had any ideas. This second doctor send me for a repeat on some of the bloodwork she noticed had shown positive as well as a few additional tests. She also recommended adding exercise to my weekly activity as it had been shown beneficial to conception more so than losing weight. I will follow up with her in a couple of weeks.

    (Sorry for the long comment). I guess what I’m saying is listen to your gut. If you feel you didn’t get the answers you wanted, and you want to pursue more testing, then find someone who will do it for you. You’re entitled to a second opinion and any physician who gets upset by that, would make me think twice. Maybe the IVF Specialist will be willing to address your concerns and do the testing you’re asking for. Don’t let the doctors take control.

    Good luck with everything.

  29. Formidable is the perfect description Twangy

    I can just aboot imagine that Gilsner

    Thanks Nixy, always good to meet the silent majority!

    Less informed, Lea, more I’ve got a few weeks to inform myself.

    Cheers Kelly

    Thanks Megan, onwards and upwards

    Thanks April, I’m looking forward to seeing what he has to say

    Cheers Wig, we’ll have to arrange our trip away before the 18th.

    Bunny, I do feel somewhat disempowered but I guess the end result is what counts.

    Hi Nikus, Hopefully you’ll find out a bit more about what to expect through this blog that I did from my doc!

    Thanks Baby on Mind, me too

    Mega efficient Trinity

    Ahh nostalgia, its not what it use to be Xbox

    I hope so Rebecca, as long as it isn’t a one size fits all approach

    No Nic, she lets her minions beat around my bush.

    Thanks Corymbia, I think you channeled the experiences of everyone who has ever felt insignificant in the doctor’s chair, and that includes me.

    6 weeks isn’t, Pregnant Yuppy, although I did miscount and it is actually 7 weeks. Doh!

    HFF, thanks so much for your comment, and your post on the back of it.

    Not a butch Cazzy, but equally not willing to truck with amateurs trying to help her do her job.

    Ta Jenn, I’ll certainly be updating.

    I could drink JC, but I might try and turn my body into some kind of temple in preparation for the big IVF.

    Punch he whilst shaking her hand maybe sarah

    That was pretty much my thoughts Murgdan, followed by Yay, holy shit.

    Cheers finch, we are at the same stage (though it has taken two years of treatment for me to get through 3 IUIs)

    Thanks Lost In Space, I’ll push for more answers with the IVF Doc

    I was being a little flippant about twins, PiB, though I wouldn’t throw one back if it did happen!

    Times like that Granine, I wish I was a fighty northener like, oh I dunno, someone round here.

    I know Barb, its a but unbelievable isn't it?

    I understand completely Secret D, it is bizarre that there isn't a standard set of treatment across the uk.

    Thanks very much Pam, I will certainly try and get more answers from the iF chap.

  30. Ah, yes, the hand shake could I have forgotten.

  31. As much as it's great that it's all happening without much argument I think I would have been a little speechless with this approach. I hope that maybe the main dude is willing to give you a bit more time to ask questions. That said, good luck with the IVF!!!

  32. Sounds EXACTLY like my RE in Nebraska! Me with my detailed list of questions, and her quickly dismissing each and every one, essentially without explanation. Could they be twins?! Geez!
    It's wonderful that they got you in so quickly for IVF - congrats! I too would urge you to follow your gut and push for additional answers to your questions if you aren't satisfied with the answers your French doc gave you. Good luck, and loads of babydust!!

  33. That's great news :-) Everything moving in the right direction for you for once.

    You deserve this...

  34. Delighted to hear that you have a short wait for you appointment. It's the day we're going on hols, so I will be thinking of you as we race from one terminal to another in Heathrow!

    Sorry to hear that French Doctor was abrupt with you. The doctor we were attending in Galway is also french, and at times I wondered was it language barrier or just her manner, but she wasn't the most communicative of people.

  35. excellent news! Hope you get all of your questions answered and your IVF underway very soon.

  36. Hello,

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    They were really good with the treatments.. u can follow this site for more details