You might remember that I had my follow-up visit with my doctor today. The snowflakes are home, so it’s time to get down to business. That’s exactly what this today’s visit was all about. We need to get our proverbial “i”s dotted and “t”s crossed, as Dr. D so eloquently put it.
I used to be a patient at a private practice. It wasn’t working out. I was flushing my money and emotions down the toilet and walked away from the entire experience void of hope and a sense of self. When I am ready, I will post some journal entries from those days. I am not yet ready. It wasn’t pretty. I’m not sure why I am sharing this right now, other than to say that my experience with my new doc is nothing like the old days. I feel like after years of riding the bench and being disappointed that it was never my turn, the coach put me in the game as the starting pitcher. It’s all about me, baby. Sometimes you need the big guns. For me, the big guns happen to include the head of Reproductive Endocrinology at our area’s premiere teaching hospital, Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center. Dr. D. is a rock star. Sometimes you need to take your medical care into your own hands. Never settle for not getting the answers that you deserve.
As I approached the main entrance to the hospital, I smiled and thought, “My babies are here! They are so close!”
Dr. D started out the appointment by stating, “I need to make it clear to you that this won’t be happening within the next month. I do not want you to leave here today screaming that this is not happening the way that you want it to.” Who, me?
He explained that we need to be methodical with how we proceed from here on out (he has been nothing but methodical from the moment I stepped into his hospital). He said, “What we’re doing is really important. Would you agree?” Um, yes. “Well, then we’re going to go about this the right way.” Yes, sir.
First, he needs to have blood tests from me. Mainly they are tests for no big deal things like Hepatitis, HIV, and other infectious diseases. I think that I have most of this stuff on record from a physical I had last spring. The results from those tests were faxed to him this afternoon. Unfortunately, he will be out of town through next week. He may or may not need some additional tests. We’ll see. I’ll know in a week.
After he has all of his required tests, then I’ll need to go in for a physical exam that will include an ultrasound, an examination of my reproductive tract (doesn’t that sound like fun!) and a trial transfer. Then, M and I will have to go in for a little class on progesterone injections (twice a day, in the trunk for three weeks leading up to the transfer and throughout the first tri-mester of pregnancy.) Ouch.
The actual cycle will consist of four office visits.
Visit #1: Blood work at the beginning of the cycle (My best guess is that this will be in early May.) I will begin the progesterone injections (to help make a nice, plush uterine lining) as well as Lupron injections (to shut down my reproductive system) and I will take Estrogen supplements orally. This course of meds will help my body to prepare for a pregnancy.
Visit #2: Blood work approximately a week before the transfer (Most likely three weeks later).
Visit #3: Embryo Transfer! (I am thinking that this will most likely be early June, if I am being honest here.)
Visit #4: Pregnancy Test!
Then, it was time for my questions for him. I am mainly posting these in case I have any readers who:
a. are wondering any of the same things that I was wondering (See question #2 everyone!)
b. might be going to a similar office visit and in need a good list of questions.
My List of Questions for Dr. Big Guns
1. Will I have to go on birth control prior to this cycle? No.
2. How many embryos will be transferred? Most likely 2. We are not yet ready to make this decision (I will go into more detail about this in a future post.) We are using embryos from a donor egg cycle. They are most likely very healthy. We are not looking for a reality show out of this deal.
3. What is the cost for storing any unused embryos? (Did I mention that we adopted 22 embryos?) There is no cost. That is the way my doc rolls. Dr. D. trusts that we will responsibly use his freezer.
4. Does the doc order the meds, or do I? The nurse will help me with this.
5. Are the meds covered by insurance? Some might be, some will not be.
6. Will I be seen for my pregnancy at his hospital or will I be able to go to a doctor in my city? After the first two months of my pregnancy, I will be released to the OB of my choice.
7. Do you recommend bed rest after the transfer? No. Get back to work. Go about your normal routine. (Dangit! I was hoping for some good trashy tv time! Let’s pretend like the answer was, “Yes. Bed rest for at least three days.” Shall we?)
8. I’ve had a history of endometriosis. Will this effect my chances of success? No, not at all.
Believe it or not, this process is MUCH less complicated than a typical IVF cycle. We are not stimulating my ovaries which means less shots and less risk of complications. The stress if whether or not I will produce any good eggs (not bloody likely) and then viable embryos is not an issue.