I started drafting this yesterday from the RE’s office. I had quite the wait, so I had some time to kill. I was in for my Antral follicle count, and for ultrasounds (baseline, monitoring, or otherwise) they assign you a day and then it is first come first serve as soon as they open at 7:45. You come in and take a number then wait until your number comes up to actually register with the check in desk. I’d seen this happening on days that I was in for an IUI or appt with Dr. M but never done it myself before. So I got there at 7:45 am sharp. Number 13. Fuck. Apparently people come as early as 7 and just wait until the doors open to get in first. Lesson learned because if/when we end up doing IVF, I’ll get to do this several times a week while on stimulating hormones. Interestingly, there was actually quite a bit of chatter in the normally silent waiting room, because there were so many people. It mostly died down after people started going in, but it was sort of nice to see the camaraderie.
J didn’t come with me this time as it was rather unnecessary, plus he’s swamped being back at work. It was my first time being at the clinic by myself. I know that seems crazy, but so far it’s been important for J to be here (either for the appts with Dr. M or to give his deposits). He’s such a good guy and I’m lucky he’s been able to make it work, as I know a lot of ladies out there just go it alone because schedules don’t mesh. I didn’t like being there alone, it made me feel vulnerable. Plus with the whole numbers fiasco I felt like a newbie to infertility all over again. Also, this was my first ever date with the dildo cam. Again, I know, how did I get so far without that pre requisite meeting? I suppose because my IUIs were unmonitored, there was no need, it’s not until injectables and/or IVF that they bring out the big guns. But they needed to do the pre IVF Antral follicle count, and if/when we do IVF, I’m sure the dildo cam and I will be besties.
So, I finally got called back, to an area I’ve never been before (I didn’t have to walk past the wall of babies this time, bonus!). The nurse showed me to a change room where I was to get undressed, waist down. She asked me if I was on anything besides synthroid and I told her no. She questioned, no folic acid or anything? I gave her the short version that I had suspended all supplements after our last failed IUI but would be back on them as of this cycle. She gave me a bit of a lecture about how it takes 3 months for it to build up in my system. I said, yes I realized that, I was going to be starting them again right away, so she left it alone. She then asked what cycle day I’m on and I told her CD4, she kind of gave me a questioning look and asked if I had a hard time making my ultrasound appt. I said no, but that I hadn’t called until Tuesday because I was out of town. So she tells me that I was supposed to come in on day 1, 2, or 3.
This was news to me as the instructions they gave me specifically said day 2 – 4. I told her this, and she said no, that’s for AFC and then asked if I am there to start injectables? Then I understood her confusion, I told her I was there for the AFC and she had to turf the paper work she had just done. Apparently I was booked for the wrong appt, but I know the girl who left me the voicemail confirming it said it was for AFC so I don’t know where it went wrong. Luckily I was still in the right place, she just had to redo my chart and she told me to carry on, get undressed and go across the hall to the ultrasound room.
So because I have never been to this part of the clinic, or had to have an internal ultrasound I wasn’t really sure what was up. There was a sheet on the chair in the change room (I initially thought it was a gown, but nope just a sheet). So I was kind of confused, like what do I do with this, just wrap up and waddle across the hall? Apparently yes. I also wasn’t sure what to do with my clothes, but the nurse told me just to leave them in the room because I’d be right back after. So I was a bit out of sorts, and just felt unsure of everything. I toddled across the hall (it’s a small hallway, and fortunately I didn’t have to go far with my makeshift sheet/skirt). I get into the room and about 10 seconds later the doctor knocked on the door and came in. This was Dr. T, the 3rd doctor I’ve met now. I don’t think I’ve ever had the same nurse, and now meeting a 3rd doctor. There are a lot of people that work at the clinic. I think the only constant is the surly, young tattooed girl who works reception (and subsequently the one who makes my appts). She doesn’t seem like the most friendly person to work in a fertility clinic, but I suppose that’s neither here nor there.
So, Dr. T tells me she’s going to do my AFC, and doesn’t say much else. Doesn’t explain anything about the wand/probe (what do they call it, surely not just dildo cam?) or give me any advanced warning and just got right to it. Can I just say how not cool it is having a transvaginal ultrasound when you’re on your period. Gross. Anyways, she just starts poking around in there and she too asks me if I’m on any medications or supplements. I tell her not at the moment but will be this cycle and she gave me the lecture about always taking folic acid, yada yada. I told her the same thing I told the nurse and that I was going to be starting them again right away and that we weren’t planning on IVF until August. She still gave me a bit of a chastising, so I just gave her the obligatory mmhmm and left it alone.
She showed me my uterus, and said my lining looks thin (which is to be expected at CD4). She checked out my right ovary, then the left. She paused and made what I interpreted to be a displeased or confused noise on the left but it seemed to be ok, as she didn’t make any mention of a problem. Overall it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I know the ultrasounds are one of the easy peasy parts, but I just didn’t know what to expect. It was just a bit weird and uncomfortable, but ok. My left ovary was 9 follicles, and my right was 15, which apparently is good. I didn’t do any
googling research beforehand, so I had no idea what that all meant at the time. Dr. T just said it was good, and that I could go change. I didn’t know if there was anything else, so I asked if I needed to do anything else, or that was it. She kind of chuckled and told me, no that was it. So I went and changed, and started to head out.
After feeling a bit out of sorts, I do have to mention the one really lovely thing that probably helped me stay calm. In the change room there was a white board on the wall, with a marker as well. On the board were all sorts of positive messages and words, from patients come and gone. It made me feel less alone, and it was really lovely. I don’t know how it came about, but I think it is fabulous. I don’t know if the erase it everyday and start new everyday but I’m looking forward to seeing it next time. I was too overwhelmed to think of anything to put on the board, but next time I will make a contribution. I took a picture so I could share with you all.
On my way out I stopped in to see Tatts (that’s what I’m going to call the receptionist from now on, even though it’s really only one big tattoo on her arm that’s visible) and confirm my next appointment for the saline infusion sonohysterogram. Apparently it’s the same sort of numbers game for the SIS as it was for the ultrasound, but they don’t get as busy for the SIS, and it’s in the afternoon so I don’t have to be up at the crack of dawn. I also spoke to the IVF coordinator about if or when Dr. M was going to be away in the summer. She told me he is away at the end of June, and again in October so it shouldn’t be a problem for our tentative IVF schedule. When I told her we were looking at August for IVF she did advise that a lot of people plan for it in the summer, and they can only take a certain number of patients. So she told me to call ASAP when I start full flow on CD1 as if they get too many people they’ll take first come, first serve (seems to be a recurring theme, eh?). I’m glad I asked, and now I know the plan.
Infertility has a steep learning curve, and once you pass one milestone (whether good or bad) there’s always something new to learn just around the corner. So here’s hoping that no unexpected issues crop up. We seem to be barreling into this head first and I’m sure August will be here before we know it!