Managing Your Own Cycle

4 Jul

If there’s one bit of advice I can give anyone going through IVF it is – you must be prepared to manage your own cycle. Get a good grasp of the process and ask questions. Be interested in the results of your tests and the decisions the doctors are making for you.

Often the nurses are really busy and just reading what’s in front of them. Please note: I am not bagging the nurses because thank goodness for the nurses – really! They act as a buffer for a doctor, who most of the time needs a lesson or two in communication and compassion.

Why should I self manage a process which has cost me a fortune, you ask? Perhaps an example will best explain my cautionary advice.

Recently, I called for the result of my blood tests and was told “stay on the medication and come in for another test on Monday”(in four days time). I probed because I had already been on synarel/lucrin for 14 days and my previous blood test indicated my estrogen was really high. I asked what level my estrogen was and discovered the level had actually increased when it should have decreased. I asked her, “Isn’t that a concern that my estrogen is increasing?” to which the nurse replied, “Oh is it?” The head nurse came to the phone and scheduled an ultrasound the next day and a large cyst was found on my left ovary.

Call me crazy but I reckon knowledge could be power when doing IVF – especially when the knowledge involves an ovarian cyst! Granted, I’m just not the personality type to mindlessly take instructions but when dealing with something so important and expensive, wouldn’t you want to be in control.

I really do get that this is a stressful thing to go through and ultimately the best option would be for the fertility clinic to alleviate this stress and manage it all. And I’m sure some clinics do this really well. Sadly though, I have experienced numerous occasions where my questioning has caused a change in direction. It used to really frustrate me because I expected the clinic to be on top of it all on my behalf. Now I have just accepted that it is up to me to drive this process.

Oh, and don’t feel bad about asking loads of questions. Yes, the nurses are busy. No, it’s not just a matter of trusting the medical professionals. You have a right to know what is happening to you and why decisions are being made. It’s your body, your money and your dream.

Disclaimer: I have heard wonderful things about other clinics and fertility specialists, so this entry is not an attempt at painting everyone with the same brush. It’s just a cautionary bit of advice. Just in case.

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