Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Keep your head up.

This is a good one.  An infertility diagnosis is not only sad, it can be humiliating.  Something that comes so easily for what seems like all of your friends and family makes you feel like you should be embarrassed.  In reality, it does make it hard for a lot of people to relate and empathize with what you are going through, but that is no reason to be ashamed.  I've said this before, but it's one of the best things my mother ever said to me through this journey...You wouldn't be angry at yourself if you developed cancer.  You did not ask for this, but you have to accept it.  The sooner you realize that you have a disease, and it is something you have to deal with, then the more energy you can put toward resolving it.  

As for the heels, well, at my height [in the area of 5 feet above the ground], they are practically considered orthopedic. So yes, I wear heels a lot, even to my reproductive endocrinology appointments.  I know you may feel sad, want to put on sweats, and hide yourself in an over-sized hoodie, but I urge you not to.  You, not your husband or significant other, ultimately has to continue taking care of yourself.  Sometimes just going through the motions of putting on your war paint (what my daddy calls make-up) and your cute little outfit makes you feel sassy and battle-field ready. Even when you thought there was no way on earth you could feel that way!  From the MK school of counseling, there is a lot to be said for "Fakin' it 'til you make it!".  I certainly must encourage you, as you pursue fertility treatments, to keep a list in your mind of all of the things you have going for you and go over it every day.  I, personally, am thinking about making a poster and tacking it on my ceiling so I see it as soon as I wake up.  A list by the bed would work, dry erase marker on your mirror, I'm sure if you pinter-stalked around long enough you could find some totes cute ideas! 

I digress...don't forget what being dressed up does for you.  It's easy to be intimidated by a doctor with an alphabet soup behind his or her name of credentials.  Don't be intimidated.  Remember the doctor is on your team, and you are the team captain. So if it takes being dressed up to give you the confidence to speak with him or her, then definitely go for it!

Speaking of doctors and standards, let's talk about them.  Unless you live in a large urban area you may not even have a fertility clinic in your hometown.  Heck, I do live in a larger city with a teaching hospital, yet the closest clinic that does IVF cycles consistently is over an hour and a half away.  So, I urge you to start doing your research.  It may be that your problems can be resolved with medication prescribed by your regular OB/GYN, or it is a reasonable starting place for your given diagnosis.  If they are willing to do the monitoring and IUIs, make sure you find out what their protocol is and what they would do if you ovulate on a weekend. Also, don't be afraid to ask what their success rate is. If they are flexible, have someone willing to come in on off hours to perform the IUI, and have a decent amount of success with IUI's with people diagnostically similar to you, then by all means go for it and save yourself a commute.  That being said, you are probably going to be hard pressed to find a regular OB/GYN who does all of that.

When you start pursuing fertility treatments it is an investment, especially with IVF.  You deserve to know that your money is being well spent.  I encourage you to use resources like the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) published success rates.  Every IVF cycle is going to tell you more about your diagnosis.  So go back to this site often with your new information.  You can sort the data by your age group and diagnosis.  If there is a clinic within a reasonable amount of driving distance that has better results for your given set of conditions...get your hiney over there!  ESPECIALLY note that there are probably plenty of clinics that have just as good results as Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM) and Sher Institute of Reproductive Medicine (SIRM).  In fact, my little clinic in East Tennessee has better stats in some areas than Dr. Schoolcraft at CCRM.  You will probably be quite surprised at the number of clinics that do have as strong of stats as CCRM.  

So you bet the first thing BJ and I do is check out the new data when we are ready to resume our efforts before we make the first call to a fertillity clinic for an appointment.  As much as I love the Fertility Center, Pat, and Dr. D, another doctor may be having better results from a slightly different protocol that he has experience performing.  Another mark of a good clinic is that your choices will be supported, even if it means finding a new doctor.  I already know I have Dr. D's blessing to try somewhere else.  Ultimately, he wants the same thing as BJ and I very much do...a baby of our own.  

In Summary:

1.  I hope you never have to make these decisions.
2.  I hope if you find yourself in this situation, you never forget the blessings you already have.
3.  I hope you find a caring physician that you can work well with and a caring staff who is equipped to meet your needs both in experience and success rates.

Peace, Love and Keep That Chin Up, Lady!


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