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a blog by tori

During my appointment with my RE last Friday, I had a lot of time to think, and I realized that I have learned some very important things on my adventure through infertility.

Here is my “advice:”

    1. First, and most important, know and like your RE, and even more importantly, his or her team.
    Your RE will quickly become one of the most important people in your life. You’ll memorize his phone number quickly. His team will be people you see at least four times a month until you have a successful cycle. The nurse that handles your “case“ will be like your new mom (lucky you). She’ll order you around and expect you to check in at very specific times. Don’t test her … she will cancel your cycle if you don‘t follow the rules.

    Friday night my husband looked at me and said “I feel totally at home when we are at our appointments.” That’s the feeling you are going for.

    If you are tightly bound by insurance, then do the best you can to really get to know your RE and the team (you’ll most likely see the team members more than the RE). If you are financially able to “shop around” for an RE, do so. You are entrusting these people with the responsibility of getting you pregnant, and in turn giving you a child, make sure you accept only the best care.

    2. If you are still seeing a regular OB/GYN try and get referred out to an RE.
    My guess is that if you know you are dealing with male-factor infertility, or if you are a same-sex couple, or just a single woman, looking to use sperm donation as a means of family building then you are probably already going to a specialist.

    If not, get referred! Don’t be too pushy with your GYN. She is trying to help, but she isn't a specialist in fertility.

    If you just stumbled upon this blog, and this is your second month trying to get pregnant, this is the one and only time I will say to ”relax.” Don’t demand a referral until it’s been at least 6 months OR if you already have a medical reason to think there is a problem. Don’t let them use Clomid on you unless they have done the tests that prove you need it. (I know a lot of women who have taken Clomid for months without really needing it, because it was seen as an “easy fix.”) Speak up if you really think there is a problem, but do give it some time. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and money by giving it an honest try (believe me, you don’t want to go through the testing unless you need it).

    3. Let the Doc do the talking.
    Again, since you are here . . . reading this . . . you are probably obsessed with finding out any and all information about your fertility issues. And, like me, you’ve probably read up. You know what follicles are, you know what cycle day you’re on, you know what ovulation predictor kits are. Heck, I bet you call them follies, CD’s, and OPKs just like me. But don’t try to impress your doc with your knowledge. He knows what he’s talking about. That said, PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS! But, in general, do the listening, do the questioning, and let him practice the medicine. You may just find out that he knows more about baby making than you.

    4. Assume you are getting naked (at least partially) whenever you go to an RE appointment.
    I made the mistake of thinking that consultation just meant "consultation." Then I got to experience the embarrassment of a surprise vaginal ultrasound … the type of surprise no one wants! From now on I’ll just assume that no matter what the appointment says, what it means is “just step into this room and take off your pants.”

    5. Involve your husband or significant other (or your mom, sister, or friend) whenever possible.
    If it’s at all possible for them to be at each appointment then please work it in to your schedule. Fertility treatments are hard. Period. There is always more information to be taken in than one person can possibly handle, even a person with a pen and paper. Plus, you may be surprised at what they are interested in knowing. Hubby surprised me when he asked if he could get a better look at the ultrasound. I mean, we aren’t looking at a baby, just my empty uterus. He was interested. He asked questions. He had opinions. He genuinely wanted to know what was going on. It made me feel like we were such a strong team. Being part of a strong team is an ongoing theme here in the world of fertility treatments, and one I’ll talk about often.

    6. Finally, prepare to be emotional.
    I’m the type of person who, at certain times in my cycle, can cry about anything. I don’t think it’s bad, and during fertility treatments, being emotional will be one of the only constant things in your life. On the way to our appointment I said “I can’t see myself getting through this without crying,” and cry I did. Your RE will not think you are a freak. He/She deals with this every day, and if they aren’t compassionate to you being emotional, switch Docs. You should not feel guilty or embarrassed. Do tell your doctor though if you are feeling like your emotions are keeping you from doing your normal tasks.

All of that being said, I generally HATE getting advice, especially from those who aren’t trying to get pregnant, or have gotten pregnant easily. I don’t like hearing “relax.” I don’t like hearing that now I’ll “have time to enjoy my youth.”

I’m sure you don’t like hearing it either, but just remember that advice, for the most part, is not given maliciously. It's normally given by those who care for you. Unfortunately, it is also frequently given by those who don’t understand. Don’t hold it against them. You wouldn’t want them to be going through the struggles that you are going through. Just smile, nod and thank them . . . even if what you want to do is punch them and run away.

Comments (1)

From speaking with hundreds of patients over the last 10 months, I can tell you one thing that rings true for anyone having a hard time conceiving, "DO NOT WAIT" is the constant theme throughout the patients I've talked to. And almost all of them say, "Had I known then what I know now, I would not have waited to take charge of my reproductive health". So, that's my strong advice now. Do not wait for a referral from your OB/Gyn. This site provides you a ton of valuable tools to find the best RE for your needs and one often that is in close proximity to you. Use the "Find A Doctor" search in the left hand column and get started. Also, if you find a RE that you like, but you can't get into see him or her in the next month or two, you should feel totally comfortable getting into seeing another RE in the practice. Once you go through this process, you find that you rarely see "your RE" anyway, so just select the one you feel comfortable with and the one that you can get into see quickly. Time DOES matter. It is the single most determining factor, and you're aging while you're waiting several months to see the "name-brand" RE. Take charge of your fertility today. Here are two helpful videos, but there are several others in our video library.

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