What You Wish You Had Asked

Short post today. I’m nearing the end of yet another fun-filled TWW, but I could’ve told you since nearly a week ago that this month was not the month and that AF is on her way. I was somehow hoping that having the HSG might have pushed some “gunk” outta my tube and helped for conception this month. Nope.

ANY-way, today’s post is this: What you would have asked during your IVF consult that you either didn’t ask, realized later you should’ve asked, or kicked yourself later wishing you had thought to ask? If you were able to go back in time to your first consult, what would you have done differently? asked differently? mentally prepared yourself for going into this? What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back and do it again?

Our IVF consult is scheduled for tomorrow morning and I’ve been googling potential questions to bring with me. I realize that everyone’s journey is unique and that not all questions apply to each person, but some things are pretty universal. As I read through many of your blogs I realize that I’m a total newb at all things IVF, but then again, my fellow bloggers were new at this too at one time! We all gotta start somewhere, right?! There’s a lot of IVF acronyms and test names etc. that—right now—are a mystery to me: I know that may change very soon. I just don’t want to miss anything that’s glaringly important!

As always, all feedback welcome and thank you for sharing your journeys!


Book Recommendation


There’s a lot of books out there on infertility. Like A LOT! As I’ve found out the hard way, some are better than others. Some IF books focus only on the medical side of things, others emphasize charting and CM to the exclusion of everything else, and some just try too hard to be modern, relatable, cutesy, and “girl-friendy.” Even though a few months ago I swore that I wouldn’t, I’ve ordered and read several books on infertility, and this one by far is the best: The Infertility Companion by Sandra L. Glahn and William R. Cutrer.

The Infertility Companion is a book about infertility with a Christian perspective co-written by both a Christian OB/GYN and a Christian woman who’s experienced years of infertility. It covers the medical, physical, emotional, spiritual, and ethical realities of IF that, really, as a whole encompass so much of this journey. None of us are one-dimensional. If you’re a fellow blogger with an IF blog, then you know all too well how it affects every part of our lives. That’s why I love this book. You can buy it here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and (if you’re like me and order cheap secondhand books) here at Half.com. Even for a non-Christian, I’d highly recommend this book if you’re going through IF.

Here’s a list of topics covered:

  1. Where We’ve Been: Your Companions in the Ditch
  2. The Wedded Unmother: Myths and Facts
  3. Marital Dynamics: She Wants a Baby, He Wants His Wife Back
  4. Emotional Dynamics
  5. Handling the Well-Intentioned Advice
  6. Where is God When it Hurts? Is Infertility a Curse?
  7. The Underlying Question: Why Did God Create Sex?
  8. The Medical Workup: Collect the Clues
  9. The Continuing Workup
  10. The Doctor: The Third Party in a Couple’s Love Life
  11. State of the Arts: High-Tech Treatment
  12. A Moral Minefield: We Can Do it, but Should We?
  13. Determining Right from Wrong: The Ethics Construct
  14. Three’s Company: Third-Party Reproduction
  15. Aid in the Begetting: Donor Eggs, Surrogacy, and Embryo Adoption
  16. Using a Donor: What the Kids and the Research Tell Us
  17. Loss Upon Loss: Miscarriage, Failed IVF, and Failed Adoption
  18. Infertility Patient as Parent: Secondary Infertility, Pregnancy, and Parenting After Infertility
  19. Resolution: Adoption or Childfree Living
  20. You Are Not Alone

Just thought I’d throw that out there. Happy Reading!

Three Days Sober and AMH Score


Today is day three of being sober. Sober from what? Why, from infertility talk! I feel like I should be awarded one of those medallions like they give you in AA. (I mean this as no disrespect to AA, I just sometimes feel like an infertility junkie. It’s like consumed my life.) I decided that DH and I would not discuss infertility-related anything until we have our IVF consult on July 8. I just can’t handle any more conversations about it between then. Mentally, I need a break (blogging, of course, doesn’t count. Of course). It seems like any talk about it now is just us just going ’round and ’round in circles. We’re in this weird limbo right now: I’m not tracking with my RE, I opted to skip doing a “dry” Clomid round this cycle, the HSG is over, we can’t start IVF yet, and we’re just trying naturally. What else is there to say? Honestly, I find that since we haven’t discussed it in a few days, I’m only thinking about IF about 80% of the time instead of 100%. That’s HUGE!

About IVF: I realize this is a very specific situation, but my Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) score was 0.6. This is a very low score. In fact, 0.6 hovers somewhere on the border between “Low” and “Very Low.” My doctor likes to see at least 1.2 or above for a successful IVF. Dr. C described my results as, “Not great, but not terrible.” Then he immediately (gently) suggested going down the road of donor eggs. I shut him down quick by stating we aren’t interested in using donor eggs.

What I’m confused about is that I only have one ovary. So is my low score really not all that low? As in, would my score be doubled if I had two ovaries? Does AMH testing really count for a person with only one ovary, or was it a waste of a trip to LabCorp? Any input is greatly appreciated.

Take A Number and Wait: Shuffling Through the System

After discussing at length with DH the decision about whether to go forward with IVF, I called Dr. C’s office this afternoon to schedule the consult. It’s set for July 8,. Two whole weeks. I’m leery.

For background, here’s the deal: The practice Dr. C is part of has five offices in my area; only one of those locations is a reasonable distance from me. The physicians in the group rotate between all five offices, so Dr. C is not dedicated daily to the location I go to. When I call the practice, it takes them awhile to actually answer the phone, and the person who answers could be in any one of the five offices. This means for me that the receptionist never knows who I am, so I have to go through explaining my name, DOB, doctor’s name, and location each time. Not a huge deal, but inconvenient after the fifth or sixth time in two weeks. Then I get put on hold. Scheduling the consult consisted of a back and forth game between me and unknown receptionist because of the upcoming holiday, figuring out the right location Dr. C would be at, the time of day DH and I could be there because of our work schedules, etc. I straight up asked her if scheduling appointments and reaching a person was always going to be this difficult. I don’t think I won her over on that one. I can’t help it, I’m just a blunt person!

I also asked about the status of my blood work request while I had the receptionist on the phone. Yesterday I had faxed in a request for a copy of my blood work that had been drawn over a week ago. She informed me that it could take “a few weeks” for them to mail/email the results to me! Weeks?!  I don’t usually go with big group medical practices for this very reason—I am just one patient out of many, many patients being shuffled through the system. I already feel like a number. To his credit, at Dr. B’s office they answered the phone promptly and always knew who their patients were. Scheduling was quick and it was easy to be seen. Patient records could be accessed via an online patient portal. Dr. C’s office has no such patient portal (which is really a surprise for a group its size). I wish I could have those things from Dr. B’s office, but minus Dr. B, and replaced with Dr. C.  So, basically, it’s hurry up and wait for now.

For these reasons, I’m going to give this a chance, but I’m totally cautious and wary about if this is going to work out. I want it to work out of course; none of us put ourselves through all this for fun. But I just get this initial nagging feeling like it might not. Like I said, I’ve always had negative experiences with large group practices and typically avoid them. I really don’t try to be a difficult patient (I know it might not seem like it, but, truly! I’m not!), but I do expect a certain something from my doctor’s office. I absolutely get that I’m not the only patient they see; I understand all that. I just don’t want to get lost in the mix.


Unblocked Tubes Can Still be Blocked

Yesterday I had my HSG. The good news? My tube (yes, that’s singular and not a typo) is not blocked! The dye ran freely through it and each of the five other people in the room were happy to see that (yes, you read right, there were five other people in the room with me, not a typo). BUT, that doesn’t mean my tube’s not blocked from the outside.


Yeah, me too.

For anyone who wants to know what the procedure was like, maybe you’re about to have the same thing done, well here ya go:

Dr. C (looking adorable in a pink and yellow Hawaiian printed x-ray vest, mind you) had a difficult time getting to my cervix. Just like Dr. B did, except instead of six minutes of fiddling around down there, it took him about a minute. He said my cervix is pushed waaaay to the left and is pointed toward my left hip. My uterus is also tilted thirty degrees to the left. Basically, everything is either on or pointing to the left. Anyway, he inserted the catheter and I both felt and saw the dye traveling through on the screen at the same time; freaky. It hurt like whaaaaa when he put in the speculum and catheter and I really wished that they would numb you first. I felt immediate cramping when the dye was injected. (Oh, and for the record, the remaining four people in the room were the radiographer, radiographer assistant, random required hospital female to make sure no one does anything naughty, and a med school student.) We watched the dye travel across the screen, lighting up as it went, and flow through the tube and, from there, into wherever it goes next. They took x-ray images by lowering the x-ray machine over my lower abdomen and, that was it—done! The whole thing took less than ten minutes. I was handed a pad and instructed to change into my regular clothes. I had some spotting and clotting yesterday and today, and am generally pretty sore from the speculum, but otherwise feel fine.

I asked Dr. C why I’ve been experiencing years of infertility if my tube is unblocked, I’m ovulating normally, have a standard cycle length, and am making and releasing follies. He replied that even though my tube is open from the inside, it could still be blocked from the outside with endometriosis adhesions and/or scar tissue.


I’m no doctor, but if it were blocked on the outside from adhesions, then wouldn’t the dye have not been able to flow through? He tried to explain it to me in terms of picturing a baseball glove catching and releasing a ball, but I was totally lost and didn’t (don’t) really understand the analogy since I was feeling out of sorts.

Overall though, Dr. C was very kind, compassionate, upbeat, and cool about everything. He told me to schedule an IVF consult with him for the upcoming week. I haven’t scheduled the consult yet because I’m still kind of scared to commit to IVF, but I’m getting there. Slowly. I just want at least this one last month to try naturally. Or maybe get a prescription for a bottle of these:

fertility pill


New RE and Upcoming HSG

On Monday I met with my new RE (“Dr. C”). I’d actually scheduled the appointment a few days after I had the IUI justincase, but I made sure to schedule it far enough in advance of whether AF would show so I could hopefully cancel it. (And, lest I forget, thank you Tanya @theskyandback for recommending Dr. C’s practice!)

The short version is that Dr. C told us many things opposite of Dr. B. Examples:

  • Within minutes of meeting me and after reviewing my history, Dr. B said I’d absolutely need another surgery; Dr. C, however, within minutes of meeting me and reviewing my history, said that no doctor would want to touch me again for surgery. Score!
  • Dr. C ordered b/w to test my eggs. I haven’t had either egg quantity or quality tests done in several years.
  • Early on, I’d asked Dr. B about having a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) performed, since my very first RE back in the day and a previous GYN had recommended the procedure. He told me NOPE, I don’t need it; Dr. C, however, was shocked I’d never had one and immediately scheduled it.

My HSG is scheduled for this Monday. If my tube is indeed blocked, that should answer a lot of questions. Last time my tube was checked for blockage was 3 1/2 years ago during surgery #4, where endometriosis was removed and it was declared “clear.” A lot can happen in 3 1/2 years, so I think it’s definitely wise to have the HSG done.

Dr. C’s personality is much more positive, people-oriented, encouraging, and hopeful. I plan to stick with him. Like everyone else, he recommends IVF. Sigh. I’m absolutely not in any way opposed to IVF, because in my heart I know it’s probably the only way I can conceive, short of a miracle from God (which I also haven’t ruled out). It’s just such a massive decision! I’m testing the waters now, turning the idea over and over in my mind, considering all the decisions to be made (how do I feel about donor eggs? what to do with extra frosties–I’m against destroying, but the idea of donating and having some stranger walking around with our kid(s) freaks me out? how many embies I’m okay with having put in at once? how many cycles are we wiling to try?).

One thing at a time, for now. Fertile window begins tomorrow. Time to again hope this month is The Month.


When Bedside Manners Go Bad: Firing My Doctor

bedside manners

Of all the fellow infertiles whose blogs I regularly read, surely I can’t be the only gal to have fired her RE for being a soulless jerk, right? Right?! (eek!) Well, either way I’ve left Dr. B’s care and his office and am moving on to hopefully greener pastures. It became obvious that he’s not the right RE for me and I will explain why. Despite treating with him for only seven weeks, I’ve had more than enough. Bedside manners apparently don’t grow on trees. I mentioned here the other week that there was more to the story; this is that “more.” I don’t mean this to be a full negative blast, as I did get some positives out of my treatment, but in this case the bad outweighed the good.

Personality: When I first met Dr. B, he came across as intelligent, well-studied, and knowledgeable, but he had a kind of strange personality. “Strange” as in he’d take me back to his office to discuss my treatment and then not speak to me for minutes at a time while he looked over my chart. Then he’d suddenly begin talking very fast and low, matter-of-factly declaring my treatment course without much of my own input taken seriously. Not a good sign, but I chalked it up to him being simply the brilliantly misunderstood type–the kinda guy with lotsa book smarts who never developed his social skills. I left it at that. Overall, he was pleasant enough and seemed to want to help me.

Treatment: The problem was, Dr. B’s “somewhat” weirdness continued to get….well, weirder. Because he would see me in his personal office for a “chat”  following every single visit—even just blood work and u/s visits—I saw him very frequently. He rarely spoke much—most conversations were coldly clinical and brief. For example, he put me on thyroid meds early on, then never mentioned my thyroid to me again! Finally I asked him whether my latest TSH count of 2.6 didn’t still seem somewhat high. His response: “No. That’s a good number.” Period. End of story. Okaaaaaaay……. Thanks for clearing THAT up! Two days after putting me on Clomid, and only two weeks after having started me on Synthroid, he looked up from my chart one day and asked, “Do I have you on any meds?” I was like “What?! Ummm, yeaaaah. Ya do… remember? We JUST talked about this on Tuesday.”

Patient Reaction: It became routine for me to leave Dr. B’s office feeling dejected, unsure about my treatment course, unsure even what was really going on with my body reproductively, and—more importantly—why I was told to keep coming back for visit after visit after visit. Again, I told myself that maybe this is how things are done in Infertility Land and that it would get better as I understand the process more, and (despite my intuition) continued treating.

The Final Straw:  This all came to a head the day of the IUI. I got to Dr. B’s office early that morning. While I walked from the parking lot to the building, he was also arriving to work for the day. He merely said good morning, held the door for me, and said not another word. We walked through the lobby in silence. We rode in the elevator in silence. We walked through the hallway of his office’s floor—you guessed it!—in silence. Awkward silence, at least for me. I mean, hello, I am still a human here! Last I checked, I’m not invisible. No small talk, no mention of the day’s procedure-to-be, no comforting words, no comment even on the freakin’ weather. Huge red flag.

When I came back to the office later that morning to have the actual IUI done, I was directed to a room to “undress from the waist down” (really, who needs these instructions? I mean, I practically drop my pants in the waiting room. I know it’s gonna happen. But anyway, I digress). So Dr. B enters the room about half hour later. Remember now, this is my first IUI. I don’t fully know what to expect. No one’s told me any readings on how DH’s numbers looked (I only found out afterward that I should’ve asked or that they should’ve told me). I had this crazy fear that they might mix up DH’s specimen with someone else’s (could you even imagine?!) and no one reassured me of protocols ensuring that that hadn’t or couldn’t happen. He didn’t explain the protocol or the procedure or my odds of conceiving (I did have enough presence of mind to ask that one at least). Instead, Dr. B literally walked in, told me to put my feet in the stirups, and went to work. LITERALLY. That was it. He did not say ONE WORD to me during the procedure except the one time I asked a question. Even then, he seemed annoyed that I’d even asked. Once it was over, he simply left the room and it was the tech who instructed me to wait a few minutes before getting up.

I felt like a such a ….specimen. For all it was worth, he could’ve been neutering a dog on that table, and I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. He gave me no follow up instructions, no feedback on how the IUI went, nothing. He only told me to “come back in a week.” For Pete’s sake—WHY SHOULD I COME BACK IN A WEEK?!?!? I left there so thoroughly disgusted, über upset, and extremely angry.

The End:   Moral of the story: if you dislike people, think you’re smarter then everyone else, and ignore your patients, it’s a super great way to grind a medical practice into the ground. Free advice to anyone out there who’s a doctor or in healthcare. That’s all. *end of rant*