Thursday, October 15, 2015

Do I Shave My Legs for This?

I try to take a humorous approach to life. 
Deana Carter had it right y'all...
As I head for the door,
I turn around to be sure,
did I shave my legs for this?
Here's a link to that video, which is a cute country song about the woes of marriage 
(aren't they ALL woes about something!)  

I don't want to offend the writers of this song but NEWS FLASH marriage is not all flowers and romance.  Those things take effort and communication and if your spouse doesn't know what you're looking for, what can you expect!  I digress, back to the shaving of the legs.

How do you prepare to see your RE for the first time?  I don't literally mean do I shave my legs for this!  I am really not bothered by the fact I might not shave my legs before I see Dr. Mark (JUST KIDDING, we ALLLLLLL know I'm shaving my legs for this).

But how do you really prepare for your first visit?  I've gathered some helpful tips to get you through and after completing our visit tomorrow, I will give you the skinny on what works, what doesn't, and what I should have known!

The visit is scheduled to go as follows:

1)  Meet with Dr. Mark.  Undergo a patient evaluation and interview, a "get to know you meeting" of sorts to review medical history.  Then I get a physical so Dr. Mark can check out my overall health.  This would be the time I told Dr. Mark of my lengthy list of addictions and how I've made TREMENDOUS progress in overcoming them.  I've kicked almost ALL my bad habits but there are a few items, namely caffeine and poor eating habits that are really difficult to kick.

***This visit may end here.  Being comfortable with the doctor is PRIORITY #1.  It doesn't matter how many successful pregnancies he's assisted, if I am not comfortable with him, I'm not going any further.*** 

2) Get my first internal pelvic ultrasound.  I've read a thousand times that this is not as painful or scary as a PAP Smear but I have to admit, I am terrified to know what is up there!  This is where Dr. Mark gets to see what I'm contributing or hindering our efforts.  This is scary for me and I have serious anxiety about reviewing what he sees.  My cycles are normal, regular, and not overwhelmingly painful but you never know what could be contributing to infertility.  Based on the results we will determine a course of action.

3) Next we are turned over to the Reproductive Nurses who will review the evaluations with Dr. Mark and assist with determining the course of action best for our infertility.

4) We also meet with their onsite counselor to discuss infertility and coping skills while undergoing treatments.  This is a real benefit and I'm so thankful they have an onsite counselor to discuss all the aspects and help us deal with obstacles we face on this journey.

5) Finally they will throw the real gauntlet down and give us the financial details.  How much are we talking?  How will we pay?  Is it a pay as you go plan or is it a lump sum divided by visits plan?  I plan to give you the details of these steps in my visit so you get a secondhand experience from a firsthand appointment.

First and foremost, if you're not a good listener, take notes!  Daddy Bun....horrible listener...he can never remember details of a conversation so I expect he will be quietly nodding while I am feverishly writing.  I have compiled what I think is THE LIST based on several sources but these were the TOP THREE.

Parenting Weekly - What to Expect

Fertility CARE - Dr. Mark's website (who better to tell you what to expect than the RE you're meeting)

Stirrup Queens - Melissa over at Stirrup Queens has probably THE most comprehensive list of questions to ask an RE.  I cannot imagine going into his office with a list that long, but a well informed patient makes a well informed decision.

My list is a compilation of these three resources and I've also used Dr. Mark's website to answer some of these questions on my own....HOWEVER...I will ask them anyway to confirm some answers.

Clinic Questions:
These were all available on the website.  I like to be prepared so I've made myself very familiar with the Fertility CARE website.  However if you don't find the answers you seek, here are some excellent questions to lead you:
1) What are the office hours, are there weekend hours?
2) What procedures are completed in the clinic?
3) Who do we call if we have a problem during business hours?  After hours?
4) Does your clinic offer a Patient Portal where you can review labs and procedures?

Doctor Questions:

1) Where did you obtain your degree?  Are you board certified?
2) Will you be performing all the procedures?
3) Do you alternate doctors? (important to know and be comfortable with ALL the doctors who will see you)
4) What are your success rates?
5) What sets you apart from other RE's?

Treatment Questions:

1) Is treatment individualized by the patient or do you follow a basic protocol for everyone?
2) How long and how often do you monitor treatment?
3) How often will we come in for treatments?
4) Is your lab onsite or will other locations be involved in treatments? (i.e. hospitals, other facilities)
5) How long do you stick with a treatment before you move on to the next option?
6) Is there a waiting list for beginning treatments?
7) What is your course of action for male factor infertility?
8) Who determines how many embryos to transfer?

Lab Questions:
1) Do you do Assisted Hatching?
2) Do you have a donor program?
3) Do you perform all procedures on site?
4) How long does it take to receive results from labs?  Are they available online?

Expense Questions:
1) Do you have a list of costs for each procedure?
2) Do you have an option for multiple transfers?  (Some doctors are packaging two or three cycles into one cost)
3) Do fees include medications?  Injections?
4) Is a payment plan available?
5) Is financing offered?
6) Are there extra costs not included in any of the options?

Counseling Questions:
1) Do you have a counselor onsite?
2) Is counseling included in fertility treatments?

Success Questions:
1) What are the success rates for the clinic?
2) Do you have statistics for couples with similar problems?
3) What is the potential for success using the treatments for our situation?

These were the ones I felt were most important to us and I actually received many of my answers right from the website at Fertility Care.  However I still plan to ask them ALL over again!