As the day arrived for our appointment with our lovely consultant, Mr Walker, we had planned the morning with military precision to ensure we’d beat rush hour traffic and the Toddler Factor (normally +15mins to leave the house). However, despite our best efforts, it started in an incredibly stressful manner, with us going to the wrong hospital. They’d gotten the appointment letter wrong*, so with 5 mins to go till the appointment we’d waited three months for, we had to drive from RUH in central Bath to Peasdown about 30mins away. We got to our appointment half an hour late, incredibly cross and agitated, but fortunately only had a short wait until we were seen. And it went quite well I think. Toby behaved himself, and we were able to have a good chat with the consultant.
He said we had two options:
1) Have another laparoscopy under general anaesthetic, and get some more ovarian drilling, (which we had last time – basically they burn holes in your ovaries to stimulate them to work a bit better), then take another drug to make me ovulate as I’ve been on Clomid for long enough and risk ovarian cancer if I take it any longer. BUT this new drug is less effective than Clomid (which we already know isn’t working), so we’d be taking a chance that the ovarian drilling made some significant difference, which isn’t guaranteed. I’d then have a fortnight of not being able to pick Toby up or really do much at all, which just isn’t very practical. And then we’d have the whole trying each month, blood tests, changing the dose etc to deal with. And it still might not work. So this could take quite a while. But it would be significantly cheaper.
2) Do the FSH injections/scans. We would have to pay, (and for IVF if we end up there) because we’ve already got Toby. The injections/scans would start a few days after my period comes. I raised my concerns that this could be months away, and so I’ve got a prescription for drugs that will kick-start my period. I’m to start taking them on 2nd Jan. Then we start the process of injections and scans. We’ll start on a low dose, and if my ovaries go nuts and produce lots of eggs then we’ll need to abandon and do another cycle, during which I’ll have extra IVF drugs, and we can harvest the eggs from the second cycle and go straight to IVF. This was his recommendation, as IVF is more able to be controlled than the injections,so fewer chances of twins or more. If my ovaries respond more calmly to the first, lower dose of FSH injections, we can go away and have sex (eww) and try that for three cycles, then move to IVF if it still hasn’t worked. If my ovaries don’t respond at all to the first low dose of FSH injections, they’ll try another two cycles, increasing the dose each time. If it’s still not working, we’ll do IVF.
Option 2 has a higher success rate, *doesn’t* involve a big operation, and has the potential to be faster than option 1. So we’re going for option 2. Of course, there may be extra complications we don’t know of yet. IVF, on average, works third time round, for example. But the fact that we know what the problem is and that John’s sperms are (hopefully still) OK (they will check) make it more likely it’ll work first time.
I think we’re feeling OK about it. After having some time to process it all and accept that this is going to be our journey, there are actually some positives about this more medicated, monitored process that a “natural” conception lacks, For example, we should know pretty accurately, within a 48 hr window, when I will definitely be ovulating (assuming it works). This narrows down perfunctory sex to a minimum, and I know those of you reading this who have tried for a baby for any length of time know what a relief that is! In all seriousness though, and in the interests of remaining honest and frank while talking about things other people don’t mention in polite society, the additional burden and issues within a marriage that this strain on your sex life can cause when trying for a baby for a prolonged time, are real and valid. So there’s that. Also, the order and logic of the process, with clearly defined parameters and pathways, suits me down to the ground. I love that there is a plan and a timeline of possible outcomes and courses of action. That waiting each month for blood test results and the next unreliable period was a great big pile of bollocks.
Financially, we reckon worst-case scenario (3 X injection rounds + 2 x IVF rounds) = £13k-£15k, and obviously we’ll need to decide when to call it a day, but that’s a whole other blog post. Best case scenario it could cost £1k, so that’s quite a window! We are in the very fortunate position of having some savings and inheritance money to fall back on, and I am feeling very blessed that finances aren’t really a worrying factor for us just yet. I can’t imagine how tough it must be to get this news and not be able to afford to take the next steps.
So that’s all the news. Delivered in a rather factual manner, as that’s all I have time for these days.
*I was indignant. The receptionist couldn’t understand my rage or the reason I’d gotten the address wrong from the letter. What is your opinion? The letter was addressed from the Peasdown hospital. There was a line in it that said “If you receive an automated text message confirming your appointment, then it will be held at this address, NOT the RUH”. I did NOT receive an automated text message, therefore I understood that the appointment would be at the RUH. Right? Right? Grrrr.