May 1st we had our first consultation for IVF! Our appointment was downtown-ish (Wilshre/Lucas) at 2:30pm. Being an Angeleno I am well aware that ain’t no way we’re getting anywhere near MacArthur Park after 12pm. It was May Day and this year we have many reason to march. So Nick and I left work early, we got to the office around 11am and saw the streets being blocked off behind us as we drove up. We parked in the parking structure and walked up Wilshire to check things out. The businesses we ‘re mostly closed, but a fast/casual Japanese restaurant right across from the office was open so we grabbed lunch at one of the tables facing the street. The march began and we cheered for the people as they passed. I got a call from the office warning me I might have a hard time getting in, but I told them we had it under control and walked right over 30 min before our appt time.
Dr. Baker, our doctor at Kaiser, is also a doctor for USC Fertility. I can’t exactly explain how the whole relationship between the two offices works, but I think because Kaiser doesn’t do IVF, they refer patients to USC. Some of the procedures are still done at Kaiser though… so it’s kind of confusing.
Dr. Baker sat down with us and explained roughly how the process works.
1. start cycle.
2. come in for ultrasound
3. go on birth control for 2.5-3 weeks to supres my ovaries/ follicle development
4. approx 4 days off BC
5. begin injections of follicle stimulating hormones 10-12 days
6. monitoring every other morning (for hormone levels and ultrasound and follicle growth.) (6:30am!!)
7. possible antagonist med. to prevent OHSS (Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome)
8. possible modification of trigger shot (Lupron Trigger)
9. egg retrieval (surgery to remove eggs. Hopefully 20-25 are retrieved)
10. sperms are selected one by one and injected into the eggs (ICSE)
11. embryos grow in the lab
12. day 5(ish) of embryo growth healthy blastocysts are biopsied for genetic testing
13. all embryos are frozen.
14. wait for next cycle to begin
15. ultrasound check up
16. begin estrogen
17. come in for monitoring of the uterine lining
18. approx 19th day of cycle transfer healthy embryo(s) to the uterus
19. progesterone support
We liked the idea of having the embryos tested for genetic abnormalities. The reason we was given for Ninja not surviving is that it was likely due to genetic abnormalities. So the potential to have this risk minimized was very appealing to me. Also THIS is crazy!!!! A living being can be created/ poked and have 1/10th of it’s “body” removed to be tested then the rest of it frozen and then put back in me and SURVIVE??? So someday when our kid is old enough we can explain that they were frozen for a while before they were actually growing into the person they are?? Also when the embryo is frozen, the shell of the egg changes and in order to help with implantation the lab will do what is called assisted hatching, where a small hole is made in the “shell” to help it get out.
Anyway, then we went over to another room and met with our superstar nurse lady Sarah. She is ON IT! She gave us the rundown about the medication and how it will be received and ordered and how to contact her. Basically anytime for anything. She knew what to order from where to get the best prices, too which I totally appreciate!!!
Then to the financial lady. This woman. I don’t know how she ended up in this office. Everyone else is very competent and professional. But man. She is kinda frumpy and not super on it. She ran down all the #’s for us and at then end I was all…. does this account for what is covered by my insurance… she insisted my insurance didn’t cover this. I referred her to the page I gave her that was my authorization letter it had a giant bright pink post it that said “DO NOT LOSE” then she said “oh, yeah, no, I didn’t know…. ” So she said she’d get back to us with updated numbers in a day or so. A day or so came and went. Finally after a week I think she sent us some chicken scratch thing. I swear. I’ve worked in a job where people are dropping 15-20k and If you make their paper work look a little pretty, if not at least legible, it instils a little more confidence that you know what the hell you’re talking about. But I also know that when people act bitchy to me I don’t want to help them, so I will treat this bumbling human kindly and hopefully she gets it together– by some miracle.
Finally Nick and got our blood drawn for OUR genetic screening!!!! We’re had to make sure we weren’t both carriers for anything. We are totally into this!