Thank you so much to all of you for the good luck wishes yesterday, which really buoyed me up.
Our first appointment at XXXX clinic was a very different experience from our first appointment at the old clinic.
As we walked in, the entrance hall was covered in framed photos of babies, and this continued into the office and up the stairs. I commented on them to the doctor we saw, and he said that some people find them encouraging and others hate them. I chose to see them as encouraging.
Our appointment was at 12, but we were told to arrive at 11:30 to fill in forms and so DH could give his sample. There was a lot of waiting around, but I'd been warned about this, so we weren't phased - and perhaps the amount of waiting in general is one reason why everyone was so friendly to each other in this waiting room. The waiting room in the old clinic was always silent, with couples occasionally making the odd comment to each other in whispers. This one was buzzing, with everyone talking to everyone else - it was like a cocktail party without the booze!
We didn't see Mr Miracle Worker himself. He does a good proportion of the actual procedures - hysteroscopies, egg collection and embryo transfer - and reviews every single chart every day to decide on the best course of treatment, but I think it's pretty special if you actually get to see him while you're awake.
The doctor we saw was Greek and gorgeous - I think we'll have to call him Mr Greek God (that's Greek god with a small 'g', obviously). He ushered us up the stairs to a room on the top floor and joked that this was the first fitness test for future parents.
He had already reviewed our notes from the old clinic and made notes, and he asked us lots of questions to fill in the gaps. He also gave us the opportunity to ask questions, and was very chatty and jokey, putting us right at our ease. This was very different from Mr No Nonsense, who left Nurse Perfect to deal with any questions we had and always had to read our notes while we were there to remind himself who we were and where we were in our treatment whenever we saw him (which was rare).
Mr Greek God said that my FSH level was a concern, but FSH levels can fluctuate from month to month. I've only ever had one day 1-3 hormone test, at which my FSH was 13.2. Mr Miracle Worker won't start a cycle where FSH is above 10, because his experience has shown that the day 2 FSH level on a particular cycle is a very good indicator of how well the cycle will go.
Mr Miracle Worker likes to have as much information about your body and your normal (drug-free) cycle as possible, so they do a monitoring cycle before going into any treatment. This involves day 2 bloods, a mid-cycle scan and another hormone screening and (I think) another scan about a week before AF is due. He said I could start my monitoring cycle as soon as my next AF shows up - which should be on Sunday or Monday. He also recommended that I have a hysteroscopy, as this can give them a lot of information not just about the lining of my womb, but also the length of my cervix and the best place to put the embryos when we get to transfer.
We talked about smear tests, which I hate, and I explained that I found them very uncomfortable and Nurse Perfect said it was because of my tilted cervix. He immediately made the connection and asked if I also found embryo transfer uncomfortable, and I told him how painful it had been both times. Then I could have kissed him, because he said that if I wanted, they could do my embryo transfer under sedation!
He said they usually recommend that patients get certain immune tests done to make sure their bodies aren't going to reject the embryos once they're there. Both the testing and the treatment they offer are very expensive. so we'll have to think about that - he said they recommend it more strongly where the IF is unexplained, but we do already have two reasons why we can't conceive, in my crappy eggs and DH's lazy sperm.
Before the end of the appointment, someone came in with the results of DH's SA, but that merits a whole post of its own - this post is long enough already.
After the monitoring cycle, usually you can choose when to go ahead with treatment (though they like to have the monitoring cycle not too long before the treatment cycle). Because of my FSH issue, Mr Greek God recommended that I go for day 2 bloods on every cycle after my monitoring cycle, because if we get a result under 10, he thinks we should not pass up the opportunity and should just go for it straight away. This makes planning my life a little awkward, but it's a small price to pay for the care these people are going to take.
The one disappointment was that I asked about donor embryos, and he said they don't have a donor programme. This was irritating for two reasons - first because I saw a post on one of the boards last week from someone who had had successful treatment at XXXX clinic and had just been in touch with them to donate her spare embryos, and secondly because their website says they do it. Oh well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
The appointment finished with a chat with a very nice nurse with a slight Antipodean accent, a flash of the credit card, and then a trip round the corner to have our blood drawn, before getting back to work a little after 2:00.
So now it's onwards to the monitoring cycle, and then hoping and praying that I'll get a cycle fairly soon where my FSH is under 10.