About Me

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Hi. Welcome to my "taboo" blog. My name is Steph, and when I first started this, I was still in my thirties. In 2017, I switch decades! I am a Christian, so underlying everything I do and say is the Word of God, and the foundational truths I have learnt over the years. This doesn't mean I'm perfect - I am human. It just means I recognise I need God's help to live this life and try to live out His way, as best I can. So that's me in a nutshell. Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog, I hope you draw strength, hope or encouragement from what you read.

Monday, September 24, 2012

First Appointment at Fertility Clinic

I wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived for my appointment. So it was very nervy! I was glad hubby had the day off work so he could attend the appointment with me - and it turns out it was necessary anyway! Our local hospital is very modern, so in order to book in for the appointment, I had to type in a reference number to a special booking-in computer. A quicker process - but very impersonal. It takes away the human contact element - a smile would have helped to make the experience a little less stressful.

So, we went in to the waiting room, and found a couple of chairs amongst other waiting couples.  Not all the women there looked as if they were undergoing the fertility stuff I was - there were some older women, as well as women waiting on their own. I like to people watch, so did wonder what some of them were here for, just as much as a younger couple who were sat opposite were wondering about Hubby n I... I overheard the young wife whispering something, to which her husband replied "I don't know, I can't see and I don't have x-ray vision!" Other than that - it was SILENT in the waiting room... I wanted to speak to Hubby, but felt pressured to "tow-the-line" and keep my thoughts to myself. I pulled out my phone and read the news, lOl!!!

Ten minutes after my appointment time, my name was called by one of the nurses who had been rushing backwards and forwards calling out the women in the waiting room. We were led to a small room which had a weighing chair, a blood pressure monitor and a desk - oh and a height measure against the wall. I was asked to sit in the chair so the nurse could read my weight (something I have not done myself for about three months!!), then she took my blood pressure and asked how tall I was (with or without heels????).

It's funny how this information is gathered but we aren't told the outcome of it - or if we are, how many of us actually understand what it all means!! Anyway, she said it was all fine and normal. Then she asked Hubby to sit in the chair. Neither of us had expected him to have to undergo anything, so he looked a bit confused. "She's not going to get pregnant on her own!" the nurse replied to his query. "What's it for?" Hubby asked. The nurse explained they take some information to check if we would be eligible for IVF, should the time come. Apparently for a woman to be eligible she has to have a BMI lower than 30 and a man has to be lower than 35. Hubby and I both fitted within this criteria.

On our way back to the waiting room, Hubby and I briefly discussed this element, and agreed IVF was not something we would want to consider. My reasons I will explain in a separate post another day.

We waited another fifteen minutes before we called to the Consultant's office. I followed the nurse in, and was greeted by a male Consultant, and a young female student, "Are you happy if we have the student in the room with us?" I was at the door of the room, with the young girl looking at me. "Sure" I replied. How can I say otherwise when she is right there!!! I think this should be asked before we are in the room, personally!!

In the room, Hubby and I were invited to sit down in two chairs against the wall, next to the Consultant's desk. He explained he was going to ask us some personal questions in order to work out what the next stage would be, and pulled out of "my" folder a pink form. The questions went along the lines of:

The Consultant then explained the tests he wanted me to have during the current cycle and at the beginning of the next cycle as there are specific tests which need to be done on specific days - one of the first examinations I had was an external check of my abdomen - as the Consultant wanted to check if he could feel any swelling from my uterus. There was none. The next test Hubby and I had together was a karyotype blood test, so we moved from the fertility clinic to the blood test area and waited a further 20 minutes before our number was called. A karyotype test basically takes a photograph of the chromosomes. It is used to identify and evaluate the size, shape and number of chromosomes in a sample of body cells, and to check whether either of us has any extra, missing or abnormal chromosome pieces which can either prevent a woman from conceiving - or if there are problems which can be passed onto Bubba - when he or she arrives. I think it is really interesting how they can take photographs of something which is so microscopically small and read the information from it!
  • When did I stop using contraception?
  • What had I been using?
  • How often we have intercourse?
  • Have I ever been pregnant before?
  • Have either of us had any STI's?
  • Does Hubby have problems with erections/ejaculation?
  • Do I have any pain during intercourse?
  • When did I last have smear?
  • How old Hubby's son is?
As you can see, nothing is left in "the bedroom", so to speak. Nothing is out-of-bounds. It caught Hubby off guard - well actually both of us - because we had both been under the impression I was the one being investigated as Hubby has a son already. Even more so, when they asked him to produce a sample to be tested at some point during my cycle! It was actually quite embarrassing to be asked all this in front of three strangers!!

A few days later, I had to have a triple swab, whereby they check the cervix by taking a sample of cells from inside the body to ensure there is nothing I have contracted or had in the past (not that I have, but they have to rule out everything which can cause problems with a woman conceiving) or if there are / have been any infections (such as TB or thrush). The swabs are taken from the neck of the cervix - which is the entrance to the womb, as well higher in the cervix.

Next will be a blood test on day 21 of my cycle to check progestrone, thyroid, LH (Luteinizing Hormone) and FSH (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone) levels. A surge of LH actually triggers ovulation within a woman, while the FSH stops being produced after ovulation. So the tests are used to identify whether I am ovulating OK.

Following these tests, if I still haven't conceived by the time my next cycle begins, I will need to have a further blood test between days 2-5 to again test the LH and FSH levels - as one of the functions of FSH hormone is to tell the eggs when to be released; as well as Estradiol - high levels of this can indicate a cyst in one the ovaries or a low level of activity in the ovaries (where the eggs are stored and released from); and prolactin - which can interfere in the secretion of FSH or LH. Then a HSG (hysterosalpingogram) examination - which is an internal x-ray between days 10 - 14. when a dye will be inserted so the radiographer can check to see that the Fallopian tubes are open enough, and not blocked, in order to allow the egg to travel through.

All of these tests will be gathered together and at my next appointment with the consultant the results will be shared with Hubby and I. Until then, others will know the outcome as they discuss the contents of my "folder".

In the meantime though, if I am honest, I am praying and hoping I will not have to go through some of these tests - they sound really intrusive!