Monday, April 4, 2011

I'm Infertile, Now What? Be Your Own Advocate!

I wish I would have stopped to ask myself this question. I wish I would have slowed down my thought process to allow my mind time to wrap itself around this term that had just been thrust upon me. I didn't, but you can. I didn't stop to think if my doctor was the right fit. I didn't stop to think that I had a say in my course of action. I let my emotions take over and the doctor "do what's best".  I'm sure you can tell by now that I am the type A, overly-anxious kind of person. My husband, the exact opposite. He evens me out, but he wasn't there the day the doctor said, "here's what we're going to do".  He might have been my only voice of reason and I'm sad I made the appointment when he had to work.  Otherwise, things may be different. I could have been a mom by now had I been allowed to be part of the process and have a say.

Don't let this be you. Have a say. It's your body, your money, your life. When the doctor immediately wants to "skip" over less expensive steps and won't explain why. ASK QUESTIONS. I didn't. I trusted the expert. Now, I'm paying for it all over again.

Don't get me wrong, my PREVIOUS doctor knew what he was doing. He was the best of the best according to most. That's why I ended up in his office in the first place. However, when I first ended up there I was a teenager, not knowing anything about my situation or that I should have a voice in the matter. If you remember back to one of my earlier posts, I decided to "trust" his expertise all the way through 4 failed IUI attempts and 1 failed IVF attempt. I did so in good faith that he was looking out for my best interests. Why wouldn't he? He was overburdened with too many other patients just like me. He didn't have time to answer every patient's questions. He was too busy performing miracles on a daily basis. Remember when I told him I had questions and he looked me straight in the eye and said, "that's why you're here". Then he turned around and walked out the door saying the nurses would answer any questions I had.  I should have noticed and said something when I felt something wasn't right. Doctors should answer your questions and take their time with you. You should not feel like a number.

Be your own advocate first and foremost when you find out this diagnosis. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Find out the exact reason (if you can) for your infertility. Is it you or your husband? Is it both of you? Is it in your brain or your abdomen? Do you need specific tests done to check for Endometriosis, cysts or blockage of your fallopian tubes? Find a doctor that will work with you, not behind closed doors to help you reach a specific course of action that you all agree upon. Don't let them skip over simple procedures that could end up saving you thousands of dollars.  Yes, they are the experts, but you know your body and you know your gut instincts. I should have followed mine.

If you end up having to take the route of IUI and IVF, make sure your doctor is up front with you about cost, medications, and most importantly your hormone levels during the process. Don't let them just tell you everything is going as planned. No, get specifics. Make them take their time to look and then explain it to you. You're the one spending the money. You're the one doing this to your body. You're the one wanting a family. Protect you and your potential family by getting all the facts throughout the process.

I was too shy at times to ask exactly what my hormone levels were. I wish I wasn't. I deserved to know. My husband and I were paying him. The least he could do was keep us apprised of the situation as it unfolded. During my IVF attempt I could tell something was off. I didn't feel as "crazy" as I formerly did during all of my IUI attempts. I should have asked why. It turns out that my estrogen level bottomed out. The embryos were never going to attach without the right environment. Of course when I asked my previous doctor why the IVF didn't take, he simply said, "you have poor quality eggs".  No, that wasn't the entire reason. Maybe part of it, but when I didn't have enough estrogen in my system to support an environment for the embryos to attach--that, my friend, is the complete reason it didn't work and you knew it or you would have if you would have slowed down and taken a closer look. I only came "privy" to this information after switching doctors. I finally got the courage to stand up for myself. I got a second opinion. I wanted a fresh set of eyes on my records because of how angry I had become at my previous doctor. Here was this "man" telling me I would have no trouble getting pregnant for 10 years and to "just come to him when we were ready". Well by the time we did depend on him to get us pregnant, he didn't stop and take his time. He could have stopped the IVF, saved us thousands of dollars and not wasted the cycle by just trying IUI one more time. WOW. Wish I would have known that at the time. I would have demanded it. If we would have saved thousands on that attempt, I wouldn't have had to wait another year to save up again to try another round of IVF. Thanks.

Now that I have my new doctor, he informs me of every step and WHY we are doing that. I have a say in the process, but I also know he won't keep information hidden from me. Make sure you know your doctor and are comfortable with him.

Infertility is a scary and stressful diagnosis, why would you want to be with a doctor that doesn't inform you? Doesn't take time with you? You have to feel comfortable with your doctor or that makes it all the more stressful (I now realize).  Know your diagnosis, check your facts and do your homework. Most importantly, be your own advocate. It's your body, your money, your future baby. Wouldn't you want to be as informed as you possibly could? I know I will be from here on out.

1 comment:

  1. We cannot change the past but we can prepare for the future. You are incredibly bold, brave, and are doing an AMAZING job in order to ready yourself for a beautiful baby :0) May God continue to bless you and your husband!!