11 July 2012

At the IVF Starting Gate

After the nightmare last month where I’d tried to book in for our IVF treatment only to be told they didn’t know what I was talking about, I was a bit worried about our referral as without it we can’t start. We’d been told it should take about a week for the referral to arrive, but experience tells me that these things can often be lost. So a week after our appointment Mr Goldfish rang up to check its progress. The nurse told him the letter hadn’t arrived, but not to worry about it. She said if it still hadn’t arrived by the start of my next period, they’d be able to call the secretary and have it faxed up. Mr Goldfish checked to make sure that this meant we would definitely be starting IVF this cycle. She said yes it wouldn’t be a problem and we shouldn’t chase the referral up any further.

So Saturday afternoon I find myself standing in the middle of a pub car park somewhere in Yorkshire calling the hospital. As I’m desperately trying to find some mobile signal, the nurse tells me that they can’t book me in because they’ve not received my referral.

I had to take a deep breath to calm my nerves before pointing out that they’d specifically told us not to chase up the referral or I’d have sorted this last week! I did feel a bit bad for the nurse, as she said she wasn’t allowed to book us in without the referral and being a Saturday there wouldn’t be anyone in the clinic to call. After going around in circles a few times she finally says if I call on Monday she can probably sort it out. Till this point I thought we had to book in on the first day of my cycle or not at all, so this was a welcome source of hope.

With the promise of this solution, I called Mr Goldfish with the news. My parents are currently visiting from overseas, so we decided Mr Goldfish would be in charge of calling on Monday. I’m so glad I wasn’t involved in these phone calls, as he ended up ringing back and forth between the fertility clinic and the doctor’s secretary several times. By the sound of it they hadn’t just lost the letter, but it had never even been typed up. The poor secretary was searching through boxes of tapes to try and find our appointment. I felt sorry for her, but at the same time we weren’t willing to lose another month of our lives to their mistake.

Finally Tuesday morning they rang to let us know the letter had arrived and we were booked to start IVF on the 13th of July.

I’m sure you expect that I’ll feel excited and relieved, but what I actually felt was more akin to panic. I’ve been fighting for IVF because it’s the only way forward, but I’m terrified by the prospects. The last week I’ve struggled to sleep as I worrying about what lies ahead.

In any case the next step was the drug delivery. I assume for reasons of space, the hospital has all the IVF medications delivered straight to your house by a private company. I received a letter and a phone call from the company two days later and I was able to arrange a delivery date. Though the delivery had to be made between 7:30 – 12:30, I could select any day that was convenient for me. So yesterday at about ten past seven, I threw myself out of bed and dashed down the stairs in my bathrobe to answer the door to a condescending delivery man who apparently can’t tell the time.

The package was actually smaller than I expected. There were four different prescriptions, two types of needle, syringes, special caps to break off the glass ampoule tops, cotton wool, wipes, a sharps box, an explanatory DVD and a case to keep things in.

I’m so glad I scanned the instructions when things arrived. The pink needles above are huge and terrifying, but it turns out they are only used for preparing the solutions. It looks like only the fine yellow needles will be stuck into me.

After five months of endless waiting, things are now moving very fast - which brings its own panic. It like spending hours waiting in line for a roller coaster, only to sit down and realise the high hill ahead fills you with dread. All I can do now it close my eyes and hope we make it through to the other side.

This was originally written for the Emma's Diary Blog.