Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Consultation at the Nuffield

I'll apologise in advance here because I suspect that in the next couple of months a lot of my posts are going to be about IVF stuff and I realise that might not interest everyone. I'm wanting to share my experience here though in the hopes that it'll be of some use to others going through the same thing.

On Monday I got up insanely early. Correction, I went to sleep insanely late and then woke up just a few hours later feeling really excited for the day ahead. After walking the dog and dropping her at my in-laws' we boarded the ferry and drove into Glasgow to the Nuffield hospital.

I mentioned the Nuffield during my A to Z Challenge after we went there for their Hope Fertility Clinic Open Day. It's a private hospital in the centre of Glasgow that deals with a number of procedures, one of which is IVF.

The place feels a little bit like a hotel when you go in. There's comfy seats in the waiting area, toilet doors that actually lock (hugely important to me after our experience at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary) and lots of friendly and helpful staff.

We arrived at about 9:40 for a 10am appointment which gave me plenty of time to have a little freak out in the toilet. I have myself a pep talk about how it was okay to be here, no one was judging me, that this would all be fine and then we headed to the waiting room.

Mr Click took advantage of the free drinks machine while I sat there feeling wibbly for fifteen minutes. Then the consultant came through. Funnily enough she's one of the doctors who our notes were forwarded to at the GRI.

I don't know why but I was expecting the consultant to be someone who was a bit aloof and stern but she wasn't at all! She came to the waiting area, introduced herself and we shook hands then we went through to her room.

And what a difference to our first appointment at the GRI! Whereas there I got the impression that we were just another file to have boxes ticked off on, at the Nuffield I felt like we were treated like real people. Before she asked us any questions she introduced herself and then asked us things like how we met and how we came to be in Scotland. It was lovely to feel like more than just a patient.

She asked us a few questions about the treatment we were seeking and was really impressed by how thorough our notes from our GP were (I love our GP!) I'd been worried about sending those along before our appointment but when I sent an email in the staff were really reassuring about just bringing them along and it was good to see how much attention the consultant paid to them. They're in our file now and we can check off several tests we otherwise would've needed.

She asked a few questions about ourselves and made some notes of her own. When they did this at the GRI it basically consisted of reading our notes to us like this 'you're 25?', 'you're taking Folic Acid?', 'you don't smoke?' This just felt more conversational and surprisingly relaxed.

Virtually one of the first things she said when we entered the room was that we'd come a long way, which was reassuring that she'd taken note of that before we'd arrived. It made it a lot easier to broad the subject of appointment times and difficulties we might have with early appointments due to ferry times. In fact I think it was the consultant herself who suggested we make our next appointments for Mr Click's test and my nurse appointment on the same day.

I feel like the Nuffield 'gets' the fact that we live on an island which removes a massive source of stress for us. This is a good thing because infertility is stressful enough without having to phone places and ask them to play musical appointments because you can't get there on time.

The consultant explained I would need to have an AMH test which is a blood test to determine my reserve of eggs. Basically, unlike men who keep on producing sperm, women have a finite number of eggs and so the quantity will determine which drug protocol I'll be put on. She arranged for that to be done right after our appointment with her.

She also gave us a brief overview of what the IVF would involve. Thanks to Dr. Google and various friends on fertility forums I had a pretty good idea of what this would involve but I was glad to hear how it works at the Nuffield. Obviously a lot will depend on the results of the blood test.

We also brought up the egg donation and she spoke to us about that too; like the treatment itself that'll depend on our test results but she was very reassuring. I was worried about being told it wouldn't be possible straight off so her response made me feel positive there too.

And then the consultation was over. We headed back to the waiting room and she headed off up the corridor to organise my blood test.

We only had to wait a few minutes before the nurse came to get me. And she was lovely too. She joked about feeling like a vampire because she's always taking blood but she was honestly one of the best people I've ever had take my blood. I barely felt a thing and there's only a tiny hint of a bruise at the puncture site (normally I bruise like a peach)!

We chatted about having awkward surnames and living in Scotland and giving blood; it was all so relaxed. And now we just have to wait for the results. The consultant will call in a week and from there we can arrange our nurse appointment and Mr Click's test.

I'm so glad that we've got the ball rolling with this. It was the nicest feeling in the world coming out of the hospital practically bouncing as opposed to our appointment at the GRI where I came out just wanting to cry. I really feel like this might be the start of good things to come!

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