Monday, 19 August 2013

Nuffield Appointment: Down Regulation

Last Wednesday was my official start date for the IVF/ICSI treatment. We had to wait until Day 20 of my cycle when I was set to start taking the Metformin I'd been given at our last appointment, but on one of our phone calls they'd mentioned me going across for a scan as well on that day. I was quite pleased about actually going to the hospital because it meant I could confirm that what I thought I knew about taking the tablets was correct.

It was another early start (but only by about half an hour so I could walk Trouble before depositing her with my in-laws) and we went by public transport again. It's so easy to get to the Nuffield by train and taxi, plus Mr Click finds it a lot less stressful because he's not a fan of driving in Glasgow. I'm guessing that for some of the upcoming appointments (once we start the stimulation phase) we'll take our car because that'll be more comfortable, but for now this is working for us.

Despite catching a later ferry and giving ourselves more time in Glasgow Central for lunch, we still ended up at the hospital an hour before our appointment time. Waiting doesn't bother us because it's a nice waiting room; you can help yourself to tea and coffee (Mr Click is happy because he can get his decaf), they have newspapers and the news on the TV. But we didn't even have to wait that long because about fifteen minutes after we arrived our nurse came out to get us.

I feel back because I can't remember her name, but for the purposes of this blog we'll call her J.2. She introduced herself (and I promptly forgot her name) and said that it was a bit before our appointment time but she figured since we were there already we might as well go ahead and get it out the way.

I'd been a wee bit unclear about what the appointment was going to involve because I'd not made it, due to my working hours being roughly those of the hospital (and not wanting to ask for time to go and make personal calls) I'd left it to Mr Click to get it all organised. I understood that it was going to consist of a scan and an injection.

I was really dreading the scan. On our visit to the Nuffield Open Day in March we'd seen the examination room where these scans take place, so I'd seen what it involved. Basically, it's an internal scan (which I've seen referred to rather affectionately by other bloggers as the 'dildo-cam') which gives you some idea of where the probe has to go. I actually really wound myself up about it.

I really needn't have. Mr Click and I were shown into the examination room where J.2 explained what would be done. There's a little toilet/changing room off the examination room which you go into and undress from the waist down and put a gown over the top. Then you hop up onto the bed, stick your legs up on the rests, and the nurse does her thing with the scanner.

To be honest I barely felt it. Initially it was a bit cold but I've had more discomfort during smear tests. The one time when it was less comfortable was when J.2 was trying to find my right ovary. Your ovaries can move around and mine was feeling a bit shy about the attention it was getting so decided to hide. The scan was also to test the lining of my womb, which was as to be expected. Then that was it and I was free to put my clothes back on.

Then it was time to have the injection, so J.2 popped off to get it and we had an unexpected visit from J (the nurse we've seen for all of our previous appointments). It was lovely to have her stop by just to say hello and check we were doing okay. It just helps to make us feel like the staff at the Nuffield really care about us as people, rather than just as patients. Even knowing I have to get injections or scans when I go there, I still can't help but really look forward to each of our appointments.

The injection was worse than the scan, mainly because I was sat there waiting for the nurse to stick it in my arm, when she revealed that actually it went somewhere else. So I had to drop my trousers for it to go into a bum cheek! That was a bit sore, but not quite as sore as the taxi ride back to the train station where the driver hit every bump and pothole!

So that's me officially in the Down Regulation phase of the IVF. The injection was to turn off my natural cycle to get me ready for the Stimulation phase. It basically puts you into a mini-menopause so I can expect to experience hot flushes and things of that ilk. So far (touch wood) I've not had any really bad side effects.

The Metformin is a little more challenging. I'm on one tablet a night for seven days, then that ups to two tablets a night after that. I've had a bit of nausea, a lot of squirmy tummies and some headaches. I suspect that this has also caused the complete lack of appetite I've been experiencing, though that's probably not such a bad thing.

Aside from feeling pretty tired and those other small side effects I feel like I'm doing pretty well with this Down Regulation stage. Now I've just got to wait for my next period and then it'll be all systems go for the Stimulation stage. I've got to call the hospital and then go in on Day 3 for an injection and to be shown how to do my own injections. After three years of feeling crushed each time I get my period and hoping it doesn't show, I'm really looking forward to this one and hope it hurries up and arrives!


Let me know what you think. :-)