"You can get pregnant at any moment. For any reason. She said you can get pregnant when you are awake, asleep, having a burger....." As the lovely Roisin, my podcast producer and co host explained, when you are in school, it is made very clear that pregnancy is an inevitability. It is not until later that you realise that things may not be quite as straight forward as you were told.
So, what should you expect when you are not expecting?
This infertility journey is all about self advocating. You may get lucky and all your doctors and nurses are fantastic, know what they are doing and nothing gets lost in the post (yes, one woman I spoke to was telling me how all of her records got lost in the post when being transferred from one hospital to another. What's worse, is the hospitals were only 2 miles apart....)
Stage 1: GP visit
Have the following information ready for your first visit to the GP.
How long have you been trying
Cycle information e.g. when was your last period, length of cycle
Make sure you leave with the following information:
Next steps: e.g. referral to a gynaecologist
How will you find out about the appointment e.g. a letter in the post with the appointment
How long is this likely to take i/.e. weeks/months
Be prepared, they may:
Ask you about your sex life
Enquire about your lifestyle e.g. smoking, drinking
Weigh you to get an idea of your BMI
Then.... get ready to wait. Try to keep fit and healthy so that you are in peak shape for whenever your fertility treatment begins.
Stage 2: First visit with your gynaecologist
Make sure that if they have asked you to have any tests done, e.g. hycosy, blood work, ultrasound (or the internal exam via Wanda) you have had those done and if possible, make sure those results have been sent to your doctor before your appointment
Consider if you want your partner at the appointment (if you have one, I know a lot of women are going solo). Hopefully you will get good news at this appointment but just in case it may be good to have someone with you.
Try to find out a clear diagnosis of the problem. Do you have PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, unexplained infertility. If you do not understand, ask. If you still don't understand, ask again.
Make sure you leave with a plan of action so (1) a prescription for some meds e.g. clomid or letrozole (2) if things aren't that straight forward, a crystal clear idea of what is next. This may be your next appointment, who it is with, why you need the appointment, when it will be, how you will find out about it, whether or not you need further testing and where it will be.
Ask for the best way to contact the doctor should you need to. They can be notoriously difficult to get hold of, so check office hours, who you should expect to answer the phone and if you can't get through, what you should d0.
It goes without saying that everyone will have a slightly different experience. For some people this will be relatively straight forward and quick, for some others, there will certainly be some curve balls along the way.
I hope this information goes a little way to making this journey easier for you.
Best wishes and baby dust to you all.
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