A few days ago, I complained about what was a somewhat chaotic visit to my clinic. I feel like I should add to that. I mean, in case anybody can track me down personally, I don’t want to give the wrong impression about the state of things.

(Although, seriously, if my RE’s staff or contract web people are spending their time figuring out who the hell I am, I really need to be paying less money. Get back to work, people.)

Yeah, we’re a little frazzled that I have had to correct just about everyone to whom I’ve spoken, from the labs over to the nursing staff, to remind them that we’re doing a FET of 3-day embryos and not 5-day blasts. It’s unnerving, because (a) we don’t know every detail of what goes into this and what problems could arise if the wrong person isn’t paying attention to the notes in my file, and (b) it’s a reminder that we’re at one further disadvantage, having so few embryos that aren’t even blasts yet.

My regular IVF coordinator got back into the office today and told me that they don’t always need to prescribe the things that hadn’t shown up on my calendar of medicines, so they didn’t put them on there to begin with – which might be true. That’s a little different than what her sub told me a few weeks ago, but fine.

Would disaster have befallen our dubious-as-it-is embryos (sorry kids) if I hadn’t spoken up and pointed out the either missing or as-yet-unmentioned drugs?

I don’t know. I kind of think not. Something tells me that somebody would have noticed, and probably what would have happened is there would have been a few more days’ delay. Maybe another month. Which would have been infuriating, but the great thing about liquid nitrogen is how nobody’s going to jump out of the canister because he’s just soooo impatient to find a uterus. (I would really like to think that all 8 of those cells actually had that much of a longing for mama. Would be neat, wouldn’t it?)

I’d say I’m perfectly reasonable in feeling unnerved to this point. But I’m still totally cool with my RE and his practice.

I have a family member who went through an extended illness. He’s okay now, fortunately, but I remember his wife telling me all the ways she had to look out for him when he was in the hospital, and how closely she had to track each expense to prevent overcharges. And he had really good care. These things just freaking happen, and they will continue to happen until the American medical establishment can reorganize so that my RE has more than 15 minutes to spend thinking about me at one time.

I’m not holding my breath, either.

So where does that leave us – those of us paying hugely out of pocket for some scary stuff that doesn’t work more than half the time for my diagnostic category?

It leaves us in a position where we want to be liked, because you don’t want to be the gal at the clinic with the reputation for biting people’s heads off and making unreasonable demands and telling the doctor all about how the nurses are doing their jobs wrong.

It also means that we have to advocate for ourselves. There’s no way around it: we have to be assertive and ask questions and make sure our doctors and nurses know what’s going on with our case.

I attended a lunchtime lecture last year about negotiating skills for women. Fair or not, when we stand up for ourselves, opinion generally runs against us. But if we stand up as a representative of someone else – a client, a family member – in this case, a family made up of my husband and me – then we fare much better.

So yeah, I’ll march on down to the lab and ask if an embryologist has a few minutes to listen to the concerns of my husband and myself. And I’ll tell my IVF coordinator that we’re concerned that too many people are making the wrong assumption.

But I’m not going to write a bad Yelp review, and I’m not going to post some angry rant. (Assuming we don’t count my “Dude!” in the earlier post as an angry rant.) The truth is, my RE knows his stuff so well it’s pretty much intimidating. The embryologists seem to have their heads on straight. Not all the nurses are superb communicators, but enough of them are that we can do just fine.

This is a scary process, and invariably things will happen that will leave one feeling uncomfortable and adrift. I’m still okay with the general direction of things, however, and we’ve decided that we’re in good hands – albeit hands that might need a few watchful reminders on occasion.

Most hands do.

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