If you read my blog post on How to Prepare for your First Fertility Appointment, I made several suggestions on how to make the most out of your first consultation. Truth be told, I didn't do any of these things at my first consultation. I figured this out later down the road and was able to apply these tips to my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th consultation.
Yes, I interviewed four doctors.
Well, not at first...
My first round of fertility treatments was with the first and only doctor I ever met with. I felt a connection with her, she was loving, nurturing and motherly. Like most decisions I make in life - I went with my gut. Unfortunately, baby making (in this case) isn't about feeling connected, it's about winning. It's hard not to let your emotions get in the way, but don't do what I did! Some of the best doctors, are unfortunately, not the most nurturing. I learned this the hard way, and I don't want this to happen to you.
So yes, after having 5 failed IUI's, 1 failed IVF and 1 failed Donor Egg Cycle, we realized we needed to find a new doctor. This time around we interviewed four different doctors.
It was time to get serious.
After years of heartbreak and emotional meltdowns in the doctors office, it was time for a new approach. I had an intervention with myself - Victoria, you are a strong, savvy, business woman, why can't you handle your shit with these doctors?
I knew I needed to treat this process like a business. That's what I'm good at, that's how I'm going to win!
So, here's how I started running my new baby making business...
Step 1 - Do your homework. Lot's of it.
First, I started with countless hours of research. I'd google the doctors in the area, look at their stats, compare them on a spreadsheet, read reviews, talk to other patients I knew had been to them, etc. Look for doctors that are board certified, have better than average success rates, aren't total assholes, and have an organized/friendly staff.
Step 2 - Narrow it down to two or three doctors, and setup interviews.
Choose a hand full of the ones that you like based on your research and setup consultations with two or three doctors - at least two. Choose the ones that stand out the most to you and are deemed the most credible. This is why your research is so important, don't just go to a doctor because one friend went to him/her and had a good experience. Use this info in your evaluation, but you need more that just a sample size of one.
Spend all the time you need narrowing it down, and get in touch with their office to setup a consultation. Depending on how busy they are (which is a good sign), you may have to wait a month or two before they can see you. That's okay, because it just gives you more time to prepare for your appointment and get the most out of it. You'll probably feel nervous, worry about what to say, worry about how you'll respond, worry that you'll get emotional, worry he/she will tell you bad news, and worry, worry, and worry. This is why it's good to interview a few of them. You'll get better at knowing what you need out of your doctor and your fertility plan. Yes, it's going to be hard emotionally, I won't lie, but it will be worth it in the end.
Step 3 - Make a list of your fertility doc "must-have's".
Before you meet with these doctors, you kinda need to know what you are looking for. This is VERY important. I didn't do this, and I ended up choosing a doctor I "felt" good about. I went with my gut, so to speak.
I liked her.
We connected. She made me feel warm and fuzzy in a mama bear kind of way. She even hugged me!
Don't do what I did!
Let me make this easy for you - one of your "must-haves" is NOT to emotionally connect or bond with your doctor. I know, I sound like a cold bitch, but you can't let your emotions choose your all-star player. You need a winner. Winner's are based on successful stats, experience, medical regiments, beliefs, etc. Winner's are not based on their hug quality. Got it? This mistake cost me $50,000. DO YOU HEAR ME NOW?
But, maybe having a chance at twins is a must-have. Not all doctors will do double embryo transfers, find out first!
Step 4 - Know what your insurance covers.
Don't get your hopes up on this one, but if you are one of the lucky ones, use that shit! Fertility treatments are not cheap, and if you can get things covered, do it! Maybe you have to go to your B list doctor "in network" to get your lab work done. DO IT!
Read through your coverage plan, get on the phone with your insurance company, talk with your HR department, and ask a lot of questions. Find loop holes and ways to save money!
Step 5 - Create a Fertility Binder. AKA - Trapper Keeper.
You are going to want to stay organized with all your research, priorities, questions, lab work, appointments, medical history, ovulation calendar, period patterns, etc. This will be your saving grace! By the time you have your 2nd or 3rd consultation, you'll be good to go!
Step 6 - Put on your Baby Makin' Business Pants.
Here's the hard truth - you have to think about this part as a business. I know it's really hard to do this, especially in the beginning, but when you find yourself making emotional decisions, you have to slap on dem biz-nass pants and snap the fuck out of it. This is A LOT of money we are talking about- so make an educated decision that isn't going to waste your hard earned money, time, and energy. Don't do what I did!
If the very best doctor in your area doesn't hug you, get over it. If he/she has the best success rates, reviews, and technology, yet is moderately egotistical, so what? Can you blame em?
I'll take that cocky SOB all day if he can get me pregnant!
STEP 7 - LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.
This step is optional, and totally up to you, but is definitely something you should think about. You may not realize it right away, but by signing up for fertility treatments, you just took on a part-time job that you DON'T get paid for. You will need to be in the doctor's office at least once a week in the beginning and then as much as 4-5 times/week once you start a cycle. If you have a flexible job situation, or a super cool, understanding boss, that doesn't mind you taking off time to go to your appointments, then location may not be an issue. If so you'll still want to consider the extra travel time it will take, the added stress that comes with traffic depending on the route, the amount of gas you will be using, etc. It all adds up! With all this being said, don't let this be the only reason you don't sign up with the doctor of your choice. I'm just saying, factor it in.