Waterloo Testing

Super-Secret Post
Pertaining to Month 27 and 28

The testing in Waterloo was very different than in Vancouver. With all the appointments scheduled for me at the beginning of a cycle and performed at one location, it painted an extremely detailed picture of one cycle instead of piecing together data from different points of different cycles from different specialists at appointments I had to secure for myself.

Much detail follows.

In Vancouver, the earlier tests were returned quickly and discovered a problem that would make it difficult for us to create an embryo on our own. Later tests therefore felt as though we had found the problem and were just routinely knocking off other possible causes as a formality. One test was done at a completely different point in my cycle than usual because the doctor expected it to look normal, and it did.

I wondered how more-detailed they could get than the scans and bloodwork I’d had. What could the Waterloo clinic do, short of scanning my ovaries and measuring hormones every day?

Oh wait; that’s exactly what they were planning to do, during the 8-10 days my ovaries would mature follicles and hopefully release an egg. Additionally, there was a test similar to the most-painful and invasive test from last June that we had to repeat, plus something called an endometrial biopsy which didn’t sound pleasant.

Daily internal scans weren’t fun and didn’t grow to be fun (especially since, to my disappointment, the technicians were never up for witty banter) but it is amazing how used to something you can get. I’ve since heard that this is often the case for treatment for very serious illnesses too — some people are able to get into routines no matter how strange they are. Even after the testing was done, it took me a long time to stop choosing outfits based on the ease with which I’d be able to a) change into my lovely green gown and b) roll up a sleeve for a blood test.

As always, the fact that I didn’t have a place to be every day (in fact, at this point I didn’t even have online classes because of the break I took for the move) was a huge relief. Although appointments were between 7 and 9, it definitely could have been impossible with my work placement or an average job.

We also had a counseling session that felt completely disastrous. It’s depressing and I decided to put it in its own post.

In almost three straight weeks of terrible weather, the time-sensitive semen analysis landed on the only day we could trust our summer-tired car out on the roads. Success! But then I missed the bus on a Saturday and had to drive the car at a crawl to my test at 20km/h in a blizzard (lest I screw up the entire cycle by missing / being super, super late for one scan).

Also, between the end of the testing cycle and the review of our results, we found out we’d be moving to Ottawa in late May or early June, severely restricting our timeline considering I also had 6 weeks of incompatible work placement I really wanted to get out of the way in March and April.

But the awesome news was that we gathered all the test results we needed within one cycle, and after the Christmas break, returned to review them and decide next steps.

At which point we learned the local copy of all the patient files had been fried in a power flicker, and could we come back Monday to review the results when they were restored from backup? (By the way, coming from an IT background, I was just happy that they had backups at all.)

Good thing we have major privilege around ability-to-make-appointments, and delaying to Monday would still give us enough time to do something on the next cycle start, if necessary. (Nothing stings more than a tiny delay being augmented by missing a cycle start.)

On Monday, we were assured everything looked great for IVF. Instead of worrying about the long-term immediately, we agreed to start a cycle normally and see where it took us — the number of growing follicles / successfully harvested eggs / successfully grown embryos from that cycle would let us know how well I respond to treatment, and we’d go ahead and transfer one embryo back in the interest of making sure that worked, too.

We’d also be part of a clinical study trying to determine if a specific way of doing IVF is actually more effective. Our eggs would be fertilized half one way, half the other (waiving the usual charge), and the clinic would see if some embryos were healthier than others.

We took home a huge stack of consent forms and pricing information for the drugs and procedures and got to reading. I was tasked with calling the clinic on my next Day 1, and coming in on Day 3 to get everything started. From there it would be almost-daily appointments, with the clinic blissfully handling my injections (except for just one performed at home with a pen-style autoinjector). Yay — no need to do my own needles!

I let my Facebook friends know I would be going back into babymaking secrecy mode (no drinking, bouldering, etc.), warned the stage manager of the play I was in I would probably have an out-patient procedure in the middle of tech weekend for our play, and then I waited for Day 1…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *