Getting Started on IVF: The Pre-Period Scan and First Spray- August 2012

After the meeting with the counsellor and IVF doctor, there was nothing to do but wait for my pre-period scan which was scheduled for August 7th. This scan had to be done not less than 7 days before the next expected period. Based on previous cycles I expected my period on August 9th. The scan was scheduled for my cycle day 29 on the Tuesday afternoon following a bank holiday. In the run up to the scan I was consumed with an irrational fear that my period would come early. I felt cramps and twinges that indicated she was on her way. Such was my fear that I rang the clinic and got my appointment moved to mid-morning, some three hours earlier. As it turned out my period didn’t come early, in fact it came a day late.

I read my patient booklet and noted that I was to attend for the scan with an empty bladder. I think I must have made at least three trips to the bathroom before I finally presented myself to the clinic. This was also the day my fee for the whole treatment was due. I met with one of the receptionists in a side office and parted with my cheque, he gave me a receipt and checked me in online. I took a seat in the waiting room. There were a few other couples there and a number of women on their own like me. There was no particular reason for my husband to attend today. I picked up a copy of Red magazine and flicked through. This time the article that met my eye was on the subject of adoption so I read this as I waited. After about 10 minutes, a nurse called for me and I went to meet her. She offered me a last opportunity to use the bathroom which I did. We passed through another corridor which also seemed to be a waiting area. The one thing I noticed here were that both walls were covered in photographs of babies, presumably those born through the unit. I didn’t really have time to look at these as I was brought into a small room which had a surgical bed and monitor.

The nurse gave me instructions to remove my lower clothing and to lie on the bed. I had deliberately worn a longer top so at least I was not exposed while standing! She asked me if I had experienced this kind of scan before. I had undergone a transvaginal scan with the fertility consultant already so I knew what to expect. She remained in the room as I got ready but was checking my file and other matters as I arranged myself. She helped me position myself correctly on the bed and proceeded with the scan. Unlike when I had the scan done with the consultant, I could not see the monitor this time. The nurse checked the monitor carefully and made notes in the file. The scan only took a couple of minutes and was not at all uncomfortable. The nurse advised me that everything looked ok and that I could get dressed again. I asked her how my womb lining looked. I was curious about this as I was so close to my period and they had been quite light since I stopped the Pill. I had some concerns that my womb lining may be insufficient. She informed me that it was 7.1mm which is what would be expected close to a period. It didn’t seem to be a cause for concern anyway. From other research I had done, my understanding was that a womb lining of between 8mm and 12mm would be ideal but 7mm was in normal range too. The nurse wanted to take me to an office to complete the rest of the appointment but there was none free so we remained in the scan room. She said that as everything looked fine on my scan, I could commence my IVF medication on cycle day 1, the day I would get my period. However, if my period arrived after 3pm I should wait until the next day. She wrote a prescription for Suprecur (buserelin) nasal spray and Puregon (follitropin beta) as well as the trigger shot Ovitrelle. She gave me a sheet of instructions for the down-regulation nasal spray and went through it. I was advised to take the spray at 6 hourly intervals with the times of 6am,12 noon, 6pm and 12 midnight suggested as the most convenient for most people. She also showed me the technique for taking the spray, holding one nostril closed with a finger while spraying into the other and vice versa. She asked me if I had any questions and said that I could contact the nurses there if I did later on. She also gave me a small cooler bag with an icepack inside and advised me to put the Puregon (stimulation phase medication) and Ovitrelle into this and transfer to the fridge when I got home. The nasal spray was to be kept at room temperature. She also advised that I contact the clinic as soon as I commenced the spray to make an appointment for 14 days later. On this date I was to bring the cooler bag with one box of Puregon with me and I would be shown how to give myself injections if I was able to proceed at that stage.

I went then to the hospital pharmacy to collect my medications. I presented my Drugs Payment Scheme card which capped the cost I had to pay. The pharmacist gave me instructions again on the storage of the medicines. The trigger shot in particular was noted as requiring constant refrigeration.

I felt quite upbeat after this appointment. I had medications and I was good to go as soon as I got my period. I was one step closer. I had taken the day off work as I did not particularly want to have to conceal fertility medications in the office. However, before I got my bus home I stopped off in a shoe shop and treated myself to a new pair of shoes. I suppose I shouldn’t have really, considering how much IVF treatment is costing me but I just wanted to do something. I also stocked up on some avocados and hummus seeing as I had read that these were good fertility foods for IVF.

There was little I could do after this except wait for my period. I had taken a pregnancy test on the day of the scan which was negative and took another test on my period due date, which was also negative. I was less gutted than usual as at least now I had a plan in place. My period eventually arrived at 4am following cycle day 31. Thanks to this timing I was able to commence my spray at 6am on 10th August 2012. Later that morning I rang the clinic and the appointment for my down-regulation scan was made for early morning on 23rd August. I am hoping this will go to plan and that I can move on to the stimulation stage then. I am 6 days into the down regulation phase now and so far so good, not feeling too many side effects apart from feeling a bit more tired than usual. The spray can leave a bit of a taste at the back of the throat for a little while but a mint or chewing gum solves that. The spray is easy to take and I’ve managed it in a few odd locations including 2 supermarket carparks and one public bus stop as well as in the office. Hayfever spray, if anyone asks!!

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