Gut Feelings

Before we officially knew our first IVF cycle had failed, we both had a feeling. When we got the call the day after the transfer that our other eight embryos didn’t survive, the uneasiness started settling in. During our two-week wait, I didn’t develop any pregnancy symptoms, and I had been testing negative at home. Plus, I just had this strange feeling. It’s hard to describe, but I know my body better than anyone. And I just knew it.

We found out IVF didn’t work on a Wednesday afternoon. That night, we hit the ground running looking into other clinics, doctors and treatment options. If you know me, you know I’m a planner, so this shouldn’t come as surprise.

After a year of being fertility patients, we realized in that moment that we were also fertility consumers. We are our own best advocates, and we have to shop around for the clinic and treatment plan that best fits our needs. And we needed a second opinion. Maybe even a third and fourth. We also realized we had to trust our guts.

There’s a lot to be said for a gut feeling. My gut told me to go to Southern Miss. It told me to take that Hancock boy to my sorority date party. And it told us to drive all the way to Arkansas to adopt the cutest puppy in the world, our Nelson. Like Einstein said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift.”

We started our research with SART online success rate reports. SART is short for the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology. These SART reports tell you the live birth outcomes of IVF at the society’s member clinics and are available online through www.sart.org. We first looked at clinics in our home state but then expanded our search to bordering states – Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee. From there, we searched Google, Facebook, YouTube, and infertility blogs and websites for more information and reviews. We also talked to our parents and prayed for guidance in our decision making.

For those of you who are just now beginning your search for a fertility clinic, and even those in our situation with a failed IVF and an uncertainty of what to do next, let me drive this point home to you – RESEARCH. So often we rely too heavily on the opinions and experiences of others, that we ignore our own needs…and our own gut feelings. Each patient is unique, and each patient experience is unique. Know what kind of doctor you need. For me, I need someone who will discuss the facts with me, even when those facts are ambiguous as “Heck, we don’t know what’s going on,” as long as the next sentence is “But here’s what we need to do to figure it out.”

My gut told me to travel North to Memphis for a second opinion after reading this review on a clinic’s Facebook page, “While the anxiety of the patients is palpable in the clinic, the physicians are straight forward and factual.” Sold! By that Friday, we had an appointment scheduled. And this coming Friday, we’ll travel to Memphis equipped with medical records, new patient forms, our questions jotted down in Brennen’s “It Started with a Dish” notebook, and a craving for BBQ. Wish us luck. We’ll keep you posted.

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