I have been thinking a lot lately about whether or not to share the names of my clinics and have decided against it. However where we are currently going will become increasingly obvious to some of you as we tell our stories. It will be very apparent to you if are at all experienced with IVF and have done any research on the best clinics. It will also be clear to you if you watch a certain reality show on E!
If you do watch that show you have met my doctor, a couple of the nurses, and have seen the building that we affectionately call “The Mecca of Fertility.”
Google it if you want. If you look hard enough you will find it. But I didn’t tell you. Not officially. Being new to this blogging stuff I am not sure that refraining from spilling the beans protects me from legal action but I feel better being a little discrete. If I become pregnant and famous I am sure the clinic would love for me to plaster its name everywhere, not that it needs more publicity. But until that time and not knowing the outcome I think its best if I take the safe route. Especially given the story I am about to tell you.
So yes, our clinic is world famous. The founder is our doctor and he literally wrote the book on assisted reproduction (another reason to fall madly in love with him as discussed in a previous blog). Couples from all over the world come to our clinic in the hopes that their dreams will be realized. It is the clinic of choice for those that can afford to travel and pay for the best. It is where celebrities go to get help with baby making when they hit the conception wall.
Yes, our clinic is the clinic of the stars and it has the price tag to match. And it is that price tag that turned the Winslow’s into thieves one day in August of 2013.
Most of the clinic’s clients are like us. They have been through multiple cycles at clinics closer to home and have switched hoping to break a losing streak. As result, the clinic is dealing with patients that have already had extensive fertility testing. But that doesn’t matter, every patient has to go back through all the testing again. The clinic feels they are the best, have the best labs, the best doctors, and their reputation is not going on the line based on shoddy work done by a previous clinic.
So no matter what your history the clinic does all the diagnostic testing from scratch in a session they call a “One Day Work Up.” In our case it meant a flight out to see them to do a myriad of tests and an orientation session. This day was spent waiting to meet with billing, waiting to meet with our assigned nurse, waiting to see the doctor for a variety of tests, waiting to give blood and other samples. It was a day of waiting, waiting, waiting. For each appointment we had to check in at one of three reception areas.
Each of these reception areas had an ever so tempting cup of brand new pens with the clinic’s name and logo on it. Nice pens. The good stuff. The kind you would expect from a celebrity’s clinic.
Bored from all the waiting, we decided to make a game of stealing the pens. Our goal was to take as many of those pens home as humanly possible thinking that it would help justify the expensive price tag of the trip. Each time we would check in for an appointment we would find a reason to have to write something down, use a new pen, and take it back to the waiting area with us to stash in my purse. We laughed so hard each time we would successfully “steal” a pen that was clearly there for us to take anyway.
We passed time dividing the number of pens into our estimate of what one full cycle at the clinic would cost us. This gave us an estimated value of each pen. The more we would take, the more the value of each pen would decline. When it was all said and done, over the course of the day we took 6 beautiful pens. Since that time we have added two more pens from subsequent visits.
Based on our number of pens and what we have spent so far each pen has a value that is still more than some people’s used cars. As a result, I use these pens all the time. I feel like I have to get my money’s worth.
I also have a sense of pride and a flittering of hope every time I touch one. As much as I like to joke about stealing the pens and the price of the clinic, whatever we end up spending is worth every hard earned dollar . We know that before we give up on the dream of having a sibling for Spork we will have gone to the best and given it our all.
We are uniquely blessed to have the ability to be able to do this. We would never have been able to afford it even two years ago. But we have had a lucky couple of years that have made it possible to shell out the big bucks for the big guns. It means postponing a new addition to the house and really tightening the belt, but I can’t think of another thing I would rather have more than this.
The results of our One Day Work Up didn’t tell us anything new. We looked good on paper. My hormone levels, resting follicle count, and other key factors all were perfect. Bill’s little swimmers were in Michael Phelps like condition. The doctor said he didn’t usually see patients like us. His cases are usually more difficult.
Since then we learned our embryonic cells divide a little more slowly than they should and the optimism has faded ever so slightly. Its a sign that my advanced maternal age could be the reason we are having so much trouble this time. But we are still making genetically viable embryos and that is why we chose this clinic. They were the best to help us answer whether there was still hope for us, and there is.
Whatever the outcome is for our family, Bill and I will be able to rest easy knowing that we have given it our best shot. But if the worst happens, if it doesn’t work, at least we’ll have the pens. All eight pens…and counting.