The clinic that made our IVF possible

In just over a week I’m having knee surgery at the Chiltern Hospital in Great Missenden, and so visited them yesterday for my pre-op blood tests. This also happens to be the same hospital where we had IVF so I couldn’t resist popping in to say hello to Nikki who is my most wonderful IVF Nurse/companion/angel. It made me realise that I should write something about the Clinic which I’ve mentioned in my posts, but not dedicated one to. So here goes.

bmi chiltern fertility

BMI Chiltern is basically the nearest IVF clinic to us but we did look into Oxford and some London places that had satellite clinics near us too. We  made our initial consultation appointment and met with Mr Norman-Taylor who would be doing the IVF procedure. I really liked him; he had a friendly, warm smile and was very matter-of-fact with the conversation, which I like. Sometimes through infertility you need someone who is going to molly coddle you, tell you it will be alright and be overflowing with empathy and sympathy, Sometimes, however you need someone to be blunt, to-the-point, factual and lay it out straight. I know how I want my IVF consultant to be, and Mr N-T was perfect. I needed to feel that this man was doing his job, his calling and performing the best IVF for me he could. He only told me facts that I could digest without filling me with unrealistic hopes. We also met some Nurses who were simply lovely and all staff were informative and reassuring (as we were obviously nervous and didn’t really know what to expect). So the first visit was a success, and we left knowing what was coming, documentation with diagrams scribbled on, and with another appointment booked in 🙂

During the 2 IVFs and the Egg Donation, I have gotten to know the Nurses more and they have had to put up with me! I am an optimist and feel strongly that smiles fix most problems in everyday life, so I’m aware that I was a tad more bubbly than the other women/couples that we saw at the clinic. We all feel awkward; do we say hello, do you engage in eye contact and smile, or do you do the British thing and act like they don’t exist. I talk when I’m nervous, I also talk when I’m happy, or sad…..I talk a lot, but I did try to remain calm, honest. The truth is, going to the clinic got me excited, I was doing something, I was on my journey and trying to make a difference. Admittedly, after the first failed IVF I began to become scared of going to the clinic, as if it promised something that I thought it couldn’t deliver. When driving nearer and nearer I could feel my foot sub-consciously going for the brake pedal (I wasn’t actually driving). I think this is the biggest frustration of IVF, as you know you’re supposed to be positive but it’s really difficult sometimes when you’ve had your heart-broken. Through all my mood swings, my anger, then my upbeat smiley mental moments, the Nurses took it in their stride and got to know me. I always knew I could contact them over anything, no matter how silly I thought I was, and they would always help and re-assure me.

I must also mention my aneasthetist who was just the sweetest man I think I have ever met (I can’t remember his name!). I definitely felt looked after and in good hands when I went through my IVFs, and I had a full on panic attack the first time! The Nurses handled me beautifully and informed that I wasn’t the first and I certainly wouldn’t be the last to freak out over what was happening.

There were times where I felt angry or upset over something, and it’s easy to lay blame with the clinic, or at least associate it as being their fault somehow. But when I look back, I realise they absolutely did their best by me and I couldn’t ask for anymore than that. They are only human, and they work in a very difficult environment which is full of hope and babies, but also tragedy and frustration. It’s important to be empathic to them too.

If you’re looking for your clinic, this would be my advice;

  • get all the documentation from them, and check online for other people’s experiences and feedback (but remember they are not you)
  • visit your shortlisted clinics and ask every question you can think of. Then phone them up with some more.
  • go with your gut. How did the staff make you feel? You don’t have to click with everyone, but you need to feel comfortable with them
  • find out about the financial side. It’s not great talking about money but it’s something you don’t want to be worrying about when going through IVF. BMI do a great finance plan that made it very straightforward for us, and it certainly took the weight of my mind knowing that it was sorted.
  • find out about the support offered. BMI gave me mobile numbers that I could contact at anytime if the clinic was closed, which I did use and was very grateful for. Most clinics do this, but ask.
  • remember that you’re not committed to one clinic. I have a friend who used The Chiltern once, then chose to go somewhere else for her second IVF attempt. She had her reasons, so it was right for her, but when you put your heart into a place it’s easy to end up feeling obliged to them.

Finally be strong and resolved. Our clinic don’t like to give out too much statistical information, which I think is to save us from obsessing and finding hidden hopes that might not be there. For example, I really wanted to know why my eggs ‘weren’t great’ but I had to push for an answer. I do understand why such detail may be irrelevant as it doesn’t change anything, but I’m the kind of person who just likes to know as much as possible about myself. My eggs ‘weren’t great’ because they were highly fragmented, but then that just ends up with my asking what that means? And then the next question pops into your head, and then the next and so on. You can get caught up over-analysing and dissecting terminology, and that’s not good for the stress levels. At the end of the day my clinic tried to get me pregnant, which is what we wanted 🙂

So, to finish this post, I would just like to say that I would definitely recommend my clinic and that Nurse Nikki has become someone special on my fertility journey who I will never forget.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sarah Bowden on September 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    You are right they are a wonderful clinic with lovely people!


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