The wheels on the bus go round and round

I had my first ever what we call in the biz, “WTF”.

I like Dr Hero. He’s very calm and never seems rushed. He looks like a bear. He’s happy to listen to my endless questions and he answers them carefully. Sometimes he even has to answer them three times in a row. He doesn’t have a God complex.

So yes – I like the doctors at this clinic. I trust them. They know their stuff; they are forward thinking. They seem motivated. They don’t fob me off or give me vague answers. That is where it ends. The minute my file leaves the doctor’s hand and reaches the nurse’s mitts, the wheels fall off.

NURSE RULE 1: If you don’t know the answer, say everything is fine and/or make something up. It’s usually fine and IVF is so uncertain, you’ll get away with it and it’s easier than finding out anyway.


SETTING: my final scan before egg collection

NURSE: your lining looks great! We all are set to go.
ME: my lining is 16mm. That seems extraordinarily thick. I’m worried about that… surely it isn’t normal? Should it be so thick?
NURSE: the thicker the better. It literally cannot be too thick!!


ME: my lining was 16mm. That worried me. Surely that wasn’t normal? Should it be so thick?
HERO: 16mm? That must be a mistake.
ME: no, the sonographer measured it 5 times because she was so surprised, then got another one to measure it too.
HERO: if it wasn’t written down in front of my eyes in your notes I wouldn’t believe it.
ME: so was that bad?
HERO: well, not necessarily, but we know that too thin is bad (for example, if your lining was 6mm) and I would say that the opposite is true – being very thick might not be ideal either, such as 16mm. It doesn’t mean a very thick or thin lining won’t achieve a pregnancy, but really we want it to be somewhere in the middle.
Hero spends sometime looking at the rest of the measurements and exclaiming. He falls short of saying the 16mm is a mistake, but he is clearly, like, well surprised.

NURSE RULE 2: always take the easy road. Don’t put yourself out for that 1% minority case, it’s not worth the hassle.


– I should have had a general anaesthetic for my egg collection last cycle if I had a low number of eggs. The reason being Hero thought it would be painful, and potentially difficult/impossible to reach the eggs. He even suggested removing them laparoscopically if needs be.

– The nurses said it was very difficult to arrange a general so they wouldn’t do it. “You’ll only be 15 minutes anyway”

– On the laparoscopy to remove eggs: “I’ve been here 7 years and never seen that happen”. Why thank you, that is directly relevant to me.

NURSE RULE 3: don’t waste your time reading patient’s notes. 9 times out of 10 they are all the same anyway.


– I was given a prescription incorrectly twice by a nurse for the pill and once incorrectly for buserelin. One nurse even gave me a prescription for the pill just before she gave me a Zoladex injection. Completely. Pointless.

– A nurse told me I wasn’t on a long protocol. “We don’t do those anymore”. I said I was. She argued. I told her to check my notes. I was right.

– At my down regulation scan I was told, “everything looks great!” and I was, “probably ready for egg collection.” I was left to point out that it was a DOWN REGULATION scan and therefore a lining of 10mm and 3-4 mature eggs WAS BAD.

– I was told to remind them that I had been recommended to have a GA for my egg collection, because… drum roll… they can’t promise to read my notes thoroughly. On pointing out that I had just reminded her, she said she’d forget – better to just remind them at every appointment.

Is it really that hard to read? To work a tiny bit harder for that unlucky sod in the 1% category? Is it too hard that when you don’t know the answer to a question, to ask a doctor? Find out? Don’t fudge over it and say it’s fine because 9 times out of 10 it is. That 1 person out of 10 is paying the same amount, going through the same heartache and due to your laziness it might well all be for nothing.

I just deleted a long and boring paragraph (you’re welcome) about not trusting the nurse on when I should call to book in my next cycle. I’m overruling them and calling with my next period when I start the pill. Sorry clinic, back to my old annoying ways. In theory my next cycle will be May, and pigs might fly.

This is overly long and ranty towards nurses. Sorry. I know their jobs are hard and I feel (a bit) bad because they are all so goddam friendly, but I just don’t trust them anymore. My heart feels heavy when I think about another cycle. Partly it’s the money we are wasting, partly it’s the thought of having to drag myself through the physical and emotional torment of another cycle and partly it’s the thought of having to police my own treatment plan because I don’t trust the nurses to read my notes, or carry out what the doctor has told them to. It’s awkward and exhausting. I go to most appointments on my own and I don’t want every single one to be a battle again.

Okay, wake up, you’re dribbling on me. Quickly, WTF outcome:

1. Stay on the same dose, short protocol with the pill this month to help suppress endo.

2. Egg collection with a general anaesthetic (AMEN!). Hero felt that a) my level of pain was clearly not okay, and b) because it hurt so much and I cried and flinched throughout the procedure this meant that it was dangerous. Although they are aiming at the ovaries, stabby implements, major organs all in close proximity and a patient jumping around and screaming is not a good combination. He also said that under those circumstances, they may rush to drain the follicles and wouldn’t try to get more difficult to reach ones.
2.1) Interesting note – he thought this may explain the 2 eggs from 5 follicles crap fest. Maybe they didn’t flush them enough times because of all my squirming and screaming? Maybe there were others, but they knew it would be too painful and dangerous to reach them? This makes me feel all kinds of sad and EFFING FURIOUS at that lazy nurse who couldn’t be bothered to arrange the general first time.

3. He also wants to wash my lining during egg collection. He is dubious that 16mm was all endometrium and thinks it will include a layer of mucous. All normal, but if it’s more than usual, he will wash it away. Might help. I need to google that because I’ve never heard of it and it sounds weird.

Lots of mights and maybes. This is so long and boring, I am going to treat you to a picture I took in a homeware shop this weekend. I know, lucky you. It is a lightweight flame “wand” for clearing weeds from terraces, kerbs, paved or gravel paths and patios.

Something tells me she wanted something else for her birthday.

BB xx


23 thoughts on “The wheels on the bus go round and round

  1. kiftsgate

    Sounds like this WTF appointment was very useful! Hope it is the last one though. Dr Hero seems to be like a real hero!! It also sounds like he’s handsome (I like bear types). Is he?
    The lady certainly wanted something else for her birthday. She looks bored and annoyed. I would have been too. I would have maybe used it against my husband if it came from him. Mind that a friend once received a scale (to watch her weight) for her birthday. That may be worse…

    1. barrenbetty Post author

      Yeah, it was useful and he is really easy to talk to. I asked every single thing I could possibly think of, plus they went through a (very long!) email that I sent during the audit of my failed cycle and he talked me through that too. I think he is a bit too old to fancy. He is definitely bear type though so you might like him πŸ˜‰

      I can’t believe any husband could buy his wife scales for her birthday. Seriously?!! I think I’d prefer a weed wand over that. I quite like the idea of torching weeds with a blowtorch. I would definitely look happier than the lady in the picture anyway πŸ˜€

  2. rceg91109

    Ok, IMO there are some serious issues here with the nurses, and if it were me, I would seriously consider writing them a letter about it. I mean, some of that stuff is just really inexcusable. I mean, you could even just take parts of this blog post and copy and paste them into a letter, perhaps cleaning it up a bit. But really, what you described is infuriating.

    I have no words for the weed wand.

    1. barrenbetty Post author

      Thanks for the support. Sometimes it’s hard to work out what is me freaking out and being neurotic and what is them letting me down. I have a feedback form to complete that is going to be loooong! I wanted to wait a bit to calm down after the cycle failed in case I wrote anything too rude – !!

      I can’t believe weed wand is a thing. Do people not know you can simply bend down and pick weeds out of the ground? Weed killer anyone? No. Let’s get a blowtorch and burn the bastards.

      1. rceg91109

        Then again, I can see deriving some dark satisfaction on a tough day from frying some weeds with this thing. Sinister, maybe, but perhaps satisfying? πŸ™‚

  3. Clare

    That picture is hilarious. I feel like she’s actually torching ants just for shits and giggles.
    I know how stressful that is when you can’t rely on medical professionals to do their job. I’m pretty sure a secretary got sacked at my doctor’s office because of me. She kept sending my paper work to the wrong places and my husband’s iui sperm would just go awol between the lab and doctor’s office. Talk about making something that’s already super stressful and upsetting even worse.
    You should see if they’ll give you a partial refund for the last cycle – considering your doc admitted there were some f-ups, I think you’re entitled.

    1. barrenbetty Post author

      Urgh, that’s terrible!!! So true… We really don’t need them making an already stressful and upsetting time even worse. I get the impression they forget how much we’ve already been through before we even walk through their door – I for one had already been through years of infertility, operations and hormone treatments. We are broken before we even walk through the door!

      I’ve got a feedback form to complete that I am going to go to town on. Can’t imagine they would ever ever give us any refund. Might see what happens next cycle. I’m a bit scared of complaining too much given that my entire future happiness is in their hands :/

      P.s. She is totally torching ants! Lolz.

  4. hopefulandhungry

    I’m so glad you will be getting GA for your egg retrieval. I can’t believe you were awake for it last time. I get really annoyed at people who don’t do their jobs properly and who don’t read chart notes, even if you don’t know me, pretend that you do!!! I hope everything goes smoothly for you. xoxo

    1. barrenbetty Post author

      Me too… although I’m still skeptical it will happen!! Why do so many medical professionals not read charts?! Surely it would make their lives easier too?!!!

  5. lydiaseeks

    Since I conceived on a weird cycle where I had my uterus filled with saline right after ovulation (to attempt to remove a polyp, which didn’t work, and I only had it done then bc I was sure there was no way I’d be pregnant that month) I am a big fan of this “wash” idea. I figured what I had done worked in the same way as an endometrial scratch. Of course I don’t really know if it helped me get pregnant or not, but just thought I’d throw it out there.

    And you should tell the awesome doctor about the less than awesome nurses. He needs to know that they aren’t doing their jobs because that is so so frustrating.

    1. barrenbetty Post author

      Ohh, that’s so interesting!! Stories like this make me so happy I started a blog πŸ˜€ I decided that given my mental tendencies to freak out, I’m not going to google the wash. If the doctor thinks it’s worth a try, I shall bow to his superior knowledge.

      I got myself in such a tizz this cycle triple checking the nurses and questioning everything – always met with an eyes glazed over, “don’t worry, it’s fine” answer. Decided I’m not going to get stressed this time. I’m going to just sit back and let it happen to me. If I’m worried about anything, I’m going to request the nurses check with the doctor. If it gets too stressful, my plan b is to get my husband to call them. No regrets next cycle – it’s too fecking expensive!!!

      1. lydiaseeks

        I think trying to remain zen and trusting is a great idea. Plus if you trust your doctor, it just makes sense to let some of the stress go. I am wishing you all the luck in the world for this cycle!!

    1. barrenbetty Post author

      Bleugh, I know but I am so worn down and sick of it now. I just wish they would read my notes and do their jobs without me constantly chasing them and pointing things out. I’m so tired of it :/

  6. journeyformybaby

    My lining was 15 when I had my last follicle scan for my second ivf. I thought that was really terrible. I wonder what causes that anyways? I have to agree totally on the lazy nurses thing. I am ALWAYS having to remind drs and nurses alike of things they would know if they would just READ MY FILE!!!

    1. barrenbetty Post author

      He seemed so surprised he couldn’t really believe it was true?! My chart seemed to say lining went from 10.5 to 16 in 2 days and he just fell short of saying that was impossible! Was it your second cycle that was successful? I’m kind of hoping now I’ve flagged it they can look into the thick lining/do a wash at egg collection but I fear it may be another battle. I’ve lost the energy for this! Why can’t they fricking read our notes?! Surely that would also make their own lives easier??!!

  7. mylifeasacasestudy

    Hey Betty, just wanted to say that I’m glad your WTF appointment didn’t feel as futile as (it seems) so many of your other appointments have been. I really can’t believe how BAD your nurses have been, and I only wish you could share the commentary of your blog so they might feel the weight of their stupidity. XOXO

  8. eli

    I’m glad you have Dr. Hero on your side. I’m sorry about absolutely everything else. My last meeting with my doctor left me thinking (not for the first time) that she is perhaps a robot covered in skin who is awkwardly trying to emulate human interaction, going home, analyzing the data, shaking her head and running another round of algorithm-based conversation for the following appointment. Also, yesterday, a dental hygenist (whom I have never met before but who saw I decided to forgo the x-ray at my last appointment) demanded three times to know whether I was trying to get pregnant. I told her she could give me the x-ray and that the reason behind it was irrelevant. She insisted that it would be very relevant if I got pregnancy gingivitis. Also, she attended a lecture and thinks that I might not be getting pregnant because I have bacteria in my mouth from not flossing. I stopped talking to her. Just flat out didn’t respond when she asked questions. She had her hands in my mouth, and I hate answering the questions of people who have their hands in my mouth anyway. I usually do anyway, but for insolent, ignorant bitchwads, I make an exception. I didn’t feel even a little bit bad about it – just annoyed that she probably thinks I’m the bitch, when it is actually she who is the bitch. All this to say I don’t think you should feel like you have to give your ignorant nurse the benefit of the doubt. I say she’s an idiot – and she needs to learn how not to be an idiot, because every person she deals with every day really needs the help of a non-idiot. I erased a couple of vile assessments of her before writing that.

    1. barrenbetty Post author

      Eli, this is hands down the best comment I have ever received. Having said that, I am sorry about the dental hygienist. What a moron. She deserved everything you gave her. I am dubious that my next cycle will work out the way Hero thinks it will, but despite my lack of energy for it all I guess I will fight them when/if I need to. I wonder why some of these people work in IVF clinics given their attitude. You might be onto something with the robots covered in skin theory – I swear I’ve seen some of my nurses switch off when I asked hard questions. Maybe they just short circuited?

      Also, I keep describing people as dickwads (only when they deserve it) and my husband keeps telling me off and saying it’s a really horrible word AND implying I made it up. I was so sad last night, then I read your comment and saw you wrote bitchwad and I gave you a virtual high five.

      This is really long and I now I fear I am about to travel to your blog and write you an overly long comment there too, sorry x

      1. eli

        Ha! I’m so honored πŸ˜‰ I hope Dr. Hero is right (and all his nurses get their wiring upgraded…seriously). “Bitchwad” came to me as I was writing. It just felt right.

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