Contacting IVF Clinics – First Clinic Pt2

This post (and future posts), will be about the challenges I face in getting my mental health needs met, that is specifically that I need another person present, during IVF procedures.

The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast Pt2

If you haven’t read part 1, catch up on the story here.

Just like the previous post, I am going to pre-empt this by saying the staff at The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast have been wonderful, kind and polite! I don’t have anything negative to say about their service, other than it hasn’t been able to accommodate what I need yet.

This is part 2. In the previous post, I walked you through the joy and subsequent devastation/anxiety/panic that came when the nurse said no, Husband couldn’t be present for the 2 procedures.

After that first appointment, I went home and talked things through with the ever-patient husband. After a few days I emailed the clinic…

Hi Emily, (Emily is a very nice, polite and professional person there)
Could you please forward my following follow up query to the nurse I spoke with today? I’m sorry, I’ve already forgotten her name.
Good afternoon,
Thank you for taking the time to speak with (Husband) and myself today. It was great to hear the information first hand, rather than trying to interpret information from the internet.
I was pleased to discover things would work pretty much as I’d assumed they would, though there is a small hiccup that may mean I may not be a suitable match for your service. I say small, as it may seem minor to you but large and potentially devastating to me.
I’m concerned specifically with the OPU. I’ve never had surgery, never had any form of anesthetic or pain relief in my life except for neurofen. I’ve never been ‘drunk’ or experienced feelings I can only imagine as being helpless and unable to act effectively on behalf of oneself.
Add in that OPU isn’t painless (which isn’t surprising, I expected something), thus requiring Valium (something I’ve also never experienced) and I’m reluctant to proceed if (Husband) can’t be present. I didn’t expect that he wouldn’t be able to be present, that kind of threw me today. I accept that no one’s going to implant 2 eggs, but to not allow (Husband) to be present must be a physical/spatial limitation rather than a medical one.
I know myself well. I either need (Husband) by my side, or I need to be asleep (not supported at this clinic, I know).
I need someone I know and trust by my side, because when I start to panic/worry, I shut down and cannot make decisions on my own. I cannot advocate for myself or my needs. Plus I’ll be on drugs which, by their design, inhibit those same things. I don’t have mental health issues, I don’t have general panic attacks, it is specific to Dr’s/medical/dental. Not an uncommon fear.
I realise (Husbands) presence may simply not be an option in the space of a small, low cost, clinic, but before I give up on the idea of IVF I need to explore all possible options that I can think of. Is the springwood or gold coast clinic bigger? Is there an option to do OPU/fertilisation/transfer at another clinic? Do I need to go and book a consult with QFG instead and discuss fertility options there?
What are the health implications of triggering ovulation and then not being able to collect the eggs? I’m imagining a scenario where OPU is scheduled, the ovulation has already been triggered, and I simply cannot go ahead with the procedure.
I’m ready to sign and move forward, but I can’t in good faith do that without raising this issue and finding a resolution.

And then I received the following response

Hi Kate,
I understand that you have some concerns about the EPU and where to go from here.
The main reason that (Husband) and all partners are unable to be theatre is that we are performing a medical procedure, if something goes wrong, we need to ensure that we have the perfect environment in which to help the patient. I cannot say for sure, but nearly all theatres that are doing medical procedures would not allow extra people to be in theatre. We have the fertility specialist, a General Practitioner, two nurses, and a scientist in the theatre, and if something was to go wrong, we all need to be able to access the patient quickly without moving other people out of the way. It is very rare that something will go wrong, but it is part of our protocol that we do not have extra people in theatre.
I am not sure if Springwood or the Gold Coast clinics have a larger theatre room, but as far as I know, they would be operating under the same protocol for their theatre. If you wanted to have your EPU done at a different TFC, the whole cycle would have to be done through that clinic – doctors consult, scans, blood, etc.
You are more than welcome to call QFG and organize to have a meeting with the nurses up there to discuss your options. (Husband) would not be able to go into the theatre up there either, and as far as I am aware, he is unable to wait with you once you have been admitted.  At TFC, he will be able to wait with you up until you enter theatre if there are no other patients on the list for that day (but that would not able to be guaranteed), then he would be just outside in the reception waiting room.
As to being unable to make any decisions on the day, all medical decisions are made and consents signed before you are given any medications.
In answer to your question about being unable to go through with the EPU, there are no real medical implications. The eggs would still ovulate from the follicles, and you would be required to abstain from intercourse  as there would be a risk of multiple eggs fertilizing.
I understand that this information may not be what you want to hear, but I just wanted to answer all your questions.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at the clinic.
Kind regards,
Zoe Pearce

Now, see, isn’t that a lovely, polite and professional response? I can’t fault the staff there, they have been wonderful.

Problem is, those reasons are not good enough to exclude a person undergoing a medical procedure from having support. If I was giving birth, Husband would be there. Husbands are even allowed in theatres for C-sections. I simply cannot accept, that in this day and age (it’s 2017 for crying out loud!), that medical staff can’t make arrangements for another human in the room.

Anyway, a few weeks later, I received the following follow up email from TFC-SC and provided my response.

Hi Kate and (Husband)
This is just a courtesy email to see if you have thought anymore about a cycle with us. Look forward to hearing back from you.
Kind regards
Jayne Herman IVF nurse co-ordinator
Hi Jayne,
Thank you for your follow up email. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like a cycle through the fertility clinic is going to be possible.
In order to undergo IVF, I need to find a solution where my husband can be present with me for the extraction and implantation. I’ve been advised this isn’t possible at your clinic.
Please let me know if this changes in the future and we can begin the IVF process straight away.

And I never heard from them again. So I guess they decided I wasn’t going to have IVF.



Contacting IVF Clinics – First Clinic Pt1

This post (and future posts), will be about the challenges I face in getting my mental health needs met, that is specifically that I need another person present, during IVF procedures.

The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast Pt1

Click above to visit TFC-SC

I am going to pre-empt this by saying the staff at The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast have been wonderful, kind and polite! I don’t have anything negative to say about their service, other than it hasn’t been able to accommodate what I need yet.

Finding the service

So, when I first started researching IVF on the Sunshine Coast, I discovered The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast (which I will forever shorten to TFC-SC). TFC offer affordable IVF. IVF without all the bells and whistles. Due to our low income status, I could have been paying as little as $300 per IVF cycle.

I was over the moon, to say the least. Suddenly, my dreams of having a family were actually possible. Up till this point, I’d just crushed my soul time after time, telling myself we may NEVER be in a financial position to have a baby and to bury every maternal feeling at all times (just WRITING about having to bury my maternal feelings makes me teary).

So, I read their website. I read it again and again. I scoured it for every bit of information I could. I think I know their website front to back by now.

First appointment

I called and booked an appointment.

I went to my GP to get a referral. I filled out forms. I organized proof of low income status… I was excited.

I waited in agony for 7 days until my appointment.

The clinic was clean, tidy and… you know… doctors waiting room looking. The lady behind the counter was friendly, she took my paperwork and said she’d see if she could get the low-cost IVF paperwork approved before we left today.

The nurse saw us. She took us through how the whole IVF thing worked with there service. From what I remember and understood, they can do pretty much the whole process in their clinic. They have a day-surgery space in house. Rotating doctors who do the surgeries depending on who is rostered on, etc.

I was so nervous and excited! Husband was with me (of course).

We discussed PCOS and how my periods were unreliable. I could have a period every 2 months or my next one might not hit for 6 months. She suggested I start on the pill as soon as my next period happened, so we could get my cycles predictable as you must start the IVF medications on the first day of a period, so obviously knowing when that would be is important.

I asked if Husband was able to be present for the tests, the needles, the scans, etc. She said yes. WIN!

Then she started talking about the egg pickup or extraction, fertilization and then returning the embryo… I asked about Husband being there… she said no, it was against policy. He could not be present during the 2 procedures…

It started to go south

I think my ears went deaf at that point.

Blood started pounding in my ears, I couldn’t breath, I was hypersensitive and I felt like I could feel every molecule in the room against my skin, prickling and irritating it. My clothes were heavy, suddenly it felt like gravity had grabbed my clothes and was pulling it to the ground. The urge to get the clothing off was strong, if I could get it off me it would stop pulling so hard…

I couldn’t talk. I was so focused on not crying, so focused on not letting the nurse see I was crumbling inside, so focused on keeping that anxiety and panic at bay… because in that moment of saying no she just told me… you can’t have a baby.

Try to understand my position

She left the room to speak with the admin lady. While she was gone I tried not to cry. I didn’t want her to come back in and ask ‘what’s wrong?’.
I’ve experienced that genuine concern for another person suddenly turn to ‘are you serious? is this woman serious? how fricking ridiculous is she being right now’ tone/voice/look when they realize I’m crying because she said no.

But it’s more than a no.

My fears are real, anxieties related to medical procedures are common and should be treated with dignity and respect. I shouldn’t be so afraid, but I am. Having to hide it all just makes the emotions bigger.

When she returned and asked what was wrong I lied and mumbled some half ass excuse about being so emotional that I might finally be able to have a baby. I guess she bought that excuse as she started going on and on about how yes, the IVF journey can be a rollercoaster… blah blah… great to meet you… blah blah.. I was barely holding my cries back… the lady at reception said we had qualified for the cheap IVF…

I was fast approaching ‘bawling my eyes out and howling hysterically while curled up in a fetal position’ status…

I couldn’t tell her what was going on. I needed to get out. I needed to leave before I became hysterical (and wouldn’t THAT have been freaking embarrassing? Grown ass woman behaving hysterically because she said no… I’m so embarrassed at the thought).

Because I knew, when she said no, that I would not physically be able to walk into that surgery room alone. That I would become hysterical and then everyone would look at me like I was crazy…


So, that is Part 1 of my experience with The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast

Stay tuned, and I’ll post Part 2 – the follow up, and link it in here.

IVF Frustration and Mental Health

Anyone who has:

  • had IVF,
  • known someone going through IVF, or
  • known someone who needs IVF

will be aware that IVF is a pain in the proverbial butt.

It’s expensive, there’s medications and needles. There’s nurses and doctors, clinics and hospitals, scans and really awkward positions… and up to this point, you still might not be pregnant!

IVF can be daunting and confusing. Every clinic has a different way of phrasing things, some clinics do full anesthesia, some go generals or just rely on pain relief.

IVF pricing is either super cheap from $400-$500 per try to upwards of 4-5k per try and the levels of pain relief and anesthesia change according to that price. Need to be fully asleep? Pay 4 grand. Be awake and conscious throughout with a pain whistle/breathing thing? $400.

But hey, I’m an idiot who desperately wanted to have kids by 28 (I’m now 30), who wants a small sports team worth of kids and is slightly terrified that the best I might get is one. Not to say one child wouldn’t be a blessing.. but if you want a huge family and can’t, the thought is frustrating!

I’m also deeply terrified of doctors, dentists, hospitals, procedures, etc. etc.

I’ve never broken a bone, never had anything stronger in my LIFE than a Panadol. I’ve never been drunk. One of the nurses told me the medication is just like being tipsy and I FREAKED THE HELL OUT! What do you mean TIPSY? What’s that like? Do I have any control? What if I need something to stop? Can TIPSY people act coherently? I’ve never experienced people who drink as capable of making decisions and standing up for themselves and their needs.

I remember visiting the dentist as a kid for a filling, and halfway between the door and the chair I just froze. I couldn’t go forward, but I wasn’t allowed to leave. I couldn’t advocate for my fears and no one around me either knew how to or was willing to act on my behalf. I literally felt like I was about to be assaulted, because that is what it is when someone DOES SOMETHING TO YOU WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO! I was so close to tears when my mother told them I was about to cry and I was dismissed from the room. While my mum had her teeth done instead of me, I sat outside on the steps and cried. It was awful, humiliating and painful.

Anyway, fast forward to now and I don’t believe that, when under the influence of drugs or medical staff’s pressures, that I will be allowed to advocate for myself. I believe I will be ignored, dismissed, and people will simply do as they please because ‘that’s policy’.

I trust my husband. I need my husband present. He can advocate on my behalf, he knows me, knows me mental health. Please understand, I don’t have panic attacks in normal life, I work, I’m a professional, I deal with personal and professional challenges ALL the time without falling apart. I don’t need pscych-medications, I don’t need to balance hormones or brain chemicals to keep me emotionally stable. I just have a DEEP ROOTED FEAR with all things medical.

NOT A SINGLE IVF CLINIC that I have spoken to has recognized that mental health, panic attacks and fears are important. I’ve been simply told ‘the IVF process is no big deal’.
Why should I trust you, the medical professional? At the very least you’ve ignored how I feel, at worst you’ve just told me I’m never having kids because I can’t ‘suck it up’ for 20 minutes.

So, I’m going to blog about every service I speak to, every conversation I have, every receptionist, manager, nurse and doctor I speak to.

I will be recognized and health professionals WILL acknowledge mental health in ALL it’s forms.

Preparing to sell – DAY 1

We need to sell our Brisbane home so we can buy a new one on the Sunshine Coast… buttt…. it’s a HUGE job.

Thankfully we have some friends who came along and helped us out today!


Having slept here last night, on a barely existent foam mattress thing (next weekend, we are DEFFINITELY bringing a second mattress!), we were able to start nice and early.

First off, it was a trip to the store to buy ice and drinks for the day. Also to buy breakfast pies. How Aussies that!

When Dee and Eck arrived we were ready to get into it!

Dee and I spent the day preparing the rooms, putting the first coat on ceilings and doing the trims.

You see, our renters “painted” the house when they lived here so all the trims are a dark grey colour and very BADLY painted.

So we need to undercoat ALL the trims in the entire house.

Meanwhile, outside, Hubby and Eck were whipper snipping and pulling off all the rotten and broken deck timber.

Later Ay arrived. He pulled down the old/rotten garden bedding and pulled the random timber pieces off the fence.

The backyard is a bit of a mess!

I haven’t had lunch, it’s now 6pm dinner time on a Saturday.

I need to go get food and finishing taping down the drop sheet in the last room ready for tomorrow!

Life Update – August 2017

I thought it was time for an update on where my life is at right now.

I’m not sure if this happens to anyone else, but I make plans, have goals I want to achieve and then when I start putting plans into action and working towards those goals, the universe throws life in the way and that halts or significantly changes all my plans! Surely others experience this?

I hope I’m not the only one.

So what have been my life hopes, plans and aspirations this year so far? Let’s review…

Become a mum.

That’s my aspiration every year. Every year since I was 19 that’s been my goal. Now that I’m 30 and still don’t have a child… well it’s not a nice feeling. IVF has previously been out of our financial scope. You can’t build a business, funnel everything into that dream AND have loads of spare cash floating around. That’s not how life works.

However, I found a Fertility Clinic that, if you were earning a low wage, you could qualify for heavily discounted IVF! WELL!!! How excited was I? Potentially going from $2,ooo per cycle to $300 per cycle! I mean, we were going to go make a baby!

Then they advised me that my husband could not be present for the egg extraction or the implantation… I left the office in tears I can assure you and I cried all afternoon. I realize many women would be happy and comfortable going ahead without someone present, but the extraction means sedation etc. and I refuse to undergo a procedure where I am unable to advocate on my own behalf AND the service won’t allow someone I trust to be present.

That service has refused. So I am still without a baby/child. But life goes on.

Finally become a Foster Carer

I wrote about this in another post titled Road to Caring.
We both went and did the training weekend and it was great. I completed my homework, had all the personal reflections done (it takes HOURS to get through the homework). I was prepared to take in up to 2 children of primary school age, etc.

Unfortunately, my husband didn’t get in and do his homework and reflections. Not because he didn’t want to, he did, but it takes hours upon hours to complete the homework and the personal reflection (about your family, your history, etc) take even longer. With him busily running a company, growing and expanding into a new region… well he just simply didn’t have the time.

In the end I took it as a sign. If he doesn’t have the time/capacity to complete the homework/reflections, will he be able to commit to 2 children in need of therapeutic care? Probably not. I handed back the work we had completed and advised we wouldn’t be able to progress at this time.

Another plan/goal crushed for the year.

Moving house, selling a house, buying a house

So, not that long ago I was so excited to be moving house! If you remember, we had been approved for a great new house to rent, paid the bond and first several weeks of rent, etc. We had packed up the house and were ready to get a truck and move.

WELL! The DAY BEFORE we were due to move, the home owners CHANGED THEIR MINDS! Instead they wanted family members to move in. They refused to provide us keys. Refused to let us move in.

We were nearly homeless. I don’t care if I have to be homeless… but we have the dogs?! For a terrifying 24 hours I 100% thought I was going to have to put my dogs to sleep.

Thankfully the house we were living in had not yet rented to someone else and we were able to stay here another 6 months.

Only now they want to sell it… *sigh* and we can’t afford to buy it. We have to try and sell our other property (at a loss) so we might be able to buy something.

Working in the company

It’s sad, but I am simply not enjoying working in the company. It’s not my passion. Service desk and customer service calls… I’d rather be working with children, in the human services industry or something.

So I have recently made the decision to find a job outside the family business. That’s a bit daunting, but I’m not happy which in turn means I’m not being productive, which is bad for business.

Learning to Do Islam

So many changes and upheavals have had another sad impact. I don’t have Friday’s free.

I just can’t get away from work consistently. It has been WEEKS since I’ve been able to attend Friday prayers.

I know people say you need to make time for the things that are important, but when 100 things are important… something somewhere has to give. And while I really want to learn more, I have to prioritize living, earning and paying the rent over learning more about Islam.

Not all doom and gloom

It’s not all bad though.

I have a lovely home to live in at the moment, with a beautiful outdoor space.

I have a phone interview this afternoon for a potential job and there are several jobs popping up every other day that I can apply for.

Things are tough, but one day they will get better.


New house ~ No news

Still no news from the real estate about the new rental. 😦 *sigh*

I called them yesterday from the work phone, and funnily enough they were calling my mobile at the same time, I found it funny.

Apparently they haven’t been able to reach the homeowners to speak to them about my application. Apparently they haven’t been able to reach the owners for about 2 weeks… sooo… I’m sitting here in *slight* disappointment mode thinking the worst.

Maybe they don’t want us

Maybe they don’t want to rent anymore

Maybe they’ve decided to change the move in dates

Maybe they want more money!

Agh! I don’t do ‘waiting’ very well. In some ways I am so incredibly patient (6 hours at the hairdressers, anyone?), yet in others I’m like a small child… I want it nowwwwwwwwww..

I’m (mostly) sure that it will all work out…

Our pets ~ Their happiness is paramount

Our pets are happy enough, but they were happier when we lived in Brisbane.

The irony is that we have more space now than we did when we lived in Brisbane.

Brisbane Vs Now

The dogs spent all day outside and no neighbours ever complained VS the dogs can’t be left outside alone otherwise the neighbours complain. The dogs are now regularly locked in the bedroom (which we now call ‘The Den’) whenever we have to leave the house.

The cats used to have run of the house all the time VS the cats are regularly locked away in the big empty sunroom because the dogs can’t be left outside

The cats never complained about being locked in a room (they had the whole house) VS the cats regularly meow and winge, clawing at the door and banging it in order to be let out. It seems non-stop some days

The cats were never punished for being cats VS regularly (daily) being sprayed with water

The dogs would always eat their food VS some mornings the dogs just don’t bother

The snake used to have pride of place in the house VS the snake is tucked away in an easily forgotten space. It’s like we don’t even have one

The dogs were free to do the odd bark, 2 or 3 barks was all they would do VS even one bark and we’re rushing outside to tell them to be quiet. Total silence is the only acceptable practice lest the neighbours complain again.

Never needed an anti-bark collar VS out of desperation I purchased citronella collars

9 months on, and it’s taking it’s toll on the animals.

The dogs seem sadder and have less energy.

The cats are becoming cranky and moody.

The snake probably doesn’t care! 🙂

This is why we need a new place.

The dogs deserved 8 hectares where there are no neighbours.
The cats deserve the run of the house again.
The snake deserves to be looked at.

I deserve peace of mind without feeling the need to jump up every time a dog barks once.

Fingers crossed for the new place.