Monday, March 16, 2009

Into the Heart of the Beast

Actual conversation at Big-Shot-Fertility-Clinic:

Me: I really like these John_Fielder photos they have here. Our old clinic didn't have anything nearly as nice.

Magic: Yeah, they are gorgeous.

Me: They couldn't have been cheap (these photos are at least 4'x5'). How much do you think they cost?

Magic: At least two or three IVF cycles.

Me: Baahaahaa!

Today was the big move of the embryos from our old fertility clinic to the "new" big-shot-fertility-clinic. The conversation above took place at our cozy local satellite office, which is nothing like HQ big-shot-fertility-clinic in the big city nearby. I had heard a nick name for this place alluding to a place where kings live, but I have a new one. We walked in and the obligatory large water fountain greets your entrance. I immediately noticed the cheesy mall type music piped in all over the place. We went upstairs to wait for our shipping tank, and I could look over the balcony and watch the nervous couples sign their consent forms. I felt like I was in a friggin' mall, the music and all! They even have a "food court" with a flat screen TV! So I named this place "The Mall". It even looks like a big box store from the outside. It's really weird and not nearly as nice as our friendly local satellite office.

Our consent forms to transfer our embryos were equally weird had me in a panic the last couple of weeks. The first line says,

"While Big-Shot-Fertility-Clinic-Lab does not recommend transferring embryos from one Center to another, there are circumstances which warrant transporting patient's embryos to another program."

Gasp!! I know this is CYA, but still, I was freaking out. What had we done? Dr. BloSunMyCha reassured me that they do this kind of thing all the time. Were we putting our embryos at risk? The third line of the consent really made me second guess our decision to move our embryos:

"Embryos must be transported in a special "Dry Shipper" and it is possible for the dry shipper to fail or for the nitrogen vapors to drain out should the shipper not be placed upright. Should the embryos thaw during shipping, they will be non-viable."

I almost had a heart attack. Luckily, it is very handy to have a husband that works with liquid nitrogen tanks. He assured me that I had a greater chance of being hit by lightening than having our tank fall over and all the liquid nitrogen vapors drain out. Once we did pick up the tank, I realized that a dry shipper is very safe, even if it does tip over. The liquid nitrogen in a dry shipper is absorbed into it's walls, so there is very little liquid nitrogen left in the tank to spill out. Below is what the shipper looked like from the outside.

Magic was miffed that it didn't have wheels, like his. The protector symbol from my patronus on top of the tank is mine, not the lab's! I had to move one of the seats from the back of my car to brace the shipping tank - one of the other things I love about my new car, removable back seats! The actual tank is inside, and I didn't want to take a picture of it for fear of any cold vapors escaping!

I had hoped that I could have moved my embryos without having to talk to anyone at my old clinic. Such was not the case, unfortunately, but I was able to do it all over e-mail. The embryologist at my old clinic wrote me, "sorry to see you are moving to another program." This set off a whole slew of emotions and confirmed for me the reason I couldn't go back there. What I wanted to say to her was, "remember that e-mail you sent me that said, 'our job is to just get you pregnant, so sorry about what happened to you'?" or "you failed to have me sign some critical consent forms that should have warned us of the risks we were getting into" or "you fucking lying whore-bitch, I hope you rot in hell!!" At least we had ad nauseum consent warnings from the big-shot-fertility-clinic, hence the reason we turned down assisted hatching. We do not want to have any more procedures done to our embryos that may cause them to split. There was a bit of an uncomfortable moment when we first met the embryologist to retrieve our embryos and the remainder of Magic's 15 year old sperm. It was a brief stay, and we went on our merry way after she showed us the straw that the embryos are stored in and the two vials of remaining sperm, cursing her in my mind as we left.

I was really glad I got to personally talk to the man who will be responsible for handling our embryos. I gave him the 30 second version of our story, so he would understand our situation and hopefully prevent what happened last time. While I was pretty stressed about moving our embryos, it turned out to be relatively trivial. Magic got a snack from the "food court" before we left, and we fortuitously were able to meet Arpee from The Saga of Being Fruitful and her husband for a brief rendezvous in the parking lot on our way out. It was a nice touch of comfort after being all wound up about a potential disaster. What better place to meet your fellow blogger than at The Mall?


B said...

Glad the embies made it to "the mall" safe and sound. Let's hope they cope with the next transfer with equal success and safety.


Anonymous said...

I love Magic!! thank god for N experts. I am sure the embies got to their new home safely :)

Too freaky weird they gave it a Mall atmosphere... But that's a heck of a lot better than the peeling lead paint and 20 interns staring at your t*at that you get with IF treatment in Italy...

good for you, too, to have moved out of the old place. They really sounded awful and now you have absolutely no more need to ever have to deal with them again!!

Mo and Will said...

hang in there, phoebe!


The Muser (aka Beautiful Mama) said...

what a big day. Congrats on the successful move...sending wishes for more smooth transfers! (And do let me know if you want to hang out...I've got a pretty free schedule right now!)

onwardandsideways said...

Funny, le Husband and I were having a similar conversation as we drove back from BigShotClinic. I was remarking not about them, but another BSC in the Bay Area. I did some monitoring there before trucking over for our cycle. We are former patients there and I couldn't help but notice how many lovely new chairs, tables, pillows, lamps and doodads adorned their lobby. Much better than we were patients there. I bought them at least one of those chairs, probably two. Glad you made it through and best of luck as you make your way through this new page of your adventure.

Retro Girl said...

Oh my gosh! Well first of all, glad the embies are safe and sound. Secondly, does the "food court" have to have dipping dots to be considered a mall? :-)

I remember when we first pulled up to that place. I literally saw a soft glow around the building, and thought it was a mecca of sorts. Now, to me, it's just a building. But I have plans on doing a photoshop number with that glowing image in my head...hopefully, during the bedrest?

I'm sending you an em now...

Rela Pantaleon said...

Hey! I am so glad to have met you and Magic at the parking lot! In my excitement, I forgot to take photos of us. Maybe next time!

Rooting for you on your Tuesday FET!

Arpee @ The Saga of Becoming Fruitful

Phoebe said...

Retro Girl, I was looking for the Holy Grail beacon above the building, LOL!!

Lost in Space said...

So relieved you were able to get everything moved all safe and sound and glad to hear that Magic went with you. Nothing like having a hubby with some LN2 experience. (-;

If you think the parts you saw were pretty, sign up for a massage there and go back to the special little spa area.

Thinking all good thoughts for you on the 24th!!

Denver Laura said...

I was there for 2 IUIs, so I guess all I paid for were the free pens with the Mall's name on it (like I'm going to be using THAT at work...) Glad to hear the transition went smoothly.

Geohde said...

I'd wet myself transporting my embryos. Mind you, they did move along with my clinic moving sites recently- but nobody contacted me about it so I must only hope they made it across okay andmy annual storeage fee is justified. Because additionally, I'm not looking forward to another stim cycle.


DAVs said...

I'm glad the embies are safe!

I agree with RetroGirl...when we first drove up we felt like we were approaching holy ground. Now I think about it and....nothing. Just a building. And a little over the top in many ways on the inside.

Wishing you lots of luck!