An update after this afternoon's visit with potential RE #2. I saw him about a month ago to get a second opinion after my first failed IVF and liked him - liked him in fact better than my current RE. But I ended up doing another cycle with RE #1 anyway, because I was already in their system and wanted to use up my insurance benefit while I had it.
So this time I brought H with me for a second consultation, because I wanted him to be able to develop his own view on the two clinics we're evaluating. Instead, I get whisked into an exam room by a nurse and told to disrobe from the waist down. "Wait," we protest in unison, "we're just here for a second consultation." After some confusion, we get shown in to meet with RE #2.
He was very much as I remembered him - brisk, energetic, no-nonsense, and yet somehow cheerful at the same time. His message to us was no less sobering than RE #1, but told with greater clarity, and I feel, accuracy. He said that after 2 poor responses like mine at a top clinic, I probably fall somewhere in the bottom 10 - 20% of candidates for IVF. He estimates that my chances of success per procedure are somewhere between 5 - 10% (ouch). Not zero, but very low. He also said that my egg quality is clearly lower than expected for someone my age, but he can't tell just HOW low. In other words, if the usual 37 year old has 1 good egg out of every 6, it's clear that I have something materially less than that. However, it is impossible for him to know if I have 1 good egg out of every 11, or 1 good egg out of every 111. So at the end of the day the decision to continue is not really a medical one, but a personal one (dependent on finances and emotional/physical capability to handle repeated cycles).
Regarding use of supplements, he said "Go for it, be my guest." While he has absolutely no faith that they'll do anything, he says they will do no harm. His recommended protocol would be no BCPs and no Lupron to avoid any form of suppression whatsoever.
With that, he let me know that he did in fact need to perform an exam to get me in their system. So I was again whisked into the exam room to have the World's Fastest Vaginal Exam. By this point, he was clearly in a rush - they obviously had only scheduled him to do an exam and he wasn't expecting to have to have the earlier conversation with me and H. So I get in, barely have time to undress and cover myself, and whoosh!, he's in the room and telling my to get my feet into stirrups. How fast was it? It was like this:
Speculum: In, Out!
Rubber-gloved fingers: In, Out!
Ultrasound wand: In, Out!
Yes people, I was penetrated 3 different ways in under a minute! And in the process I learned that:
1) my cervix is normal
2) my uterus is in an ideal place for egg retrievals/transfers
3) my lining is "gorgeous"
4) my antrical follicle count was "actually not that bad," and
5) that he was surprised that I wasn't further along in ovulating since my period started 9 days ago (I only had one small follicle on each side, but not what you'd expect to see at this stage. Hoping this is just post-IVF weirdness)
But for all that, I like him, and I'm now in their system and can start pretty much anytime. I feel better having a backup plan should C.CRM not work out.
I'm waaay over my internet quota today, going to scrounge up some dinner now.