Describe your experience with Carolinas Medical Center.
Convenient and close to uptown. Facilities are clean and discreet. I always felt like I was one of the only people being seen (but know that was not the case because there were always others in the waiting room).
Describe your experience with your nurse.
Libby was my coordinator for the first round, and Joanna was my coordinator for the 2nd round. Libby was very matter-of-fact/no-nonsense while also being kind and compassionate. Joanna was incredibly kind and supportive-- I think that she actually teared up when my second pregnancy test came back positive. They're both amazing (please note that I had 2 cycles and 2 positive pregnancies so that may be putting rose colored glasses over my experiences, but I honestly thought they were both great).
How was your experience with Michelle Matthews?
Dr. Matthews is very kind and very informative without being condescending. She worked well with both my husband and me. We went through 2 separate IVF cycles that resulted in 2 live births so we had a 100% success rate. I realize that this is VERY atypical and that we were incredibly lucky. But, I attribute much of our success to Dr. Matthews and the two nurses that I saw for both of the cycles.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Michelle Matthews?
She is responsive and compassionate.
Describe the protocols Michelle Matthews used in your cycles and their degree of success.
My husband and I both went on a round of antibiotics. I then did Lupron injections for about a week and then added in some sort of pen injections (I don't remember the name) and then Menopur. I went to the Women's Institute a couple of times per week for follicle tracking (via ultrasound) and blood tests, and at the end, I went in every other day.
They had early morning appointments, so it was convenient for me to go before work, and if I got there by 6:30, I was in and out very quickly.
During both cycles, one of my ovaries (a different one each time) did not produce a thing. I was told that this was common, but it was a little alarming. For both cycles, I used the same medications and dosages, but my 2nd cycle took 3-4 days longer than my first to yield enough follicles.
When the nurses and Dr. Matthews believed that my follicles were developed enough, I did an Ovidrel injection 36 hours before my retrieval. My first retrieval yielded 3 eggs. Two of them survived fertilization, and we implanted them both at 3 days. I had one live birth (full term, healthy, etc.). My 2nd retrieval yielded 4 eggs. Two of them survived fertilization, and we implanted them both at 3 days. I had one live birth (2 weeks early, healthy, etc.).
After the first implantation, research still recommended bed rest afterwards, so I did 3 serious days of bed rest and disconnecting (no internet, etc.). By the time we had our second implantation, bed rest was no longer recommended, but I did the same thing again since it "worked" the last time. Between the implantation and the pregnancy tests, I did progesterone gel suppositories.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments.
The monitoring appts start at 6:30 a.m. I tried to be there by 6:25 a.m. to ensure that I was one of the first people seen. If you show up later, it takes much longer. You have to go to a separate floor for bloodwork, and I believe that office doesn't open until 7:00 a.m., so there would generally be a line to get blood drawn.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Michelle Matthews.
The first time, it was presented as a package with a base cost and then the potential for add-one (freezing, ICSI, etc), and all-in, it was ~12k. The second time, it was just a one time payment of about ~12k. Note-- these payments did not include any of the medication/injections, etc. They covered the cost of the procedure. The cost for the medicine was 4,500-5,000. In both instances, I had to purchase additional Menopur