How was your experience with Lia Bernardi at Northwestern Medicine?
Dr. Bernardi is an excellent doctor. She has very strong communication skills and she is always giving you all your options. She does research and it is obvious she thinks of you as a patient and human being, rather than just another number that comes in. Dr. Bernardi is always patient with me as I ask her lots of questions and have plenty of anxiety around my situation. She is always upbeat and remains positive. She checks in on me when i'm not expecting it. When she says she will call or email, she always does. I don't have a negative thing to say about her. I can't express how happy I am that I switched to her after my 2nd miscarriage. She is very empathetic and caring.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Lia Bernardi at Northwestern Medicine?
Don't be afraid to ask her anything. She is so nice and professional at the same time. I don't think she has a shock feature. She is very responsive to all your questions and concerns.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Lia Bernardi at Northwestern Medicine?
Dr. Bernardi went out of her way to ease my anxiety. I never felt like I was just another number to her, and continue to feel like she genuinely cares about me. She answers my emails at times as late as 10:30 at night. She calls to check up on me when she doesn't have to. During my first retrieval she popped by to wish me luck before I went under. She is always very thorough and ways all the options with me. She allowed me to send her as many emails as I wanted that went straight to her mailbox instead of the nurses pool.
Describe the protocols Lia Bernardi used in your cycles at Northwestern Medicine and their degree of success.
When I first met Dr. Bernardi, I had recently gone through my 2nd miscarriage. My original doctor wanted me to start IVF treatment as soon as my period came back. I wasn't comfortable with this so we asked for a 2nd opinion. After looking at my history Dr. Bernardi offered to do a recurrent loss panel. She told us that it wasn't necessary but she was curious if there could be a potential reason for the 2nd loss. It was her that figured out that I have APS. With this new diagnosis she thought since I got pregnant 2x already with just IUI that it could happen again. We agreed that my tolerance for IUI would be a 3 cycle limit. We tried 3 more IUI's and I didn't get pregnant. She was willing to do as many more as I wanted but I said I was done and wanted to move onto IVF. I'm young, only 31 so we thought I'd have a good response. I also have PCOS, so our first round she was very cautious about my medicine. I was on the lowest dosage of everything. We retrieved 11 eggs, 7 fertilized and only 3 made it to blast. Before we had the genetic results back, we talked with her and decided to do 1 more retrieval to get some back up embryos incase it didn't work, and also for our future since we wanted more than 1 kid. Our 2nd retrieval went extremely well, and Dr. Bernardi upped my meds just a little bit from 75, to 150. (She was still cautious). The 2nd time around we got 25 eggs, 22 mature, and 19 fertilized. 11 of them made it to blastocyst! Today we did a "fresh" transfer, but used a frozen embryo from our first cycle. I can't tell you if it worked or not yet, but I feel great about our potential!
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
Dr. Bernardi has a set of 4-5 nurses that work with her. I do have a favorite nurse that is not on her team though. Nurse Amy Dorsey is my favorite nurse as she had been with me through all of my journey before seeing Dr. Bernardi. All of the nurses have been professional. I haven't encountered any nurse who wasn't really friendly and empathetic.
Describe your experience with Northwestern Medicine.
Strength: Doctors are mostly all great, (don't know all, and there are ones I don't like). They have the best administrative people who check you in. They all know me by name and are the best part of the mornings.
Weakness: With so many doctors on staff, your main doctor will not necessarily preform your procedures. I've encountered 1 doctor 2x who I didn't like. She performed my d&c and was not empathetic towards what I may be feeling. She also did my 2nd egg retrieval but was a little nicer. My own dr got to do my embryo transfer which I was very happy about.
With so many nurses on staff you aren't assigned a primary nurse who knows you and your history without having to check your charts.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at Northwestern Medicine.
The monitoring appointments are like a well oiled machine. They are efficient and are conscious that the women have to get to work. They started opening their doors as early at 6:45am to accommodate the morning rush.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Lia Bernardi at Northwestern Medicine.
I don't really know everything. Our IUI's usually cost us about $30 because insurance covered it. Our first IVF cycle things were covered. Our IVF meds cost about $400 with insurance. PGS testing was done outside of our clinic so it cost 1795. There was also a $890 freezing fee. The 2nd round was 1/2 out of pocket since we maxed out our insurance. The egg retrieval was ~$5000. The transfer was ~$3500. The iVf meds were around ~$3000. Plus, the $890 freezing fee again.
Describe Lia Bernardi's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Northwestern Medicine.
We agreed that we would only do a single embryo transfer because of my age, and risk of doing multiple embryos. I already will have a high risk pregnancy due to having APS, so it didn't seem worth it put me at even more risk.