How was your experience with Meghan Oakes at Methodist for Women?
Dr. Oakes is genuinely a very kind and caring person, I know she wants all her patients to have good results and be able to have a family. Some people like things told to them gently, but I am a person that would rather just be told things more bluntly, even when the truth hurts my feelings. With the last round of IVF we attempted in late December of 2017, I knew I had ovulated even though I was getting the Ganirelix injections. As a patient (who works in healthcare sometimes you know too much) I was very emotional and didn't want to proceed with harvesting my eggs because I felt like it would not be successful and would waste our hard earned money we had worked so hard to save up for this round of IVF. Dr. Oakes encouraged me that my follicles were good and I should at least try to harvest them, and at this point my husband really wanted me to proceed with harvesting as well. They successfully harvested 7 embryos, and 3 made it to day 5 but due to the fact that I had already ovulated I could not have a fresh implant and only 1 embryo met the criteria for freezing. We had that embryo implanted the following month but unfortunately it was not successful. Although my story is not normal and this truly only happens to less than 1% of women, I did take away some valuable lessons. God has a plan sometimes we have a hard time understanding, physicians that specialize in fertility know more than we do about fertility but we should always listen to our own body, and have faith because good things will happen.....you just never know when it will be!
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Meghan Oakes at Methodist for Women?
At the Methodist for Women Reproductive Health it is good to know up front that you don't always see your same physician. There are three physicians in their clinic and depending on the day you could see any of the three, this fact does bother some people. I really like all three physicians so it is not a problem for me at all, but it's something I make sure to include when informing any prospective patients I refer to Dr. Oakes.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Meghan Oakes at Methodist for Women?
I first met with Dr. Meghan Oakes in November of 2015 after having a bad experience with a consultation at Heartland in Omaha in August of 2015, I felt like Dr. Oakes took the time to genuinely sit down and listen to all my concerns and hear my story dealing with infertility thus far. She gave both my husband and myself the feeling that she really cared and wanted to help us have a baby or babies in our future.
Describe the protocols Meghan Oakes used in your cycles at Methodist for Women and their degree of success.
Prior to being referred to Dr. Oakes I saw my regular OB/GYN who did seven rounds of Clomid with me and six of the rounds we did IUI in his office. So by the time I went to Reproductive Health I was very used to getting my lab drawn and having vaginal US were a normal thing, this is something I thought I would never say. I think for anyone who starts seeing a fertility specialist the most frustrating part at the beginning is the fact that they want to re-run a bunch of tests. My husband didn't think anyone else could possibly need to look at his sperm, although it was a little hard to feel sorry for him when they want to inject dye to see if your tubes are open again (the cramping is terrible even if you only have one tube, I had an ectopic pregnancy six years ago and lost my right tube from a natural pregnancy). Eventually we get down to starting my first cycle of IUI with Dr. Oakes and I call her office with my first day of my period. This starts the process of arriving and getting baseline labs and vaginal US to make sure I don't have any cysts on my ovaries so I can start injections. Dr. Oakes starts me on Follistim SQ, the side effects from the shots to me weren't any worse than the increased hormones similar to that of Clomid. They checked my ovaries via vaginal US every 3 days or so and adjusted the dosage accordingly. I always produced good follicles and once the follicles were ready to release, but prior to ovulation they would have me get an IM injection of hCG and then the following day my husband gave a sperm sample and IUI occurred. I always had some cramping and discomfort after IUI, but not worse than that of menstrual cramps. Then it was the dreaded waiting 14 days to find out if you were pregnant, I always would pray I wouldn't get my period but in evidently it came like clock work. Since we had already tried IUI so many times previously Dr. Oakes suggested that we really should just go straight to the IVF, so my husband and I did our best to save as much as we possibly could and we called her office to proceed with IVF. They started me on birth control the month prior and then the same process as IUI, I called her office on the first day of my period and we got started. A few days later I was getting my baseline labs and vaginal US, then the injections started this time I was getting Menopur IM daily, and going every 2-3 days for a vaginal US so they could adjust my dose as needed. I was producing follicles but not like Dr. Oakes had hoped, she discussed with us that we could proceed and still harvest the 4 follicles I had or I could attempt IUI again and try IVF at a later date. Dr Oakes told us she really felt like the birth control slowed down my follicle production so she didn't want me to do the birth control the following time. My husband and I decided to try the IUI again to save money and hopefully that way when we attempted the IVF again I would make more follicles and it would be more successful. I still got an IM injection of hCG the night before IUI. Unfortunately another failed attempt only this time I was more hormonal and for the 14 days after the IUI the Dr had ordered IM progesterone injections, which made my hips and upper part of my butt very sore! Finally we were trying IVF a second time, of course the last time I was sure it was going to work so this time I had a little more reservations about it but I was excited. My husband and I have dreamed of having a family for 6+ years, and overall I was sure this time was going to be it. They did what they called a cold start, no pre-birth control. I did the Menopur IM injections again, but this time they increased the dose. I felt very aware of what was going on inside me, every little pain or twinge in my belly felt amplified. I was still getting the vaginal US every 2-3 days, by the 9th-10th day or so I was also getting the Ganirelix shots to make sure I didn't ovulate. The next morning I was scheduled to see my Dr. and this was the day I typically ovulated, but the night before I was sure I was ovulating even though I was getting the Ganirelix injections. The next morning we were in Dr. Oakes office bright and early, I went in first to my vaginal US with my husband and the US tech and I told her I thought I had ovulated. She told me she hasn't seen anyone in 30 years ovulate on Ganirelix, she states it happens than less than 1% of women and says I'm sure your fine. She does the exam and is very quiet, takes twice as many pictures as normal and just acts different. I ask her if she sees something, she tells me she will have Dr. Oakes talk to me but I may know my body pretty well. As a patient (who works in healthcare sometimes you know too much) I was very emotional and didn't want to proceed with harvesting my eggs because I felt like it would not be successful and would waste our hard earned money we had worked so hard to save up for this round of IVF. Dr. Oakes encouraged me that my follicles were good and I should at least try to harvest them, and at this point my husband really wanted me to proceed with harvesting as well. They went ahead and still had me get an IM hCG injection that night and come back the next day. They successfully harvested 7 embryos, and 3 made it to day 5 but due to the fact that I had already ovulated I could not have a fresh implant and only 1 embryo met the criteria for freezing. We had that embryo implanted the following month but unfortunately it was not successful. Overall I felt the fertility medications definitely caused me to have some weight gain and the Progesterone in Oil injections just hurt, but if I would have been able to get pregnant it all would have been worth it.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
Most of the nursing staff was always very kind and considerate. We really never saw the nursing staff much, they literally would just show us to a room and then we would just wait for the physician to arrive. The most interaction with the nursing staff was over the phone, they always were the ones to call to let you know how to adjust your Follistim or Menopur dosages. I always felt like they took the time on the phone to make sure you got all the instructions completely and answered all questions professionally.
Describe your experience with Methodist for Women.
The location of the clinic is very easy to find, it nice that the clinic is separate from the hospital yet there is a hallway that attaches the two buildings. The facility is clean, people are friendly, and they are very upfront about billing. I think it may be a little more expensive than some other fertility clinics but there are a limited number of choices in our area.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at Methodist for Women.
The clinic was very well organized. For routine labs and US you are required to report between 7:00-9:00 am and sign in, then they just go first come first serve basis. Typically we never waited more than 30 minutes, many times they had us in a room in less than 15 minutes.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Meghan Oakes at Methodist for Women.
Ultrasound $225 (times 5-8)
Labs $86-225 (times 5-8)
Egg Harvest $7850
Frozen Embryo Transfer $4100
Describe Meghan Oakes's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Methodist for Women.
Dr. Oakes told us that she would only transfer up to two embryos, although this is something we never had to make a decision about she did give us all the pros and cons of single embryo transfer vs. multiple embryo transfer.