It wasn’t what I expected. Mainly because (as it turns out) we are out of network so insurance will only cover about 30%, as opposed to at home where it covers 95%. If we decide to go the CCRM route we’ll have to take out loans which I’m not ok with. And man, they’re expensive! The cost of the ODWU alone was $4750, not including travel expenses. (Only about $1500 of that will be reimbursed by insurance)
We arrived at midnight the night before so we could make our 7:30 am meeting on time. At 7:30 me, S and 6 other couples went into a big conference room where we got a huge binder and a nice lady talked to us for an hour about IVF, CCRM and the reproductive cycle (and told us not to blog, or read blogs). Then we checked in at the desk. S went to do his duty in a cup, then checked in at the desk. Then I got the dildocam where they checked my uterus (fine), blood flow (fine) and resting follicle count (not fine. 2 resting follicles, both >10 mm on day 5. She thinks 1 was probably a cyst. Not fine at all). Then checked in at the desk. Then we went to the business office where they gave us the bad news. Then we checked in at the desk. Then a meeting with our Dr. Then checked in at the desk. Then a meeting with the lab business office where we had sign all the weird paperwork about who gets our embryos if one of us dies, or what we do with them if we divorce, etc. Then lunch. They are nice enough to give each person a coupon for $5 at their snack shop which covered our sandwich and chips. Then checked in at the desk. Then a meeting with the nurse where she gave me a new list of supplements (I’ll post later) and went over procedures and medications and we watched a movie about chromosomal testing. Then checked in at the desk. Then a horrific hysteroscopy with Dr. Brown (more below). Then checked in at the desk. Then blood work (7 vials for me, 4 vials for S) and then it was 3:45 and we checked out at the desk and left for the airport, exhausted.
First, my follicle count. I’m clinging to the belief that the low number of follicles is somehow due to the Clomid cycle last month. More likely, however, is that I’m still recruiting follicles waaaaay early and so by the time they start looking for them (CD3-5) all of the little ones are already gone and so we don’t actually know my resting follicle number. The other alternative is that my DOR has gotten much worse over the last few months and there aren’t many follicles, or much hope, left. I had hoped that the supplements would have helped a little with the early recruitment (by magic perhaps?) or at least given me a few more resting follicles. But who really knows?
Second, the hysteroscopy. I’ve already had an HSG and figured it would be like that. IT’S NOT. First, she had a hard time threading my cervix (after the HSG and IUI’s I’ve had that done a lot, and no one has ever had a problem. In fact, several people have commented on how easy my cervix is to navigate, which is a strange thing to know about yourself but I digress). Also, she didn’t put any numbing agent on my cervix before she gave me the shots (I know it exists, my other doctor uses it) and so they hurt quite a bit. By this time my uterus was painfully cramping. Then she filled my uterus with CO2 so they could move the camera around more easily. She said “You may experience some minor cramping with this, and when you sit up the gas may make your shoulders ache. Holy mother of god, that is not minor cramping. After she was done (everything looks great!) I had to lay on the bed for a while because apparently people often faint. When I sat up, I immediately started to feel an excruciating aching pain in my right shoulder. My right arm curled up and in on itself, and I couldn’t move my hand. The nurse said that’s due to the gas escaping from my fallopian tubes and settling in my shoulder joint, compressing the nerves. Of course, I immediately picture those plastic waving guys in front of the gas stations and imagine my fallopian tubes waving wildly about in my stomach. The shoulder pain continued for about 20 minutes an then it was just gone. BUT, after several hours I started to get a terrible shooting pain under my ribs, like a stitch from running only across a bigger area. The only way I could get it to go away was to lay on that side with my arm stretched out. Turns out that’s from the gas too, and is super common. That lasted all night long.
Finally, the money. We’re very fortunate to have had insurance cover the cost of treatment thus far. I know most people don’t have that. We can’ afford to spend $20,000 on a treatment, especially a treatment that may or may not work. Dr. Brown said she thought our best bet was egg banking – going through several retrievals and freezing the embryos – so that when we do the chromosomal testing etc we only incur the cost once, and we have enough eggs that it’s likely at least one will be viable. But that’s $50,000, at least. I don’t know what to do. S says we need to go for it – then we’ll have the piece of mind that we tried everything. I feel like $50,000 is a huge risk, and we may still end up with empty arms. We should save that money and start looking at other options.
Right now, we’re gonna wait and see. Start the supplements she recommend, wait for the results of all the tests, and see what her final thoughts are. I think we should go back to our old RE (read here – free) armed with all of the new information and see if she’ll cycle with us once more (for free(ish)). Then we can decide about CCRM.