I have a little more perspective today but I'm still pretty bummed.
CCRM was not all that we hoped it would be.
No magic wands or unicorns.
A and I traveled to Denver to explore the area and do our IVF workup. Our trip was wonderful and we're glad we went. I will post pictures and write more on our adventures soon. But I've got to get my feelings about the medical stuff out of the way first.
If I'm being honest, we were a little underwhelmed with our experience at the clinic. Many people told me how impressed I'd be with how efficiently they get you through all of the meetings, tests and appointments. But we didn't see it as impressive.
Everything about the clinic was impersonal.
It was a huge, massive building with a staff of several hundred people.
The clinic got a lot of publicity when G&B cycled and because they had crazy high success rates in 2010. As a result, the clinic grew like crazy and their success rates haven't been as high since then. It's hard to maintain the same kind of quality control when you grow that fast. It made us wonder if we are making the right decision. Our impression was...it felt very business-like. See as many patients as quickly as possible. We felt like cattle getting shuttled from room to room.
Not to mention...psychologically it wasn't good how they billed.
I saw A growing more and more frustrated throughout the day. We've accepted the fact that our insurance isn't going to pay for IVF. But our local clinic charged in one lump sum for everything. Or they billed our insurance for diagnostic and labs. We only had to come to terms with the ridiculous cost of IVF once instead of every 3 hours.
At CCRM, A said "I feel like we've been taken to the cleaners."
Drop your sperm. That'll be $660.
Hysteroscopy procedure. $675 please.
Talk with the doc and an ultrasound. Only $715.
4 vials of blood each. Swipe the card again for $760.
And before you go, why don't you give us $1,000 for a deposit on your IVF.
When I looked around the waiting room, I saw the faces of sad women and helpless husbands. Some ladies had tears in their eyes. Others had puffy eyes. Many wore the look of grief and despair. Occasionally, I'd make eye contact with one of them. The look that crossed between us said "I know. And I'm sorry you have to go through this." People go to CCRM as a last resort. Grasping at the final straw to make their dreams come true. 80% of CCRM's patients have experienced prior failed IVF cycles and 90% or more travel from out of state to seek treatment. I arrived super hopeful. I left a little depressed and discouraged.
me in my owl socks before my hysteroscopy
My hysteroscopy was awful. The carbon dioxide they used caused severe pain in my abdominal cavity and shoulder. After the procedure, we had a regroup with Dr. S. Apparently I was having a vasovagal reaction to the hysteroscopy. I started sweating, felt dizzy and nauseous. When I was trying to ask a question, I almost passed out. The doc went to get me a cold compress for my neck and some orange juice. I put my legs up and eventually those symptoms subsided.
He didn't find any polyps, adhesions or fibroids during the hysteroscopy that would delay IVF.
The doppler ultrasound determined that the blood flow to my uterus is constricted. That is probably yet another contributing factor as to why we haven't gotten pregnant. Decreased blood flow makes it difficult for the embryo to implant. Before my IVF transfer, Dr. S recommends that I do 4 weeks of electro-acupuncture. Here is an article I found about increasing blood flow through electro-acupuncture. Trouble is that I don't think any acupuncturists in my area do this treatment.
Really bad news.
Based on my previous Day 3 levels and my 7 resting follicles, the doctor thinks that we might get one good, quality embryo out of the deal. Yep, you got that right. One. That was a blow. I'm never going to be one of those ladies that retrieves 17-20 eggs and has to worry about what to do with all my extra frozen embryos when I get pregnant. I feel foolish that was ever even a concern of mine.
He said with natural attrition...I might get 5 eggs. Then with the genetic screening and my age...maybe one will be normal.
So Dr. S posed a scenario for us to think about. Since we are doing PGS, we will have a frozen embryo transfer anyways. We could cycle and retrieve whatever embryos possible. Freeze them. Cycle again to get a few more eggs. Thaw the frozen ones and test them with the fresh ones. Then we should have a few more normals to work with. It is basically like doing two IVF cycles but you save money on the genetic screening and transfer because you only have to do those once.
I know Dr. S was trying to help. But A felt like "sh*t, now we are already talking about two cycles". And for me, I wasn't crazy about the way Dr. S worded it. He said something like "you two don't look like people who are going to be willing to give up if this doesn't work so think about this...". I've been thinking about his comment since I heard it. Are we people who are willing to give up?
My husband is because this is not his dream. It is mine. But how much and how long am I willing to put us through this? We don't have enough money to do two cycles at that clinic. And even though my work has been great, that would be an additional 7-10 days that I'd need to be in Denver. On top of the 11-15 days, I'd need for one retrieval and transfer.
Honestly, yesterday I felt like a person who is willing to give up. And give up now. It was just too much. A and I both felt so overwhelmed. We still do. But we've been able to comfort each other and try to find humor is our very unfortunate circumstances. It is a lot to take in. I'm thankful we have each other. For now, we are just trying to process everything.