As per usual, my original treatment plans get tossed out the window because my body decides to go rogue. I would be more surprised if things actually went according to plan, ever. Sometimes the universe seems to throw every obstacle in my way. It’s hard not to think these challenges are designed to test my limits constantly. I know it’s not the end of the world, but damn, give a girl a break! Before I jump into everything that happened this past week, let me proudly announce that I did not lose my sanity, at least I have that going for me for the time being.
Countdown Until FET: 88 days (as of 1-27-2020)
Catch-up on Previous FET Prep Posts
FET Prep Week 1: 3.5 months until FET
FET Prep Week 2: Supplements, WTF Email, & Increased AMH Level
FET Prep Week 3: You say Future Tripping, I say Future Planning
Bad News from SIS Test
My IVF clinic in Seattle requires I have a SIS test completed prior to my FET. If you don’t know, SIS stands for saline-infusion sonogram. I absolutely hate doing these, I’ve had to do this maybe three or four times and I would take surgery with anesthesia over this any day. I’ve always had pain doing my annual PAP smear. The SIS test uses a speculum, just like with a typical PAP smear, but then they put in a catheter to fill up your uterus with saline, or salt water. At the same time they use a transvaginal ultrasound wand to look inside the uterus. It feels like you have to pee while also feeling similar to moderate menstrual cramp pain. Some women have no pain with their SIS test, but everyone is different.
The SIS test I did on Thursday was just as unpleasant as all the previous ones. What made it worse was knowing ahead of time I would need to pay $1200 for this test. So there I am lying on the table, looking at a white blob on the screen. The doctor had her hand on the catheter wiggling it around the blob, pushing on my stomach rapidly over and over again (not a pretty sight if you have some extra pounds on the belly), and telling the ultrasound tech to move the wand around all over the place inside me. “Maybe if we take the catheter and push on it, it will break it up. It might just be a blood clot, let’s try to push into it to see what happens.” Tap, tap, jab, jab, ouuuuuch! “Okay, that hurts!” I told her. She apologizes then asks me to try moving my knees out, then rolling on my side. But now matter what any of us three women did, this blob remained immovable.
“To me it looks like it might be an adhesion or scar tissue, I don’t think it’s a blood clot because it’s not moving. But I’m not sure exactly what it is. I will send these images to your doctor in Seattle and see what he says,” she tells me. This could very well throw off all of my plans for my FET. She explained I would probably need a follow-up SIS, or surgery. Both are expensive and I don’t have the money for either, I’m still trying to pay off my other medical bill from my recent miscarriage.
The following morning I get a call from my local OBGYN who explained that he spoke with my Seattle doctor and they felt the best option was to go ahead with another surgery. They didn’t think it was a simple blood clot based on how it looked, they thought it could be scar tissue or something else, but they wouldn’t know for sure unless they did a pathology test on it to figure it out. It’s the “something else” part I’m concerned about, because both doctors have explained to me I am at risk of developing uterine cancer. So I’m hoping it’s just scar tissue.
They will be doing hysteroscopy surgery. Essentially that’s where they put a little hysteroscope, or camera, inside to actually see what’s going on in there. “It will either be a diagnostic surgery or an operative surgery, depending on what I see” my doctor explains, “If that tissue is still there I’ll go ahead and remove it, then send it out to be tested. We want your uterus to be absolutely clear of any tissue, polyps, or fibroids before your Frozen Embryo Transfer. Because you only have one embryo right? Yeah. So if the embryo tries to implant on that tissue you could have a failed FET or another miscarriage.” I agreed that it sounded like there was no other option but to remove it, whatever it is.
Thursday and Friday I had to answer about half a dozen different phone calls from my doctors office, the surgery center nurse, the financial department for the surgery center, then the financial department for my doctors office. “We’ll need $3200 the day of your surgery” the receptionist told me from the surgery center. Mind you, this didn’t even include the doctor’s fee or the anesthesiologist fee. Oh yes, let me just fork over thousands of dollars I keep lying around. Yeah, right! The weird part is the surgery center never expected everything up front like this before. I told her there was no way I could do that and asked about a payment plan. Apparently they no longer do payment plans, so I had to apply for Care Credit. I’ve never used medical credit before, so it’s all new to me. I got approved for the amount of the surgery, so I am hoping everything goes without a hitch on the day of the surgery. Then it would only be a matter of monthly payments to the Care Credit company.
Bills, Bills, & More Bills
In a single week I’ve accumulated $5,439 in debt. F**k my life!
- Car repair for exhaust leak, needed new catalytic converter and gasket (my car sounded like it was going to blow up): $539
- Natera (pathology report from last miscarriage): $400
- SIS bill (Pre-FET ultrasound test): $1200
- Hysteroscopy surgery estimate: $3300
Plus add in the bill I’ve already been paying on…
- 2019 ER visit for miscarriage: $2500 remaining (that’s after the $1000+ I already paid down)
Grand Total of Current Debt = $7939
Yes, it’s a lot of debt at once. And I may have downed three glasses of Merlot quite rapidly when I got home the other night when I did all the math, but when I pull back and look at the big picture, it’s not that bad. I’ve been dealing with miscarriages and infertility treatments for going on five years now, and to only have just under $8,000 of debt is actually kind of impressive. I know other women who owe upwards of $40,000 all the way up to $100,000 in debt for infertility treatments. Yes it definitely throws a wrench in my plans for the year and I’m still kind of panicking, but perhaps I’ll use that stressful energy into finding a solution.
My original plan was to pay off my previous ER bill (and my only bill prior to this week) before my FET, then I’d be golden. I could have been pregnant, and off work to reduce stress for my high risk pregnancy. I could have just chilled at home baking a little bun in the oven. I would have had some money in savings to pay smaller bills like my phone and car insurance. But all the bills started rolling in this week. But this week my dream of being a stay-at-home preggers wifey just exploded in my face.
So what the hell am I going to do next? Well if my pathology report from this upcoming surgery shows it was simply scar tissue, I’m hoping I will still be on track with my FET date of mid-April. I talked with Kurtis about how I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to get a second job during this critical three month time before my FET where they emphasize the importance of reducing stress. A new job would definitely add to my stress level. Luckily, my current work schedule is very flexible. I can work as much as 40 hours per week or as little as one shift per month, since I am an on-call staff member.
I talked about with Kurtis about a tentative plan after the FET, I plan to work the minimum amount of one shift per month for the first trimester, that is if I’m lucky enough to actually get pregnant. Then after I pass the first trimester I’ll probably work more. It’s risky to be working, especially considering my history of miscarriages. Even just writing those last few sentences, it just doesn’t sit right with me. It essentially boils down to a question of “Are you willing to risk your pregnancy to pay bills? Or do you need to just accept that you will be in debt for a while?” I’m already looking at the trajectory of this year and it’s looking like our dream of buying a house this year is out the window. It’s sad, and it sucks, because both Kurtis and I made plans for it to happen this year. If infertility was personified it would be that mean schoolyard bully who relentlessly pummels you into the ground. On the flip side, I keep getting back up to fight back. I hope you are at least putting your money on me winning instead of that asshole Infertility.
Speaking of money, if you want to help a sister out, you can donate to us to help pay down our medical bills. It would be much appreciated. Every little bit helps.
Mini-Victories for the Week
Completed SIS procedure this week.
Local OBGYN was able to quickly get me scheduled for surgery first thing next week.
Did 18/6 intermittent fasting a few days this week.
Work in Progress
Surgery scheduled Monday for hysteroscopy.
Need to cut out alcohol completely now that I am in my 3-month window before FET.
No caffeine whatsoever. This past week I transitioned from coffee to tea, now need to cut out caffeinated tea.
Did some stress eating with all the new bills and upcoming surgery, need to be careful not to do this for this next week.
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