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Day 11 (Round 2 of IVF Stims): How to Get Travel Discounts for IVF Treatment

Day 11 (Round 2 of IVF Stims): How to Get Travel Discounts for IVF Treatment

(Entry written prior to posted date).

 

The irony of IVF medication is that it makes you look totally pregnant. It has all the same appearances of pregnancy but instead you become a human water balloon. I bloated so much in such a short span of time that it was painful sometimes. I’m already a big girl so imagine the discomfort I felt when there is extra water added to my belly, thighs, and even my face. My glasses were even fitting tighter on my head. No one seems to talk about how your face gets bloated too. When I looked at my pictures from the other day I thought the photo was distorted. My cheeks were noticeably bigger. I appear to be taking on the physical traits of a whale. I think whales have a majestic, serene quality to them, as they glide through the ocean waters and call out to each other. Instead here I am angrily flopping around in bed as I cuss at how uncomfortably big my stomach has become.  I sometimes grab my stomach in dismay and say “Oh my God” under my breath.

 

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The Bloat is Real. Way more bloated this second round of IVF.

 

I knew I was going to be bloated, like everyone in the online IVF boards were saying, but good lord this is too much. It was pretty shocking to look in the mirror and see my gut looking fully pregnant. One thing I didn’t even think to do was to measure before and after IVF meds, the difference would probably be quite mortifying.

 

 

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Even my face is bloated. I felt my glasses frames getting tighter by my ears. What…the…hell?

 

 

The IVF process tends to mold us into more resilient people. Look at the lengths we go to to create a family. Although I did whine throughout the process at times, I am also learning a lot about myself too. Some of the ways I’ve grown through this process include learning to find humor in hard times, being open to new experiences, prioritizing what is really important to me, and time-managing the s**t out of my day. When you have to give yourself five shots during a specific window of time each day you start to get into a perfectly sequenced routine.

 

My best advice to those of you who have to give yourself multiple shots in a day is to be prepared, and do your shots in a certain order at the same time. I always did mine in the same order each time so I would try to avoid mistakes, minus my one major mistake with the Omnitrope. Hey, nobody is perfect, but if you can find a way that helps you streamline the whole process it will be so much easier on you. I also kept all my medicine in my one suitcase, although some might find it more helpful to have everything spread out on their counter. I was traveling at the time and I didn’t feel comfortable having all of my expensive medicine spread out in my hotel. I always zipped up all my medicine in my bag if it didn’t need refrigerated. Also if you are given a window of time to take your medicine try to make a habit of doing it in the earliest part of that window. It’s better to be earlier in the window than try to make a mad dash back to your place to frantically give yourself multiple shots. You are more likely to make mistakes if you do not give yourself enough time to prepare.

 

I wanted to share a couple other things I’ve learned along the way, one of which I learned just today. Because this cycle is lasting much longer than anticipated I needed to extend my stay at the hotel. The girl at the front desk of the hotel knew that I had received several deliveries from a pharmacy because I had very specific instructions to call me immediately when they arrived because I needed to refrigerate the medicine. So when I went to pay for another week at the hotel, she offered me some advice I hadn’t even thought of.

 

She said to me, “You are here for medical reasons, correct?”

“Yes” I said. I had mentioned before I was having a procedure but didn’t go into details.

“That’s too bad that we didn’t know that for your first week you had booked. But we can apply the medical discount for you for this new week.”

“Really?” I said surprised. “How much is the medical discount?”

“Twenty percent, if you book through us directly.”

 

If you have to travel to do IVF ask if it’s possible to get a medical discount on your hotel and airfare. Just because you think you are getting a good deal on your hotel and airfare by booking through a website like Kayak, Priceline, or Travelocity does not mean you are getting the best deal possible. Call your hotel and airline directly and ask them if they do medical discounts and what the percentage discount is as well as the policies. Do the math. If the percentage you’d save is more doing a medical discount then go for it, if not then book with the cheaper option online. I managed to get both the hotel and airfare medical discount. I wish I had known about it before with my first round of IVF, but I’m thankful I learned about it by the time I had my second round.

 

Thank you for reading.

Check out my other blog entries by clicking here for the archives page.

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Featured Image Credit: Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi from Pexels

 

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1 Day After Egg Retrieval: Major Money Saving Epiphany

1 Day After Egg Retrieval: Major Money Saving Epiphany

(Entry written prior to posted date).

Who knew one of the annoying side effects post-retrieval would contribute to an epiphany that would change the course of events for me. I believe I’ve hit my ultimate record for the number of times I had to pee in a single night, it was in the range of twenty times. It was as if all the retained water weight during my stimulation shots was now leaving my body. But good God, that was just friggin’ excessive! I got zero sleep last night.

 

But the good news is that while I was awake all night I was doing my usual perusing of infertility forums online. I stumbled on a weirdly worded response to a question someone posed about how to save money on IVF treatment. The response was something to the effect of “do two IVFs in a row. That’s how I did it. Saved a lot.” What the hell did that mean? Two IVFs?

 

Then it hit me. Although this response was thoroughly confusing to me at first, it started to register with me. I asked myself, “What if they meant they did two egg retrievals before they did their first FET (frozen embryo transfer)?” Could that be what they meant? Then I remembered the phone conversation I had with my two-cycle discount program, she said, “The program ends when you have a ‘take-home’ baby.” So that meant if I gave birth with this first cycle the program ended.

 

It was the middle of the night and I posted a question in some of the Facebook IVF groups I’m on, asking whether anyone was doing my specific discount program and if they did two egg retrievals in a row before their first transfer. Some of the first women who responded to me said that I could not do it. They even went so far as to tell me, “It’s in your contract if you actually read it. It’s bolded and everything.” But I was looking right at my copy of my contract and nowhere in it did it say anything like this. The contract echoed the same thing the woman with the discount program told me over the phone, “program ends with ‘take-home’ baby.” But several hours later I checked if anyone else had responded. Now there were more answers, and about half of them were saying that it is actually possible to do two egg retrievals back to back with that program.

 

First thing that morning I called both my discount program and my clinic to pose this question. The answer would change the trajectory of everything. “Yes, it’s possible.” From what I gather, it depends on the clinic or possibly your diagnosis. Some clinics seem not to allow women back-to-back egg retrievals for the discounted price while others do. So what are the benefits of me deciding to do two egg retrievals back to back as opposed to jumping right into a FET?

 

  • Doing the second cycle would definitely be included in the cost if I did back-to-back retrievals. If I did the FET right after the first retrieval and had a live birth my contract would end, which would make me lose out on an entire IVF cycle I had pre-paid for. In other words, I will be saving thousands of dollars if I do back-to-back cycles with my discount program.
  • My AMH/Ovarian reserve is very low and time is of the essence. The sooner I can do several egg retrievals the better.
  • Increasing the odds of giving potential children from this first cycle their siblings from a second cycle.
  • Take advantage of my flexible work schedule (on-call work) I have now and go ahead and do these egg retrievals. Most other jobs would not be as flexible.
  • I’ve met my out-of-pocket maximum for the year so any ultrasounds ($600 each), blood draws, and consultations with my local doctor would be covered entirely.
  • The only thing I’d have to pay for is the IVF medicine, plane tickets, and hotel to travel out of state for my IVF cycle again.

 

All I can say is I am over the moon I had this timely epiphany. For some reason this idea didn’t occur to me. Maybe it was the fact I was up all night and thinking non-stop about my next steps. I had my plans practically set to return the following month to do the FET. I could have missed out on a second IVF cycle had I not considered this more. But this epiphany changed my timeline for everything. Now I am starting to make plans for when I will come back for the second retrieval for this year.

 

Today was a beautiful day out. Mom and I went to the Space Needle and the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit. What an amazing day! It was so nice to get out. I was surprised I was doing so well the day after surgery. We did lots of walking around and spent a good part of the day just hanging out up in the Space Needle. I loved seeing the rotating glass-bottom floor. Pretty cool stuff.

 

 

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So the day overall was great. But I had a crying meltdown moment later on at the end of the night. Mom got a message from a relative asking if the doctors were optimistic about me having a baby. Mom mentioned their question to me. This seemingly benign question threw me into a fit of tears. The combination of my out-of-whack hormones post-surgery coupled with the reality that my odds of success are very low just made a blubbering mess. Poor mom didn’t know what the hell was wrong and I couldn’t articulate it quick enough because in the moment I didn’t know why I was crying. It was a pure emotional response.

 

Then Mom started crying. So there we were both crying, frustrated, and I’m still trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with me. I hear mom crying in the bathroom, blowing her nose. She seemed upset that she couldn’t console me.

 

Then she comes out and says half angry and half crying, “That stupid maid!”

“What?” I said, still sniffling but starting to calm down.

“The toilet paper! She didn’t give us any! I can’t believe this!”

Then I start to laugh hysterically. The way she said it was so comical to me.

 

This was either the second or third day in a row that the maid didn’t give us toilet paper. The one day we did manage to get more toilet paper we asked the front desk guy and apparently the wimp of a man couldn’t manage to get more than one roll from her. “She wouldn’t give me two rolls” he sheepishly said to me. So this toilet paper Nazi of a maid now has my mom crying even more. Mom heard me laughing and then started laughing too. We managed to scrape together some leftover restaurant tissues from our takeout meals and some tissues she had in her purse to get us through the night. No way in hell we were stepping outside our hotel room door because that part of town turns into a scene from Mad Max with all the anarchy that happens when the sun sets.

 

After we stopped crying and laughing I explained to her how I thought I started crying because of the hormones and the fact that my situation has never been considered optimistic. I think once I explained it to her it made more sense my reaction. I think there is a big difference between being optimistic versus staying positive. I am staying positive, which is a choice. But I would not say I’m optimistic because the reality is my ovarian reserve is incredibly low and it would be a miracle if I had a single biological baby in my life.

 

So today I had a whole range of emotions. Thank you crazy hormones. But I am thankful to have learned two things: 1) I can save a lot of money by doing two back-to-back egg retrievals, 2) If you hide the toilet paper in your room the maid will think you are out and give you more. Solving life problems from big to little. I feel pretty accomplished today. I will end this post with a happy note of my results from this egg retrieval thus far:

5 eggs retrieved

4 fertilized

1 embryo survived and will go through PGS testing.

 

Yahooooo! So incredibly happy to have this bit of hope to move forward with. Praying that this little embryo does not have the same chromosomal issue that causes me to have recurrent miscarriages. Hoping and praying this little one will make it past the testing.

 

 

 

Thank you for reading.

Check out my other blog entries by clicking here for the archives page.

Don’t forget to check out my Contests page to see how you can win!

 

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