Hysteroscopy + Let’s Get This Party Started!

Ok, so last we chatted on the subject of my {in}fertility, we were waiting for some testing to be done. If you aren’t already familiar, IVF comes with wait after wait after wait. It’s a game of waiting, folks. And yet again, I’m sorry all I’m talking about is IVF. It won’t last forever – I promise! But today there’s some stuff I want to share, so here we go.

You may remember that about 2 1/2 years ago I had an HSG. Well, I mentioned in my last post that I was lined up to have a hysteroscopy. The doctor didn’t play it up very much – just take a few IBProfein and I’d be good. Since the HSG was pretty breezy, I sort of expected the same thing with this.

Well again, I was wrong. Boy have I been wrong a lot lately. 😉

Oh my goodness. SO much more uncomfortable. When I got into the room, there was a hazardous material bag tied under where I’d be laying – a bad sign. Ha! The nurse pointed out the monitor where they’d be looking at the inside on my uterus and mentioned I could watch if I wanted. I was all, “Yea! I want to see it! Cool!”

Well they apparently numbed my cervix, but it felt like I could feel everything – like there was a lot of scraping and overall invasion of my lady space. But still, as it got started I was all, “Ok, not terrible, just uncomfortable”.

Then they stuck in the scope – the long rod with the camera on the end. At first I was still fine. I watched the monitor as they took pictures of where my fallopian tubes drop into my uterus (crazy to be able to look at, btw) and then it got worse. The cramping was bad. And there was a lot of pressure. I feel like my body was screaming, “What is this thing!? GET OUT!” And it was angry. And I felt the anger. I just laid as still as I could.

Labor is often described to me as very intense pressure, more than pain. This feeling reminded me of that so I started focusing on just breathing like people in labor seem to do – ha! But it worked!

Once they took the scope out, the saline solution had to…drain. There was more scraping. It was still uncomfortable but the pain subsided a bit. More than anything I laid there feeling super violated and literally thought, “Women who don’t have to do these things to get pregnant are so lucky.”

When it was done, the doctor left the room and the nurse told me she usually sees a lot of tears during the procedure. I made it through without any tears, but I was close. Focusing on continuing to breathe helped.

That was easily my least favorite diagnostic test in this process so far. For a while afterwards I was just kind of shocked by the intensity of it. Take all the blood you want, just keep that scope away from my uterus.

Sooooo basically if you ever have to do this, expect lot’s of fun. Only the opposite. 🙂

A few days later we had the follow up with the doctor. Again, she was very encouraging. Two of the most important numbers as far as test results (and ones I was most nervous/hopeful about) are the AMH and FSH. The AMH number basically gives an indication of egg quantity. As we age, we lose eggs every cycle. Some people lose them faster than others. A low AMH means it can be hard to stimulate enough eggs to develop during the IVF process. Fortunately, mine was good. A range of 1-3.5 is ideal, mine was 6. *jazz hands*

As for the FSH, that indicates egg quality. We want to get plenty of eggs but we also want them to be of high quality. Low quality eggs may not develop as well and have more trouble during fertilization and could lead to miscarriage if you do get pregnant. I’m sure there’s more to this too, but that’s my understanding of it. You want this number to be less than 10. Mine was 7.3. *more jazz hands*

It was such a relief to hear that those numbers were still good since the last time I had them tested (about a year and a half ago). As I said, the doctor said everything looks good. The hubs’ sperm test came back great again too. We are in the clear to move forward and the outlook is sunny.

We also had the financial conversation. The cost is something people often ask about and are surprised by, so I’ll break it down just a bit for you. It seems like most offices do it a little differently, but ultimately everything seems to work out to about the same amount. The only difference really is if someone has insurance that’s helpful. Insurance often seems to pay for diagnostic testing (everything we’ve done up until now), but nothing else. That’s the case with ours.

So the main few things that were priced out separately for us were (1) the costs related to the appointments and things that the doctor’s office does – that’s the bulk of the cost. Next is the (2) genetic testing of the blastocysts/embryos, should you choose to do that. The other part is the (3) transfer of the embryo to the uterus. That cost includes one transfer, so if you have additional embryos and it doesn’t work the first time, there’s a fee for additional transfers. The remainder is the (4) medication costs, which you are paying to a pharmacy.

All in all, the doctor’s office + genetic testing is around $15k. The genetic testing is included in that number because the cost of that really does seem to vary. The embryo transfer is about $4,500. Again, that differs a good bit by doctor’s office and is paid with every embryo transfer. Then the medications range from $3k to $8k. Where you end up in that range depends on what the doctor prescribes. Certain brands cost more and depending on your particular situation, you might just need more or less medication to make things happen.

That puts the total cost between $23k and $28k. While it can vary a bit and certain line items can vary, from what I can tell it all ultimately adds up to being between those two total numbers. For something that is free to most people (getting pregnant), that’s a hefty fee. Most options people have if they don’t have insurance to cover it includes low interest (or 0%) credit cards, personal loans or even just paying it outright if you can. Or even some mix of those options. The doctor’s office offers information on companies that specialize in these types of loans as well. Not an ideal situation for hopefully soon-to-be new parents, but a reality for many.

So now we are just waiting until cycle day 1 of my next cycle, which should be the beginning of next week. I talked in my last post about the process, if you want to check it out. First up will be birth control for 10-14 days. I already have the prescription ready to go. Also, because of my borderline PCOS (she doesn’t totally think I have it, but maybe a little bit), I’m on a low dose of Metformin. I will call the doctor’s office on Day 1 of my cycle and schedule all the appointments and order meds and such. I actually think I’m anticipating Aunt Flow (day 1 of my cycle) more than ever this month. I’m ready to get this party started and see what happens!

It’s going to be a crazy and emotional next few months as we go through the highs and lows (but hopefully mostly highs) of this process. If at any point, I seem hormonal, that’s because I am. Literally shot full of them. 😉

And in the interest of not constantly annoying your inbox with updates, I think I’ll start chronicling the day to day parts of the retrieval on my Insta-stories (on the lifestyle instagram account – so if you follow the food one already, check out the lifestyle one). If you are into following along, check that occasionally for the latest update. I feel like this is going to be the most intense part of the process to some degree. Especially the week after the retrieval when I wait and see how many eggs make it to blastocyst. Once the retrieval is over, I’ll give another update here. Then I’ll know how it went and how successful it was.

Wish me luck! 🙂