IUI #2 and the ugly truth about side effects
Why wait right? I'd read that it is always best to try IUI's close together, that your uterus starts to see a pattern and realizes it is supposed to be doing something. Well WAKE UP UTERUS! It is your time to shine!
Once I got the BFN (big fat negative), I picked myself back up again and told the doc I was ready to go into the next round as soon as my cycle started. Which was that same day!
But we hit a snag. Insurance... once again here we are. That dreaded word, it is a dirty word, a word I have come to hate in my 6 1/2 years here..
The clinics financial advisor said we might not get approval from my insurance company before the IUI procedure was due to happen. On top of that, not one person could tell me how much of my $25,000 lifetime fertility allowance was used during the first cycle.
I'm going to vent right now, so I apologize. But I do think this is important information to help anyone out there reading this and just starting out. I am so angry and frustrated at how everything is run here when it comes to medical care. I asked my clinic how much they billed the insurance company for the IUI. I also asked if all of the morning monitoring visits would be included in the lifetime limit or is that was just normal specialty visits and not included. I got a lot of 'I don't know' answers. Both from the clinic and from my insurance company. United healthcare billing & claims department told me the claims wouldn't appear on my statement for at least another month and even then I'd have to request an audit from the specialty department, since the fertility limit is separate to my normal insurance, which would take a further 2 weeks. I'd just need to wait and see how things were coded. How the hell could no one tell me?? We live in a world of technology, surely they know something. Nope.
I'd already seen a couple morning monitoring visits on my statement from early on in January. Have a guess how much the fertility clinic bills insurance for a blood test and a 5 minutes ultrasound.... $1,470!! Literally in and out of the clinic in under 15 minutes. WOW I am just gob-smacked.
So I started panicking, what if all those visits tally up under my fertility coverage. I had 4 visits in my IUI cycle, that is $5,880. I only have $25K limit. Then add on whatever they are billing for the IUI which I'd have no idea until next month. Does that mean I have just used 1/3 of my entire limit in one failed IUI?? I honestly have no idea. Stay tuned and I will let you know when I find out! Probably pulling my hair out by then.
I wasn't going to take the risk to waste all that insurance money again, just incase this second IUI failed and I needed to go to IVF. I don't want to think like that, but I had to be somewhat reasonable, being 40 and a less than 5% chance of IUI's actually working. So I paid upfront out of pocket for the entire cycle. Get this... the IUI procedure and unlimited morning monitoring.... is a total cost of $2649.50! Actually not that bad considering how much they bill insurance, 3 times that at least!
So I am financially cleared (thanks Mastercard), and on the 13th February (CD3), I went in for my bloody (literally) ultrasound and bloodtest to ensure everything was in order. The ultrasound showed about 6 choc chips (follicles) on the left and 8 on the right. Awesome! We only need one, so yippy!
I am doing a medicated IUI again and was instructed to start letrozole 5mg again that night for 5 days. Same protocol as last time.
Headaches, bloating & ugly side effects
This time around, while taking the letrozole, I got so many headaches. Every single day, it hurt to be awake. I'd drink electrolytes, take Tylenol (the only pain killer you are allowed by the way), nap in the morning. I just felt pure exhaustion on top of that.
To top that off, I had developed some weird rash type thing around my left eye. I did a phone consult with my regular doctor and started a steroid cream, they said it looked like eczema. Let me tell you, I have never had skin irritations or eczema before. I felt miserable, I was so self conscious. Of course we were are wearing masks everywhere thanks to Covid, so all your can see is my eyes. I felt gross, I stayed home instead of going into the office as much. I tried everything, my mum was giving me home remedies too, nothing worked. It is still there today, in fact it has gotten worse.
Now, let's talk about the bloating. What the actual fuck! Excuse my language but how much of a cruel joke is the bloating.
As you can see by my photo, I feel like I look pregnant already. Cruel, mean, nasty joke. My tummy was so hard to touch, it hurts so badly. I was doing everything right with my diet, was eating better than ever, drinking lots of water. But it just stayed like this.
PS. I told you this blog is real, I am real, I am not hiding any ugly truths, so you get to see me, as me...in the flesh.. literally!.
I battled through. Even after the 5 days, coming off the pills, I didn't get any better. Except the headaches went away, small wins! But I felt like my stomach was getting bigger and bigger. Doctor google says it was pretty normal to feel this way because the body is reacting to the raging hormones being manipulated and racing through your body! It really just didn't feel right. I asked my fertility clinic, they also told me it was normal. Ok then I guess, they should know. I really hope this goes away after the IUI.
I only went in for morning monitoring once more and that was on cycle day 12 (22nd Feb). Figures since it was out of pocket, they reduced my visits by half. Well that and they already know how my body reacts too... I know that is more the reason, but I am going to remain bitter about insurance lol.
I was instructed to do the trigger shot the next evening, at exactly 8pm. I had one very dominant follicle and that would most likely be the one to release the egg (ovulate). This time around, I didn't need help from anyone for the self injection, I didn't call anyone, I just got the needle ready, lifted my shirt, stabbed myself and went about my night as usual. I guess it really is do it once, you're used to it!
February 25th, my IUI was scheduled at 9:15am. Once again, had to get there an hour early to sign the papers to release for thawing the donor sperm. Today I was on time for everything, and so was the clinic.
I had a different doctor today. A really nice one! From the second she walked in, I felt good. Really good. She was funny, had great bedside manner and made me feel at ease immediately.
Once again, the lovely (insert sarcasm here) speculum was inserted, the doc said "here we go, let's get your pregnant". Which made me really believe this is the one!
Over and done with in minutes once again, I was told to resume normal activities. the nurse in the room even gave me the sperm vile this time! The doctor stayed and had a little chat with me. It made all the difference compared to my first IUI. I really didn't like that doctor at all last time, especially now I know how nice others can be! This doctor didn't make it feel clinical at all, she was caring and hopeful. I really think these places are baby making factories, they are scientists after all, their sole job is to get you pregnant, not hold your hand through it. So having a little positive reassurance was a really nice change.
I walked out normally this time, no crossing my legs, no stressing. I felt like I was walking on a cloud! WOW this feels good, this is definitely it. I bought myself some McDonalds fries again (I had to specially get them to cook the fries as it was still the breakfast menu!), went home, and started work and went about my day as usual.
So here we go into the TWW again. I feel like this time will be so much easier. I know what to expect, I'm not going to test at all this time. I am just going to wait it out until the 11th March, my due date for my period and hope to hell it doesn't show up.
My lucky socks this time.... got a laugh out of the doctor!