Chapter 9: Denver and IVF cost

Fertility issues are so incredibly hard on a marriage. There can be blame, there is hurt, there can be one person ready to give up, there is pure exhaustion and on and on. Thankfully we had a very strong foundation and decided to lean on each other, rather than let this tear us apart. We still had our moments. 😁 All around us our friends were starting to have their 2nd kids and we were just looking for a miracle. We had used all 3 of our “covered” IVF rounds via our insurance, so we were now at a crossroad. This was financially all on us now. How much would IVF cost us?

We started to research and talk with people and interview doctors. If this was 100% on our dime, we were going to the best with the best odds. After many discussions over lots of wine, we decided that our best chances were going to be with the team at CCRM (Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine). We went out to their facility for 2 days and learned how they were different. We went through all the medical tests, we met with a someone from their financial division, met with our doctor, the nurses and were given a plan. This plan also included a mammogram home in Chicago and collecting all of our former test results. When you factor everything in (medication, procedures, etc…), we were looking at around $50,000. This is how much IVF cost. That is not unlimited all you can try IVF….this was ONE time. One shot (pun intended).

Prior to starting all the medication to get my body ready for the egg retrieval, we decided to take a vacation to an all inclusive resort in Mexico. It was GLORIOUS and just what we needed. Amazing food, margaritas, ocean, sunshine and lots of laughs. We agreed that this was going to be our last trip that we were not parents. It WAS going to happen.

Now came game time. We were starting a whole new plan to stimulate my body to produce as many eggs as possible. This includes daily hormone shots. My stomach looked like it had been through a boxing match with Mike Tyson. While this is happening, I had to go to get daily blood tests and ultrasounds to see where my levels were AND measure my follicles. This would directly affect the medication and dosages I was taking. Once I got to a certain point…I was to get on a plane out to Denver and plan to be there for around 10 days or so. They would carefully monitor me from their office daily and continue to alter as needed. I went solo, as my Husband works in the field and he would come out on a plane as soon as we knew when the retrieval would happen. Giving yourself shots is not easy, but when going through IVF, it becomes second nature. Strange.

As I was moving along, I went to the doctor and my sodium was really really low. The nurse suggested I go to a fast food restaurant and get a burger! Umm….doctor’s orders! So, I did. I got a huge burger with fries and I liked it. I was also drinking a lot of Gatorade and my choice at the time was the fruit punch flavor, which was red in color. I went for a walk later that day and started to feel really sick to my stomach. I chalked it up to the hormones and decided to head back to the room. I was on the phone with my husband a little while later and was telling him how horrible I felt. I was going to throw-up. It was coming fast and furious. I tried to make it to the garbage can and instead…I sprayed the entire wall. Projectile style. Now remember…I was drinking RED Gatorade. It kept coming and I was able to get to the bathroom, but it looked like a crime scene. I had a horrible case of food poisoning. I was in the bathroom for what felt like several hours. I was able to get to the phone and call the front desk to ask someone to bring up some towels. I needed to attempt to clean this mess up. I left the door cracked and ran back to the bathroom…more and more kept coming. When this sweet lady arrived with towels, I yelled “come in” in a gurgling voice and she came in to this horror show. She screamed “oh my god!” and immediately called on her phone for the hotel manager. He showed up and asked if I needed help (clearly yes) and said he was going to call the paramedics. They arrived, assessmed me and agreed I had a vicious case of food poisoning and needed to get to the hospital. I was so embarrassed as I was being wheeled on a stretcher through the lobby that I covered my entire head with the sheet. The paramedics told me in the ambulance that they were getting some really crazy looks…it looked like I was a dead body being wheeled out.

The doctors called my Husband and he was on the next plane out to Denver. Meanwhile, I was SOLELY concerned about my upcoming egg retrieval. I told the doctors to do whatever they needed to do, so that I could continue my retrieval. We were thinking it was going to be in a couple of days. Lots of fluids, anti-nausea medication and hours later….I was released from the hospital and given the green light to continue on our path. My husband and I arrived at the hotel at literally the same time and I looked like some kind of zombie that had been run over by a train. A shower and sleep was in my immediate future.

2 days later, my husband held my hand as we were able to retrieve 16 eggs. 12 of them fertilized and were sent to be tested. We could fly home and wait for the updates.

And I would never ever eat at that particular fast food restaurant again.

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