There is so much anticipation before starting an IVF cycle. Even when you’ve done it three times before, it can be nerve wracking. There were some logistical differences that set this cycle apart from past cycles.
First, we now live farther (over twenty miles each way) from the fertility clinic. I was worried about the drive into the city for monitoring appointments and my eventual egg retrieval. Spoiler Alert: Everything turned out fine and my worrying was for nothing. There was no real “traffic” to speak of, because not as many people are commuting into Seattle these days. Also, I had my own personal driver, L. He’s working from home and was able to take me to my appointments.
Second, this cycle was covered by insurance. Our first two cycles were paid out of pocket. Our third cycle was partially covered through insurance but still cost us over $15k out of pocket. So, to say we feel fortunate to have insurance coverage this time around is an understatement!
Third, it’s COVID-19 season, folks! All sense of “normalcy” has gone out the window. When we first decided we would try IVF again, we didn’t take into account that there would be a pandemic in play. Once we finally got in touch with our clinic, it was February/March. We waited a couple of months before the clinic reopened in May. I had my blood drawn and got off birth control for two cycles. Then at the beginning of July, I went back on birth control in preparation for the stimulation phase of the cycle.
The biggest changes when undergoing an IVF cycle during COVID-19 (versus non-COVID times) are wearing a mask, not seeing your regular doctor at every appointment (depends on your clinic), and attending all appointments by yourself (depends on your clinic). I was paranoid about little things like taking the elevator with others. Touching surfaces and not sanitizing my hands right away. Making sure my mask stayed on properly. I’d say those little things were most daunting in the beginning, but my level of anxiety went down as I got further into the cycle.
My doctor’s office was SO good about mitigating the challenges of COVID-19. You have to wash your hands before entering the clinic. Get your temperature taken at the door. Also, they provided a new surgical grade mask to anyone entering. There was minimal time in the waiting room and each time I was there, there was never more than one other patient waiting. I really appreciated the level of care they took in making us all feel safer.
So I went in for my baseline ultrasound on a Thursday and it showed that my ovaries were generally quiet and I had some visible follicles on each side. I had really worked myself up for this appointment, because I was SO nervous that the doctor might not see any follicles given my super low AMH reading. The doctor gave me the go ahead to start injections the following Monday. What a win!!
I was a complete mess after this appointment. On one hand, I was so relieved that there were some follicles in there. On the other, I think it was hard for me to manage my anxiety. It was the first time I was out of the house in literally months. The anxiety of trying to navigate that plus this appointment almost felt like too much! I went to sleep with a terrible stomachache and had to stay in bed part of the next day.
We waited years to start this cycle. COVID-19 or not, we were going to try and make the best of this chance.
Anyone else cycling during COVID?