07.19.2022
My Egg Freezing Journey: The Good, The Bad, and the Bruising (!)

injection for my My Egg Freezing Journey

Because it was QUITE a ride but totally worth it…

First off, I think it’s important to state that from the age of 30 to 38, I absolutely insisted that I would never freeze my eggs.  I knew that I wanted children, but felt like I would be totally fine fertility-wise, and that it would happen when it would happen.  Then, as I approached my 39th birthday, something just kind of…switched?  At that point I hadn’t been actively trying to date for almost a year, and I definitely started to feel this mix of fear and maybe even some regret all at once.  And it sucked…so I decided to do something about it.

My Egg Freezing Journey: The Good, The Bad, and the Bruising (!)

I’m happy to report that I finished my egg freezing (successfully!) at the end of April, but I wanted to sit with it for a minute before writing this post; I’m being totally honest here – it was A LOT.  It was a lot financially (almost $18K to be exact), it was a lot mentally, and it was a lot physically.  I still find it amusing that no one seems to talk about the mental and physical toll (the financial is obvious) that egg freezing takes on a woman.

Both my GP any my gyno were all “oh yeah, I’ve heard horror stories from my patients” but, weirdly, not many people had told ME how hard it was for them before I did it myself.  Let’s try to talk about that part more, ok?  I think it’s important for women to know what they’re getting into before they decide to spend a ton of money and an entire month of their life on this process.  But I digress and here it is – my honest egg freezing journey recap…

Finding the right doctor and clinic

This part is KEY.  I want to be clear that in no way is this post sponsored. I didn’t get any kind of discount or special treatment as an “influencer” and I’m gonna be VERY HONEST. My first doctor SUCKED.  Dr. Chang was very nice, and she was actually recommended by a good friend of mine who also works in the medical field, but she made a lot of mistakes really early on.  After the fourth error I decided to switch doctors because, quite honestly, I had lost confidence in her.

I’m not gonna go into all the details in this post, but let’s just say I was very happy to switch to another doctor and he very conveniently was at the same practice (Southern California Reproductive Center), so it didn’t require too much work or extra money.  My friend Nicole Travolta had actually just frozen her own eggs and had a great experience with Dr. Ghadir so, after our consult, I decided to go with him.  He was fantastic.  Very direct (which I love) and, after we reviewed my bloodwork, he basically told me I didn’t have to take 50 different supplements that all made me sick and that I was ready to go right then and there.

Cost

My insurance didn’t cover anything.  Gasp.  Shock (add a sarcastic giggle).  The only thing they did pay for was the Z-Pak that was required before the egg removal procedure.  Gee, thanks.  They saved me like $30.  Putting my bitterness aside for a minute, here’s a breakdown of costs that I kept track of as if I worked for the IRS.

P.S.- I got a friendly tip from one of my IG followers that you realllly have to track your own expenses cause the billing department at this facility had wrongly charged/double charged her a few times. This DID happen to me as well and, luckily, I had tracked everything and made them take it off the invoices.  I’m not sure if this happens at every clinic but, regardless, it’s always a good idea to track your expenses for this anyway since it’s a lot of separate charges and mistakes can easily get made.

Cost breakdown:

  • First phone consult with Dr. Chang: $275
  • Bloodwork and ultrasound (that I shouldn’t have had at that time- found that out later): $540
  • Phone consult with Dr. Ghadir: $275
  • Phone appointment to go over tests: $275
  • Ultrasound and bloodwork: $770
  • SCRC fee for egg freezing: $4,925
  • Meds at pharmacy: $4,982.21
  • Ultrasound and bloodwork: $340
  • More meds: $643.56
  • Procedure fee and egg storage fee for one year: $2,250
  • Even more meds (!): $919.16
  • Anesthesia: $495
  • Surgery facility fee: $1,295

It total almost $18,000.  Yep. Wild.  A lot of places do have “package deals” – SCRC did have one but, at that point, I had already paid for so much (no one on my first doctor’s team alerted me about the package) that it didn’t make sense to do it.

HOT TIP: Be sure to check with your employer to see if they cover egg freezing. Most don’t but, in recent years, companies like Meta, Apple, Google, etc. have started to cover a lot of these procedures.  Basically, if you work for a big company, it’s worth an ask!

The phone consult

In my first phone consult we essentially just talked about my age, my health status and what my goals were for egg freezing, etc.  It’s pretty much a “get to know you” kind of consultation so you can make sure you and your doctor are on the same page.

ultrasound on My Egg Freezing Journey

First Assessment Visit

So, what I didn’t know from my first doctor is that you’re supposed to be on your period for your first ultrasound and bloodwork appointment. Make sure you get that info! lol.  You go in and they take blood and then look at your follicles to see how many you have (aka your follicle count).  This essentially gives you and the doctor an idea of how fertile you are before you start taking any of the medications and whether or not you might have some issues.  For me, I was about average/maybe one or two follicles low for my age (due to one small ovary), but both doctors agreed that I was a good candidate.  We were good to go once I made the initial payment and agreed on the schedule!

the medication on my Egg Freezing Journey

The meds

When this box arrived, I wanted to die (and not just cause of the price tag, lol).  The sheer feeling of overwhelm was just…I panicked.  I know I’m not alone here, but I wanted to mention because this is pretty much where I started to wonder if I could really DO this, you know? Also, I got a ton of support from my friend Nicole and my Instagram followers and, honestly, I don’t think I could’ve done it without you guys. <3

The pharmacy/lessons

My doctor assigned me to a pharmacy in the valley and they were great.  It’s important that your pharmacy is close-ish because it’s very likely that you will need to order more meds and sometimes at very inconvenient times (one friend told me she had to drive there on a Sunday at 8pm and pay the pharmacist an emergency fee).  But, as far as the meds go, the pharmacy helped me schedule a virtual appointment with one of their nurses so she could show me how to do the injections.  She then sends over YouTube videos so you can watch the how-tos several times (I legit watched them 50 times each).

The Schedule

The above is the schedule I got from Dr. Ghadir’s team that’s customized for me based off the meds Dr. Ghadir wanted me to take.  This schedule DID change slightly – I had to go until the 16th because, even though my follicles were getting bigger, they were growing a little slow and I need the extra time to make sure that they got big enough before retrieval.  I was NOT happy to get that news, btw, but looking back it was obviously the right call.  Also, I cried in the office when the nurse told me – at that point, my body was just so bruised and I was exhausted…and, of course, also not thrilled to pay the extra $900 on meds.

As far as the schedule though, you also have to make time (not listed in the above) for frequent office visits based off of your progress and check ups.  I’ve never had my blood drawn so many times, guys.  My poor arms got bruises from the needles so we had to rotate from left to right.

The Injections

The big day came and it was finally time to inject.  I know a lot of us (including myself) have never injected a needle into ourselves before and the thought is scary…I get it.  I will say this – the needles are TINY and really don’t hurt, but you will get some bruising and that’s totally normal.  Menopur is the worst injection because the liquid burns slightly as it goes in.  The others?  You’ll be fine.

There is a bit of a hot mess feeling that happens when you first start because you have to MIX some of the liquids.  The first few days (where I had to do more than one shot), it took me almost an hour to do all my injections…mostly because I was watching and re-watching the videos over and over to make sure that I was mixing and injecting correctly, etc.  By the end of the cycle, I got it down to about 25 minutes. #pro

HOT TIP: A few of my amazing IG followers recommended that I ice my stomach before injections and I found that to be a TOTAL GAME CHANGER.  When I didn’t ice, the shots hurt more.  Period.  I used this ice belt that I already had for my lower back – I just flipped it around to my stomach and it worked perfectly.

the belly injections for my Egg Freezing Journey

Day 1- 16

The days at the beginning were pretty OK – you start with just one shot and then gradually work your way up to the harder ones – I liked this method, ha!

My main symptoms:

Fatigue

For me, this was what I got the worst. I was just SO TIRED.  ALL THE TIME.  If you have a job that’s physical or where you need to be out and about, this would definitely be an issue.  Luckily for me, I worked from my bed/couch the whole cycle with no issues.

Bloating

I didn’t bloat too badly until the very end.  Then I looked legit PREGNANT.  It was actually pretty funny (photo further down in this post)

Moodiness

I mean I had zero human contact for the majority of my cycle cause I didn’t want to risk getting COVID and having to go extra long!  That said, I definitely did feel a little more sensitive than usual with extra crying over abandoned puppies, etc.  But who cares. right?  That was the least of my worries.

Like I mentioned earlier, I did have to inject for 16 days.  Most cycles are 10-14 days so, you know, I wasn’t pleased but it worked out well so now I can’t complain.  Those last few days were torture for me though…I just wanted those eggs OUT OF MY BODY so when I went in for the final check up and got the word that the eggs and bloodwork finally looked good, I was elated.

I then got info on the “trigger shot” timing  – naturally, my shot needed to be injected at 1:30am to time it right for the procedure time.  Now, normally that would be no biggie for me (as a night owl), but the meds made me extremely tired so I legit had to blast a podcast in my ears to keep myself awake past 11:30pm.  I also then had to be at their office at 7:30am the next morning for pre-op bloodwork and a COVID test. It’s all verrrry exhausting but I was in the final stretch and really excited.

You will become very familiar with the above set up!

The Retrieval

And, finally, it was retrieval day!  I took an Uber there and then my friend Devon picked me up after the procedure (you need someone to get you since you’re under anesthesia).  My retrieval went well.  You go in, wait a bit, then they put you under and bam – you wake up and they’ve taken out all your eggs.  I was very lucky and they got 14 eggs.  Then I got a call later and they let me know that 11 had made it through the freezing process, which is totally normal and why they want to get as many retrieved as possible.

I woke up and the only pain I had was what felt like bad period cramps.  They gave me some meds via the IV and that helped a lot.  Then, when I got home, I took some Alleve and started using this heating pad.  Trust me when I tell you, you will live and die by this heating pad.  I used it for several hours a day to help with the horrible cramping.  It’s an absolute must for anyone doing egg freezing/IVF, trust me.

I gradually felt better as the days went on but didn’t feel totally myself for about a week.  They say once you get your next period you’re officially “back to normal” and that was pretty true for me as well.

Final Thoughts

When asked if I’m happy I did it, this is what I say: I felt like I would have regrets if I didn’t do it.  This way, I have 11 “frozen baby Jamies,” as I like to call them, and if they are all shit and don’t work?  Well, you can’t say I didn’t try.  If I didn’t do this and can’t get pregnant once I’m ready, then I would absolutely wish I had frozen my eggs.  That’s basically how I made my decision to freeze my eggs in the first place and I felt the exact same way, even after the drama, once I was done with my egg freezing cycle.

Yes, it’s expensive.  Yes, it’s taxing on your body and mind.  And yes, and here’s what some might not know, it’s not even a guarantee!  Like I said, all 11 of my eggs could be trash and I won’t know until I want to try and use them. But I’m still really happy that I now have a little bit of an insurance plan.  At the end of the day, I tried and that’s all you can do. <3

 

I’d love your thoughts!  Did you guys have a similar experience?  Totally different?  Tell me below in the comments?

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