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Archive for June, 2011

Because I’m insane (and the BCPs aren’t helping), I started doing some math today.

  • I was on birth control for almost 15 years (sorry, Mom!).
  • 15 years = 180 months
  • Give or take various insurance co-pays, let’s say the pills were $25.00/month
  • I spent approximately $4,500.00 on preventing the very thing that we’re spending more than twice that per month on achieving. 

That really makes you think, eh?  This whole insurance thing is just insane.  Although I’m very grateful to have the coverage, we are certainly paying for it.  $880.00/month to COBRA the coverage from my husband’s previous job because neither his new job nor my job have insurance that covers IF.  In the grand scheme of things, $880.00/month is a bargain but it is still a huge chunk of change to put towards medical insurance each month – especially considering we’re both gainfully employed by companies that offer health benefits. 

However, when you compare the COBRA costs to the costs of one injectable cycle with IUI, we’re getting off easy.  The retail price of just my meds alone last cycle were $6,000.00.  I don’t know how others afford it, truthfully.  Both Chris and I have good paying jobs and are in good financial positions – but we couldn’t just write checks out month after month for $6,000.00.  NEVERMIND if we have to go with IVF and the costs associated with that.

It just makes me sad.  I didn’t ask for PCOS, I didn’t do anything to “get” PCOS – it is a metabolic disorder I was born with.  I won’t even get into my opinion on universal healthcare because it’s unrelated (I’m against it, if you were wondering), but just the thought of all the hoops I have to go through just to have IF coverage and the loopholes companies can use to not have to abide by the state mandates absolutely makes me sick.  I just want to have a baby (just one!) and I want to be sure I have the financial security to properly raise one, not be $100,000.00 in debt just in the effort to make one.  Couples shouldn’t have to go into debt up to their eyeballs to do something that the rest of the world does for free.  We’ll pay for women on welfare to be baby factories and keep pumping them out – but we can’t pay for responsible couples to have a baby in a warm, loving, stable environment?  It truly makes no sense to me.

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Thursday night I went to the bathroom and noticed some brown spotting and it increased through the weekend. I felt like I was getting my period so I took a First Response Early Response (FRER) and it was negative. I cried Thursday morning before leaving the B&B we were at (lovely way to ruin my vacation) – I was so hopeful for this cycle and to have it end this way was so upsetting.  I was even more depressed because we can’t just try again – we currently are on COBRA with insurance because of the fertility coverage and we found out last week that the company is changing carriers so we’ll experience a change in insurance.  After FREAKING THE FUCK OUT that we were going to lose fertility coverage, I was happy to get on the phone with a rep to confirm this wasn’t the case and the coverage is virtually the same, however we need to go through the entire referral / approval process again.  And to get the approvals it looked like July will have to go by without treatment (we don’t want to spend the $6,000+ just in meds, nevermind the monitoring and IUI costs).  If there was a bright side, I took the 0.001% risk and enjoyed some wine for the remainder of my vacation in coastal Maine. I think I deserved it.

Well, this morning I drove in bumper-to-bumper traffic for my beta test which was ridiculous but required.  I got the call around 1:00pm from Not Nurse Karen (where is she again?!) and she said that the test came back negative.  No shit.  I told her that I figured it would as I got my period on Saturday.  She asked if it was a full flow and I said that it was a VERY full flow (sorry, TMI!) and that I wasn’t surprised at the result.  Not Nurse Karen also indicated that she saw the note regarding my change in insurance and that I would probably have to take the month of July off.  I asked her if there was any alternative to that and she said that I could potentially go on birth control pills for two weeks (or more – basically until the approval comes) and that will induce a break through bleed (second period) and then we could start a new medicated cycle.  This would reduce my waiting from like 4-6 to 2-3 weeks.  I did tell her I would be open to that but I wanted her to revisit with Dr. Zimon that the one cancelled cycle (although with Clomid) was the one cycle we used BCPs to induce my period so I wasn’t sure if that may have had a correlation to cancelling the cycle or if it wasn’t related. 

She spoke with Dr. Zimon and called me back and Dr. Zimon thinks going on the BCPs is the best option at this point, especially since my cycle is so wonky anyways.  So, Not Nurse Karen called in the ‘script and I’ll pick it up tonight on my way home and start the pill tonight.  BCPs to get pregnant – again, completely mindfucking.

I did consider taking the month of July as a mental health break but I have found myself getting more and more upset about holding off for a month.  The tenacity in me just wants to jump back on the horse and get to trying again and I think I’d be more irritated during the month if I had to totally wait vs. wait a few weeks.  I do worry about putting more chemicals in my body but have to trust in my doctor that it makes the most sense considering the circumstances with the insurance. 

In the meantime, I am looking at the upsides:  wine, coffee, vodka, margaritas, deli meat, soft cheeses, and all those other no no’s are all on my list to tackle – but not at the same time.  I’ll enjoy each with friends and family during these few weeks of freedom from fertility treatment.

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I am currently 4 days post IUI and the days seems to be dragging along.  This doesn’t surprise me as it did during my very first TWW – but I also had the bleeding episode, so that kind of made the situation a bit different.  Speaking of, I am officially freaked out because it was at 5 days post IUI that I started the spotting / bleeding and when I went into that very dark place of a 24 hour seclusion.  Even with people telling me it could have been implantation bleeding, etc…I just KNEW that was a sign that it didn’t work.  In the end, it made it almost easier to take the official phone call at 14 days post IUI that the beta test was negative, but that was a terrible experience to have and has made me so fearful this go around.  The entire infertility experience with TTC is full of fear – there’s no real way around it.  Full of waiting and fear.  If / when I do finally get that positive beta, then it’s going to be fear of miscarriage.  If / when I make it to 12 weeks, it’s going to be fear of the genetic test results that will come.  Then it will be fear of labor and delivery.  It’s so emotionally draining to think that I will be living with this fear until I am holding a healthy baby in my arms.  I guess then it switches to fear of something ever happening to the child.  It never ends, does it?

I think I’ve talked about this before but I really hold a lot of resentment towards infertility for stripping me of TTC and pregnancy innocence.  I don’t feel like I’ll ever be able to be excited about getting pregnant or being pregnant because I’ll be so overwhelmed with fear to truly enjoy the experience.  I don’t think I’ll ever have that “pregnancy glow” – I can’t imagine walking around, beaming with joy – how could I when I am embraced with fear because of everything I’ve done to get to that place?  It’s just such a shame – I told friends last night this and I’ve said it a few times:  I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.  I’m not trying to throw myself a whoa is me pity party, but I really am struggling with this loss of innocence – I don’t feel like there is going to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  I feel like I have been selected to lose out on an experience that is such a huge part of a woman’s life.  I have a tremendous amount of hope that I will someday become a mother – and yes, that is the prize and it will be worth it.  But I feel jipped out of the excitement and experience that goes along with that prize.   

Many think some of these emotions may be linked to the TWW (and you’re probably accurate) or Father’s Day.  Similar to Mother’s Day, I don’t really link the holiday with what Chris and I are currently going through.  I’m sure he’ll wake up on Sunday as usual and go golfing with his sister and father – and I’m sure he’ll think about him being a Dad briefly, but we both seem to take these types of holidays at face value and spend them with OUR mothers and fathers.  Honor those who brought US into this world and who continue to support us each day. 

Interestingly enough, there isn’t an eHow.com article on How to Support an Infertile Friend on Father’s Day – but I think the one for Mother’s Day can be used in both cases.  There is, however, a Twitterview this Friday, June 17, at 2pm ET looking at the male perspective of infertility leading up to Father’s Day.  Blogger Alec Ross, a leading voice on men’s infertility at Fertility Authority and on his blog I Want to Be a Daddy, will share his experiences through a personal, informative Twitterview with Barbara Collura, Executive Director of RESOLVE. We invite you to follow along at hash-tag #tvFD (for Twitterview for Father’s Day) to read the direct question-and-answer exchange between Barb (@RESOLVEorg) and Alec (@infertility_guy).  If you can’t follow the conversation live, you can visit RESOLVE’s MyDestinationFamily.org Twitterview page for a full re-cap following the interview.  I don’t personally Twitter (or is it Tweet?) as I have enough social media outlets to keep up with – but I look forward to reading the re-cap and invite all of you to do the same.

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So I had called my mom on Friday night to ask her to go with me for the procedure.  I just think there’s only certain people who can see you with your feet in the stirrups while you’re being inseminated and I felt like she was the only one I’d want there with me. 

Everything on Sunday went very well.  I picked my Mom up – and we made the journey to the Boston IVF Waltham center for the procedure.  We waited for about 20-30 minutes (mostly because we were early) and then we were called into the room.  The nurse was really sweet – first we reviewed Chris’s numbers with the frozen sample, which was the one piece I was nervous about.  Of course, he had an A+ report card and even the nurse complimented how good the stats were (everything above minimums), especially considering it was a frozen sample.  Woo hoo!  I went into the bathroom, emptied my bladder, and got undressed from the waist down.  When I came out the nurse asked if I had questions and I asked about whether it was a myth or not to elevate your bottom half after the IUI because I’ve read that it is suggested and for a friend’s two IUIs they did that.  She said that they don’t have it as part of their protocol because there are these two…we’ll call them valves, and one she can see and she pushes the catheter through there and then there’s another she can’t see but both seal up once the sperm is put in.  So it can’t fall out.  She also equated it to sex – after sex, do you lie in the bed with your legs and bum in the air?  No, not typically – and plenty of people still get pregnant.  Good point.

So I lied on the table and put my feet in the stirrups and we got to business.  My mom stood beside me and tried to make me laugh – which was nice.  She also petted my hair – I felt like a little girl again but in a good way.  This is what I needed.  The nurse confirmed ovulation based on seeing clear mucus and I told her I’d been feeling terrible ovulation pains on my left side all day, so this was very good!  About 5 minutes later, she slowly pushed the sperm in through the catheter and it barely cramped.  Much less pain than the last IUI and she said it’s because she goes very slow when pushing the sperm in. 

I went back in the bathroom, got dressed and we headed out.  I spent the rest of the day lounging around the couch, watching TV and reading.  Now I’m in my two week waiting (TWW) period and drinking decaf coffee.  I am so hopeful this is our cycle!

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…but I feel like I have already to get here – Mt. Infertility!
 
Awesome news!  My E2 was 616 this morning and I still have the two mature follicles which had a little growth (15.1mm and 14.5mm).  I am doing the Ovidrel ovulation trigger shot tonight and have an IUI scheduled for Sunday morning with the spermcicles! 🙂  The trigger shot will increase their size as well as it being another 36 hours for them to grow and get on their journey.
 
Keep crossing everything because I think it’s working!  My pregnancy beta test will be on Monday, June 27th as we’ll be in Bar Harbor, ME for a wedding that Sunday.
 
Unfortunately, the IUI on Sunday means I can’t go and hike Mt. Tecumseh as planned.  But, it’s all for a good reason and I am just absolutely elated right now!  I’m going in this evening to visit my best friend who is on bed rest at the hospital 32 weeks pregnant with IVF boy / girl twins.  I’m excited to see her and spend some time with her – all this positivity happening only means the visit will be easier for me.

I also saw this and couldn’t resist posting it:


Tons of love from your favorite infertile!

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I guess it’s only fitting that my follicles decide to grow later in my cycle since I’m essentially late to most things in the morning…  We’ve done a complete 180* turn from this time last week.  Of course we have, this is my life after all and the wonderful rollercoaster ride of TTC!

Results from today:
My E2 is 432 so obviously rising sharply.  I have a 15.1mm and 13.7mm on my left (they grew approx. 1-2mm each) and lots of smalls on my right.  I am taking another 225iu dose of the Gonal-F tonight and going in tomorrow morning for bloodwork and u/s because I’m close to being able to trigger!  My nurse said that the trigger may be either tomorrow or Saturday with an IUI either Sunday or Monday – obviously as long as things continue down this path.

We’ll be using spermcicles this round, which has me nervous but obviously it works or else it wouldn’t be an option.  I asked Nurse Karen about reduced efficacy and she said that obviously it’s more ideal to use fresh but it still gives me sperm exposure.  The leader of my RESOLVE support group (who is now a subscriber of my blog and tweeted me – thanks Stephanie!) equated it to cooking with chicken – obviously fresh chicken is more ideal but frozen chicken isn’t bad when thawed properly!

This is the life of a pilot’s wife – sometimes you can get fresh, sometimes you have to opt for the frozen variety.  At this point, we will do what we must to make us a baby!  And that includes him yelling “GROOOOWWWW” at my belly each time I do my shot – we’re superstitious and they’ve been growing ever since he started doing that.  Call it goofy, but if I had to hang by my toes from the highest tree – I’d probably do it!

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Let’s roll on back to the official results from Sunday, which was CD16:

(hang on while I find the paper bag I wrote it on – they always call when I have nothing to write on!)

E2:  92.7

Two follicles:  8.6mm and 7.3mm

Increased Gonal-F dose to 225iu for Sunday night and Monday night with bloodwork and u/s scheduled for this morning.

Today – CD19

E2:  143 (yes – rising!)

Three follicles:  14mm and 12mm on left (measurable – yes!) and 9mm on right

I will continue with the Gonal-F at 225iu tonight and tomorrow night with bloodwork and u/s scheduled for Thursday morning – my 4th wedding anniversary.  My nurse and RE are both excited and optimistic!!!  Wouldn’t it be the best gift ever to be able to schedule an IUI?!
 
*IF* things continue to go down this positive path, we’ll have a viable cycle!  Of course Chris leaves on Saturday morning but we have our “on ice” supply if needed.  If this process doesn’t give me a one-way ticket to Crazyville, I don’t know what will.  Ups and downs, ups and downs…keep me in your positive thoughts!

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