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Monthly Archives: September 2011

My Mother Lies and Other Little Revelations

  My parents tried for 2 years to have me.  Although my Mother doesn’t remember how, she had scarring on her fallopian tubes.  So 29 years ago she had an HSG.  Apparently that opened them up enough so little follicle me could fall out and become an embryo.

  So when I had scheduled my HSG, I gave her a call to ask her if she remembers it hurting.  “No,” she said…..Now my family is not known to have the best memory, and I’m pretty sure they were still doping people up whenever possible in the 80s.  So I was very anxious to get the whole thing over with yesterday.

  When they take you back into the room they put you on this big table with the x ray hanging over you.  They put the speculum in, and then put a catheter up into your uterus…..Imagine the worst cramp pain you have ever experienced in your life….boys, imagine you have a little hot knife lodged in your pelvis…this is the pain you feel while that catheter is in.

  They then have you scoot so you are lying completely flat on the table, put the x ray over your pelvis, and you can see the images on a computer screen by your head.  It was actually kind of neat to see the die go up the tubes (they are a lot longer and all over than you’d think), but I was in so much pain at the time I just wanted the nurse to shut the heck up and get that catheter out!  They take a few pictures, have you roll on your sides for other views, and then you’re done!  It only takes about 5 minutes.

  I had some mild cramping afterward, but no spotting.  I actually felt well enough to drive myself home although my DH did come with me.  I was glad to have him there if only for support.  So it’s not a great experience, but quick to be over.  I’m glad it’s done.

  RMA actually just called me and said that the report came back all good, but they want to take a look at the images the place gave me on cd to confirm.  So yeah, no blockages!

Here’s a picture of my uterus and tubes:

  Oh, I also wanted to say that I was so busy being peeved at Walgreens yesterday that I didn’t mention how much RMA rocks.  They are just the most patient, caring, and on top of it group in the medical field I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.  I couldn’t imagine being in better hands.  They just really made sure we understood everything during our class yesterday, and were always making sure we were comfortable and had all our questions answered.  I can’t recommend or praise them enough.  As stressed out as I am about money, I know it’s just unfortunately how we allow the insurance companies to work.  When you are getting the best attention and care though, at least it feels like money well spent.

  So on another note, just before bed last night I thought, “Well now that we know around the time when we will be doing the egg retrieval and transfer, I wonder when the baby would be born if this works?”  DH and I had always hoped that we would have an April baby.  He was born in April, and almost all my good friends are born in April.  They are well tempered, go-with-the-flow people.  I was born in late July.  I am a Leo.  I’m a hot mess.

  The embryos will be transfered anywhere between Nov 4th – 8th.  That gives them a birthday of July 27th – 31st….We are doomed to have another me…

  Then I went on to think.  Wow, that means I would be pregnant pretty much the same time as my mother was with me….That also means that she had her HSG around the same time I did….Holy Crap, I’m truly turning into my mother!!!!!

Information Overload

  We had our two hour IVF class this morning, and my brain is fried…  We had to get up at 5:30 this morning, and I didn’t get home until 11:30.  More on that later…

First I guess I should say that DH’s and my blood work from Saturday came back great.  No infectious diseases for either of us. My CD3 numbers were also good.  My Estradiol was 38.3, my FSH was 4.8, and my TSH was 1.7.  If you don’t understand it’s ok.  Just know it’s good.

The timing of everything got pushed back a bit farther than I thought it was going to be, but I’m fine with it.  They want to keep me on the birth control until Oct. 18th, and then I’ll have an ultrasound on Oct 21st.  I’ll start the Follistim and Menopur (these are injections that will stimulate egg growth) and DH will start Doxycyline on the 22nd.  I’ll be sticking myself with these in the stomach or thigh for 10 days, and be taking blood work/ultrasounds every 3 days or so.  From what they see from the blood/ultrasound, they’ll determine when to do the egg retrieval Nov 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.

When they determine when to do the retrieval, DH will give me a Novarel or Ovidrel injection in the butt to start ovulation 38 hours before the retrieval.  So then once they get my eggs they’ll take DH’s sperm and inject the best ones directly in (ICSI).  They’ll then take a look at the embryos (hopefully) created, and determine when to transfer them into my uterus.  Either 3, 4, or 5 days after the retrieval.  So any time between Nov 4th – 8th depending on when the retrieval is, and when the lab feels they need to get the embryos in me.  Actually, based on my age and health they’ll probably only transfer one embryo.  As much as we think we’d like to have 2 and get it over with, it’s actually more dangerous for babies and mommy.

Then for EIGHT weeks after that DH gets to stick me with Progesterone, which will help gestation.  You should see the needle on this thing!  It’s like 2 inches long!  It’s an inter-muscle injection, so it has to go pretty far in.  Thank goodness he’s got a steadier hand than I do.  Ughh…

Oh, did I mention that all this medication should cost us an extra $4,000 to $6,000?  We also decided to have whatever good embryos not transferred this cycle to be frozen.  So that we can use them later and not have to have another retrieval, or if something is wrong with the child and they need stem cells.  What’s an extra $600 a year at this point?

And you’ll never think of the forms and questions you have to answer when it comes to freezing eggs.  Like what if one partner dies, who gets them?  What if both partners die?  What if you divorce?

There’s a lot more little information swarming around my head, but these are the main points that you could need to know….

So now I’m just waiting to go for the HSG in a few hours.  My stomach is just turning.  I just want to get it over with.  My doctor called in a prescription for Doxycycline for it.  Since it’s dealing with my “down theres”, which has a lot of natural bacteria, it helps to protect from infection.

So I went directly over to the Walgreens they called it into, and told the pharmacist that I had a prescription called in.  She told me that there wasn’t anything in the computer, but that someone did call about 15-20 minutes before.  They didn’t get to it though, but a voicemail was left.  She then goes on to tell me that they will only check their voicemail once an hour….What the what what?!?  I’m standing here now telling you that the voicemail, that you admit exists, is my prescription order, but you won’t take the time to listen to it and fill it?  She told me it would be an hour until it was filled, and I could call in to check if it was ready.  Could they call me when it’s ready? No, but they could send a text….What happened to customer service?  I was obviously not a priority to them.

Not wanting to go home and take the dogs out of their kennels, only to turn around (presumably) an hour later and put them back in, I decided to run some errands and kill time.  An hour and a half later I hadn’t heard anything so I called them to check to see if it was ready.  They said they were finishing it up, and I headed back to pick it up.

I got up to the counter, got the medicine, and swiped my credit card.  Before she would finish up the transaction though, I had to talk to the on hand doctor.  This woman came over, quickly spouted some things about antibiotics and vitamins, and quickly walked away.  I had no idea what she just said, and no one was there to approve my card so I could leave.  I actually had to stand there, in view of all the people working there but ignoring me, until a new tech just clocking in came up and finished the transaction.  I could not believe how I was treated.  I will be sending my comments to Walgreens, and I will never go back to that one again.

I’m glad they include all the paperwork they do with medication because I read that I cannot take the Doxy with vitamins (of which I take a lot) and it makes the skin sensitive to light so I need to put extra SPF on.  I live in Texas, it’s still in the 100 degree temperatures, and we have LOTS of sun!  I apparently have to take it 2-3 hours after my vitamins.  So I have to take my iron supplements 30 minutes before meals, my vitamins after, and then the Doxy 2-3 hours after that….My head is about to explode….

Ok, so I think that’s it for now.  I’ll let you know how the HSG goes….

Odds and Ends

  Aside from the major things going on (of which will get started Thursday), there’s plenty of little things going on that I don’t feel like I can dedicate their own blog posts.  So here’s just all the odds and ends going on.

DH figured out that you can apply for a loan at our credit union online (of which they did not mention while we were there), and talked to the officer yesterday.  We were approved and the rates were just a bit better, so that’s what we’re going to go with.  My mom also gave us a buzz, and is kind enough to let us borrow a bit.

Can I just say how proud I am of my mom lately?  A few weeks ago I was really upset at her lack of understanding, but she has just done a complete turn around.  She’s just been a great listener.  She’s actually going to be visiting us around the time we would be testing.  So hopefully she’ll keep me occupied during the 2WW (the two week wait from ovulation until you can test to see if you’re pregnant).  It will also be really helpful to have her here either way it goes.

What’s really cute too is that she’s been watching Giuliana and Bill , and she talks to me about it a lot.  It’s her way of connecting and understanding, and I love that.  Even though I think they’re a little too positive and happy for what they’ve gone through, but maybe I wouldn’t be as bitter with all that money either 😉

I don’t know if I believe Giuliana’s whole deal that her weight has little to do with her not getting pregnant, but I don’t know much as I’m on the other end of that spectrum…

I’m not really afraid to tell people what I weigh because it’s not like it’s a secret that I’m overweight.  You just have to look at me to see.  When we first went to the doctor at the beginning of September, I weighed 221.6.  Since I’m about 5’5, that put my BMI at 36.8.  The doctor told us that I had to get my BMI to 35 or else they wouldn’t risk putting me under to retrieve my eggs.  To get to a BMI of 35 I needed to weigh at most 210.  So I just needed to lose 11 pounds.

I’ve been on a strict slow carb/lots of vegetables diet, and have been working out with a little strength training and 40 minutes of cardio at least 6 times a week.  I’ve lost 7 pounds since then, but I’ve been stuck at 214.8 for the last 5 days.  It’s driving me INSANE!

I’m craving white carbs, red meat, dairy, coffee, alcohol, and everything else I’ve been keeping myself from.  I’ve been busting my ass, but I just can’t get my weight to budge.  The egg retrieval is going to be in 2 to 2 1/2 weeks from now, and I have to lose those last 4.8 pounds or else they’ll cancel this cycle.

I know it was my period week, and I was expecting my weight to be up a bit but then it should have gone down.  I just don’t need the extra stress and worry.  I want to do it in a healthy way, but I don’t know what to do at this point.

I also had to start taking birth control again (it helps to control when I will ovulate so we know when to retrieve the eggs), and I’m wondering if it’s sabotaging me as well.  I am excited to take the BC again though because it really clears up my acne, and if the IVF happens to not work at least my cramps won’t be as bad.  Yeah, that’s about as positive as I get people.

What else….

Oh, we just had family members welcome 2 foster children into their home in hopes to adopt them.  I don’t know how much they want me to talk about it yet, so I’ll leave it short.  I’m so excited and happy for them though.  I just think it’s an amazingly beautiful thing to go through the foster/adoption process.  To open your home and hearts to children who really need it.  It’s also nice to have people who know the process if that’s the route we need to take.

We still talk about our options a lot.  I’ve learned not to put all my eggs into one basket.  Do I hope the 1st IVF treatment will work?  Of course, but I know there’s a possibility it won’t and I want to be prepared.  How many treatments are we willing to go through?  Would we consider donor sperm?  Would we just go right into adoption?

I don’t know how many IVF treatments I would want to go through.  The big thing for me I guess is money.  I wish it wasn’t, but at $11,500 a cycle, I don’t know how many times I can justify doing that.

I’m torn on the idea of donor sperm.  I want to be pregnant.  I wan’t to go through childbirth.  I think it’s the most amazing thing that a woman can have a child growing in her.  My DH thinks that’s crazy, but I don’t think a man could ever get it.  As much as I want that though, I want to have my husband’s child.  I know that it will be his child, but it’s that the true awesomeness of creating a baby is that it’s the physical manifestation of our love.  It is the combination of both of us.  I didn’t want that with anyone but him.  It just also seems like it’s not fair.  If he can’t have a genetic child, then I don’t want to have one either.  I’d rather adopt.  I’d rather put the money of buying donor sperm/paying for the procedure into the adoption process.

Sigh, but I guess we’ll just see…

After a Fall Such as This, I Shall Think Nothing of Tumbling Downstairs!

My DH (dear husband) and my mom did a very excellent job of stressing me out this week, and my period didn’t start until yesterday.  So this was it!  I was so excited to call the RN.

She told me that I needed to set up a time to come in for our 2 hour IVF class where we’d get to go through everything, and teach my husband how to give me the shots (yeah!).  I then needed to set up my CD3, and disease screening blood tests for DH and I.  Then my HSG test.  Oh, and when we do come in for our class, our full payment was due.  I had to call the main practice in San Antonio to schedule the class and find out the bill total.

So I called DH to figure out what day would be best, and gave them a call back to schedule the 7 am Thursday class.  I then asked what would be due.  Oh, just $11,500! (note:  our insurance does NOT cover infertility treatments.  Something that should be available to all, but that’s another discussion)

This is where I think it all became real.  Like we’ve already jumped down the rabbit hole, and for a while we were just free falling.  Now we see the bottom, and I’m starting to freak the freak out.

DH’s reaction didn’t help.  He never likes to actually read things, and didn’t realize that the full bill was all due at once and before the procedure.  So although we have enough to put it on credit, I really started freaking out.

I’m not good with numbers and financial things.  My mother always made me feel like I was bankrupting her if I asked for anything.  So any time we spend money (let alone almost 12 g worth), I instantly go into an, “Oh my God, I just bankrupted us, and we’re going to end up on the street, and it’s all my fault!”  So I try not to get involved in finances.  I get an allowance, and I follow it.

So I kept calling the billing department (they were not liking me), and asking what options we had.  When I finally got someone on the phone (ok, I bugged them.  It was right before the weekend though.  If I had to wait three days to hear anything, and then have a plan by Thursday I was going to have an anxiety attack.  It’s just not how I work.), they gave me a couple of options.

I sent DH some information about financing/loan packages through ARC Fertility, and we were approved but the rate is not really that much better than credit.  So we decided we would also go to our credit union later and see if we could get a better personal loan.

Now that this was handled for the time being I set up an appointment at the Lab Corp for this morning and the HSG test for Thursday afternoon.

What a freaking nightmare Lab Corp was.  Don’t bother setting appointments.  We weren’t even called up until and hour after our scheduled appointment.  Then they couldn’t find the paperwork that RMA had faxed over the day before.  My RN had warned me of this though, and sent me an email detailing all that they needed.  So I handed them the print out.  This of course was not good enough for them, but I luckily got a hold of someone to re-fax the information.  In fact, they put it in the computer system, but wouldn’t you know, Lab Corp could still not find it in their own system.   Before I completely lost it, the nurse said that she would finally just take the blood.  Six vials for me and two for DH later we were out of there.

On to the credit union to look at getting a loan!  Wouldn’t you know, the loan officer doesn’t come in on Saturday……  He works M-F 9-5…..because no one else works at those times and we could of course just pop right on in…  Does this make sense to anyone else?!?  Why would you not have an officer there on Saturday? Why does everything have to be so complicated?

I’m at my wit’s end, and we haven’t done anything yet.  Not to mention how frustrating it is to have to pay for a baby because of something that we can’t control.  I can’t even begin to think of, “what if this doesn’t work?”

I need a drink….

Is It Cute I Still Try?

  I try not to dwell on the thought that this would be the last month that we could naturally (try to) get pregnant.  The main thing that I’ve learned in the past 18 months is that it’s NOT going to happen.  Please, give me no, “Oh, you don’t know.”  We do.  It’s scientifically impossible.

Coming to that realization took a lot of time and a lot of tears.  I don’t know if I could even fully ever grasp that.  I “know” it, but I don’t know if  I’m at the point of fully “embracing” it.  Not that I expect a “miracle”, I’m past believing in that.

I should have known it wasn’t going to be this month though, when someone had to call and destroy my world the very day I was ovulating.  No one is in the mood for baby making when you’re both sobbing and too depressed to even move.

Anyway, it gets to a point that TTC almost starts to become a ritual.  Every morning before I even truly wake up I reach for my basal thermometer to fill out my bbt chart.  I know that I need to start using OPKs around CD 16 to make sure exactly when I’m ovulating.  Then around this time of the month (I’m at CD 30 today), I pee on a pregnancy test.

(This all sounds really fun and sexy right?!?)

At this point I know what to expect.  I don’t buy tests at the grocery store.  I’ve peed on so many, it just got too expensive.  I’ve figured out where to get the cheapest online.

I remember when I would be so excited to take a test.  “It’s this month, I just know it,” I would think to myself.  I’d convince myself I had all kinds of symptoms. “My boobs are totally bigger!  I felt a twinge!”  I’d start fantasizing about how I would tell the family.  How they would have my husband’s eyelashes and my hair.  How happy we would all be.  Finally completing our family.  I could barely sleep, and I would run to the bathroom as soon as I thought it was an appropriate time.

Then it would all come crashing down.  Every hope and dream I had dashed by that one stupid line.  The child I hoped would be growing in me was dead.  I would always sob.  Rinse and repeat a month later for over a year.  Those memories still bring a tear to my eye.

I don’t know why I still take pregnancy tests.  I know it’s not going to be a positive.  I know it’s going to have to be IVF or it is just not going to happen for us.  It hurts less because I don’t get my hopes up as much, but I guess I just have to have that confirmation.  No big surprise it didn’t happen, again.  Move on, sister.

I guess you just have to get to the point where you don’t hope, but keep going and learn to accept your life for what it is.  It’s not nice or fair, but life isn’t promised to be.  You just have to try to make the best of it…..hmm…

I take it back.  The hope you should have is that if you do try and fail, that you fail in the most spectacular way.

The Calm Before the Storm

So not much is really happening right now, but it can all change at anytime.  When a woman starts her “time of the month” that is the first cycle day, or CD1.  We’ll officially start the IVF on CD3.  That’s when we’ll get to do all the fun stuff like FSH (or Follicle stimulating hormone)  and LH (or Luteinzing Hormone) shots (which will make me create lots of freaky big eggs), GnRH Agonists shots (these will hold off ovulation), and of course we still have lots of blood tests along with the HSG I’m not looking forward to.

Here’s a fun chart to kind of visualize the order of things:

  So my CD1 could be any day this week.  We’re really excited, but we’re also kind of hoping CD1 comes late.  It’s really purely selfish, which is all kinds of wrong, but there is a reason.

If you look at that chart above, and see where it says “Oocyte Retrieval”.  Well that’s the day that we are going to drive down to San Antonio so they can “retrieve” those ostrich eggs we’re going to make.  It happens on CD13/CD14, and if my CD1 is Friday, that means it will happen around October 6th or 7th.

So what’s the problem with this?  Well, my husband will be in LA for the Adobe MAX conference from October 2nd until the night of the 6th.  What’s the problem with this?  Well he needs to be giving “his boys” the same time they are getting “my girls”.

Could he just skip the conference?  Sure, but we both don’t want him to.  He’s been working really hard on a huge project since he started working in Austin, and this will be such a fun break for him.  He’ll get all kinds of great freebies, and I’ll get four days all to myself!  I can watch all the trash t.v. without being judged!

Sigh…..

So we’re hoping that it won’t come until at least Friday (and we can then do the procedure on CD14), but if it comes before my husband will just cancel his trip.  We’ll just have to see.

I’ve actually told my husband and my mom both to stress me out this week so it will be late.  My husband I guess just needs to do all the things he normally does to make me crazy ;), but my mother sent me this gem today:

Subject:  STRESS DAY 1

Message:

Just wanted you to know that I have 4 weeks of vacation still this year.

That means I have the possibility to find flights & be at your house for a whole month!

Don’t think that I wouldn’t.

Mom

I think I created a monster…….

Game Over. Continue?

Just like any new game you’re very eager to play at first.  The first couple of levels are easy, once you get the hang of it.  But soon you’re going to get to a part that really challenges you.  That no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to beat it.  Before you know it you’re lives are gone and you’re left with a question.

 

A couple of people have been really concerned about us the past week.  There are also those who need me to tell them it’s ok so they can feel better.

We’re going to continue.  We’re going to be fine, but I’m never going to tell anyone that it’s ok.  I spent a lot of my life saving face to people.  Hiding an unbelievable amount of hurt and pain.  Until I realized that it does nothing to help the one person that I should be concerned with.  Myself.

I’m not going to tell you it’s ok because for me it’s not.  I’m going to be honest about my hurt and pain because it’s real.  It’s really what is happening to me.  I have to live it.  I have to experience it.  I have to feel it, all of it.

Then I can heal.  Then I can figure out how to live my life after it.  Things aren’t ok because things aren’t going to be the same after this.  We can’t pretend that we can go back to before.  It happened, and we have to live with the consequences of our choices.

Where do we go from here?  Well, I guess that’s the whole point of the blog.  We’ll take it one day at a time, document it, and we’ll see.  It’s our blog, and you’re going to read what we are really going through.  Good, bad and ugly.  Hopefully then sometime when you hear that someone else in your life is infertile, you’ll have some idea of what they’re going through.

So let’s continue, shall we?