Sunday, December 30, 2012

End of the Year

And again, it's been awhile since I've posted.  I'm not even sure if that many people are going to read this since I've given up Facebook, which is where I publicized new posts.  But as I've stated in the past, this is still partly for my benefit, so I will keep writing.  One of my goals for the new year is to write more frequently.

The last post mentioned that we were moving on to IVF.  We did an IVF cycle over Nov/Dec.  It took a lot longer than I expected it to.  Between meds to start my period and then more meds and then multiple doctor visits until my follicles were ready, it was a long time.  It didn't work.

Leading up to the IVF I had this intense apathy regarding the whole thing.  That continued throughout the cycle.  I didn't really care about what was going on.  I think some of that was my way of coping emotionally, distancing myself from the up and downs.  I also did not have any expectations of success with the cycle.  When they called with the results, I was not shocked at all. Whether this was the cause or the result of my apathy, I don't know.

The only real emotion I had was anger.  I'm pissed that we spent $10k (out of pocket b/c insurance sucks) for NOTHING.  The only thing we got out of it was a couple of extra eggs that developed further after my implant and were frozen to use later.  I know this is good and a big deal, but considering the stakes of the intended results, it's a pretty crappy consolation prize.  I'm just so angry that we threw away money.

Which has led me closer to being ready for adoption.

At my support group a couple months ago, a couple came and talked about the foundation they had started to support couples going through domestic adoption.  (This was before we had even decided on IVF).  I realized after hearing them speak that I was nowhere near ready to consider that stage.  That has completely changed.  I feel like if we're going to be spending all this money, we might as well be putting it towards more of a "guaranteed" result.  I know adoption is a long and complicated process, but it seems a little more secure than all of these medical procedures.

I'm not completely there yet, but it wouldn't take much to push me over the edge.  However, I know, Joel is not ready.  The unsuccessful IVF round hit him a lot harder than it hit me.  He expected good news, I didn't. I try to remember that it's not just me this is affecting and this round really drove that home.

So now we need to decide what to do.  I've already decided we do nothing until after my next period.  I'm so sick of having all of these chemicals in my body that I just want some time to be normal.  My periods have been completely wonky (not that their timing was ever normal before, but once I got them, they were always the same).  After this we can either go to IUI (something we didn't try before, but we have to do 3 rounds if we want insurance to cover any IVF) or pay for our own IVF again.  I'm partially leaning towards paying for our own IVF.  I just see the IUI as being a step backwards in effectiveness.

Neither option really excites me.  But little does these days.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


It's been a really long time since I've been interested in posting.  I think that's the general tone I've got right now.  I wasn't interested.  I'm not super interested now, but I just need the outlet.

The last time I posted was July.  I was waiting to take a pregnancy test.  It was negative.  We went to do a second round of injectables and when they did the baseline ultrasound found I had a cyst on my ovary.  Apparently this is really common.  The doctor put me on birth control for a month and I came back at my next period to check on the cyst.  It was gone, so we went ahead with a second round of injectables with timed intercourse.  That was also negative.  So the past two months, nothing has really happened.

We've decided to move on to IVF.  We had a consultation with the doctor last week and so that's all set up for when my period starts next.  Basically if my period is on time (which that's a joke in and of itself), we're looking at an egg retrieval and implant in November.  If the timing doesn't work out, we'll do it in December (we figure since I'm off the entire month, that's a good time).

I've started going to a local support group and that's been good.  Just a chance to meet with other women and couples who are going through this and can understand helps.

But I'm finding that I'm having a hard time working up any emotions about this whole thing at all.  I'm not really that excited about the IVF.  But I'm not really sad to see all these pictures of a friend's new baby...I just feel like I don't care.  The funny thing is, that's what makes me emotional.  It scares me that I'm so uninterested right now.  Thinking about the IVF and the scheduling just makes me feel like I'm waiting for routine outpatient surgery that's no big deal.  I'm not even getting my hopes up about the IVF.  I just feel like it is what it is.

Maybe that's not quite correct.  It's not that I'm not getting my hopes up as in I expect a negative outcome, but when I think about IVF, I don't get excited.  I don't get that feeling of "Maybe this time!".  It's just, blah.  Yep, we're doing IVF...Whatever...So I was thinking for school next week...

The worst part about all of this is that I don't even want to talk about it with anyone.  Even Joel.  I find I am distancing myself from him and others because I just can't deal with anymore positive bullshit from people.  I don't want to hear how everything will work out in the end and how great it will be when it happens.  You know what?  It might not happen.  So fuck your platitudes and leave me alone.  Thank god people have stopped telling me to relax.  Because I swear I will scream at the next person who says that.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Playing the waiting game...AGAIN

I've decided I need to rename this blog, "The Process of WAITING".  It seems like all I'm ever doing throughout this whole thing is waiting.  I wait for blood work, I wait for my period, I wait for results.  Wait, wait, wait.  (I also feel like I've discussed this before....but I'm too lazy right now to go back and look)

Well, right now we're waiting to test.  We just finished up our first month of super duper medicines (ya know, as opposed to just the regular medicines).  The first few days were just the oral tablets of Letrozole (Femara).  Then after that it was the three days of Gonal-F with the shots.

On day 10 I went in for my 10 day ultrasound.  Everything looked really good on the ultrasound.  My right ovary had one mature follicle and two that were almost there, but would be ready in time for ovulation.  She also said I had one mature follicle in the left ovary.  Apparently that's a lot.  The nurse kept saying, "Please be empty, please be empty" when she started to look at the left one.  So basically with multiple follicles it puts me at risk for multiples.  She said because of the Letrozole, that really decreases the chances of triplets or quads, but she said, "I can't say you wouldn't have two".  This is, of course, if everything goes well and something actually gets fertilized, etc.  But it was still kind of exciting to hear.

Joel and I have talked about it and we're fine with having multiples.  I mean I know it's more difficult (and I'm  not professing to know exactly how hard it is).  But I have a hard time thinking that anyone who has issues with fertility would say, "No, we're not really ok with that.  Let's spend more money to do it again."  But who knows, there are all kinds of circumstances out there.

It was hard to leave there not being excited.  She sounded really positive and the most interesting part is she told me to skip the Antagon (Ganirelix) completely!  We went straight to the Ovidrel that night (which is the shot that forces me to ovulate).  Then 36 hours after the shot is when the "timed intercourse" comes in to play.  It was funny that that ended up being the morning of 4th of July (which worked out well since we both had the day off and didn't have to worry about taking time off of work to...well, basically come home and have sex).  We joked about the possibility of conceiving on the 4th of July and picked out some appropriate names:  Betsy for a girl (you know, as in Betsy Ross) and Jefferson or Sam (as in Uncle Sam) for a boy.

Now I know this is all getting ahead of ourselves.  There is still a lot to happen that could not work and we know that.  But as always it's so hard not to get excited.  This is where the waiting comes in.  I can take a pregnancy test on Wednesday, July 18.  Fortunately the new school year starts tomorrow so I'll have a lot to take my mind off of it...

...10 days left...

...sometimes anyway.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A fly on the wall

So we have started the shots...(I feel like I need dramatic music here).  Today is day 9 of my cycle and the third day of shots.  I feel like every time we start something new in this process it's a pain to figure out.  It was a pain to figure out all of the insurance.  It was a pain to figure out the timing of when to come to the doctor and what to do for that.  Now it's been a pain trying to figure out how to schedule the initial doctor's appointment for the cycle.

With the round of medication we are doing, once my period starts I have to get a baseline ultrasound done on days 1, 2, or 3.  Well of course my period started on Friday at like 4:30, too late to go to the doctor.  The office said if that happens, count Saturday as day 1 and then come in on Monday for the ultrasound.  This would normally be fine, however I was out on Friday for a training and felt really uncomfortable taking Monday morning off too (since it's the last week of school).  Also I didn't have my plan book at home and had no idea what to even put in sub plans.  It was like the perfect storm of bad timing.

So I scheduled a half day for the afternoon and left a message at the doctor for them to call me back Monday morning.  I talked to them Monday morning and apparently they ONLY do ultrasounds Mon-Fri in the mornings.  They said they don't do them in the afternoon and I would have to come back on Tuesday morning.  I started getting pissed at this point because I had already booked a sub for that afternoon, couldn't cancel, and didn't want to be out for ANOTHER half day during the last week of school.  After a long conversation the nurse finally said that the doctor could authorize an exception and I left a voicemail for the doctor.  Fortunately she let me come in that afternoon.  The silliest part in all of this was that the actual ultrasound took ~8 minutes.  Oh I know and from now on I can just get the ultrasounds done before school at like 7:30 and not have to take any time off.

Everything was normal at the ultrasound.  My uterus was nice and thin and the ovaries were resting (which always makes me think of Joel when he cooks steak or something and it needs to rest...).  So I took the Letrozole, which was just a couple little pills, for days 3-7.  Then on day 7 we started the shots.

That first time was pretty ridiculous.  My friend Karen said she would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to watch.  I think the conversation went something like this:

Joel:  Ok, are you ready?
Me:  Yes...(needle comes close, how I knew I have no idea since I wasn't looking)  Wait!  Hang on, ok I'm ready.
Joel: Ready?
Me:  Yes....wait!  Ok, go.

I think that happened a few times before he finally just did it.  And of course it wasn't that bad, just a little prick.  Although I think I asked him 4 times if he did it right...

The worst part was last night.  We had a wedding to attend.  I'm supposed to have the shot between 6-8pm and at approximately the same time each night.  Well the first night I got the shot at 7:45pm.  So we were trying to figure out how to give me the shot at the same time while we're at the wedding.  We couldn't really both go in to the bathroom.  We talked about just going out to the car.  But of course I was wearing a dress.  I had these visions of us in the car in the parking lot with my dress hiked up (the shot goes in the stomach) while Joel is injecting me with something as strangers walk by.  We ended up just doing the shot before we left.  It wasn't exactly in the right time frame but hopefully it's fine.

So now I just have one more shot tonight and then I go back tomorrow for another ultrasound and blood work.  They'll call me tomorrow with directions on what to do from there.  If everything looks ok, then I start the Antagon for a few days and then the Ovidrel.  So we'll see!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Preparation for the first round

I haven't written much in awhile.  It's been a crazy time of year with EOGs at school and trying to close out one school year while simultaneously getting ready for the next one (I swear I love year round).  But I pinky swear promise I will be writing more regularly now.

Especially since...drumroll first round of medications/injectables just arrived in the mail today.  As I mentioned (aka ranted) in my last post I had to skip a month of treatments because of communication issues.  We've finally gotten everything squared away and are now just waiting for my next cycle to start so we can begin this process.

Over the past month I have learned a lot about insurance and bureaucracy.  (hahaha I just totally typo-ed that for a moment as appropriate)  After my appointment last month, to get back on track I had to start by attending the nursing class to learn how to inject the medication.  Er, well, Joel and I had to attend the nursing class so JOEL could learn how to inject the medication.  I'm not afraid of needles or anything, I can donate and draw blood with little fuss.  However there is no way you are going to get me to inject myself.  That just gives me the creeps.

So anyways, we attended the nursing class, got all of the information and they submitted my prescription for me to the specialty pharmacy they work with.  (Because of the type of medication you can just go to Rite Aid.  You have to order it through a specialty pharmacy you mails it to you.)  That specialty pharmacy calls me to get all of my insurance information.  However there are a few numbers I don't have on my Aetna insurance card.  (Here is another tip/warning for people)  Apparently when you are dealing with prescriptions they not only need your Group # and ID #, they need something called a BIN, the Pharmacy Group #, and a PCN.  So if you ever have to deal with specialty pharmacies, make sure you have that information.

So I call Aetna to get that information.  (Of course I'm leaving out the copious amount of time I spent on hold throughout all of these phone calls)  Apparently Aetna contracts their pharmacy stuff through CVS Caremark.  So I call them.  Finally I get the information I need and call the specialty pharmacy back, we set up a date for delivery and I'm good to go.  About a week later, the DAY BEFORE, I'm scheduled to get the medication shipment (which we have to be home for because it requires a signature), the pharmacy calls and says, oh by the way, we don't work with your insurance you need to go with someone else.  le sigh

So then I had to go through the WHOLE process all over again with the pharmacy who is handling the prescription.  I guess it's part of the CVS Caremark company.  My favorite part is when the lady with CVS Caremark tells me I need to get my CVS Caremark insurance number because she's in one department and doesn't have access to my insurance information.....I was just thinking in my head "IT'S ALL THE SAME COMPANY!!!"  Why on earth I had to do the legwork and track down this number (by calling someone IN THE SAME COMPANY) I have no idea.  It just royally pissed me off.

But everything worked out in the end and we have the medication:

  • 1 Sharps Container
  • 3 pre-filled syringes with the Ganirelix (I don't have this stuff in front of me, so I don't remember all the spellings)
  • 1 bottle of progesterone vaginal suppositories
  • 1 bottle of Letrozole tablets
  • Alcohol swabs
  • 1 pre-filled Ovidrel syringe
  • 2 bottles of Gonal-F with empty syringes
Total:  $231 after insurance.  Altogether it was like $1200 or something before insurance.  And who knows how many times we'll have to do this.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Don't Wait!!

I had my appointment for my baseline ultrasound today.  Yeah, that didn't happen.  I can't begin to express how pissed off I am.  After our initial consult with the doctor, she gave us a lot of information.  What I took away from it was, when my next period starts I need to call to set up the HSG and we will move forward with the next stage of treatment, starting with the baseline ultrasound and the medications.

Apparently that's not what needed to happen.  I should have called like two weeks ago to schedule the class I have to take to teach me about the medication and how to administer it.  At that class is where they submit the prescription for the medication to insurance and the medication gets mailed to my house (since it's a specialty medication).

All of this takes 1-2 weeks.  You're supposed to start the medication on day 7 of your cycle.  So clearly, by going today it won't be ready in time for me.  In other words, I will be taking no medication this month.  This month is a total wash.  There are so many things I wish were different about this situation.  I wish I had asked more clearly what our next steps were, exactly.  I wish she had made it more clear how long this process takes.  I wish when I had scheduled my appointment they looked to see if I even had a prescription submitted!

 The worst part about all of this is I didn't even find out any of this until I'm sitting in the exam room, half undressed with that stupid paper "blanket".  The nurse comes in and starts asking some questions and basically realizes that I don't have a prescription submitted.  So because I can't do the medication cycle, the baseline ultrasound is useless.  And of course I got emotional.  I just wish I didn't cry so easily.  It's not like I was crying in a sad kind of way.  I just cry when I get emotional.

So the lesson to be learned, please don't wait.  If you are starting any type of medication or moving up the ladder in terms of treatments, call and find out exactly when things need to happen!

That's all I have to say about that.-Forrest Gump

....what he didn't say was I'm too pissed to talk about it any more.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The importance of checking voicemail before complaining

I just checked my voicemail (I don't like voicemail and rarely check it, so the message has been sitting in my mailbox for a week).  I had complained in my last post about not getting my "egg reserve" test number back and of course that's what the voicemail was!  My results were 2.3, anything over 1.4 is good.  I hadn't expected that number to be low (and neither had the doctor).  So now we just wait to see when my period starts!