Wednesday, December 29, 2010

SA (Semen Analysis) Day

So we like to abbreviate everything in our house. When our cat is being a Pain In The Ass we can him PITA, my mother in-law is also known as Momma PITA because she tends to make things difficult. We make them up often and it's a game to try to figure out what it stands for. Today was SA (semen analysis) day for my hubby. I am amazed we have gotten so far in our infertility journey without having gotten this done yet, but today was his big day (finally he plays a part in the unpleasant testing and worrying that accompanies it.) We joked about it leading up to, but I was really curious about it all (so of course I asked him a lot of questions after.)

His appointment was at 8 AM and he needed to be at the University hospital. He is also a student of this Medical University and he was really funny about everything. He wanted to return some books to the library and parking is always difficult in that area. I'm sure he was hoping to do both in one shot, but later realized this would probably not be the best idea. He was like, "I don't want to walk in there with my backpack because they are going to think I brought my own books/magazines/DVD's." Library books are heavy so it would have looked like he brought quite the lot. We joked that he would be brining his own portable DVD player and favorite porn.

He said the floor of the building was pretty crappy so he was wondering what the "jack off" room would be like. He said it had "mood lighting" and a big leather chair. I asked him if he sat in it and he was like, "What do you think I did, stand up?" Apparently they offered both movies and magazines but he opted for the movie because it "seemed more sanitary." He didn't say much else about it (probably because I wasn't interested in many other details), but he said it went well and the guy he handed his sample to was very nice and friendly.

So I finally went to the doctor today about this cough I have been having. She basically said what I thought she would say, that she can't do anything for me. She did prescribe cough medicine with Codeine so hopefully my hubby won't be threatening to go sleep in the guest room in the middle of the night any more. When I picked it up I checked on the progesterone script I had gotten called in last week. They said it would be $50.00 so I decided to go with the progesterone inserts. When I asked what the full price was she had to look it up and reported that it was $470.00. My insurance covered a huge majority of it. I can't believe how lucky we are going to be with the meds this cycle. In total, we will pay only $50.00 for Lupron, Gonal-F, Menopur, Ovidrel, and endometrin (progesterone). Doing the fertility lifelines program helped to pay for the Gonal-F, Ovidrel, and Menopur and the Lupron was donated from previous clients at the clinic. I took a picture of all the meds and can't believe how amazingly lucky we are.

Speaking of lucky, I think I should touch on all the great things I have going on in my life/that occurred in 2010:

          A rewarding job that pays well and offers great insurance

         An amazing husband who supports me in every way and listens to me jabber constantly

         Moving into out first home and celebrating our first wedding anniversary the same weekend

         Acquiring new furniture to fill our house and taking pride in the place we live

         My hubby finishing all his classwork for school with only clinicals left this spring

         Officially taking on a second dog (although he lived with us for a while we confirmed it when he took him to the new house). I consider him "my dog" because whenever we go for walks or outings he must be directly behind me at all times

          A fantastic and relaxing vacation in Aruba in May (no more vacations for a while, thanks IVF!)

          My sister finally getting engaged after being with her boyfriend for over 7 years

          Celebrating the life (and sadly also the death) of my grandfather with all of my family in Florida

          Finding a compassionate and understanding RE who listens and explains everything thoroughly (perhaps a little too talkative when our appointments last 3 hours)

          And of course, deciding to try to start a family. It may not have happened for us in 2010, but I am hopeful that 2011 is going to be a great year. If nothing else, my hubby will start working a professional job and will start contributing to the new mortgage payment we have!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kokopelli and healthy choices

So when I was 20 and in college I decided I wanted to get a tattoo. My family had taken a trip to the southwest the summer before my senior year in college and I loved it. When we were in Moab Utah my Mom purchased a steel Kokopelli wall hanging. I always loved this figure and eventually decided I would get a tattoo of it. I did some research and was a little alarmed to find out exactly the legend of Kokopelli.

Here is what I found when I googled recently (

Known as a fertility god, prankster, healer and story teller, Kokopelli has been a source of wonder throughout the country for centuries. Kokopelli embodies the true American Southwest, and dates back over 3,000 years ago, when the first petroglyphs were carved. Although his true origins are unknown, this traveling, flute-playing Casanova is a sacred figure to many Southwestern Native Americans. Carvings of this hunch-backed flute-playing figure have been found painted and carved into rock walls and boulders throughout the Southwest.

There are many myths of the famous Kokopelli. One of which is that he traveled from village to village bringing the changing of winter to spring; melting the snow and bringing about rain for a successful harvest. It is also said that the hunch on his back depicted the sacks of seeds and songs he carried. Legend also has it that the flute playing also symbolized the transition of winter to spring. Kokopelli’s flute is said to be heard in the spring’s breeze, while bringing warmth. It is also said that he was the source of human conception. Legend has it, everyone in the village would sing and dance throughout the night when they heard Kokopelli play his flute. The next morning, every maiden in the village would be with child.
Whatever the true meaning of Kokopelli is, he has been a source of music making and dancing, and spreading joy to those around him. Even today, Kokopelli, with his hunchback and flute, is always welcome in our homes.

The legend of Kokopelli (pronounced "Coke-a-pellie") is well-preserved in ancient rock carvings and paintings dating back as far as 3,000 years. His legend however, is no less popular today - having survived more than one hundred generations. Below, is a compilation of stories collected through many hours of research. Certainly, you can find more stories (and images in Art) on the World wide web.

I knew Kokopelli was a fertility symbol, but at the time I stuck more with the changing seasons theme. I live in Upstate NY and am always so glad when winter's wrath gives way to the new life of spring. Nowadays I think more about this symbol I chose to tattoo on my body. My Mom eventually gave me the wall hanging and I had up on various walls  in my various bedrooms all through college. My husband and I ended up living out West for about 2 years (In Wyoming) but we took a trip to Moab. We went to the same gallery where the artwork was purchased and looked at Kokopelli. He gave me some crazy looks when I told him what it symbolized. I said, I know it's a fertility symbol, but I really like it (and I guess I secretly hoped it will came in handy some day). Well, reading today that Kokopelli was known as a "prankster" makes me intrigued. When we moved into our new house in October and with life's current journey I put him back up on my wall. He now hangs to one side of our bed in our bedroom. 

It is amazing how all-consuming infertility can be. I took this Monday and Tuesday off from work (the perks on making your own schedule) but have found myself reading endless blogs and forums about IVF and infertility. I feel like my husband wants me to stop talking about it so much, but I can't help it. The bad part about my job and making my own schedule is that I don't have the social perks of an office. I work as a traveling speech therapist with young children and only come in contact with their families. This leaves a lot of time to myself while driving from house to house. I recently have been listening to a book on CD, but it is hard to keep my mind away from infertility. I have one family I work with who knows the journey we are currently going though and it is only because she has been there herself. When her FOUR boys under 7 are all competing for her attention, she looks at me and says "Be careful what you wish for."She conceived her first 3 boys through IVF and two pregnancies (first one was a singleton second time twins) but it took a few tries before it was successful. Her fourth boy was conceived naturally and she still doesn't know how. They never knew her reason for infertility, but obviously she was able to get pregnant naturally. Apart from her, I don't have anyone else to talk about it all with except my hubby. I feel like I can't go even a day without bringing up something about it to him. I feel like he is sick of hearing it all, but I can't help it. In my mind, I don't go a few hours without thinking about it. 

Yesterday we went cross country skiing in a forrest nearby. It was incredibly peaceful and we just trudged along with our thoughts to ourselves. The dogs had a fantastic time and were running back and forth, covered in snow. We are hoping to go again today since he will be home early from work. For some time I didn't think about infertility and the journey we have been on, but undoubtably my thoughts returned there. I told my hubby last night that maybe as a New year's resolution I will stop looking up so much stuff on the internet. I have to say though it is nice to find others are in a similar position. I have found a forum where I am able to connect with other women going through or starting the IVF process. I see so much optimism there and am able to stay hopeful for our odds. 

We watched an interesting documentary last night on Netflix entitled Food Matters.

 It was all about eating healthy and adding supplements to our diets rather than treating with medicine. I think this backs my feelings initially about Metformin. I was glad when my RE didn't want to put me on it because I know it is basically a "lifetime" drug. I know I have PCOS for a reason other than the fact that my father is diabetic and insulin resistance runs in the family. It must be related to my diet and maybe even a deficiency I have. They touched on the fact that about 50% of our meals should be raw food because when he cook our food the nutrients are lost. I think we will be eating more salads and raw foods. I would love to get to the root of my PCOS problem, but aren't sure exactly how to go about this. My hubby was also intrigued and agreed that the food we put into our bodies is the most important (over nice clothes, vacations, updates to the house) so this is what we will focus our money and energy on.

Over time we have switched to only whole grains and have basically cut sugar out of our diets. The holidays are difficult, especially with all the candy and cookies I received as gifts. In addition, we use only natural cleaning products, soaps, shampoos and conditioners. When we buys meat and dairy we buy organic. We try with our produce, but that tends to be more difficult. Today I went out and bought some Green Tea with Echinacea in hopes it will help my cough to feel better. In addition, I bought some Odwalla Superfood bars. I used to drink this smoothie and plan to replace the bar with my morning whey protein smoothie. I plan to do more research and hope this can distract me some from getting pregnant/IVF. Not only is a distraction, but it may also help my body be in the best shape possible for the treatments.

See, I actually was able to think about my diet and lifestyle for a few minutes without talking about infertility. But like always, I am back on that thought!

Monday, December 27, 2010

To tell or not to tell/ Christmas #2

We recently watched the movie Four Christmases and found it very amusing and similar to our family holidays. We realized that Christmas spans 3 separate weekends before it is all over for us. We did Christmas with my Mom and step dad last weekend, and spent the weekend of Christmas with my in-law's. We had Christmas Eve dinner with them, Christmas morning with them, and then Christmas dinner with them. In all, it was a lot of driving and running around, but also a lot of fun. 

My husband's family would best be described as stuffy. Their "living room" with the T.V and comfortable couch is a tiny nook in the corner of the house that is always cold. Their "sitting room" is a large space for entertaining with antique furniture and oriental carpets. When I asked his mother what we could bring for Christmas Eve dinner, we were requested to bring a "pureed root vegetable." 

We ended up bringing a tropical mash (sweet potatoes, bananas, and coconut milk) to compliment the decadent meal of ham stuffed with mushrooms and pate, salmon with herbs, green beans with a chestnut cream sauce, and homemade rolls. In total there were 13 adults and 3 children.   

My sister-in-law is the person I have the hardest time dealing with. She is extremely dramatic and LOVES attention. The fact that she has a 3-year old helps her to soak up more attention. Since she has been pregnant with him, it has been her excuse to get out of anything "I have a baby, I have a two-year old, etc." It's not that I want any of her attention, I just find her to be over-the-top about everything. So I have been feeling pretty crappy with this dry cough I can't seem to shake. I have tried cough medicine, the humidifier, cough drops, deep breaths, convincing myself it's not worth coughing, etc. and nothing seems to be working. When she heard me cough the first time she asked whether I was sick. I said it was just a little cough and she replied with "stay away from me, I don't want to get sick." Now I understand that most people were probably thinking this very same thing. The difference is, they didn't say it directly to me. When I returned to the kitchen a second time she looked to her mother and asked if there was any hand sanitizer that we could all pass around. Her fear and overreaction to sickness didn't stop there. 

My husband's cousin came with her two boys and husband. Apparently their boys had been sick the previous week with a stomach bug and the husband a few days prior. My sister-in-law refused to eat the salmon dip they brought and was very vocal about not wanting to get sick from them. When the wife came down with the bug on Christmas morning her fear only increased (she immediately threw out the remaining dip). I have never felt so much collective anxiety over a cold or stomach bug. 

Christmas morning was good with the exception of everyone getting extremely upset with me. My sister-in-law and her husband had Christmas morning at their house and then, like us, made the drive to her parents. I knew my nephew was getting a new bike for Christmas since his father had posted pictures on Facebook.

 When I talked to Owen about what he got for Christmas he was mostly ignoring me. Being the first grandchild on each side I guess leads to a lot of self-direction and rude behavior on his part. He doesn't really listen to anyone when they talk to him and he is extremely bossy. Well, I made the mistake of asking if Santa came to his house and his mother started prompting him to tell me what Santa brought him. Looking under the tree at the in-law's there was no bike so I guess I assumed that he received it at home. Of course when asked what Santa brought him he barely listened and didn't respond. So I said "Did Santa bring you a new bike?" Holy crap did I get yelled at by his mother, father, great-grandmother and even my hubby! They were all like, "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU JUST SAID THAT!!!!" How was I supposed to know that Santa only brought a few things earlier in the morning. The only good that came out of it all was that Owen wasn't remotely listening. So after being yelled at by everyone, we all moved on and continued to have a nice Christmas. I got a panini press I have been wanting and am super excited to use it.

 My hubby got me a nice terry-cloth robe, a thermos, and a whole bunch of nice Smartwool socks. My hubby got a bunch of tools for the new house along with a workbench. He was very excited about it all. Our brother in law loved the Subway gift card we got him and I think we will have to repeat this one in the future. He is impossible to shop for because he always just buys himself whatever he wants. 

For Christmas dinner we went to my husband's Aunt and Uncle's house along with a few additional people from the previous night. I really enjoy his cousin's husband and we both swap stories of my sister-in-law. As someone else who married into the family, he understands all too well. It is hard to imagine that my husband is related to her and that they were raised in the same household because they are SO different. We were able to go furniture shopping in their basement and are going to take this really neat antique couch for the foyer of our new house. My father in law has been trying to sell it to me since we moved into the new house but always referred to it as the "pink couch". In reality it is somewhat pink, but has all this ornate carved wood along the sides, top and bottom. I think it will look great in our house and maybe someday we could get it reupholstered. 
One of the hardest parts of Christmas was everyone asking us what was new and what the next project on our house was going to be. When we first bought the house I was at the surgery part of all of this. I hadn't yet learned that my tubes were blocked. I thought my remaining savings after the down payment on the house could be used to update the bathroom or kitchen, I didn't realize it was all going to go towards IVF. It is hard when people ask specific questions and you don't know how to answer. We have decided not to tell anyone in either family about IVF. I think I am scared it won't work and I will have to explain that to everyone. In addition, it seems like they have all forgotten about everything that has happened (from the PCOS diagnosis, to the surgery for the cyst, to learning that my tubes were blocked.) It is amazing that just last night my Dad asked the first follow-up question, "How is everything with your fallopian tubes and all that?" All I said is that the cyst has returned and that it probably means future surgery.

 I guess my husband had a dream the other night that we were meeting about IVF with our nurse and it happened to be all the mall and all of his family kept coming over and asking what we were talking about. It is hard to keep such a secret, but it seems like the best for now. I don't know what other people are going to say that could help. Unless you have been there yourself, it is hard to understand. I have debated telling my mother-in-law or father, but don't really think I will. I guess in a sense it means admitting that we aren't able to get pregnant by ourselves and need to spend a ton of money and time to do it (hopefully). 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sonohystogram and trial transfer

So I went to my RE yesterday to start the testing processing for IVF. They took me right into an ultrasound room with my hubby and first made me sign a consent for the testing and HIV test. My hubby also had to sign a consent to get tested for HIV. They say this is a precaution because the instrumentation can cause infections to spread if there are any. They then told me to empty my bladder and then undress from the bottom down. I was pretty nervous but had taken a 600 mg Motrin prior. I was hoping this would reduce any cramping and make me more relaxed.

So the doc came in with his nurse and started an ultrasound first. He immediately said, "Didn't you just empty your bladder?" It was at this point that I realized something may be wrong. I have been getting twinges from my lower left side and was thinking maybe the cyst had returned. Well... it has. It isn't as large this time (about 3 cm x 4 cm), but it's back. The doctor said that when he did the laparoscopy he drained the cyst and debated with his resident as to whether to remove the tissue or not. Well, at the time I guess he figured that was the least invasive thing to do. Immediately following the surgery I remember asking what happens if it comes back, and he seemed pretty sure that was unlikely.

Well, the cyst is back and I'm not completely pleased. The doctor thought for a few minutes and then kinda just moved on. He looked at my ovaries and uterus under ultrasound and then did the trial transfer. The good news is that my cervix was really easy to get past (I just hope not too easy) and that the transfer will most likely be easy. Once the catheter was in for the trial transfer he used it to insert saline and then used the ultrasound in addition to make sure my uterus looked it. The other good news is that there weren't any polyps or abnormalities there.

The doctor is planning to drain the cyst when I have my egg retrieval. He will first retrieve the eggs and then he will drain the cyst. He seems to think this is the best plan since I will already be under anesthesia at the time. He said it is midline and since he knows it is a simple fluid filled cyst, there is no problem doing this.

The bad news is that we can't continue to drain this thing every few months. I will probably have to have another laparopscopy to get it removed completely in the future. I wasn't too happy about that, but really happy we don't have to cancel or IVF cycle or change anything. They gave us our big 'ole box of meds.

The doctor is not prescribing progesterone injections, but instead a pill that is inserted vaginally. The woman I know and talk to about IVF said she didn't like that. She said it is messy and the last thing you want when you are going through an IVF cycle is the be "leaking". The doctor said the shots "get old fast" and that I will probably be on the progesterone for a few weeks at least. The nurse said she will call it into the pharmacy and I should check on the price. If it is OK, then that is what we will do. If not, then we should call her and we can do the shots. The shots are cheaper, but not the preferred way according to my doctor.

 When we left I had to go downstairs to the lab to get blood work done. I was initially nervous about all this blood work, but I was feeling pretty positive about things at the time. My husband didn't get his done because he wants to call the insurance company and see where they might cover it.  They also wrote a script for him to get a semen analysis. They don't want any "surprises" the day of the egg retrieval.

All in all we are feeling really positive and excited. It really stinks that the cyst has returned, but it isn't going to change much. It means future surgery down the road, but the doctor is really optimistic about our chances for IVF success. I am young and there isn't any known reason to believe an embryo will have a hard time implanting. I think I am handing stress well now, but we will see when the transfer gets closer. I am really hoping for success and for a 2011 baby!!

Monday, December 20, 2010


So we celebrated Christmas last night with my Mom, Stepdad and little brother (adopted 8 yr old from China). I can't believe how tall my brother is already. I didn't check, but he is probably close to being the same height as me (that's not really saying much). My parents are in their 60's a raising a young child again. My Mom seemed exhausted and she said that they had been running around all day. It was nice to see them and have dinner with them in our new house. My Mom always gives the most random presents, so we are left to figure out where to put everything now. I got a book I am really excited about reading from my stepdad. It is called The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I started it last night and didn't want to put it down to go to bed (no wonder I was so tired waking up this morning.) It's interesting how they tie some things about IVF into the book (well so far I only read a little bit but they alluded to it.)

Things are going well though. Last week seemed to go by really slowly, but I think it is because I am looking forward to the holidays and having a little time off. I am hoping this week goes by more quickly, but somehow I doubt it. Despite my needing to make money, I have decided to work a very light schedule the week between Christmas and New Year's. I have been getting calls about picking up more cases. It is hard to say no because I know I will be losing some at the end of the year and people always cancel. That is why I am sitting here typing today, because I had a cancellation this morning. I love working per diem and having all the flexibility, but it makes me really nervous not working when I know we will be paying for IVF soon. I have the money at least for one round and maybe two, but then my "rainy-day fund" is all gone. Christmas is SO expensive, but I really like giving nice gifts to others. 

We have our appointment scheduled for Tuesday at 2:00 to do the trial transfer and sonohysterogram.

 I'm just hoping it all goes well and we can look forward. My boss' wife is a member at the gym in an amazing spa in town. She has guest passes and is willing to give me a few to go. I love the steam room, sauna and hot tub there so I am hoping to go with my mother-in-law before starting all the injectables. I think this will be very relaxing. I am debating telling her about it (my husband and I have talked and think she would be the best person to tell), but I will cross that bridge when I get there. She was there post-op and heard that my best option for getting pregnant would be IVF. She is the only one who really knows and is sensitive about these issues. Also, she wants more grandchildren!!

Speaking of relaxation, I have found a great guided imagery CD from the library. It is called Self-Heading with Guided Imagery by Andrew Weil. My husband and I have listened to it a few times already and find it to be very relaxing and freeing from all the day-to-day stress. We are hoping to use it more during all the early morning appointments and injectables in order to help reduce stress. 

We did some research about acupuncture and found that the biggest factor for IVF success is stress and that acupuncture tends to relive stress. I have done acupuncture before and found it to be amazingly relaxing, but I'm not sure I need to pay all that money to relax. I am a little stressed about money so don't want to be paying an extra $100 a week for stress relief. I have been trying to exercise more to also help relive stress. Really, I just want the next three weeks to fly by so we are actively trying to get pregnant (although like the nurse suggested we are continuing to have "relations"). I'm not completely decided about the acupuncture and will probably ask at my appointment on Wednesday. I know the doctor will talk our ears off as he always does, but I appreciate how thorough he is. My questions to ask are: Should I be on the BCP? (I am planning to call today to ask this ques), Should I be on baby asprin? Do you recommend acupuncture? Any other ideas for questions???


Friday, December 17, 2010

Got it!

So this is the first time I have ever been so excited about getting my period. This means I was able to call the nurse at the office and tell her the good news (a somewhat awkward conversation: "Hi, just wanted to call to let you know I got my period today.") It started yesterday and she returned my call today and taking the next steps.

We have an appointment for next Wednesday at 2:00 to get some additional testing done. I am kinda nervous about more testing, but excited to move forward. This means 20 days from today I will be starting Lupron injections. We both have to get tested for HIV and other STD's as well as do a trial transfer. I will also get to see our doctor who I haven't seen since the follow-up appointment after surgery. I thought this pic was funny, but it's definitely not the case!

I have been slightly obsessed with reading anything PCOS and IVF related on the internet lately. I want to get an idea of what our chances are for success, but the more I read, the more scared I become. I really want it to work and not have to drop a ton of money on multiple rounds. I know we will do this if necessary, but it stresses me out to work more to make the money to pay for it. With Christmas shopping, I haven't exactly saved much money lately. In addition, I have been reading another book. I wish the chances were higher, but I know we are going to get a baby somehow.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Waiting, waiting, waiting

So I was wrong about the Lupron. For some reason I was under the impression that I start it with my next period (I get my period and start Lupron at the same time). Unfortunately, it isn't until 21 days after the first day of my period. That means I am still a month away from actually starting injections. I know it seems crazy that I want to do the injections, but I just want to start the IVF process. Sitting down and looking at a calendar makes it seem all so far away. I know with the Holidays and everything time will fly, but on weekends it is hard not to think about the IVF process constantly.

I finished The Couples' Guide to IVF this weekend. It was informative and gave some goods tips and advice. It was nice that the author had been through the process and could relate to how she felt at each step.

Getting my husband to be involved and pro-active about finding out any information has been frustrating. Last Tuesday we got into a fight because I felt like everything else was more important. These days when we fight we don't really yell, but voice our frustrations. I think the conversation ended up being very productive and he promised to take some initiative. Maybe it's just that I am a woman, but I need to know as much as possible beforehand. It also stinks that we aren't telling anyone, so any research or reading needs to be done in private.

It's amazing how my family seems to have completely forgotten about the whole blocked tubes thing. I was talking to my mom on the phone the other night about my sister-in-law and how she is a little difficult to deal with. My mom said that if I were to have a little girl, she would be so jealous. I know this and would love to have the little girl, but it's completely out of my hands at this point. My sister-in-law has a three-year-old little boy. When she got her ultrasound and found out it was a boy, she cried. My mom then went on to say "you know you can do things to help to get a girl. You should really work on that." Thanks mom, you completely forgot that I can't work on the whole pregnancy thing at all right now. When I first told her the result of the dye test she said, "That's funny because I never had a hard time getting pregnant." I don't think my mom means to hurt me, but these comments do hurt.

My sister also seems to have forgotten. The other week I was feeling really nauseous (a stomach bug was going around and I appeared to have gotten a more mild version.) When I told her I was nauseous she said, "I think you're pregnant!" I was like, I really don't think so. I guess she forgot too.

My husband and I have decided at this point not to tell anyone about the IVF. We haven't really seen his parents, but have debated telling them. It is hard because it is such an emotional and financial decision to make that if it fails I don't want everyone to know. I think it would be better to tell people once we are pregnant.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

IVF Teaching

So we went on Friday morning to our appointment. It meant changing my schedule around and making for a longer work day, but we got to do step 1 for IVF. We went for our "IVF teaching" which was pretty overwhelming.

The nurse talked to us about a typical cycle. I guess we will be starting some time in January. She told me I am supposed to call on day #1 of my next period (that should be in about 2 weeks from now). At that time we will start Lupron injections. I have to say most of the injections seemed pretty straightforward and I wasn't too concerned. Most of the needles looked really small and my husband is confident with medical-type stuff like that. The nurse said most husbands like to give the injections because they feel like they are contributing and playing a role.

The great news is I was approved by the Compassionate Care program with Fertility Lifelines and they will pay for most of my medications. The nurse said she probably had some extras of the other drugs I may need like the Lupron and some other one. It was hard to keep all the drugs straight, but I'm sure when I am actually taking them it will be different. My husband was there taking notes, always the student.

The clinic I picked seems very different. The nurse said she would not charge for the extra medicine, but that other clients donate leftovers to help others. If I have any left over at the end, I will most definitely donate them. She also said procedures like freezing leftover embryos (for up to 5 years!!), assisted hatching, and ISCI aren't an additional cost. The additional costs I will have to face are the anesthesia for the procedure (egg retrieval). I can't remember whether you need anesthesia during the transfer, but if you do that we will have to pay for as well. This is probably going to be pretty expensive. The reason it is separate is because it is done in a different place, not right in the office.

Things got kinda complicated when the nurse asked us what we would want to do if we had eggs leftover and we died. Would we want to donate them to another couple or donate them for research? They said I would be able to use the eggs even if my husband were to die, even if I remarried, pretty crazy!! It was like thinking about a will, but I guess it is important to decide what to do if something happens.

So the next step is calling when I get my period. At that time we will start the Lupron. I guess between the start of my period and the day I would ovulate, they will do the additional testing (the trial transfer and saline test). I am hoping everything goes well. I am nervous about starting, but am really excited. It was nice to go to the office and have a really positive visit. I am kind of nervous about the ultrasound tech since she did all of the ultrasounds for the cyst. She tended to seem annoyed by me, but when she saw me in the office she smiled. I think I asked far too many questions and she didn't feel comfortable answering them. 

In addition, we decorated the new house the Christmas lights. It's so exciting to decorate and to be able to show it off. The place we lived before was way back in the woods and there was never a reason to decorate since no one would ever see it. We put lights all around the posts on our front porch and up the small staircase leading to the porch. We got some to put on our garage as well, but haven't started that project yet. It has been snowing like crazy and we now have about 3-4'' outside. The are calling for another 3-6'' today and another 3-6'' tonight. December really came in with a bang!! The dogs are loving the fresh snow and a fenced-in full acre of land to explore. I have to say, life is pretty good!

Actually taking action

So I heard back from the office. In order to continue win IVF I have to do 3 things:  1) IVF teaching with the nurse in the office Becky, 2) a trial transfer, and 3) more testing (a SHG). This test involves a saline solution being put into your uterus to make sure everything looks ok. At this point, I am terrified of any more testing. Each time I get any done, something comes back not right. I really hope it goes ok. I thought the doctor was able to look at my uterus during the surgery and with the HSG dye test. I distinctly remember him telling me my uterus looked fine. I have done a few ultrasounds as well at this point. I guess I just worry; you should see my blood pressure readings at that office. I can't wait to go there and not be nervous, just happy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Taking Action

I finally called the doctor's office. I called on Friday around 2, but didn't get a call back. I wasn't exactly sure what to say, but it went a little like this "Hi, I'm a patient of Dr. ___ and we have decided we want to do IVF. We aren't sure exactly whether we should meet with the doctor now or not because we were thinking the beginning of the year..." I rambled on to the receptionist. When she got a chance to speak she said, "I will put you through to the nurse and you can talk to her." I felt a little embarrassed, but this is why I have been putting this phone call off. I have been scared of what to say and how to say it. Well I was only able to leave a message for the nurse, and am waiting to hear back.

My period did end up coming the following day. It is just about gone now, but I was glad to see it to be honest. I have a birth control prescription that I can get filled, so I think I might do that today.

I got a few books about IVF this week. I only read a majority of one of them so far, but it seems I have also read on the internet that most doctors place their patients on a birth control pill a month or more before starting IVF. In addition, with the PCOS, it makes me less likely to form any new cysts.

I started feeling really optimistic about the IVF yesterday. I think it if probably the book I am reading, but I need to feel a little more optimistic about it. I have been spending so much time being so worried it won't work. I need to feel more optimistic. It is hard to put a price tag on having a child, but that is exactly what we are doing. It seems so unfair that people get pregnant without even trying.

Lately it seems like every time I log onto Facebook another friend of mine is announcing their pregnancy. This week there were two days in a row where I saw this. I told myself I was going to stay off Facebook, but I obviously didn't.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


It seems like we need to make a decision in order to achieve our goal of pregnancy. I'm not wild about the Lupron idea. I feel like we put so much hope into the birth control pill to shrink my cyst and it never did. We just ended up having the surgery anyway. I feel like what would happen with the Lupron would be that we would try for 3 months and then repeat the HSG. Let's say it's clear this time. This means I still need to be on drugs to stimulate ovulation since I have PCOS and don't ovulate regularly. So then we would try to get pregnant with Clomid by ourselves. Let's say we try for another 3-6 months and then move on to IUI's. Let's say we try 3 IUI's before we end up back at IVF. I hate the thought of losing time and having failures each month.

After talking to the doctor it seems our best chance for success would be IVF. I understand this is the case with any given cycle, but it just seems like we might waste a bunch of time doing the least invasive measures.

On the plus side I found out the clinic I am going to charges $6,000 for an IVF cycle. This includes all doctor visits, ultrasounds, retrieval and anesthesia, transfer, and embryologist fees. I think this is everything but I could be leaving something out. I didn't include medicine because it is not included in that fee. The good thing is you pay $3,000 up front and can then make payments for the rest. This is something I think we can swing, but what if it doesn't work?

I did some research on the cost of the medicine and found anything form $1,000 to $3,000. Adding 3,000 makes the overall cost MUCH higher. I also found out some other things by researching on the internet: that some clinics sell used drugs for a discounted rate. When I called the clinic I got to to get rates for the medicine the nurse said it averages about $1,000 but that she knew of a grant program known as Fertility Lifelines. They have a program known as the compassionate care program and she gave me their phone number and urged me to call. In addition, this clinic does sell used drugs as long as they aren't expired and they use a wholesaler that is cheaper than a pharmacy. So I called Fertility Lifelines. 

They took some initial information and encouraged me to apply completely. They told me the criteria and it appeared we met it. They sent me the packet a few days later. I am in the process of completing it and sending it back to them as it could cover all or some of the meds. They need W-2 info, pay stubs, proof of citizenship, applications filled out, a copy of my insurance card. I am hopeful they will pay for at least some because they told me they will help if the household income is less than $100,000. With my husband still in school I would say we are there.

We had our friends over for brunch today. They have a 3 month old baby who is adorable but fussy. She was happy for some time while I held her today but then became very upset. I can sense the stress the Mom feels when the baby is crying and she can't get her to stop. It kinda makes me glad we aren't soothing an infant yet. I think we can't enjoy having the new house and our pets for a while longer.

We did some yard work this weekend and raked some. The friend who came over who gardens scared us for the spring for our acre lot. It is a little overgrown already so I guess we have to take control before we lose it completely. The weather was beautiful, hard to believe it is November.

On another note I haven't gotten my period yet. I last had it Oct 10th-18th. I then had my surgery on the 20th and bled a little for like 2-3 days. It is now November 14th and there are no signs at all. I was hoping it would come soon so I could call our RE and tell him we are interested in IVF in one cycle. I am putting off calling because it is a huge commitment.