Monday, June 27, 2011

The Holy Grail

Ok - so anyone dealing with dr's appointments of any sort knows the frustrating game of phone tag that ensues. Well imagine that you have dr's appointments several times a week and that your job has you in meetings and appointments with clients at least 50% of the working day and that after every dr appointment you're waiting to hear some result to some test. Frustrating doesn't even begin to explain it. They call and leave a voicemail saying that they have results, I call back and leave a message asking them to call me back, they call me back, I'm in a meeting - they don't leave results on the vm, I call them back, the nurse is meeting with a patient so I leave another message, they call me get the picture, right?

So the Italian and I went for our IVF consult on Friday afternoon. More on that later, but the best thing happened...I found the holy grail of IVF nurse gave me her EMAIL ADDRESS!!!!!! Praise the Lord - I can finally communicate with someone instead of playing phone tag...HOORAY!!!

OK - aside from that little nugget, the consult was crazy informative. Dr. Katz actually did a test retrieval which was kind of gross but took all of 3 minutes and he just carried on a conversation with us the whole time like nothing was going on...the weird thing is that Dave is getting used to this too. Everyone's just having conversations about all sorts of random stuff while well, you know...

After that lovely experiment, we spent over an hour with Dr. K going through questions, things we should know, all that good stuff. He seems to feel like I'm an excellent IVF candidate and said he'd estimate a 65% chance that we'd bring a little bundle of joy home after the first try. Sounds good, but that means there's also a 35% chance that my little eggs are shot or that my endometriosis is making it too difficult for an embryo to implant and that may explain why we're having trouble getting preggers in the first place. Positive thoughts, positive thoughts, positive thoughts...

So we're definitely moving forward with IVF, just not right now. The IVF nurse gave us a a sample plan which would have us moving forward on July 1st...our wedding week....too soon! We're probably going to wait a month or so and just try to get back to normal a little bit. We want to take time to decide whether we want to pay for the one shot wonder at $12k or go for the mac daddy 6-try insurance plan at $23-$29k with a 70% refund if all tries are unsuccessful. MOST people don't have to use all 6 tries, but the peace of mind knowing that IF God forbid it doesn't work that you get the majority of your money back helps to relieve some of that stress that it's so important to be avoiding. Plus I need a little time to recover emotionally and physically from the crazy hormones I've had in my body for the past 2 years. (Dave could probably use a break from that too).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

For my fellow Infertile Myrtles...

This is a sweet and thoughtful post that I found on an IVF message board last night, just wanted to share as I know there are some other couples struggling with infertility following along with this blog. My thoughts, prayers and love are with you too...

What do I think God meant when He gave me infertility? (Excerpted from a post on an IVF Board)

Couples experiencing infertility often receive well-meaning but extremely insensitive “advice.” We can all list the most popular ones: “Just relax and you’ll get pregnant,” or “adopt and you’ll get pregnant,” or “things happen for a reason“, or the most painful from those who think they’ve got the goods on God’s plan, “Maybe God never meant for you to have children.” The sheer audacity of making a statement like that never fails to amaze me.

These same people would never walk up to someone seeking treatment for cancer and say, “Maybe God never meant for you to live.” However, because of infertility, the woman is supposed to get on with her life. It’s hard to understand that people can not see infertility for what it is, a disease for which treatment must be sought. What if Jonas Salk had said to the parents of polio victims, “Maybe God meant for thousands of our children to be cripples, live in an iron lung or die.” What if he’d never tried to find a cure? Who could think for one minute that that was God’s plan?

What do I think God meant when He gave me infertility?

I think he meant for my husband and I to grow closer, become stronger, love deeper. I think God meant for us to find the fortitude within ourselves to get up every time infertility knocks us down. I think God meant for our medical community to discover medicines, invent medical equipment, create procedures and protocols. I think God meant for us to find a cure for infertility.

No, God never meant for me not to have children. That’s not my destiny; that’s just a fork in the road I’m on. I’ve been placed on the road less traveled, and, like it or not, I’m a better person for it. Clearly, God meant for me to develop more compassion, deeper courage, and greater inner strength on this journey to resolution, and I haven’t let Him down.

Frankly, if the truth be known, I think God has singled me out for a special treatment. I think God meant for me to build a thirst for a child so strong and so deep that when that baby is finally placed in my arms, it will be the longest, coolest, most refreshing drink I’ve ever known.

While I would never choose infertility, I can not deny that a fertile woman could never know the joy that awaits me. Yes, one way or another, I will have a baby of my own. And the next time someone wants to offer me unsolicited advice I’ll say, “Don’t tell me what God meant when He handed me infertility. I already know.”

To whomever wrote this, I give you all the credit for the eloquent expression! This post has been copied and pasted so many times that I wasn't able to track down the original author. If anyone knows who wrote this, please let me know - I'd love to contact her! xoxo

Sunday, June 12, 2011

IVF it is....

I had my routine Day #3 appointment for blood work and an ultrasound...luckily Dr. Katz (my doc) was the one on duty today (they rotate on the weekends, so a lot of time you don't get to see "your" doc), so I actually got to chat with him for a bit. Although he had originally told us 4 IUIs is what he recommended he said that after this last one, he really doesn't feel like it will be productive. There's basically a 10-15% success rate for each IUI procedure, however MOST people see success within 3 attempts. The timing and preparations leading up to all 3 IUIs have been perfect and unfortunately there's no way to know what is going wrong after that. We've been spending between $700-$800 per month on the IUIs (with monitoring, drugs, the procedure, sperm wash, etc.), so it's not breaking the bank, but it's not chump change by any means either! I know people who have done 4, 5 and up to 9 IUIs with no success which is scary!

So he said that the decision is ours....we can go for IUI #4 or go ahead and start preparing for IVF (success rates closer to 60-65%). When I asked him what he would do if he were us, he said IVF with absolutely no hesitation.

We had to make a decision about the IUI TODAY, because if we did want to proceed with the IUI I'd have to start meds tonight. So it was all a little overwhelming. I was fine in the office and on the way home. But once I got home and Dave asked me about it, I had yet another break down. This is not normal for me. I'm weird - in my previous life I cried A LOT, but not about important things...I cry at Hallmark commercials, The Biggest Loser, Extreme Home Makeover and anytime I hear the song "Carolina in my Mind" by James Taylor (reminds me of my cheering days), but when it comes to real life stuff I'm really good at putting up walls like Fort Knox and holding it all together like a champ. Well now for some reason my walls are broken, no matter how hard I try, I can't put them UP. Poor Dave, he's not used to seeing this side of me. He just laid in the bed and rubbed my back and kept telling me that it will be ok.

I honestly never thought that we would get to this point...nothing against IVF it is AMAZING technology and I have learned that SO many of my friends have and are going through IVF now. I just never thought that it would be ME in those shoes. The preparations and drugs are just so hard on your body and spirit and of course, the cost is insane! Now I know that you can't put a price on the happiness a child brings but's so frustrating to live in a state that does not require that insurance companies assist with infertility treatments. This is not a "choice" that I've made, this is a "choice" that was never given to me. I'm not an unemployed person choosing to have additional children so that I can accept more welfare from the government, I'm a hard working, tax paying citizen who just wants to have a family that we plan to support ourselves, not rely on the government to do so. (ok I'm off my political soapbox now).

We have a meeting with Dr. K, his nurses and the financial counselor on June 24th but basically it comes down to 3 options:

1. $12,500 = one try, includes the procedure, monitoring and injectables (4-5 shots per day on many days - YOWZA)

2. $16,000-ish = 2 tries

3. $20,000-ish = 3 tries (or more, not clear on this) and money back if it doesn't work

Those are rough guidelines - we'll learn more next week. Right away Dave said #3 sounds like what we should do. If we're gonna go for it, let's go all out - again, we'll decide for sure after our meeting on the 24th.

On the upside, what that means for this month is that I get to do NOTHING - no drugs, no shots, nothing...I just get to let my little body rest and re-set itself. I'm definitely looking forward to that!

If anyone has advice on how to prepare for IVF, I'd love to hear from you! I'm super nervous and of course, already trying to get my game plan together.

Much love to the hundreds of people I've heard from over the past month...I can't tell you how much I appreciate the love, support, prayers and most of all your stories too. My prayers are there with my fellow infertile myrtles. God has a plan!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The B!T©H is Back!

That's right - Aunt Flo arrived....EARLY....TODAY. What the heck??????? Ugh! Woke up feeling all "pre-Aunt Flowy" and sure enough...she settled in comfortably this afternoon.

The "F" in BFN does NOT stand for Big FAT Negative this month if you catch my drift. For those who know me well, they know that's about as close to a curse word they'll probably hear out of my mouth or off my keyboard.

So what do I do? Being the practical gal that I am, I get on the phone like a good patient to call Dr. Katz and report "Cycle Day 1" - as I'm going through my name, my chart number, my phone number, etc. my voice starts to crack and by the time I'm telling them WHY I'm calling in I can hardly speak. I got through the phone call and then sobbed like a baby (I mean uncontrollable, out loud "ugly crying") for 10 minutes and then all of the sudden it stopped.

The tears just stopped.

The shaky breath....stopped,

the quivering lip...stopped.

All I could hear was God's voice in my ear saying that it's for the best. My body is doing it's job. If it were time for a beautiful, HEALTHY baby - this wouldn't be happening the way it is right now.

So I straightened my dress, put on some lipstick and headed back to work to finish the day at my job that God has blessed me with so that I can drive home in the car that God blessed me with to the beautiful home that God blessed us with.

It's so easy to get caught up in the "why me's" I'm starting to ask, "Why NOT me???" What makes me think that I'm any better than anyone else? Why should my road be easier than anyone else's? There are certainly people dealing with much more difficult and dire circumstances than this, so for today I am grateful that perhaps God protected me from something that may potentially have been disastrous and devastating.

I will not worry about anything, instead praying about everything. Telling God what I need and being THANKFUL for all that He has done!!!! (Phillipians 4:6 paraphrased by yours truly - for those who don't read the should check it out, there's an answer in there for everything you need).

We're headed back to the Dr. Sunday morning for Day 3 bloodwork and ultrasounds (yup the yucky ultrasound) - then back to meds, shots, more shots and our final IUI attempt...I'm not thinking any further past that.... "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

See? Told you! An answer for everything in The Good Book :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Frankie Say RELAX!

I can NOT begin to count how many people have told me in how many different ways that if we would just "relax" that everything may fall into place and we'd be just fine. As an optimist myself, I love hearing this, however....easier said than done! For all of those loved ones out there who are worried about my inability to relax, I promise, I'm TRYING to "relax" (sounds like an oxymoron right?)

I am naturally a tightly wound, obsessive compulsive control freak (some may lovingly use the phrase "anal retentive"), so relaxing is not my strong suit....and that drives me bananas because I am also type A, bonafide overachiever/people pleaser, so to realize that my attempts at making myself relax are not only not succeeding but also that other people are noticing that I'm not succeeding at that attempt and could potentially be disappointed with me for the "failure" is making me crazy which again sort of defeats the relaxation attempts. So I'll work on it - promise.

Anyways - so we're 8 days down and 6 days to go - more than halfway through the 2 week wait - HOORAY!!! I'll tell ya it hasn't been easy this go round...something is different ~ I feel flat out CRUMMY! I don't know if it's side effects from the injectables or what - but my body is not happy with this last round of medicine and the IUI. I feel and look like a blowfish (hubby swears that I don't look like one - but I think he's just afraid of what will happen if he agrees with my assessment). And it's not just the blowfish syndrome, it actually hurts and is very uncomfortable, all sorts of weird "twinges" and cramps all through the day and night.

I of course have self diagnosed myself (via google searches) with OHSS...Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (which is not a good thing). This basically means that your internal lady parts (ovaries) have become overstimulated and incredibly swollen due to the fertility meds. This can be severe and require hospitalization or it can be minor and work itself out. One of the biggest threats is Ovarian Torsion - that's right...twisted ovaries (awesome) which can have all sorts of crazy, horrible and irreversible side effects. So as I read the plethora of horror stories on the internet, I am doing my best to remain calm, to "relax" and reassure myself that this is NOT my diagnosis but I'll chat with Dr. Katz about that to confirm. I'm starting to become a bit of a hypochondriac now too...(relax Kelly, relax, relax....)