Wednesday, February 24, 2010

ivf - day 44 - confessions

There are so many thoughts that go through my head as I'm driving to Nashville for treatments. I've thought about what someone who's never experienced infertility might want to know...putting myself back about 3 years before it was even a thought in my head.

So, here are my confessions as an IVF patient:

I don't want to be asked, "When are you going to have kids?" or any variation of the sort. I'm scared of sounding snotty on this one, but it's hard enough to not think about my fertility 100% of the time. So, when I'm busy and not thinking about it, I don't want to be reminded.

Not all insurances pay for treatment. If you're one of the lucky few whose health insurance covers part of all of your fertility treatment, please be thankful for that. My insurance pays $0. As in "nada", "zilch", "nothing." When I say that, some people look at me like I have 3 eyes. Like I've surely not checked closely enough and that I must be doing something wrong. Nope. I wish I was. It's irksome that insurance will pay for things we choose in some way. For instance, drug rehab. My insurance will pay for stay after stay of drug rehab, costing thousands of dollars, much more than one round of IVF. Every time a druggie consumes a drug, they CHOOSE to do so. I didn't choose infertility. I didn't want to go through this treatment. And, quite frankly, the success rates of IVF are much better than that of rehab. Much cheaper than that of rehab, and I seriously wish it would pay.

There are many genuinely kind people that I am continually astounded by. Shortly after my miscarriage last year, a dear friend of mine (who will remain unnamed because I doubt she wants calls for fertility meds) whose sister is part of a surrogacy group contacted me. She sent me an email, which she thought was so odd. It was an email offering me some meds and supplies left over from her sister's group. She thought for sure I wouldn't take "used" meds, but about 34 seconds after she sent the email, I replied, "YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS send me anything and everything." (Remember insurance confession above.) You see, these meds can cost up to $5000 each round, so I was so grateful when about 1/3 of the medicine I needed showed up on my doorstep. Directly from my bumpfairy.

And, just to make me tear up, this note was attached:
There are a lot of mama's in the box. Mama's who have helped other women become mama's, mama's who have helped men become fathers. May the luck of the many women who helped fill this box touch you in your own journey to parenthood. This medication is available for you because it isn't needed anymore, so that's a lot of good luck.

I don't want to be told my hormones are crazy. If you know me, I'm VERY level headed. VERY. Intellectually I know these hormones have an effect, but I don't need to be informed of this every time I say I want Mexican food for dinner and not Japanese. Conform to me people....Conform!!!

Pedicures are a necessary treatment. Some women swear by acupuncture, but I will swear by pedicures. My feet are in the stirrups on a daily basis at this point, so shaved legs and pretty toes are a must. I chose purple polish this round.

I have to make insane decisions while on said hormones (and valium!). Fertile couples don't have to make the decision on how many embryos make it to the uterus. They are blissfully unaware of all the decisions their bodies are making for them. But for me, and so many other IVF patients, we have to struggle between making a decision to transfer more or less. To take the risk of multiples...or the risk of not having any at all. It's a decision that I doubt anyone in my position takes lightly.

Caffeine is a no-no. I'm under orders to have no more than 300mg per day. And, when getting pregnant is as expensive as it is for me, I follow all the rules. Just so you know, this is incredibly tempting since there is a Sonic directly across the street from my clinic.

I'm not sad when others get pregnant. I am genuinely happy when others get pregnant and have healthy babies. I know the pain of infertility. The wondering if I'll ever be a mom. The sadness that comes after a miscarriage. I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

I'm a clock-watcher. I even set an alarm from time to time. I count down the minutes and hours till my next injection.

I pray constantly. I pray for the wisdom to make the right decisions with treatment. I pray with thanksgiving that I have this opportunity (and that our credit card had a large limit). I pray that this round will be successful and that I will one day know the joy of being a mom.

There is a secret society of IVFers. When I meet someone that's been through IVF, we instantly begin talking meds, follicles, and before we know it, an hour has past. Talking follicles is like a secret handshake. Oh, and if you throw in beta numbers, it's even better. Recently, I met someone with whom I have so much in common. We are both scrapbookers. We both think Ali Edwards hung the moon. We both are business owners. But you know what we talked about? Follicles. Yes we did. Then we emailed back and forth about 48 times.

I love my IVF nurse. Her name is Jennifer, but if you request her at my clinic, there's 2 others, so you may or may not get her. I think it's so important for treatment to like your nurse and to build trust with her (or him as the case may be). And, you might even want her husband to make concrete countertops for your house. I did.

I am not supposed to lift over 10 lbs. This is one of the hardest rules to follow. My doctor advises this because my ovaries are super-sized and my tubes could become twisted with too much exertion. Called, "torsion." A laptop bag plus a purse tip the scales. And, if Greg keeps feeding the dogs treats, I might not be able to lift them either.

I have never felt that I'm all alone. I'm blessed with a supportive family. I am blessed with supportive friends and coworkers. I'm also blessed by my blog and SC family. You have shared your stories via email with me as I went through my loss last year. And, even now, I've gained strength from your encouraging words, personal stories and successes.

Last year, I was blessed with one friend in particular. She had gone through IVF and has a healthy baby boy. She checked on me throughout the process and was one of the few that I shared my medical issues with. When I became pregnant, I think she was excited as I was and when we miscarried, I think she was equally saddened. And, when these came a few days later with an encouraging note, it confirmed how much I cherish her friendship. There are so many that are equally as encouraging and who I have connected with through our shared infertility journeys. I can't even put into words what your emails mean to me. Just know that I am incredibly grateful and I save each and every one to read when I'm feeling down. Not that I'm sad all the time. Because I'm not. I'm just being sappy.

Now the update on my progress:
  • I thought I'd be having my egg retrieval today, but it will most likely be on Friday. After my appointment Monday, my follicles weren't quite ready. And then today, I went back for another monitoring and they were so close, but just not quite there. They need to be 18-20mm before we trigger (more on this later).
  • My E2 is looking great, in the 3000's now.


nichole said...

as someone who may be starting these very treatments very soon, i commend you so much for sharing your raw, honest feelings. my husband & i have been trying for our own for nearly 3 years & it hasn't been the easiest of roads, as you know. finally, we have found a wonderful doctor who we know can help us one way or another. just wanted you to know i am thinking of you & praying for you & greg to have your own little one. we're all in this together :)
thanks again for opening up on here & sharing your truly is so inspiring & helpful!

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of women crossing fingers for you this cycle ( and next, if necessary) and a lot of women who read your words and know just exactly what you mean. If luck traveled in wishes, we've got you covered! Also, green and yellow... super lucky colors. And two desserts on the day of transfer are a must, along with french fries of some sort ;-) Hey, you've got to have those silly things to cling to some times, the rest of this is just so serious, it can bog you down. When is retrieval? That's got to be coming up!

Keshet said...

Just a brief comment on how crazy it is insurance doesn't cover IVF! I was also stunned to learn that! We need more insurance advocates on this one.

jill marie barrett said...

you said it perfectly. let me add just one more.
we have conversations with our spouses that most people never have to have. we have to think about our life long dreams, and come up with plans/stratagees to get us to them. (which, i think, makes our marrages and relationships a little bit stronger).
jill b

Zorina said...

You & Greg are on my daily night prayer of asking to Him, and also to St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (Italy). St. Pio was with me all the during our IVF#2 journey. You may want to google him, too.

Like I have mentioned so many times, all these feeling came and went in our home. I promise you, just have Faith and Hope in your Heart all the time and you'll soon be planning the nursery room. I wish you all the best, April! Hugs.

meagan said...

Ok-so here's a confession from a "non-IVFer" (do you like the word I made up?)I need these kind of blogs to come across my computer from time to time (so keep up the blogging)! Reading these kind of blogs make me realize how much God has blessed me with 2 healthy daughters in which I didn't have any troubles getting pregnant with. There are certainly days I'm ashamed to admit that I got so frustrated with them that I wanted to pull my hair out. And then there is this wonderful thing called bedtime. We firmly believe in 8pm bedtime and no later. This is our time. Time to do our Bible studies, talk about the day, and pray-pray to ask forgiveness if I've acted a way I shouldn't have, to pray for wisdom, pray for patience (LOTS and LOTS of patience), pray for strength to help me get through the day and to thank the Lord for what He has given me. It's at this time I realize how blessed I am to have a friend like you who is willing to open up and tell about what you are going through. You and Greg (and the dogs-girls ALWAYS pray for the dogs) are constantly in our prayers. While I have no idea what will happen with all your treatments I am happy to say that I do know that the Lord will be with you and will take care of you. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."(Prov 3.5-6)

Susan Weinroth said...

thinking about you and the process that you are going through alot april -- and i think its absolutely amazing that you've chosen to share the whole journey here on your blog :)

Elisa said...

big hugs, sweetie - I know how hard it is.

I am cheering for you and Greg all the way. Felt the same way about when other people got pregnant - well I am not as nice as you, so I got a little bit sad, but I always thought "why not me too" never "why not me instead of her".

& Purple is nice!

mommy2alex said...

I loved reading this, it's an honor to see what you're going through, thank you for sharing!
And I am OUTRAGED that insurance doesn't have to pay for ANY of it. That is just not right, makes me very angry.
Best of luck and huge {hugs}!

greekmama said...

Thank you for sharing. It was a 10 year journey for me to become a mother... lots of pain, loss, and money... but in the end I was blessed by motherhood twice. Never, ever give up the hope of being a mother... it may not be in the way you had imagined or the time line you had hoped (I found my daughter's on the other side of the world)...but it will happen. Hold on and believe it. I am living proof that dreams really do come true... I am walking in my own dream.

Davinie Fiero said...

You are going to get pregnant on my birthday. A sure sign indeed tha this is your year, I think.

I will be thinking of you on Friday and the rest of the week until the + sign shows up!

Nicole said...

i love you both.
enough said?

Lulu said...

I love reading all that you share. I think your bump fairy is amazing too! Thinking many many "positive" thoughts for you..
And when you put it the way you do I am astounded that your insurance don't cover any portion, that just seems so wrong :(

Tina said...

you really inspire me april. you keep my fighting. 2010 = mama april.

justem said...

Thank you so much for sharing everything. It really helps me understand what many of my family and friends have (and are currently) going through. :)

Kimberly said...

Well, I have tears in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat. I truly am speechless.

taniawillis said...

april, you are so very brave for being so open & honest with your emotions here on your blog. you seem so genuine.

while i personally don't know what's it's like to go through IVF, and i know couples end up doing IVF as a result of many different medical complications, i do understand a lot of the process having been friends with a few women who have gone through it.

i hope it's an encouragement to you for me to share that both of these woman went through IVF for their first baby (after 10+ years of infertility) and chose not to take birth control after having their child considering they couldn't ever get pregnant without medical intervention......but, SURPRISE....they both went on to get pregnant on their own and safely carry & deliver healthy (non-IVF) children in the future. :)

one of these woman was my sister-in-law. she experienced a few successful transfers and miscarriages along the way. i remember the pain & heartache we felt for her all too well.

i'm so thankful you have a strong support system already. please know that while you don't know me at all, i'm still praying for a successful outcome.

that whole insurance situation just bites! ((((HUGS)))) and lots of prayers for your procedure tomorrow.

Erica W. said...

IVF was the next step for us after 4 years of trying. Then it just happened. I like to tell people it was the little fertility God in Sweden.

We had been tired of going through the who 'trying' process and having miscarriages, fibroids and all kinds of complications.

We booked a 2 week trip to the Baltic and just decided to relax. While we were there, we took a tour of the Royal Palace. There was a little metal statue sitting outside the kirk and the tour guide said you could run his head for luck. When I went to touch him, he freaked out and said that its good luck for men but a fertility god for women.

We came home and a month later I was pregnant.

NOT saying it was the little fertility God but its a funny story. Maybe you and Greg need to plan a trip to Sweden.

Thanks for sharing this journey with us.

sarah said...

i just recently started following your blog (found it when i joined studio calico last month)...i'm not sure if i ever commented before, but i'm really trying to be better about that this year.

anyway, i just wanted to say that you and your husband are in my prayers. and i think it's absolutely amazing that you're sharing your ivf journey here on your blog. i'm sure it's so helpful to many couples - to know they're not in it alone.

also on a lighter note: your house is AMAZING. the concrete countertops are FANTASTIC and all that tile is awesome. i especially love the tile in "exhibit b" of your post from sunday. gorgeous :)

Lauren said...

I just wanted to thank you for your raw honesty. I cannot relate and really don't know what to say other then I hope your dreams and hard work come true!

Kimber-Leigh said...

i just loved reading your thoughts here april.

you've been in my prayers and will continue to be so.

Mary Jo said...

I'm really hoping and praying for you.

JennL said...

I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes and so much love in my heart. I am so moved by your sharing, particularly the gift of fertility medication. That message from the "mamas" was one of the most beautiful sentiments I've come across in a long time. It was just the message I needed to hear today.

We are struggling with infertility issues as well and unfortunately I am not a good candidate for IVF. I feel like I am sharing this journey of emotion and love and grief and HOPE with a friend as I follow your progress.

Thank you for sharing! I can't wait to celebrate your pregnancy.

Cheryl said...

April, It took me nearly 5 years, thousands of dollars, a hormone roller coaster ride of a lifetime, an amazing dr. (and staff) and a strong supporting husband and family. I would do it again in a blink of eye to have my two beautiful children. My prayers and thoughts are with you though this journey and I pray that you and your husband find happiness with your own little one.