Appreciation for my new life

I’m feeling very appreciative this morning.  

I just read a couple articles and blogs that I was linked to through PAIL bloggers, about the effect of infertility on men when MFI is a factor.  It brought me back to the dark emotions that took over my life in February 2012.  I still remember the voicemail from my RE when he said not to start taking my Femara prescription, as my husband’s sperm was a factor, and “actually quite poor”.  We were in such disbelief.  Everything changed. 

But here I am now, only 16 months later, staring at my baby girl in her lamby Fisher-Price swing.  She is perfect.  I can’t even believe how lucky we are to have a baby, let alone a healthy baby, let alone a gorgeous baby.  It’s hard to believe the despair I was feeling just last year at this time.  Not knowing if we’d ever get to experience this.  

Often I feel somewhat removed from the pain of infertility.  I am so grateful to have her, but now I’m just like any new mom: overwhelmed, overtired, wondering if I’ll ever have a social life again, wondering how I’m going to shower that day.  I don’t think about the lengths we went to get here.  I’m just living minute to minute, trying to keep her fed, healthy, and happy.  

Then there are times like today when I am reminded of the pain.  And my eyes well up with happy and sad tears, and I’m extra grateful.  And I hope I always remember.  It makes the sleepless nights a little easier, it makes me stare at her a little longer, and give her a few extra dozen kisses a day.  Our road to this wasn’t an easy one.  

I dread having to go through IVF again.  I dread the needles, and the anxiety, and the fear. But I’m lucky in that I know it can work.  I know that I just as easily could have been someone who had to endure round after round of IVF, or a miscarriage, or something worse.  

And when I look at her sweet little face, I know I can go through it again.  And I’ll be okay.  

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The Sads

As my “About” says, I am a generally happy girl trying to stay sane during infertility.  I have a tendency to overreact, but I like to think I usually have the normal emotional response in a given situation, whether it’s happy, mad, excited, sad.  My husband might disagree (he think’s I cray) but he married me anyway, so it can’t be all that bad.  I have never felt like I might actually be depressed.  I get a little anxious at times, but that’s normal, right?

Infertility is like a weird wrench in my psyche.  Ever since February when we got our severe MFI diagnosis (beyond my own low fertility), I feel different.  The first few days afterward, I was constantly on the verge of tears.  I remember waking up in the middle of the night, and just being completely horrified.  It felt like a nightmare.  I laid there for hours wide awake, trying not to throw up.

As the weeks went on, and reality sank in,  I adjusted to it slightly,  but I still had the occasional screaming/crying outburst in my car on the way to work.  As the months have passed, and all my dearest friends have wound up pregnant,  it’s continued to be difficult.  I already feel bitter.  I feel jaded.  It’s only been 5 months since the diagnosis! And we haven’t even completed our first IVF yet!

So now that IVF #1 is pending,  I’m feeling super emotional.  Like listening to the Radiohead pandora station non-stop and weeping in my car.  Pitiful, I know.  This should NOT be my mindset going into this.  What am I doing?

I’m worried about my emotional well-being.  I’m afraid that I’m not strong enough to go through multiple cycles, and how I’m going to deal if they don’t work.  I know my husband is strong enough for the both of us, but that’s not how this works.

I know I should try to embrace a much more positive, zen-like outlook on the whole thing, but how does one do that when you just feel like shit?

If anyone has any suggestions, I’m up for anything.  Yoga, meditation, acupuncture (maybe.)

What is the normal emotional response for this nightmarish rollercoaster we’re all on?

Please let me know how you’re feeling, and how you cope.

Money Money Money

So yesterday I started my 21 days of birth control and baby aspirin regimen (those things are adorable, little hearts on them and everything!)

We also got our IVF Financial paperwork.

There are 2 options:

Package 1 costs $5,000 for cycle 1, $4,000 for cycle 2, and $3,000 if a 3rd cycle is needed.

Package 2 is $6,500 and includes 2 cycles.

(Both packages include the cost of IVF management fee/teach session, embryo retrieval, embryo transfer, ICSI, hatching, embryo cryopreservation, embryo storage for 1 calendar year, and FET’s for 1 calendar year.)

Other costs not included:

Ultrasound scans- $940

Lab tests- $450

Medications- $1,900-4,000

We are going to go with option 2 (6,500 for 2) as a kind of insurance policy.  Add in all the other costs, and this initial cycle will cost between $9,790 and $11,890.  If the second cycle is needed, it would be between $3,290 and $5,390 for the ultrasounds, labs, and meds.

Amount covered by insurance- $0

I’m not sure why there would be such a variance in the need of drugs, maybe based on hormones? My body’s ability to respond?  Based on my AMH level that I’m still freaking out about (1.13) I’m thinking I’m going to need lots of drugs.

I’m just curious how this matches up with other people’s IVF costs.  I’m in upstate NY.  I wonder how much the cost might vary depending on what state you live in.  I remember seeing $6,500 on their website, thinking that included everything, and being thrilled!  It seemed SO much cheaper than the national average.

Now I realize, I was way wrong.

Please feel free to share the specs of your IVF costs!

Let’s openly talk finances in a way that would make my grandmother gasp in horror. 😉

Tentative IVF Schedule (& some new concerns) (Edited)

My period started last night. Yay!

This morning I got my blood work done, and called the IVF nurse.  She gave me the low-down on what the next 6ish weeks are going to look like. Meanwhile, my husband went to the RE to hand in a sample to be frozen as back-up. Brrr.

So here it is…

July 21st- start birth control for 21 days, until August 10th (Apri/Desogen) & take daily baby aspirin

July 26th- mock egg retrieval ultrasound with RE & teach session with IVF nurse on medication and IVF schedule details

August 6th- start Lupron injections

August 14th- blood work and U/S with RE

August 17th- (I wrote this date down and forgot to write the reason.  Ha! Maybe Follistim? I’ll know more next week)

August 27th or the week of- EGG RETRIEVAL!

Ok.  I’m very excited that this is all happening so soon.  But it wouldn’t be a phone call with the RE if there wasn’t something that sounded like bad news to me.  Last week at our consult, I had some initial blood work done, and they tested my AMH level (Anti-Mullerian Hormone).  I’m no expert, but I know it tests a hormone that’s released in the ovaries that determines ovarian reserve/how well your body will respond to the drugs.  So I asked her if my levels came back normal.  She said above 2 is ideal, and I was at 1.13.  Then she said anything below 1 is usually “bad”.  Huh… 1.13 sounds pretty close to 1 or below to me.  Then she said it just gives the RE an idea of how to adjust the doses of meds, etc.  But all I’m thinking is ARE MY EGGS BAD? SERIOUSLY?

So I googled it (of course) to see what the normal ranges are.  From what I saw earlier today, it said 20 was normal for my age. Holy shit!   Two or below was extremely low on this particular chart. And I’m at 1.13?  So I freaked out…. Until I just discovered that there are 2 different scales of measurement.  If they test in ng/mL, I’d be in the range of normal.  I’m going to just shut up until I talk to my RE.  As per usual, my husband told me not to jump to any conclusions unless I heard it from the doctor, and he was right.  Google, you’re gonna be the death of me.

Since I don’t have all the details of the cycle yet, I’m not really sure if this is my last period before we start the heavy duty stuff.  But if it is, sweet!

Maybe this will be the last one for the next 9 months or so? 😉

The only test I can’t pass

I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but I’ve always done well on tests.  I’ve always had good grades, been on the high honor roll, took advanced classes, etc.  I pass every exam, driver’s test, CPR course that comes my way.

It didn’t all necessarily come naturally; I would work for it.  I was a neurotic child, the kind who would cry if she forgot her homework on the kitchen table.  I remember bawling my eyes out in 3rd grade when I got a 103 instead of 104 on my spelling test, because I forgot to capitalize one of the bonus words, “Spanish”.  (Seriously)

I’m still neurotic, and I definitely think I have some tendencies bordering on OCD, but I like to stay on top of things.  And I worry.  I worry way too much.  I worry for days when I say things that might have offended someone; I worry over the things I didn’t say.  Now, I constantly worry that we may never get to experience having our own child.

So back to test-taking, it came as a shock, when no matter how hard we tried,  I could not pass this test.  I could never make 2 lines appear on a HPT.  Every month for 8 months (I know this is not that long, but I stopped when we got our male factor diagnosis), I’d pee on a stick once or twice when I thought the time was right, but no dice.  There was a time when I hallucinated and thought I saw a faint line, but it turned out to be a shadow.  My best friend got pregnant TWICE in one month (don’t ask), but me? Never.

It really sucks to be a type A, in-control kind of person, and not be able to pass a freaking pregnancy test, when every 16-year-old on MTV has no trouble, nor anyone on my Facebook feed.  It really feels shitty.

Since I met my husband, everything had gone perfectly according to plan.  He was everything I ever wanted in a potential mate.  After dating for only about 8 months, he bought a house for us, and we started our life together.  When it came time a year after that to get engaged,  I picked out my own ring.  (Neurotic.)  We found the perfect venue for the wedding, and since we started planning so early, we got everything we wanted.

When you are so accustomed to being able to get what you want if you work hard enough, it is such a helpless feeling to want something so bad, and to then find out there isn’t a damn thing you can do to get it.

I’m keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that modern medicine can make our bodies do what they’re supposed to do.  I’m putting all my faith into our RE, who seems not only brilliant, but very kind, that he can make this work.

It has to. If I couldn’t handle not getting a perfect score on a 3rd grade spelling test, can you imagine my reaction to that?

Random Sunday night musings

Is it weird that at the ripe old age of 28, I still don’t know my period worth a shit?  I’ll keep talking about this because I have nothing new to report.  I have so many girlfriends whose bodies work the same, every month, like clock-work.  Oh, and they’re all pregnant right now, but that’s besides the point.  Or is it?  Anyway, right now I am at my ‘mid-end of cycle spot for 10 days then stop for a day, then turn a little more period like, but not quite’, phase.  And eventually, it’ll come.  I just don’t know when.  But this is the first month in a very long time (especially since beginning TTC) that I’ve actually wanted it to come.  Like NOW.  Then, I can go to Quest Diagnostics, my favorite place to hang out in the city (eeeew) and take a stat quant HCG test.  And an HIV test, a little bonus I wasn’t aware of.  My blood work script is nothing compared to my husband’s though, which currently consists of every major deadly STD in the world (I will not be seen with him at that appointment).  Anyway, fingers crossed that period will be here stat.

I went out with 2 of my pregnant girlfriends the other night (most are) to see Magic Mike.  First we had dinner, and we got to catch up on pregnancy, babies, and my pitiful infertility tales.  I don’t really know how I feel talking about it with all these Fertiles.  They really just don’t get it.  These two are good friends of mine, and they know because they knew we were “trying”, we were all “trying” at the same time, and it was just too damn hard to keep to myself after I still wasn’t pregnant a year later.  I feel like it’s a lot more painful and isolating to keep it a secret, then it is for the secret to kind of be out in the open with certain friends, but their general cluelessness still irritates me.  I should know, it’s not their fault, they each tried for about a month or 2 off the pill before they easily became pregnant.  They don’t need to know a damn thing about infertility treatments, and especially IVF.  But still, I feel like none of them grasp what an ordeal it is.  I guess I don’t even know what an ordeal it is, yet, but I will.

Magic Mike was full of pregnant chicks.  Every group of girlfriends there had 1-2 pregnants within it.  In the bathroom, as me and my 2 friends washed our hands, another pregnant chick started commiserating with them, and all I could think was, “ughhhhhhhhhhhh.”

Why can’t I be one of them?