Monday, January 31, 2011

Quality vs. Quantity

Things are never simple. Or straightforward. Ever.

I'm going in for egg retrieval on Wednesday.

But I only have 4 mature follicles.

They look "beautiful" and well developed. And my lining looks good.

But there are only four.

Nurse Heather said she'd rather have 4 great ones rather than 20 mediocre ones.

The doc said we're "on the cusp" for moving forward or cancelling. But also said he wouldn't be willing to move forward if he didn't feel like we had a good chance of having embryos to transfer. And he thinks (with no guarantees) that we'll have something to transfer.

But I wanted more. I hoped for more. I prayed over and over again for more. For certainty, and the chance to have some embryos to freeze. And I don't want "something" to transfer ... I want GREAT quality embryos to transfer.

I'm excited to be moving forward. But terrified that we're in essence flipping a coin for our 50/50 chance at having a baby ... for the low low price of $10K. And without the safety net of a less expensive frozen cycle.

More Rediculousness Rx

Thursday AM, the day after Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy told me their pharmacy was out of network, and that I my Rx for Ganirelix was not covered (after 3 days of back and forth on my coverage)...

...wait for it...

...Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy called me to let me know my Doc called in a new Rx, and they've verified my coverage.

I am covered? Really? Seriously?

Apparently (even though they are a MAIL ORDER pharmacy), you can be covered by their Pennsylvania office, but NOT by their Texas office.

Total rediculousness. I told them as much.

An hour after they called the Centritide showed up from CVS Specialty.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pharmacy suckage

No one has Ganirelix. It's on back order until mid-March.

Well, no one except Walgreens specialty pharmacy (i.e. Schrafts), which it turns out is supposedly not covered by my insurance.

SUNDAY: I went to my local pharmacy. Answer=can't get it until March due to manufacturing back order.

MONDAY: When I went in for my baseline scan, asked the doctor for an alternative medicine, but it turns out Schrafts has Ganirelix, so they fax my Rx there and we give them all our informtion.

After 3 days of back and forth with Schrafts and their insurance people, I realized I NEVER want to deal with them again. Day 1: My insurance was declined because Schrafts recorded my birthdate wrong. Day 2: Supposedly, my insurance company "couldn't find me." BUT, by the way, they COULD find my husband. I'm on the same plan. Day 3 (today): I demanded they call back the insurance company that very moment while I waited on the line, the story became "declined due to being out of network".

HOWEVER... my insurance company (Caremark) told me last night and again today that I should be covered at this pharmacy. For this particular drug. Can't Walgreens and Caremark play nicer with each other? This is rediculous!

So... they tell me for specialty I have to go to CVS specialty pharmacy, and so after losing an hour to arguing with Schrafts, I call CVS Specialty.

"Do you have Ganirelix?" I ask.
"Yes" they say.
"Am I covered by my insurance wtih you?"
"Yes" they say.

So... I ask my doctor to fax the Rx to them. I even mentioned to CVS that Ganirelix was on back order, and they assured me they had it in stock.

When I called back at 4:00, what do I hear? "We verified your insurance, but Ganirelix is on back order so we can't get it to you."

So... I called my doctor AGAIN, this time asking for an alternative to Ganirelix. Centritide. The one where you have to mix the powder and liquid that looks all intimidating. Crap. BUT, at least it's on it's way, and I can continue my cycle uninterupted.

But still - what a crappy day.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Onward to IVF!

My period started on Saturday, so today is the third day of my cycle, aka the beginning of IVF, aka blood drawing/baseline scan/first Follistim injection day.

We've chosen 9pm as injection time, and VC just did my first one. A little pinch, but not bad at all.

I'm a little nervous, but surprisingly calm.

I decided today that I'm giving up worrying. My new mantra is, "Worrying won't change anything. What do I have the ability to do right now?" I did this for Lent last year, and it was surprisingly helpful. I felt calmer, and more sane, and didn't let all the little crazy work issues get to me nearly as much. Or the personal ones.

So here I am, not worrying. Not worrying about the outcome of the IVF - because all I can do is follow the doctor's orders and keep a positive attitude and take care of myself.

Things at work are crazy. And I mean CRAZY. People are freaking out about lots of things, and try to make it my issue because I'm the messenger. BUT, I'm not letting myself get all freaked out and worried. I can't change what the data tells us. All I can do is give them the best advice I have on how to optimize their plans.

Their craziness will not become my craziness. I will not work 24/7. Not saying I won't work long hours a little, because I can't completely get out of that - but I will have personal time, I will get enough sleep, and I will put myself and this IVF and my husband as the priority right now.

So now that I've talked all big and confidently, given myself the pep talk I need, onward and upward. Day 2 of IVF, here I come.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back and starting the hard stuff, or maybe the hard stuff is behind me...

Thanks to those who checked in on me. For months after VC got sick, I just couldn't bring myself to post.

It took him 3 and a half months to fully recover, with fevers all along the way which severely affected his sperm count... so needless to say our subsequent IUIs were challenging to get through. We took a few months off, and then did two more cycles in October & November. Things had improved somewhat, but still no dice.

It was so hard that I didn't want to focus on it. Didn't want to write about it. Didn't want to read about it. Just wanted to make it through VC being sick and the disappointment / anger at God for stealing away the hope for having a baby.

So now... the hard stuff. IVF. But maybe (hopefully) compared to the last year, it won't be so hard. Maybe it will be joyous. And happy. And start my 36th year off on a wonderful note. This is what I'm trying to focus on. I'm trying to be relaxed. And positive. And hopeful.

My period is set to come any day now. Which means we will likely start in the next week. I'm a little freaked out. A little excited. A lot nervous.

We were supposed to start with my last cycle, but the tricky thing came on day 21 while I was in Florida. I think the extra month has been a good thing - I feel like we'll start on a more relaxed note rather than rushing back into town just in time to start injecting myself with fun drugs.

I told my sisters about the IVF while we were down visiting for the holidays, but struggled telling my mom & dad.

My family is Catholic, and my parents are very devout in their own casual, personal way (not in a preachy in your face way). On one hand, I know they will love me and support me through everything. But on the other... I know I could not handle it if they expressed any disapproval at all.

So I avoided the subject... because I know the United States Council of Bishops has issued position papers against IVF due to the rights of the unborn and the only "blessed" way to conceive being as a result of actual intercourse between a man and a woman. I've made my peace with it and feel like it will work for us if God wants it to. I also feel that although their heart is in the right place, the bishops don't know what it's like to struggle with infertility, and they don't know how much love it takes to conceive a child with the type of barriers we've faced.

So... because I knew the Catholic position on the issue, I couldn't bring myself to broach it with them... but somewhere in the back of my brain, I realized how my family works and figured out how to tell them without telling them.
  • I tell my sisters.
  • One of them figures out that I want to tell my mom, but can't, so they tell her for me.
  • My mom tells my dad and they have time to mull things over and work through it without me being involved.
  • My mom approaches me to let me know she knows, and that she and my dad support me.
  • Which is exacly what she did on New Years Day.

So, they support us. They support us trying IVF. And they want me to call and talk to them about it. To quote her, "This baby will be conceived out of love, and that's what matters." She even apologized for not asking me about the infertility stuff more proactively.

The hard part about being home is that I found out one of my sisters is pregnant. This same sister and I started trying in the same month, and her son is now 16 months old. She's on #2.

I wanted so bad to support her, and to be happy for her. Instead, when she came to tell me I spat out, almost in an accusing way, "you're pregnant aren't you?" Not my shining moment. It took me a few days, but I eventually told her I was happy for her, and managed to remain tear-free during our brief conversation.

I know she found it really hard to tell me, and wants me to be pregnant more than anything. But it still hurts. And it feels selfish, but a part of me thinks her getting pregnant means that if I do it will mean less. That sounds stupid typing it out... and it's probably fuled by jealously more than anything.

So here we are. I've blocked my mornings on my Outlook calendar for the next month and a half so that I can drop everything and run to the doctor as needed. My manager knows about the IVF and is supportive. And I'm trying to remain calm.

I hope your journey is progressing in the way you hope. Thinking about all of you struggling with infertility tonight, and thankful you're here supporting the others of us who struggle.