tmi

Every night I think through my day to unwind right before I fall asleep. Thursday night, I wrote two blog posts in my head. Good ones; they were witty, entertaining, deep & even a little TMI about TTC {at least I thought they were}. I *almost* jumped up to write them down. Instead I rolled over & fell asleep. I woke up Friday morning refreshed, but my mind was blank. Those witty posts poof; gone. But I still feel like this needs to be said. To be remembered by me & to let others TTC know they aren’t alone. Mom & Dad, if you’ve stumbled back here, stop reading.

Long time readers of a certain friend of mine will remember a guest post by our friend Jenny aka the Oral Goddess. I read the post. Tongue in cheek. Admiring her willingness to not only do that frequently but also admit it & put it out there. But all the while, thinking to myself, that’s not me. Not us. At least not anymore. I kinda felt like that bedroom action was done or, like late night pizza & drunk dials, a kinda fun but rare occurrence for my 28 year old self.

Then we started TTC. And all my thoughts, plans, lofty ideas about “normal” soon went out the window. Months & cycles went by & we were still not pregnant. Our normal wasn’t working & I was willing to try *just about* everything. Which included digging deep into my seventeen-year-old-self’s Cosmo knowledge. You remember reading that right? & laughing with friends at the beach while reading articles about positions & tips & tricks that you didn’t really think people did.

Six months into trying to conceive, I was frustrated & tired. So I tried something a few of those different things & it worked. Hands, tongues, removing all married-people-don’t-do-that’s from my psyche, & pulling out the honeymoon {one size too small} lingerie, & TTC became a little more fun.

Close to a year later, the routine is killing us both. Add to that uncomfort & even pain on my part, thanks to the increased fertility meds, & TTC is much less fun & much more like our second jobs. What Jenny did {does?!}, that I kinda scoffed at, that type of performance occurs multiple times during TTC week in our house & is now our normal. But we try to have fun. & relax because, you know, that’s all it takes right?! And certain fairly tame swag that should & does make me blush a little, just might help & be my new favorite {thanks, A for picking up an extra one & sharing}.

I was told at my cycle day 10 appointment that this sixth medicated cycle will probably be the last before we add in procedures like IUIs or IVF. Both mean conception most likely occurs outside of the bedroom & with a high $$$ price. So this weekend, I’m going to try to enjoy our new normal & then let nature & God take over. What’s a better place for inception to really happen than right before attending a baby shower right?!

I’ve been thinking that I’d love a place {outside of those message boards} to connect & vent & relate to others TTC, battling infertility, or who’ve come through it with a babe in tow. I’m thinking of making fridays Infertile Fridays around here. Feel free to link up in the comments anything that might help me or others struggling through TTC.

Unwelcomed Guest: my morning’s highs & lows

I sat cautiously in my RE’s waiting room this morning listening for my name to be called then to be taken back to that familiar small room. Undressed from the waist down, I held my breath a bit as the ultrasound wand was inserted. By this point in our infertility journey, I too can read the baseline ultrasound & see full lining, my left ovary MIA, & my right ovary {the active one for cycle 21} still looking very active. There was a large blob in the center with three smaller cysts? on its left. The tech had me get dressed while she tried to find a doctor. The doctors were all busy, so she suggested I get blood work done to rules things out. Things meaning pregnacy &/or cysts. My emotions of possible elelation & sadness held in check because I didn’t know.

I sat with hands out for the blood work nurse. My heart raced as she poked & proded my veins. I regretted not drinking all my water bottle on the way over as I saw my blood very slowly dripping out. Next thing I saw were spots then stars. I heard voices, but they sounded very far away as I’m told I’m pale. Then loud voices were telling me to put my head between my knees after I announced I might throw up. A few minutes later {I can’t be sure how long}, I’m slowly walked & layed down in an empty exam room, given cool cloths & juice to keep the sweat & shakes at bay.

All I could say & think was I’m sorry & so embarrassed as the time ticked by. Finally, I felt ok enough to sit up then I leaned over to text my husband & coworkers that I’m going to be even later. I made it to work but still felt slightly shaky. Time, more water & lunch out with coworkers left me finally feeling almost like myself.

Except that I knew a phone call that would change my day awaited. That phone call just arrived. Sweet Megan advised me that while that the pregnancy test was negative, my estrogen & progesterone levels were very normal for the beginning of a new cycle.  This is what I expected. I’d even gone so far to think if the pregnancy test was negative then hopefully the other levels were fine {if not then cycle 22 would be another bust}.

With a sad, but once again hopeful, heart I will begin taking those powerful little pills tomorrow night. My unwelcomed guest, AF, & her cycle 22 has arrived.

2WW Thoughts One Week In

Today marks one week into my 20th cycle TTC’s dreaded two week wait.

I had some unknown & unexplained CM & spotting last weekend that left me uncertain & even a little afraid. I was thinking, did I ovulate when the shot was supposed to make me? Is this because of Friday’s second Ovridrel shot? Am I just dehydrated? Is something wrong & I’m already getting my period 3 days later? Really it doesn’t take much to make this TTC girl’s mind start spinning. {if you have any idea what this could, let me know!}

But by Sunday, things had gone away or cleared up. I’ve been doing the progestrone supps {yes, even while rooming with strangers friends at BlogHer}. They’re a mess, but by now I’m used to the progesterone & I really believe they help.

You’d think with all that’s going on in running around & traveling this week that I’d have this 2WW pushed waaaay into the back of my mind. I have to say, yes it has definitely helped the days quickly pass. I haven’t had time to focus on all the little crazies that come with the 2WW {is that twing implantation? bloating bc too many diet cokes today or pregnancy? the list can go on}. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know exactly what dpO I am {8 since you asked} & when I’ll be able to poas {probably beginning of the week once I’m back home}.

Fingers crossed that AF doesn’t show up in the rest of my time in San Diego {especially not while I’m wearing my khaki skirt!} & that I’ll be able to make & go to a beta appointment next Wednesday.

Expect the Unexpected

That should be the theme for the last twenty TTC cycles: expect the unexpected {yes, I’m borrowing Big Brother’s theme & don’t hate, there’s not much on TV in the summer}.

I’m not trying to sound pretentious when I say that things have typically come pretty easy for me. When I’ve wanted something, with a little hard work, I usually have gotten it. Of course I’ve had ups & downs & the usual drama of life, but over all I know {& appreciate} that I’ve had it good. HS, sports, college, husband, work, friends; yep, all there.  Based on that & our genetic history, I went into TTC thinking this would follow the trend & be fun & quick & easy with just a little work. Not so much. If I’ve learned anything in these twenty cycles it’s that I’m not in charge, I’ve gotta be patient, & I’ve gotta throw my expectations out the window.

I like being in charge. I like knowing what’s next. I hate surprises {take note bc the big 3-0 is coming soon}. I love making plans & lists & filling in a calendar. All of these things do not go well with TTC & infertility. Infertility means never being in charge. Your body & God are making all the moves. I’m just trying to keep up.

Within the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself getting snappy at work. Annoyed with any interruptions; even the normal this-is-part-of-my-job interruptions have made me lose patience & get frustrated. I know this has nothing to do with the agents that are calling me or the coworkers talking about their children. It’s me. Wanting what I don’t have & losing patience that it’s not ours right.now. I’ve been going to God recently for patience. {I promise I’m not trying to turn this into an annoyingly religious rant} but just a quick {inside my head} shout out for patience calms me. That & a glass of wine once I’m home at night.

I expected we’d have a baby by now. Hell, I even though we’d have a toddler by now. Instead this morning, after a weekend of follistim injections, I had my cycle day 10 ultrasound. Last cycle, at this same day’s ultrasound, I had six visible follicles, did one more night of follistim along with antagon then ovidrel the following night. I was expecting something similar. Instead this morning’s US found I had one really big follicle {22.5} as well as one smaller one {14} on my right side & nothing on my left. The tech said ovridrel tonight & ovulation Wednesday morning. The antagon I spent $50 on last week is not being used. The extra 600 IUs of follistim I expected to need {& that cost $100} sit unopened in my frig. I don’t need them for this cycle, but I’m holding on to both for now. Thinking, hoping, praying I won’t need them next month but who knows. I’m learning to expect the unexpected.

Cost of Infertility

I want to start off saying that we are lucky. My work-provided insurance does not exclude infertility doctor appointments or medicines.

But I want to remember what we are going through in order to make our future baby, so I thought I’d do a quick rundown of cycle costs. At the beginning of the year, I set aside $1200 pre-tax to be taken out of my bi-weekly paychecks for a FSA. I was planning that we’d either use it for IF or child birth as well as the usual stuff like dentist & regular doctor appts.

Our copay for appointments {of any length or kind from U/S to meeting with Dr P} is $50. This 19th cycle I’ve been three times {baseline US, follow up with Dr P & today’s US}. I was planning that they’d be a second monitoring appt but I’ve grown enough follicles quick enough to not warrant extra days. So total of $150 {the injectibles class was $55 so I guess actual total is $205}.

I also have a copay for medicines but Medco is kinda tricky. It’s cool with normal copays at regular pharmacy twice per medicine. So first two times I picked up Ovidrel {medicated cycles 2 & 3 bc got it free from friend 1st time- thanks N}, it had a $50 copay. This time I had to order it straight from Medco {at $82} to avoid it jumping to $100 copay from CVS. I ordered the second one needed for this cycle from a local specialty pharmacy & it cost $50. {total $132 for cycle 4}

Femara {10 tiny pills} is $20 at normal pharmacy. I got it twice at CVS for $20 then filled it last time while I was working in Forest City & it was also $20. This time from Medco shipped to my door, it was $10. {total cycle 4 $10}

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My progesterone supps {15 bullet shaped things} have to be from a specialty pharmacy. The first time I used them {medicated cycle 2}, I bought them from local BR Pharmacy & they were $45. I heard they were cheaper elsewhere, so I ordered them from the office recommended online pharmacy for cycle 3. They were $30 & I still have some of these left. A friend that moved away had some left from her recently failed cycle so she gave those to me {thanks A}, so I’m not having to pay anything for this medicine this cycle. {cycle 4 $0}

I found another local specialty pharmacy for the Follistim last Friday afternoon. They gave me the Follistim pen, medicine, needles, a Sharps container, band-aids & alcohol wipes, & the pen container for it all for $100. I thought my highest copay was $50 but since it’s just used for infertility this might explain the higher copay. {cycle 4 $100}

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Another awesome friend had some of the Antagon leftover from her IF cycles. She’s now pregnant & they are close to expiring so she passed them on to me {thanks M}. I found out today that I will only need one of these which usually cost $83. {cycle 4 total $0}

That means my total medicine cost of $242 this cycle & full cost with appts is $447. {Antagon not pictured}
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We used up the last of the $1200 last Friday so I’ve paid $100 out of pocket this week. Hopefully we won’t have further medicate cycles, but if we do, they will also be paid out of pocket {even more motivation for this one to be the one that WORKS!}.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention emotion costs {stress, loneliness, 10 pounds of emotional eating} as well as social costs. That’s probably another post for another time but I will say this. I’m a social person. That I left my really good friend’s 30th b-day party early to have TI & that cycle didn’t work. I hate that. That we’re no longer going to OIB over this July 4th weekend {first time not being there since I was in elementary school} so we can stay home & do shots & have sex; that sucks.

Bottom line: I’m hoping these costs are more than worth it in the long run.