Category Archives: Infertility
…so don’t even bother asking me to.
Wow! The plan for this week’s blog post was SO different than what it has become. I guess I can just save that one for a later time.
So let’s back up a second. Yesterday I downloaded Resolve.org‘s Listen Up toolkit for this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week. It’s next month, April 23-29…the 29th is my birthday. After I downloaded the toolkit, I created an album on my personal Facebook profile and added all the photos to it. A little while later, I was “gently” asked to maybe not focus so much on infertility because it may make some people a little uncomfortable.
So after I calmly removed myself from the conversation…telling them to forget my name and blocking them is “calm”, right?!…I sat and stewed for a while.
Infertility is a disease. Just like cancer, diabetes, heart disease. Why do we welcome and encourage awareness for those things, and ask people with infertility to sit a corner and stay quiet?
When a friend is going through a divorce, what do we tell them? We tell them we’re here for them. We tell them to talk about it. We tell them it’s natural to grieve the loss of the relationship, the loss of the future. We tell them it’s not healthy to keep all those emotions bottled up. We tell them we are their friends and that’s what friends are for.
Why do I not get that same level of understanding?! And the…well, I’ve never experienced infertility and that’s why I’m uncomfortable with it…is kind of lame. I’ve never been through a divorce. I still don’t tell my friends who are going through a divorce to leave me out of those conversations. I’ve never had cancer…I still talk to my friends while they are going through chemo.
My husband lost his mother more than 20 years ago, I lost my father less than 5 years ago. Him knowing what it’s like to lose a parent didn’t make his hugs to me more comforting. It didn’t make his presence by my side more important. Just like my arms, when he lost his father a year and a half ago, weren’t a place of solace because I knew what it was like to lose a daddy. All that mattered was that we were there for one another, we were by each other’s side, when we needed support. We didn’t have to understand in order to comfort.
Because when you’re going through something difficult, all that matters is that you are surrounded by people who love you. They don’t have to know what to say, what you’re feeling, what journey lies ahead of you. They just need to support you through it.
I talk about infertility, because so many people don’t even know what it is. There’s this idea that if you want to get pregnant and you don’t get pregnant that very first month you try, it’s infertility. Or that infertility can be “fixed” by simply getting a massage to help you relax or a different kind of underwear. (By the way…don’t talk to your friends about their spouse’s underwear. You want to talk about uncomfortable.)
Not talking about it, doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t make it less painful. It doesn’t. And while you may be more comfortable not hearing about it, someone you love is still suffering alone.
1 in 8…that’s how many people suffer through infertility. 1 in 8 have a disease that’s not contagious, but no one wants to be “around” it. Can you imagine how isolating that can be?
My life is a messy kind of happiness. It is full of loss, full of cuss words, full of hospital stays & surgeries. It is financial worries, broken plans, and plants I can’t always keep alive. It’s full of love, full of faith, full of hope. It’s fur baby snuggles through out the night, a marriage working on it’s second decade, it’s Christmas tree lights hung year round. It’s kisses followed by death threats and some times death threats followed by kisses. It’s beautifully crazy. It’s not easy, but it is amazing.
It’s not fair to ask me to share only the happy. To only share the inconsequential. If I can share when a recipe goes right, or when flowers are randomly brought home…why shouldn’t I share when I have a bad day trying to conceive a child? It’s not fair to only be a friend during the good times.
Yes, infertility can be uncomfortable for those that are blessed enough to never face it head on. But that level of comfor comes at the expense of someone you love. And being silent about infertility makes me uncomfortable. And I’m not willing to do that.
Last week was a whirlwind of issues at Casa de Mo. I was kinda puny. Extremely hopeful about this cycle. Got to spend time with the bestie. And had a LuLaRoe fundraising Pop-On on Facebook.
And it appears that we will have to do IUI with Clomid instead of IUI with injections. Thankfully, we did qualify for some help for the injections. But I still don’t think financially we can do them. We qualified for a 25% discount. That still leaves us paying about $550 for just one of the 3 medications. That’s about the cost of the IUI preceedure itself.
I hate to sound like I’m complaining…we *only* qualified for 25% off. I know there are couples out there who don’t even qualify for that. And I am beyond grateful for any help we get. I was always, actually, planning on doing IUI with Clomid…because I respond very well to Clomid. But if I’m being honest, I was hoping to qualify for the 75% off and do the injections. I know my RE prefers IUI with injections over Clomid. And it does give us the best shot at a successful cycle. So I was hoping.
I just hate how money plays such a major role in this journey. I hate that my insurance company is allowed so much power over my TTC journey. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful they cover the things they do. (I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I am.) But it’s so arbitrary to me that they will cover fertility treatments up to insemination. Like why draw a line? Fertility treatments are fertility treatments. Drawing a line in the sand and saying they’ll cover everything on this side of the line but nothing on that side…it’s a little soul crushing. This journey is isolating enough as it is. Why make me feel more like a pariah because my journey has gone to the “other side”?!
Thankfully, with some of our income tax return, donations from very supportive friends, the LLR fundraiser, and my Crocheting to pay for IUI project…we have 2 and 1/3 IUI cycles saved up. Now we just have to figure out if we start IUI next cycle or wait one more. I think hubby would prefer waiting another cycle. But I just don’t know that I can. I’ll keep y’all updated on what we…ok, I…decide. lol I really feel like we won’t wait though. Because I’m hoping to be able to have a third cycle saved up for June. And we will have to take July off because I’m our VBS Director this year. And I don’t think people will understand hubby & I having to leave to go get inseminated. I just don’t see that going over well. lmbo So, since I already know July is an off cycle…I just don’t know that I’m emotionally prepared to take another cycle off right now.
Leaving on a happy note though…I’m working on an ordered and an available to purchase blanket in my Crocheting to pay for IUI plan. I need a project bag so bad! That will be my next acquisition. Cause right now I’m carrying my yarn, hook and blanket with me every where. I’m motivated beyond belief y’all!
And autocorrect likes to mess with me…it tried to change precedent to PreSeed in a rather delicate email yesterday. lol I’m just glad I caught it. Normally I don’t until I get the reply.
(So this post might be a rambling one, that seems to have no real point. But that’s kind of the day I’m having. So, Happy Women’s Day! lol)
I know I’ve said a few times before that I am a *BIG* temp pusher when it comes to TTC. My app of choice is Fertility Friend. I’ve used several apps, but that is the only I’ve stuck with. For me, it’s the most accurate. But it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
The tracking apps can be used in several different ways. It can be a date tracker, where all you put in are the dates each month when your cycle starts. It can be a BBT tracker, where you track your basal body temperature each day to confirm ovulation. You can use them to track daily cervical position, cervical fluid/mucus, symptoms, and OPK testing to help track your fertile window. Or you can do it all. As you might guess…I do it all. (Well, except cervical position. Haven’t gotten that down.)
But, I’ve learned the more information you put into it, the more accurate it is. And the longer you use it, the more accurate it is. It learns your patterns and can help predict better based on them.
For example…if all you use it for is a date tracker, it gives you a projected fertile window & expected period start date based on what is “average” for your cycle length. Which, can be WAY off for you specifically. So, I always say to use them to their fullest. Especially if you’re using a paid version of the app.
But I have also learned that no matter how much information you put into an app…it’s still just an app. Life will always be life. It can alway surprise you.
Five of the last six cycles have been medicated. So I didn’t do OPKs during those cycles because of the scans I was having to track progress. But when we decided to go unmedicated this cycle while we worked out some things in preparation for IUI, I decided to go back to the full on crazy OPK testing lady that I use to be. Hence, the outrageously nutzo test stash pics you’ve seen.
Now, typically during an unmedicated cycle, my usual cycle length is average 32 days and I ovulate sometime between CD16 & 19. The rule of thumb on OPK testing, if I remember right, is to start testing 16 days before your period is expected. It’s another rule that’s based on dates only…so it’s based on a 14 day luteal phase being the “average”. My avareage luteal phase is 13 days. And, I have been known to have an occasional wonky cycle where I’ve ovulated on CD10 or 11. So I decided to start my OPK testing on CD5…just to be safe. And it’s not like I don’t have enough tests to cover a couple weeks worth of testing, should I need it.
So, based on what Fertility Friend knows of my cycle…after years of using it, this was my OPK Optimizer for this cycle. And it lined up pretty much with what I was also thinking my cycle would look like. But because I’ve had those crazy cycles before…
And I’m glad I did. Because my cycle appears to be going rouge.What a difference 24 hours makes. Positive OPK on CD10. Which puts me most likely ovulating some time today, CD11. So, while my cycle history suggests that I’m “Probably Not Fertile”…everything else says otherwise. Now, again life can still be a factor. I’ve had cycles where I’ve gotten a positive OPK, complete with fertile cervical mucus…and not ovulated with that surge. Sometimes I surged again within a few days. Other times, it took weeks before I surged again. So, I may not be in my fertile window after all. I won’t know until I get those beautiful crosshairs at 3DPO confirming a temp shift.
But the point I’m trying to make…in an extremely long way…is that an app, even with a lot of information, is still just an app. It’s a guesstimate. And there’s a good chance that I could have missed my fertile window if I solely relied on the suggestion it made. It’s still just one tool available. And you should take everything into consideration.
So follow your gut! If you think you need to start testing early, start testing early. If you feel like you should test until you get that confirmed temp shift…test away! This is your journey. And it is unique to you. So don’t worry about not doing it the way someone else does it. Do it the way you need to do it to feel like you’re doing it the optimal way for you. The most important thing is to make an informed decision. That way you KNOW you’re making the right decision for you.
***The OPK Optimizer is a relatively newer tool to Fertility Friend. I have a paid subscription to the app. I am not sure if that is tool strictly for the paid subscription or it’s available on the free version as well.***
It got me to thinking.
After 5 unsuccessful rounds of Clomid in a span of 6 months, my RE (reproductive endocrinologist) said we needed to move on to IUI (intrauterine insemination). IUI is where they take the sperm and insert it directly into the uterus using a catheter. You can do it with Clomid or with medication you self inject to stimulate follicle growth. Unfortunately, my insurance doesn’t cover artificial insemination of any kind…or the injections. That means, that most of the cost of IUI will be out of pocket. We are applying for a program that could help cover part of the cost of the injections. (My RE prefers IUI with injections over IUI with Clomid.) But without qualifying for the program, IUI with Clomid is our only option. And even then, we only have enough saved up to do about two rounds.
So…I decided to start making baby blankets to sell for the specific purpose of paying for IUI. Well, not just baby blankets, throws too. Maybe some hats, scarves, and fingerless gloves. But mainly baby blankets. I’ve got an amazing friend who has generously offered some of her knitted projects to sale as well.
Over the past week, I’ve been fasting. During my fast today, I made a decision. After we get our rainbow, I’m going to continue to crochet to pay for IUI. It just won’t be for my IUIs. It will be to help others pay for their IUIs. And, should I become pregnant before needing IUI…the money I’ve already made & have received as donations to help cover the cost of my fertility treatments will go to help pay for someone else’s.
If you follow me on Instagram and/or the blog’s Facebook page…you’ll be able to see the blankets (and other items) as they become available. I’m AdorkablyHappy on Instagram and the link to the Facebook page is in the right hand column of the blog. And you can message me on either account for pricing information.
I’m really hoping that this takes off. I think I might even be more excited about the future of it. Of being able to help someone else. Even if it’s just a little bit. Because it truly sucks when the cost of fertility treatments becomes the reason someone’s journey ends. So, I’m hoping that we’ll be able to help someone very soon.
To say I’m glad this week is done, is an understatement. Wednesday I got a call from my RE’s office. I was CD7 (cycle day 7), one day left of Clomid, Ovidrel trigger shot already ordered and in my refrigerator…and they tell me that my insurance coverage had changed and that I no longer have coverage for fertility treatments. It would be $200 for my appointment on Thursday, and there are no payment plans. I totally lose it. It made no sense to me. I had already seen him twice last month and started this cycle without being told any of this. AND…during the enrollment period we were told our policy had no coverage changes.
I was so blindsided. Totally broken. Not enough Xanax in my house. Because we didn’t have $200 to cover that appointment. And if I no longer had any coverage, we were absolutely done. I mean, we could keep trying on our own. But, we’ve been doing that for more than a decade with only heartache.
We talk to the insurance company, we’re told again that there was no coverage change. That they still cover everything up to the point of insemination…so no IUI, GIFT, ZIFT, or IVF coverage. But, we already knew that.
So I call my RE’s office back, become very close to the billing department manager…and finally get to keep my appointment for Thursday-covered by insurance & only having to pay my copay. Don’t know what happened…I just know that I will only speak to the billing office manager from now on when it comes to anything to do with billing. I trust no one else there anymore.
All of this came a week after we sat down with our RE and had THE discussion. You know the one where he tells you medicated cycles alone aren’t going to be enough and we need to discuss the progression of our treatments. We decided to go with one last round of Clomid and timed intercourse while we figure it out. IUI is really our only option financially. And we can only do a few rounds, and only because of our tax return…when that finally gets here.
So, here’s our plan for this cycle:We are doing Clomid, the Ovidrel trigger shot, gonna use PreSeed along with The Stork OTC, and got a box…getting more though, cause you know me and tests…of First Response Early Results. If this doesn’t work, we’ll wait until our tax return comes in and try IUI.
So, Thursday comes around and we find out that I’ve got 6…SIX…follicles that were worthy of being measured. I’m hoping that when we go back Tuesday…and only pay our copay…for our next follicle scan that at least 3 are mature. We’ll most likely trigger Tuesday as well. *fingers crossed* this works.
Then yesterday, I had my surgery follow up procedure. Last November, I had a stent placed to open up a collapsed/blocked vein that was keeping my spinal fluid from circulating properly…causing the build in my brain, which gave me the extremely rare cause of having Pseudotumor Cerebri. There is normally not a reason that doctors can pinpoint why someone develops PTC. So, just finding the blockage was a miracle in itself. The stent worked! I’m officially *cured* of PTC!
The hard part of yesterday is that I react very badly to the contrast dye used. So, I’m still in some pain and sick to my stomach. But…I don’t have PTC anymore, so I’m beyond blessed. Thank the Lord!!!
Unfortunately, the stent did not allow the CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) leak to correct itself. It was a long shot that it would, but we were hopeful. So now my pressure can become too low and cause some issues. So, I will have to have the scary ass craniotomy to fix that. But, I’m not even kinda prepared for that. lol So, we will most likely hold off for a bit on that one. Cause I’m a weany!!! No shame in admitting that either.
Keep an eye out for a review of The Stork OTC. A lot of my friends have asked me about it. So once we use it, I’ll write something up. It will be an unpaid/unsolicited review. We bought The Stork OTC and no one from the company has asked us for our opinion on it.
Today is trigger day at Casa de Mo! And, not trying to brag…but, I’ve become quite good at injecting myself. Of course, it helps that the needle is a baby needle and not one of those giant, fear & anxiety inducing needles.
After Saturday’s appointment, we’re pretty sure that I’ll release two mature eggs…hoping for 3. But as long as one them gets the job done, I’ll be more than happy!
So, now we wait. Labs won’t be drawn until the 24th. So for the next 2 weeks, I’ll be obsessing and overthinking every little twinge & possible *symptom*. The joys of TTC. lol
On a total side note…I have to brag on the hubby for just a minute. Back in November, our little church had a major shakeup when our pastor resigned unexpectedly. It was pretty devastating. My hubby…who was already extremely active in the church and was (still is) head of the men’s ministry…was asked to step up and help fill in some until our church could find a new pastor. So, for the past…almost 2 months…he’s also been leading the Wednesday night Bible study & prayer meeting. Yesterday, he was nominated and chosen by our church body, along with 4 other members of our church, to be part of the search committee to find our next pastor. It’s a huge honor and I’m so very proud of him! And I know he’s honored to be a part of it.
The hubby forgot to check the mail Saturday, New Year’s Eve. So he checked it Sunday morning on his way in. So, New Year’s Day I opened a little love in the mail package from a wonderful friend. She sent me some tests…cause everyone knows I have a test stash that always has room to grow. (Although the hubby probably doesn’t agree with that statement.) She also sent the stars!
So, I made a new cover photo. lol
Monday was my last dose of Clomid this cycle. And I went in for my CD8 scan on Tuesday. I’ve been very lucky, I’ve responded very well to it. And this cycle seems to be no exception. I had four follicles worth measuring! Two 10s on my left & a 13 and 11 on my right! So, instead of having me come in on Tuesday of next week for my next scan, he wants to see me Saturday!
Now, Saturday appointments are kinda a big deal. The only open office is in Dallas, which is a couple hours away. The only person who is working in the Dallas office on Saturdays is the doctor. And they’re like double the costs…because it’s a weekend appointment. It’s just a follicle scan & possible trigger appointment, so it’s not truly a big deal. But, since he wanted to see me on Saturday instead of Tuesday, a week out, it’s kinda a big deal. Which reminds me…I need to pack up my trigger shot just in case I need it tomorrow.
Actually, most likely I’ll just stress about whether I should pack it up or not. Cause it needs to stay refrigerated. And even though it will be fine if I pull it out tomorrow morning for a Tuesday use…I really hate pulling it out before I know if I’ll be triggering that day or not. And, even if they grow at maximum rate…I don’t know that they’ll be close tomorrow for trigger. We may just plan for trigger on Sunday…maybe Monday. (The irony is…stress during TTC is not good!) And I always tend to overthink and stress over things that really have no reason the be overthought.
But that’s what I do.
In fact, I’m kinda stressing about having a Saturday appointment. The last one we had was last January. That was the appointment right before everything fell apart for us. And even though I know that’s not gonna this time around, I can’t help but have anxiety.
What if something does happen again? What if our insurance says…we’ve paid enough or the doctor just decides it’s not worth trying anymore? The normal, rational, sane side of me knows I’m being stupid. But I was so excited last time. I just knew that by starting off the New Year in his Dallas office, we’d have a baby by Christmas. I just knew it.
I’m terrified, if I’m being honest. Because I’m already caught back up in that level of excitement again. I’ve slowly started working in the nursery again. I’m crocheting blankets for us, instead of others. I believe with everything in me that this is going to happen for us. But I’m so scared.
It doesn’t help that it’s cold as crap outside. lol So I can’t even go walking to try and clear my head. I can make some nachos though. And it is lunch time. So maybe I’ll go do that! ❤ Yeah, I think I’ll do that!
Total bonus…mini road trip to Dallas tomorrow means going to different Starbucks! WooHoo for a venti dirty hazelnut chai latte! If you’d just keep us in your prayers, send happy thoughts, good vibes…all that, we’d be greatly appreciative.
So, once again I start off a blog post by admitting what a horrible blog owner I’ve been.
When I last posted, almost a year ago, the hubby and I were moving forward in our TTC journey by embarking upon our first medicated cycle with our fertility specialist. And then the bottom fell out for us.
While trying to get things situated for a healthy pregnancy, I decided that I was going to see an ophthalmologist and a neurologist so that they could monitor my IIH during the treatment…and hopefully subsequent pregnancy. Sadly, I was referred to what has to be the worst neurologist in my state. He was pompous, condescending, arrogant…he basically thought he was God. He actually told me that I would go blind if I got pregnant…and “what kind of mother would you be then? No one wants a blind parent”!!! Said it outloud! He did everything but call me fat, told me that I was lying about not having symptoms that he was certain I was having, accused my husband of essentially lying when my husband said that I wasn’t experiencing those symptoms. He basically did everything he could to make me hate him. I left his office outraged and hurt. I had actually been judged as a mother before I was even pregnant. Then, it got worse.
That appointment just happened to be the same day as one of my fertility doctor appointments. That cycle was a bust and when I went back a week later to discuss what the plan for the next cycle was…my fertility doctor showed me a letter he had received from the neurologist. The neurologist told my fertility doctor that I “denied having symptoms”, that I needed bariatric surgery, that I was going to go blind, that I had no business trying to start a family. He killed my chances of continuing treatment with my fertility doctor until I could get in to another neurologist who would give me the all clear to start trying to conceive again. The wait to in to see my neurologist was more than 6 months.
I was a mess. I just about gave up. All I have ever wanted was to be a momma, and I felt like it was never going to happen. So I totally pulled into myself.
Now, granted, I did need to lose weight. I knew that. I never once told myself that I was anything but overweight. And if that doctor had attempted to pay attention, he’d have learned that I was already working on weight loss. Everything else he said was a total load of crap. But, it was just the kick in the ass I needed to get really motivated about it while I was waiting to get into the new neurologist. And I’ve lost close to 80lbs so far. Still would like to lose some more, but I am so much happier than I was!
I did a ton of other things while I was waiting to get in to see the new neuro. I got baptized! I taught my very first Vacation Bible School class…pre-K! Had so much fun with it. I became obsessed with LuLaRoe! Like, for real…the addiction I have is crazy! And before I knew it, August was here and I was in to see the new neuro.
My very first appointment with him was AMAZING! He figured out right away that my IIH did have a cause. He figured out that I had a blockage in my veins that was causing the spinal fluid to build up in my brain. And then he told me that it could be fixed. He said that I should start back up with the fertility treatments just as soon as possible and that “God willing, you’ll be pregnant soon”! How awesome is that?!
So, as soon as I could schedule an appointment with my fertility specialist again, I was in.
We are currently on our 4th round of Clomid. I’ve responded well each cycle to it. It’s been 5 cycles, but I took November off of the medicine so that I could have surgery to repair the blockage and “cure” my IIH.
I am so beyond hopeful and excited for this journey. And as the new year starts off, I am excited to think that I have my blogging mojo back. I can not begin to thank everyone for all the love and support that I have received over this past year. I am surrounding by such an amazing group of people that I would be lost without you all. And I am so thankful for the love and support of the many women that I have met through this blog and the FB page.
I am going to promise to do better and get this blog up and running and everything I hope it will be soon! Thank you so much for your patience.