Friday, January 30, 2009

I've Found The Answer Ladies!!!

...and it's all your fault.

OK. So I'm surfing around on You Tube and I found this video. I've added my own comments...

Please feel free to offer your own snotty comments!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Good Times at the Pharmacy

I picked up my prescriptions yesterday. I only needed to get more Follistim and Doxycycline. I have everything else left over from my cancelled cycle. Getting my prescriptions filled is always an adventure. I work in the accounting department for a very large retailer (actually a subsidiary of a very large retailer, but who cares.) One of the oddities of my health insurance plan is that only pharmacies owned by my parent company (which is not evil Walmart in case you were wondering) are considered “in-network”. So guess where I get my fertility drugs…that's right, the grocery store. This is how Frank entered my life. Yep, I’m on a first name basis with my pharmacist. Frank is an older guy from the East coast. It seems that he is not very happy living in the Midwest where we have an annoying habit of being nice to people all the time. (I can’t really hold this against Frank. I’m not too down with being nice to people all the time either, but at least I have a lot of Midwestern guilt about my attitude.)

So when I was getting prescriptions filled for the first IVF I went to the pharmacy/grocery store with a long list of drugs. I handed it over to the sweet, young pharmacy tech who knew right away that she was over her head. She had to call up Frank from the back. He was not amused.

Frank: I don’t have most of this stuff.
Me: Well, I don’t need it right away, can you get it?
Frank: It will take a couple days.
Me: That’s OK, I don’t need it for a few weeks.
[Frank looks at Megan with a very annoyed look. He wonders why Megan is bothering him if she doesn’t need this stuff for a few weeks.]
Frank: This is going to be very expensive. Are you sure you want it?
[Megan ponders this question. Maybe this is all nuts. Maybe all this testing and timed sex and wanting a baby is crazy. Maybe Frank is right. Maybe I don't need a baby to feel as though my life is complete. Maybe this is a sign…..or maybe not, maybe Frank just doesn't want to order my medicine.]
Megan: Yes, I want it.

So I left, thinking I had about a 70% chance of getting my prescriptions filled correctly. Frank and I spoke on the phone later that night. We spoke on the phone again the next day. We spoke on the phone again a few weeks later when he figured out that he billed me wrong after taking an inventory. Somewhere along the way I shared with Frank that we work for the same parent company and that I really didn’t want to bother him with all these annoying sales, and all this pesky business for his pharmacy, but I didn’t have a choice as his pharmacy is the only one “in-network”. I don’t think Frank cared.

When I went last night to pick up my prescriptions Frank had the night off. Things went pretty smoothly with two exceptions:

1. The insurance won’t pay to renew my BCP until Feb 4th, which is a pain because now I have to make another trip to the pharmacy/grocery store.

2. When the pharmacy tech rang up my prescriptions I heard her say, “woah”. I’m not sure if that was a reaction to the price of the meds, the amount of my copay, or the fact that she just realized that a real life barren woman was at her counter.

Another hurdle cleared on the way to baby bliss…

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Step Away from the Credit Card

When I had my miscarriage I bought a new car. Not a few weeks later, not a few months later. Monday was the ultrasound. Friday was the D&C. I bought a new car on the Wednesday in between. I never took psychology in college, but it's pretty easy to figure out why I did this. I wanted something to be excited about, something to talk about, something to distract me from the loss. This seems extreme, but we had been talking about getting a new car anyway. We had the "free and clear" Cavalier that I bought when I graduated from college which was only a two door car. We needed something else if we were going to have a baby. Something with four doors. I just bought it a little ahead of schedule. I never thought I'd have the car for over a year and still not have a baby.

Since the cancelled IVF cycle I haven't bought anything as extreme, but I can't stop shopping. This is very out of character for me. I generally shop for quality, not quantity, so I don't shop very often. I am so ashamed and guilty. I need to stop. I need to start saving money for future IVF cycles.

When it comes to the financial part of infertility my husband and I are lucky. First of all, we have insurance. However, the insurance has a $15k lifetime max and we will probably hit that with this next cycle. After that we can pay for some cycles out of savings, but that could leave us with no "baby" money (if needed) and no "safety net" money.

Safety net money is very important to me. I grew up working class in rural Iowa. As a child I always felt like our family was one step away from financial ruin. I remember one time my mother got into a car accident with me in the car. It was little more than a fender bender, but I remember being so panicked. I didn't know how my parents could possibly afford to pay for the repairs. I didn't understand car insurance at the time. I never wanted a child of mine to feel that way. Now I'm not sure I'll have a choice. I'm scared that if I want a child, I may have to give up financial security. It seems so unfair.

I hit my shopping bottom this past weekend. Friday night my husband and I went out for cocktails after work. I had a few too many and I was feeling great. On the way home I told my husband to stop at the Hobby Lobby on the way to our house. This is what I call bottom. I was drunk in a Hobby Lobby on a Friday night buying a bunch of craft shit that I so don't need. No intervention necessary. I need help.

It was fun while it lasted, but I'm putting an end to this shopping craze. Here's some of the stuff I picked up along the way...

I bought these boxes to organize some of my craft crap. I love organization. This picture is like porn to me.

I bought this old camera at an antique store. I have no use for it and no where to put it. I just liked it. I'm not going to tell what I paid for it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Three Things

Three things for today…

Thing #1 = I got my official protocol today. In the first five days of stims I will be taking 375 less units of Follistim cumulatively than last time. Hopefully this is the right cocktail that will not cause over stimulation, but will cause lots of nice follicles to grow.

Thing #2 = Insurance. For the last month I have burying my head in the sand trying not to think about how much of my $15k lifetime infertility max has been used. Today I pulled my head out (of sand, not ass) and called the insurance company. They say that I have used $1500 of the $15,000 max. The insurance company website clearly shows that they have spent closer to $4000 on my fertility related treatments if I add them all up myself.

The website does NOT show how much of my max has been used or what treatments count toward max causing many phone calls to the insurance company which result in my screaming “assistance” repeatedly at the automated system so that I can talk to a real person. (Does anyone else hate these new systems where you “tell” it what you want rather than just pushing buttons?) So this causes me to assume a few things (because I wasn’t going to argue with the lady on the phone and tell her that she was $2500 short). Either they haven’t updated the total applied toward the max for treatments I had in December OR not all of my treatments have counted against my infertility max. I guess I will have to wait and see.

Additionally, I had some testing done at an out-of-network lab (arrgghh) in November and the insurance website shows that my portion of the bill will be $1000. I’ve known about this for awhile, but I have not received the bill yet. Again, not something I am going to ask about.

Thing #3 = I feel so off today. I feel very tired and out of it and irritable. The only thing I am on is BCP and I’ve already been on those for a week. I ate breakfast. I had some lunch. I slept well last night. I can’t figure out what’s wrong. I hope I’m not getting sick.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Just Not Fair - Show and Tell

Everyone getting pregnant but you? Upset about the money you have to lay out just to have a chance of getting pregnant? Sick of shots? Sick of doctors? Put together a cheese plate and join me in a whine... [Disclaimer: Somewhat racy.]

See what others are showing and telling...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Did I Just Get Dissed by my RE?

OK. So everyone has a clever name for their RE. My RE will now be known as Dr. Jackass (Dr. J. for short). So here was our conversation yesterday on the phone...

Dr. J: Are you superstitious?

Me: No, not really.

Dr. J: Well, I am working on your protocol and it looks like your egg retrieval might be on Friday the 13th in March. Are you OK with that?

Me: Doesn't bother me.

Dr J: Do you know how Friday the 13th got started?

Me: Yeah, wasn't that the day that they killed all the Knights Templar?

Dr J: You're right. Did I tell you that?

Me: No Dr. J, I'm really smart.

Dr J: I guess you're right. You must have read that in the Da Vinci Code.

Holy arrogance Batman!!! I guess I couldn't possibly know anything unless my doctor told it to me. I wish this guy would cut the chit chat and make me a freakin baby already!!! (I'd really like to tell him this sometimes, but I'm always afraid that my smart ass attitude might cause some "accidents" during the ICSI process.) I really don't hate my RE. I just find him a little odd. But I'm an accountant, I'm VERY used to being around odd people.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Fertiles Are Going Crazy

OK...if this is what baby showers are coming to, I might be glad I'm not fertile...

This is from my new favorite site for a laugh. I don't know why I find these cakes so hilarious. Maybe it's because I like to bake and decorate cakes and I've had many a disaster myself? All I know is this one made me pee my pants (Unfortunately, I'm not joking.)

Soooooooo...I called the RE today. All because of this helpful comment from Chelle, "I completely understand. Completely. In my experience, even though I don't feel quite ready for the next step, I take it. More times than not, I am ready by the time it gets here."

This totally flipped my attitude. I'm back on the pill today. Shooting for an egg retrieval in the second week of March. I'm so glad I called. March seems so far away. And I can take the pill this cycle and change my mind if I'm not ready when lupron time comes. It seems like a win-win situation. Thanks so much for the comments. I love getting this support. I can't believe that the Internet is good for something besides porn!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Double-You Tee Eff

I figured that I would have a few weeks to wait for the mythical real period to come after my cancelled IVF cycle. If I count the "fake" period I am on day fifteenish. I was fine with waiting a few weeks. I had come to terms with a few weeks. In fact, I was prepared for the wait to be longer due to all the drugs I have been injecting into my body over the last two months. But yesterday there *it* was. My first thought was, "Hmmmm...another fake period. That's strange." I thought it would go away. But it hasn't. Reading the tea leaves (or tampons) tells me that this is *it*. The fabled phenomenon I have been seeking. The "Real Period."

I should be happy. A real period is hope. A real period is moving on. A real period is trying again. There's only one problem. I'm not ready. It's easy to complain about being left out of the game when no one is asking you to ante up and put the chips on the table. I'm not ready to start injections again. I'm not ready for doctor's appointments again. I'm not ready for disappointment again. I was bluffing. I'm not ready to go all in.

Which brings up emotion number two. If this is the real period, do I want to wait twenty-eight days (or longer) before starting again? Will I regret not calling the RE two weeks from now? Three weeks from now? What if this next IVF is the one? I may not be ready, but can I wait?

I have to be honest with myself. We need to wait. Emotionally my husband and I are still healing from our cancelled cycle. It feels too soon. I'm angry. I'm angry that I'm not ready. I'm angry that I have to make these decisions. My only decision around fertility should be choosing to be on top or on bottom. I'm angry with my body. Mostly I'm angry with this whole process. Everytime I start to get closer to "OK", everytime I think I have things figured out, something yanks me right back to "not OK".

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Going Multimedia - Always Behind the Trends

OK. So a few weeks ago I saw this. I was very emotional at the time and it made me cry. I wondered what story my little slide show would tell. So I went to work (again...lack of hobbies). Then I was poking around the blogosphere and I saw these. I thought they were so clever and moving that I wanted to go back to my t-accounts and ledgers and forget my short movie making career. But I can't. I'm a filmmaker now and I can't deny my craft or calling (sarcasm). I need to show and tell (thanks to the queen) it to the world. So here is our story.

I wish I had the balls to send this to my family. (Of course if I had balls this infertility journey would be a LOT different). I have a fantasy that seeing this would help them to understand what we are going through. However, I am just not ready to open up to them yet. I am thinking that some day I might work this in to a very different kind of pregnancy announcement (hopefully). Because I do feel a need for people in my life to understand what I have been going through, but I feel more comfortable with them knowing once I have already succeeded. Analyze that!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fun With Math Part 2

1 positive pregnancy test
1 baby bassinet purchased
1 miscarriage
1 D&C

2 people trying to survive this
2 people trying to become 3

3 months of Clomid for my husband
5 months of Clomid for me

6 semen samples
10 million sperm (that's not many)

12 unwanted periods after
13 cycles of trying naturally
36 negative pregnancy tests (approximately)

65 injections
Thousands of dollars spent
Thousands of tears shed
Zero babies

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Kinder, Gentler Pregnancy Test

Expanding on thoughts from yesterday...

I have a love-hate relationship with the Clearblue Easy Digital Pregnancy Test. I did get a positive once and there is nothing like seeing that word "Pregnant" in the little digital read out. No analysis, no maybe, no are pregnant. (I assure you, I *did* see it once. It's not a myth!)

However this has not been my experience as a rule. Usually I am anxiously staring at that little spinning hour glass, sometimes not even blinking, until "Not Pregnant" flashes onto the screen. I find it so jarring, so harsh, Here are some other kinder, gentler, suggestions...

Maybe a message of hope and encouragement...

Or suggestions for killing another childless evening with no responsibilities...

Perhaps advice for playing the lottery...

Or maybe just some compliments to make you feel better about yourself...

A little cross-merchandising might be nice...

What do you think? I'd buy it...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fun With Math

So I was reviewing some of my fertility charts the other day. I have no idea why. I definately need a new hobby. But i had a thought...

What’s the best thing about being a 28 day cycler?

You get to be not pregnant 13 times a year instead of twelve. Which means there is one special month in the year when you get to be not pregnant twice. Good times.

Seriously though, there is one good thing about moving on to IVF. (Did I just say that?) I have not peed on a stick, ovulation or pregnancy, since October. I was such a pee addict. I have checked for ovulation twice in the same day. I have left work to buy a pregnancy test and tested in the stalls at work. I have gone to the bathroom, realized I should be peeing on a stick, stopped mid-stream and retrieved said stick to pee on. I have finished peeing, realized I should be peeing on a stick and sat back on the toilet trying to squeeze out enough pee to register on the test (which never works by the way).

Being in the IVF wasteland (between a cancelled IVF cycle and a new IVF protocol) has been a nice break from the insanity. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather be in the game then on the bench, but sometimes you need a breather.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Off The Wagon

OK, I’m not an alcoholic (or at least my family hasn't planned an intervention yet), but I like to drink when I’m having a good time with friends. I like to have a drink with dinner when hubby and I go out. Occasionally I like to drink myself into a coma at home if I've had a bad day at work. I hadn't had a drink since I started on the injectible meds in November, but now I'm officially off the wagon.

I’ve had a hard time reconciling drinking with trying to conceive. At this point I would never drink if I actually got pregnant. Not that I think a drink during pregnancy is so wrong, but after all I have been through I would not chance anything.

When we first started trying to conceive almost two years ago I stopped drinking completely. Back then I thought conceiving would be quick and painless. (Back when baby making sex was actually fun and my husband was the only man with current intimate knowledge of my vagina.) I didn’t want one drop of alcohol in my body affecting those dividing cells. I gave up the "no alcohol at all" rule after my miscarriage. Instead I would not drink from the time I had a positive ovulation test until the inevitable day when my period would come. Then I would usually have a "since-I'm-not-pregnant-I-may-as-well-drink-celebration" with a pitcher of margaritas...

Eventually I had to start living my life, and quite honestly at that point I wanted alcohol to be a part of that life. I couldn't take the "are you pregnant?" looks when I turned down a drink during my two week wait to see if I was pregnant. However, when I started injecting myself with medications to get pregnant it has seemed some how wrong to drink.

That is one thing that has been hard about this journey, not giving up drinking specifically, but having my life hijacked. I don’t plan overseas vacations because I might be pregnant. I turned down a great job offer which required moving because my husband and I would be separated for six months and I didn’t want to put off trying to conceive. I’ve planned nurseries and designed college savings plans, and thought of names, and figured out the timing for maternity leave. All for nothing. But on the bright side, at least I have wine to help pass the time.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Birth Orgasms???

So, did anyone watch 20/20 this last Friday? They had a segment about birth orgasms.

I don't know how to feel about this...

So for those of us who won't be having an orgasm at conception, at least we have a shot at having an orgasm at birth. Woo hoo!!!


Great, another thing I am missing out on by being infertile.

Call Me When You Get a Real Period

I had an RE appointment yesterday, a good one for once. So much to share...

1. I'm only have to take the Lupron for two more weeks.

2. I'm not supposed to have sex for another two weeks. (I have to admit I haven't exactly followed this advice to the letter, but I behaved better on this one than the liquid diet I was supposed to be on for a three week span covering vacation AND Christmas -- yeah right.)

3. I can return to full physical activity (with the exception of 2 above). So this means no more excuse not to go to the gym.

4. My RE once again hugged me. This was wrong for two reasons. A. I'm not a hugger. B. I don't generally hug men other than my husband when I'm not wearing pants.

Next Steps: So RE tells me to call him when I get my period. I pipe up and say, "I already got my period. It started yesterday." Admittedly my flow has quickly turned to a trickle. Unless things pick up again, you can hardly call it a period. RE says, "You're not bleeding now are you? Call me when you get a real period." OK then. Time to hurry up and wait again.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Most Pitiful Fridge in the Cul de Sac

Suck It Uncle Sam

Well, I “only” spent $5800 in medical expenses this year. Not enough for a tax deduction. Certainly more than I put into my FSA (which was a big ol nothing.) I know I spent more that I can’t account for because who knew that I would even be a candidate for a deduction this year? This is killing the CPA in me. I am not very detailed when it comes to my personal finances. Here are some things that I would have rather spent $5800 on this year…

1. New sofa for the living room.
2. A vacation.
3. Nursery furniture.
4. Diamond earrings.
5. Paying off the new car.

Truthfully though, I probably would have invested it. So now it would only be about $3000 anyway.

This year I have a feeling we will meet the deduction criteria (again I low-balled the FSA not thiking my IVF would fail). Enter the *Big Envelope of Medical Receipts*. I’m keeping better track this year. Suck it Uncle Sam. Your ass is mine in 2009.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Lupron is Cashed Man

You are finished first little vial of Lupron. I remember when I got you. I was so excited to be starting something different. You seemed half empty even when you were new. I remember when the nurse told us that you would last two cycles. Now you are gone. I see some little drops in you, but I can't get them. I'd like to, because I am cheap and you are not. (Well, you were only a five dollar co-pay this time, but when we meet again after the insurance has run out you will be expensive.) We've had a good time. You give me mood swings that turn me into Kate from John and Kate Plus Eight. What else have we done? Let's see...

Side effects that have been associated with the use of Lupron frequently include hot flashes and night sweats (actually this is kinda nice, saves on the gas bill), and less frequently palpitations, syncope, and tachycardias (??? huh ???). Other side effects include generalized pain (sweet), headaches, vaginitis (woah, woah, woah, vagi-what now?), nausea/vomiting (actually I find it more affects the other end), fluid retention (is that why I have cankles?), weight gain (at least I have something to blame it on besides nightly ice cream), acne, hirsutism, joint pain, loss of sexual desire (please, like I had any to begin with), depression (ya think), dizziness, nervousness, and breast changes such as tenderness and pain (this is particularly special, especially with all the hugging around the holidays). There have been no deaths directly related to therapy with Lupron (well, that's something I guess).

It's been 45 days of fun. I'm on to your twin sister now because I am still taking 10 units a day.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Are You There God? It's Me, Megan.

I was a little bit of a late bloomer when it came to getting my period. I think I was about 14 years old when it happened, the last one out of my group of friends. I can remember my heart sinking each time another one of my girlfriends made "the big announcement" that she was an official flowing woman. I was still left behind in girlhood. I was totally obsessed with the book, "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" at that age. I probably read it more than a dozen times, looking for clues in the pages as to when it would happen to me, a "Da Vinci Code" to my girl parts.

Actually I was obsessed with anything having to do with periods or boobs. I remember sneaking into my mom's stash of maxi pads. I would wear them from time to time just to see what it would feel like to be "in the club". This led to a particularly embarrassing moment when my mother, who did not have a lot of boundaries when it came to her children's privacy, caught me in the bathroom wearing a maxi pad. She asked, "Is there a reason you need to wear that?" Of course I was mortified and sheepishly answered no. Up to this point our discussions about sex amounted to a car ride where she asked if I knew what a period was and I answered yes. When *it* finally did happen I didn't tell her for a month.

Of course it didn't take long for me to wonder why I had been so anxious to start my period in the first place. For the rest of my teenage years and into my twenties it was a monthly annoyance. Oh sure, there were a couple times in college when I was damn glad aunt flo came to visit, but otherwise I never gave it much thought. I've always been regular. I've had cramps, but nothing to write home about most months. It wasn't until a month before my thirtieth birthday, when we started trying to conceive that I started paying attention to it. Enter a new obsession...waiting for my period *not* to come. But aside from that one time that ended in miscarriage, it's been there...month after month on day 27 or 28, unless I'm on Clomid, then it's a little later.

Well, call it the circle of life, call it irony, call it one of God's little jokes, but I'm back to being a thirteen year old girl. I haven't had a period since mid-November. I know that having my period is step one toward getting back on that IVF pony. Plus I'm a little concerned about how much is being built up in there. I'm starting to feel a bit like a freezer that desperately needs defrosting. So God, this time, just so there's no confusion, "I want my freaking period!!!"
***UPDATE*** This praying stuff really does work. After I hit publish I went to the bathroom and there it on the toilet paper. I guess that's why all those people are at church on Sunday while I'm at IHOP. Well, God, I hate to be greedy, but this time, "I want a freaking baby!!!"

Friday, January 2, 2009

Is my kitty spoiled?

OK. So let me start out by saying that this is my husband's cat that he inherited from an old girlfriend. I am a step-catmommy. It took about five years for me to stop hating this cat. He is very old and spends most of his time sleeping, howling, throwing up, or pooping and peeing. He is also very expensive and has destroyed furniture and flooring. I hate to say it, but I have even called the vet to inquire about having him put to sleep. This was after he peed on the floor. NOTHING is worse than cat pee. (Won't I make a wonderful, patient mother?)

So I don't know if I just have this need to nurture something right now or what, but this cat has really grown on me. I hate to admit it, but I have even been known to hold this cat like a baby from time to time and pretend to give him a bottle. This has severely damaged my relationship with the cat. Also I think my husband thinks it is unhealthy and crazy. Whatever.

Well, a couple of months ago the cat was really sick and my husband put him in the bathroom sink for a cool drink. Now he is constantly crying to be lifted into the sink (he being the cat, not my husband). I tried to break the cat of this habit and figured if we didn't indulge him for a few weeks he would forget about it, (assuming kitty brains are very small and forgetful). But my husband is too much of a softy and he couldn't take the crying. So we went on vacation for a week. I thought surely the cat will forget about it while we are gone and problem solved. As soon as we walk in the door the first thing that cat does is run to the bathroom and cry!!! So I guess this is going to be his new habit...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Infertility Videos

Another way I waste time since I have no children...

Going Multimedia
Just Not Fair
A Week in the Life
Preparing for Number Two
Who Are You Now?
I Love Lupron
One of These Things is Not Like the Others
An Infertility Carol
A New Outlook

Retiring a Frenemy

The week that my husband and I decided to start trying to have a baby I bought a two-year monthly calendar that I could carry in my purse. In this planner I have tracked my cycles, planned a due date after our one positive pregnancy test, and entered countless doctors appointments. Today I have to retire this planner because it is obsolete. Here's the last page. Cancelled IVF cycle and four doctors appointments (six scheduled, but two cancelled when my cycle was cancelled). What a way to end the year...

Starting a new planner today. Fresh start.
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