Monday, May 28, 2012

Laughing IS Conceivable

I found this funny blog by former stand-up comedian Lori Shandle-Fox while searching for infertility support online. I laughed so much. It helped me ease off the stress of the past few days. She's also written a book, Laughing IS Conceivable, which is available on Amazon, both e-reader and hard copy versions.

Back to my fertility routine, I had my third IUI done this morning around 11am. Four follicles, two in each ovary. Now the waiting game. 2 weeks until pregnancy test. If positive, call office and schedule ultrasound. If negative, stop progesterone suppositories, wait for period to start, and call office to schedule ultrasound. I don't think I'll ever have so many ultrasounds done in my life. Meanwhile, happy memorial day!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Life Is Beautiful

I didn't sleep well last night. I had gone to bed upset about this whole fertility treatment. As the bills started to arrive, discrepancies between the prices I was told I would be charged for the IUI and ultrasounds and what I was actually being charged produced a huge amount of stress both in me and in my husband. This morning I was scheduled to have an ultrasound and husband came along so that we could discuss exactly how much each procedure cost. I had already spent part of my morning on the phone with insurance, doctor's office, my husband, and the doctor's billing office. By the time we got to the ultrasound, at 11am, I lost it.

A constant flow of tears bathed my face and impaired my ability to utter any understandable words. When I could finally speak, I said things impulsively and felt the reproving eyes of my husband sitting on me. I decided I was going to let him speak when the doctor came in. As any cautious, practical, and rational man, my husband was angry that we were told each cycle would cost around $600, but we were actually being charged close to $1200. The medical assistant told us they offered a 30% discount if we paid up front. Nobody told us that before. She then said she would call the billing office and have our $2500 bill reduced by 30%, and all the following bills done the same way. Mind you we had already paid $539 to my doctor the previous week, and that $2500 bill doesn't include any of the sperm washes, which cost $275, or the first IUI we did back in April, which costs $250. To top it off, when I had the tubal flushing done back in March, I was told it cost $800, and both the doctor's office and myself called insurance and were told it would be covered. Yesterday I found out the tubal flushing wasn't covered -  and it actually costs $1500 (part of the $2500 bill).

The doctor who saw me today isn't my main doctor. She was very nice and understanding, and she explained to us what our situation and chances are. My husband's sperm is borderline low when it comes to motility, so IUIs do double our chances of conceiving. On the other hand, statistically speaking, chances of getting pregnant with an IUI amount to 20% only. I'm on my 4th cycle of Femara and going towards my third IUI (we missed our first cycle of IUI because of daylight savings time, remember?). We decided we will do 2 more cycles, totalizing 6 of medication and 5 IUIs. If I do not get pregnant after 6 cycles of Femara, this formula is clearly not working and the next step would be to move on to injectable medications that trigger more eggs per cycle and quadruple our chances of conceiving. These meds may cost up to $1000/cycle, and require extra monitoring - 4 to 5 ultrasounds. So we're looking at $1000 for meds, $900 for ultrasounds, $250 for the IUI and $275 for the sperm wash. If we do that for a couple cycles, plus all we will have spent with the 5 IUIs, we will have spent enough to have paid for an IVF. My husband understandably doesn't want to go that route.

Tonight I told my husband I loved him, even if we never end up having our own children. I know I'll be a mother, that's for sure. My own child or not, I'm getting a baby. We can't adopt in America because we are not citizens, but we will move back to my country and if I haven't gotten pregnant by then, I will adopt. After barely a year of trying to conceive, I've come to the realization I better not try to take the IVF path. I haven't got the nerves for that. Twenty thousand dollars and no guarantees? Depression and anxiety do not got with that.

I have 4 follicles this cycle. Two in each ovary. My lining is a bit thin, though, in spite of my using Evamist for the past 5 days. Tomorrow I'll do the HCG shot (hey, I'm a pro when it comes to sticking a needle in my tummy now!), and on memorial day Monday we'll have our third IUI.

Perhaps I never mentioned it here, but I see young children (including babies) on a daily basis. I am patient, caring, loving, firm, and all the other attributes that make a great mother/caregiver. I can make babies fall asleep in a blink. Toddlers love me. Preschoolers adore me. I used to teach K and pre K English back in Brazil. People would say I'm a natural. A baby whisperer. Someone born to be a mother. Fit for the job. Capable. And now wanting it so bad. One of my main doctors, upon seeing me so sad a week ago because I wasn't pregnant, told me not to be too beat up about it because these things take time. He told me I am young and healthy, thus I have time. I'm 31 years old. I'm 5'9 and weigh 135lbs. I don't drink, smoke or do drugs. I exercise, engage in social activities and have been happily married for the past 5 years. So I guess this doctor is right. I am truly blessed, and I have time.

So why does it hurt so much? Why do I feel loss? And grief? And hopelessness?  Why does the sunshine doesn't seem to bring me joy? And why, oh why do I have to feel so depressed every time I see a pregnant woman? Why don't I wait in God and let Him take away my worries and cares? Why so much suffering?

Catherine Howard, king Henry VIII's fifth wife, said "life is beautiful" right before she was beheaded. I saw it on season 4 of 'The Tudors", so it may be fictional, but it struck me. Life is Beautiful, and time is unrecoupable. It is the most unrecoupable of all things (also part of Henry VIII's speech on "The Tudors" season 4). That is what makes life so precious, because what has been lived can never be lived again; Time spent is always lost, gone, vanished. We are born merely to grow old and die, destiny of all living things. Our youth is short. Who can blame Henry VIII for wanting so bad to secure a male heir? Of course his daughter Elizabeth did just as well as any other king; nevertheless, this longing for an offspring is perhaps our way of securing our posterity. Part of us survive with the ones we gave life too, and their children, and their children's children, and so on. Children bring so much joy, oh, so much joy. Who can blame me for wanting that?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

As I Suspected

Spotting started this late afternoon. I cried a bit more at the doctor's - I had my monthly visit with my psychiatrist today. I'm going for an ultrasound this Thursday to make sure my ovaries are quiet so that I can start Femara again. IUI #3 here we go...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Persistence Pays off, or doesn't it?

Last month's IUI didn't result in pregnancy. Instead, I had spotting from day 23 of my cycle until the progesterone suppositories couldn't hold it anymore and my period came, one day before I was supposed to test for pregnancy. So this month our second IUI was on May 2. Everything looked great. My husband's numbers were great, my numbers were great, my uterus lining was "fabulous", and I even had some spotting 5 days after the procedure. Could it be a sign of implantation? Then, a few days ago, I started having cramps and some pain on my lower back similar to when I'm about to get my period. I've been testing and, so far, it's negative. Not even a faint line. I'm supposed to test this Wednesday, 2 weeks after the IUI, but I think I already know the result: not pregnant. Saturday morning, as I drove to church, I sobbed bitterly, in the safe refuge of my car. I hadn't cried that hard for a long time. My antidepressant is working wonderfully, so I feel pretty well, but the pain of not being pregnant AGAIN was too strong this time. Some may say I'm suffering in advance, after all, there are still 2 days to go, but sometimes you can just feel it, and as much as I want to be pregnant, I don't want to build up my expectations over negative tests and cramps from the past 3 days. It is clearly not happening this cycle. So in my mind I know we have to be persistent, we have to be patient and move forward. My husband always says persistence pays off. I so want to believe that. Today, though, I wish I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm sad, discouraged, frustrated, tired. I need a best friend's hug, a good cry, a reason for hope. I need to hear from someone with authority that it IS going to happen, and happen soon. I just need to be patient - and persistent - and it will pay off someday. My question is: when? And can I endure the wait?