Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Just a number.

Sitting here it feels surreal.  Is this real life??

All the thousands of appointments have faded into some oblivion that is far away from here and now. 

The butterflies in my stomach and anxiousness in my brain is in overdrive again today.  I was relaxed all week up until yesterday. 

I have waited what felt like a lifetime to be shuffled along. "Fill out these this line....the OB will be with you shortly. 

Wait what? This is insanely surreal. It is early in the morning the week of Christmas so the normal fertile crowds usually at a military hospital have dwindled to only 2-3 patients in the waiting room. None of which "look" pregnant. Why couldn't that happen the other twenty two times I came here?
Either way. This feels too good to be true. 

The butterflies are still circling. 

.....annnd in walks a preggo with a code red Mountain Dew complaining about her appointment out loud. Cue the typical, fertile, obnoxious, you owe me everything dependa preggos. Adjective overload.  Thanks for not letting me down hospital. I knew I could count on you.  If anyone wants a lesson on self entitlement 101 I could show you around this place.

My friend walks out as she finished her appointment that happened to be today at the same time as me and she is surprised to see me still waiting. I shrug my shoulders and tell her I would wait all week just to be here but really only so Mrs. Code Red could hear me with my scowling face four feet away.

She was never thankful to be just a number.

The number I longed forever to be.  
As I checked the box "twins" under how many I am expecting.  Not going to lie. I got a little teary eyed.  Talk about winning the infertile lottery. I am not the typical female, emotional girl who bawls at weddings or when babies are born.

I became numb. You start dating for a few years you get married you buy a house and then you start a family and live happily ever after.  That is what normal is.  People don't experience real life tragedy or heartbreak year after year so they can't understand what you are going through.  We took a different path but now we are much stronger from it.

Correction. I wasn't the emotional female.

You keep smiling about being just another number.  You tell people you're having twins and "are so excited" before they respond with a "Good luck" and you want to punch them in the face.  

They are just a number. They don't understand. They never will. And thats ok.

You know you have a long way to go but with each week you breathe a little easier.

I really could wait here all day to be where I am right now.

Shutup brain.

Don't cry in the waiting room. Don't cry you big progesterone bawl baby.

It's not her fault she's fertile and clueless. Code red basics that is...

She didn't spend thousands on IVF.
She didn't wait years to become pregnant.
She never drove 5 hours hundreds of times to a specialist to be poked and prodded unsuccessfully. 
She never started bleeding and had to rush into the bedroom to explain to her husband she might be losing their only baby they waited so long for.
She never bled for 60 days after an ectopic miscarriage.
She never had surgery to have her reproductive parts taken out without having a child first only hoping that IVF would work later.
She never thought at 34 she would still be childless.
She never had her husband inject her with shots hoping this 40% chance process would work in the end.
She never ended up hating baby showers and vowed to never have one.
The thought of staying up all night changing crap diapers and breast feeding never sounded like music to her ears.
She never felt bad for posting a pregnancy announcement or bump picture on Facebook in fear of hurting someone.
She never had to defend herself for stupid "just adopt(it's so easy)" comments.
She never avoided military company parties because she was the only one without 1 or 4 kids.
She was never told she would never have a baby naturally.
She obviously never gave up caffeine even before becoming pregnant because she was afraid of the unknown risk to hurt or damage the one thing she has prayed and fought for.
She never did not complain about her pregnancy to anyone.
She never cried from having morning sickness because she was happy.
She never stopped shopping and going on vacations or to visit family to afford IVF.
She never had a stash of baby things that have collected dust or given away over the years when she gave up hope at times. 
She never lied and said she didn't want kids after being infertile for so long that she hated explaining it over and over to invasive strangers.
She never switched Drs. multiple times or saw multiple RE's to help her conceive.
She never felt like a complete failure for so many years month after month. 

It took me a long time to learn that this plan we have for ourselves isn't ours to make. It's already been made.  I won't tell you it will be worth it or everything will work out in the end. I don't know those answers.  I hated hearing those responses from people who haven't experienced the same loss. I knew they meant well but it always made me aggravated like they knew his plan for me more than I did. 

I do know one thing. That once you reach whatever dream you are holding on to, the waiting and the pain isn't as big as the joy and absolute happiness is from reaching that dream. You just have to trust me on that one. 

Believe me. The pain you pushed away is still in there. Standing in the corner like the bad kid who broke all the crayons on the first day of school(my future kid). You block it out. I always tried to block it out anyways.  Yes I had some bad moments here and there but for the most part being miserable and whoa is me was not my cup of tea.

You let the happiness fill that emptiness.  The only pain is that of the other women you have grown to know and care for who are still struggling to have their dreams realized. You wish you could do something but you feel helpless and you want them to know you are always thinking about them.  Especially when Mrs. Ungrateful Code Red comes storming in. You think about them.  You wish you could yell at her and say just be grateful she is pregnant because your friend just had another failed IVF cycle, another one had a miscarriage or another couples adoption just got cancelled right before bringing their baby home.

You sit there. And keep thinking how thankful you are. Waiting. Patiently.

Just a number. And it feels amazing. 

Much love to my IF sisters and I hope the holidays aren't too hard on you!! I always hated this time of year even though it is my favorite! Drink lots of wine and know I'm waiting for you to join me and my regular basic number status.

Merry Christmas you filthy animals. Much love!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Military and IVF Funding Tips with 2 Microscopic Updates

Hello my people. And by people I mean the five of you still tuning in to see if I am knocked up yet.

Since we can't let the cat out of the infertile bag yet I wanted to share some advice on a few things that helped us through this financial IVF roller coaster. Please be aware this is going to be the most boring post to date but I know there are a lot of women out there who can benefit from saving thousands of dollars.

If you are a military couple and have looked into infertility treatments then you know that the costs can vary depending on where or what treatment you are seeking. I will speak on IVF of course since that is what we ended up with having to do after our OOP 4 failed IUIs a semen analysis and freezing because my husband was Mr. Deployment for a few years. Puts a new twist on the "Welcome Home I'm Pregnant" signs when he has been gone for 13 months. That is old news and was a waste of money and time in my situation and opinion but nothing we can do now right?  Lesson learned. Note to 16 year old self: never pay for and do an IUI while being in the "unexplained" category before having a laparoscopy done if your HSG was bad by 33. 

Obviously sometimes the Dr. doesn't care whether or not you are shoveling out hundreds and thousands of dollars into his pockets before actually diagnosing your infertility. 

Once you start diving vagina first into IVF that is when you start paying alot more out of pocket. If you are lucky enough to be stationed by a fertility treatment facility for military such as Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Naval Medical Center in California, and Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington; those places can save you some big money when doing IVF especially if you have to do more than one cycle. Time on the waiting lists can be up to 12 months but of course that changes so if I were you I would call as soon as possible and get the ball rolling. With Tridoesn't care we all know that you have to wait for a referral to wait to get another referral for your referral and that process takes months and months just to get in with a legit RE.

All of my diagnostic tests, fertility specialists and certain medications up until IVF started was covered.  Minus the driving 5 hours to a specialist in gas and trying to come up with excuses at work as to why you need so many days switched or off and you aren't really sure what day the same week that is because it depends on how your body responds to all the drugs can be tricky.  But its really none of their effing business. A Dr.'s note is a Dr's note it doesn't matter if you are going to a Podiatrist because you have bunions the size of Mt.Fuji or simply your reproductive parts are broken.

This is me at work when someone asks why I am always at the Dr....

Nonetheless, Dr. Cassels at Columbia Missouri Center for Reproductive Medicine and Fertility and his staff will help you cut costs when undergoing treatments.  I requested him at my OB referral and I loved him and the staff. They actually care about you and do not treat you like another number orrr dollar bill.  They allowed us to have blood work and testing done at FLW(Fort Leonard Wood Hospital) to save us some money. Like the STD/HIV screenings. Even though FLW messed some of them up and we had to end up taking them again at Columbia(a 5 hour drive) and paying 150 dollars out of pocket for the same test if done correctly. But that's none of my business. 

We first took out a loan and we also did some fundraising on our own once we got our timeline for IVF. I have an esty shop that continues to help along with a raffle I did with prizes which raised around $2500 thanks to a couple of crazy friends who donated almost 75% of that amount by themselves. You can say we have some pretty amazing military framily.  

One of the biggest savings on all the medications which as you know from pictures on my other post are ALOT is from the Compassionate Care Program. You basically apply to receive a discount on IVF drugs online and they will contact you with how much you have been approved for. We were approved for a 75% discount on certain medications.  Usually they will contact you within a week but it took over a month of me calling and resending information. Again I have the worst luck and if a delay or mistake can happen it will happen to me.  So most likely it will not with you.  Just remember to keep calling and asking if they received your package and if you have been approved yet.  Luckily I called and just got my "insurance discount ID number" over the phone the day before my IVF case worker had to order my meds. We had to use Freedom Pharmacy over the phone due to living in Missouri.  Their turn around time was within 24-48 hours so that was another plus. Note that not all the drugs you need will be available through Freedom Pharmacy or the pharmacy's listed with the Compassionate Care program but every little bit helps. I was gifted Menopur by an amazing friend MB whom I met on IG. I ended up getting Gonal F for around $400 out of pocket compared to $1500. The rest of the medication I picked up at the pharmacy in Columbia. All together we spent around $1500 for our IVf medications which should have ended up being around $5-$6k just because I filled out an application to the link above after hearing about it from M and K, two ladies I've met online.  Our IVF procedure, ultrasounds, blood work and travel expenses driving at 4am every other day so I could be back at work by 2 or 3pm costs us around $8k.  We didn't pay for our procedure package until the day of egg retrieval which was $6500. None of our cycle covers anything if it fails or I miscarry later on.  We ended up with 4 grade A blastocysts that we froze and we can pay to use next year once we pay off this loan if our cycle fails. That is called an FET(frozen embroyo transfer) it isn't as expensive as a fresh cycle. I think our clinic is around $2800 to do an FET but it's still more money on top of a failed cycle hence the waiting a year.

 Seriously I barely got through that without drooling on my keyboard. I probably could have just added a link to Compassionate Care Program and said good luck but my ADD got away with me and besides some people like deats. So you're welcome.

I think I left off with saying we were hoping for a 5 day transfer.  Well the stars aligned and our prayers were answered.  

We transferred two 5 day blasts and are anxiously(understatement) awaiting our 7 week ultrasound appointment on the 10th.  #prepareformeltdown

I am still taking my Crinone(progesterone vaginal suppository) and will be for 10 more weeks even though it is disgusting awesome and makes me turn in to the Hulk from time to time.


I am so thankful for science and being able to take anything Hulkified to keep our growing little bean(s) snuggled inside my body.  Those of you who are lucky enough to be born fertile and without broken reproductive parts and never have to take any IVF drugs or pregnancy medications, count your blessings and try to grasp why we want to punch you in the throat when you complain about anything pregnancy related. I read a post "5 Ways Pregnancy After a Miscarriage Is Different" that I have to share because every single thing she said was true. I could add a few more like everytime someone asks how I feel of course I say great or fine I'm not going to cry about anything pregnancy/medication related especially online(I hate facebook enough already) or to anyone so I'm sorry my replies are boring and the same "good" response always. I know I sound like a robot and I appreciate everyone checking on me. I really do. Honestly so far it's been a walk in the park compared to what I've been through. I'm waiting for something bad to happen every second of every day.    I've already talked way too much for one post so that's all I would add for now.  So click here if you are still sitting on the toliet and need some more reading material.  It might help other fertiles you know understand why or why not we do the things we do or feel the way we feel so you can share it online.  Then again like I've always said some people will never get it. 

Until next time...and a not so lame post..and hopefully some good news.