The Fertility Carousel

Reaching for the brass ring on the fertility carousel (again!). (Because I already caught the brass ring on the infertility carousel and I want to get rid of it!) Two years of trying to conceive, but I finally got baby E. Now we begin going around and around again. Infertility sucks.

Reverse the posts to view newest at the bottom (chronological order)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Cycle 26 Day 11

Well we had a nice weekend in Galveston. Since we're officially taking this month "off" from TTC, it's time for some serious R&R. We went and had massages done on Thursday night. That was a good start at relaxing. I found a massage school not far from our house that does them for $30 an hour - about half the going rate. We drove down to Galveston on Friday and stayed at the Inn at 1816 Postoffice. It was very nice. We had planned to stay somewhere cheaper, but all the hotels there seemed to be priced within $50 of each other - so why stay in an overpriced Motel 6 room when you can have a fancy B&B for only a little more?

Anyway, back to the world of infertility... we went to a "teaching visit" at the RE's office today. We had to watch a video on how to give shots of Repronex (kinda icky side note: Repronex is extracted from the urine of postmenopausal women. Ew). I have to have these shots intermuscularly - a shot in the butt - for something like 12 days. And it's a BIG needle. Very scary. The nurse said I was getting needles that are very skinny, but I'm looking at it thinking 'oh hell, that's a long ass needle' (pun intended).

So I have to purchase 20 vials of repronex at an astonishing price of $48/vial. That's the price in the US. But I did a little research and the same damn thing can be purchased in Europe for $12/vial. For a savings (after shipping costs) of roughly $700. What's the catch? Are these scary drugs? No. Are they cheap knock-offs? No. These are name-brand top quality drugs made by the same company under the same name.** The catch is that importing prescription drugs is not precisely legal. Remember the whole thing about seniors buying meds in Canada? Yup, if I buy this from Europe I'll be in the same boat with the outlaw grannies.

I think we're pretty set on doing IUI next month. It's not too much more $$ and it increases the chances of success. We can just do it once or we can do the procedure twice, two days in a row. I don't know how much that increases your chances. When you get two IUIs in one cycle, you get a discount on the second one... the "buy one, get the second hlf price" for a medical procedure is surreal and made me laugh.

So even though we're taking this month "off", it's not like we're not trying at all. I'm just trying not to think about it. I'm not on any sort of hormone altering medicine for the first time in seven months. I'm not peeing on OPKs - I don't even have any. But since this is the last chance for us to have a kid without repeatedly puncturing my butt with needles - we're still "trying". Perhaps fear of needles will provide my body with the proper incentives! But in the meantime, we're just having fun this month and trying not to think about it.

** correction! At $12/vial it is indeed a generic version. The name brand can be had for $24/vial, still a bargain at half the American rate.

Friday, July 14, 2006

RE visit - Day 6

So I met with the RE on Wednesday.

Good news is that the visit was free!! So we haven't added to our total expenses quite yet.

The bad news is that it's too late in this cycle to do anything.

The other bad news is that injectibles are the next step. And they are incredibly expensive.

So, with injectibles, you get mature follicles. Sometimes many follicles. You get to go to the RE every-other-day while taking them for ultrasounds and bloodwork. Once you have these mature follicles, you take a shot of HCG to make them drop.

Then you have 3 choices: natural, IUI, or IVF.

We think we're going for IUI.

Oh my God I'm scared.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Cycle 26 Day 4

So here I am at the start of a new cycle. I felt like crap on Friday - a huge headache, borderline migraine that wouldn't quit, so I left work and went home early. One four-hour nap later and I felt much better. Still kinda sickly on Saturday, but I was functional enough to go to IKEA in the morning and make fig jam that afternoon (Ok, so there were several hours inbetween spent curled up in bed with a book and feeling like ass, but that's not so bad is it?)

Not feeling too down this month. Not sure why. Despite not feeling too bad during the 2ww, I thought I'd feel bad when I saw the physical evidence. Not so. I've maybe been a little more emotionally needy and have required more cuddling, but Rob's always up for that. :) Perhaps taking the extra steps and going to the RE are helpful emotionally as well - taking control and making progress and all that.

I have an appointment with the RE on Wednesday at 10. That seemed fine when I made the appointment, but now I'm realizing that Wednesday will be Day 6 and that's too late for Clomid and I don't know about other meds. The nurse said the doctor will want to discuss injectibles. I don't know how I feel about that. You go up to 20% chance of having twins. Also, according to one article I read online, "The cost for the injectible drugs is high -- for one cycle, depending on the drug used, retail pricing and amount prescribed, an injectible cycle can cost between $2,000 and $5,000." Since the article listed the cost of Clomid as $30-75, prices which I know are correct from experience, the 2-5k numbers are scary.

Total TTC (TTC=trying to conceive) costs so far:

$850 ultrasound for cysts*
$270 seven months of Clomid
$125 semen analysis
$40 OPK and PG test strips
$275 HSG test**
$150 RE consult
$55 progesterone
$30 bloodtest at RE
$120 extra co-pays for additional trips to gyno ***

Which brings the total to $1,915.

Well, that's a depressing figure already. I tried to estimate low when I didn't know the actual amount. I know I'm missing a few bills from that list. Also, that doesn't include money for two years of pre-natal vitamins, a couple months of going to a therapist, or other prescriptions. It also doesn't include money I didn't earn by taking time off to go to the doctor.

This list goes back to October 2004, so these costs have been somewhat spread out and aren't a huge financial burden to us, but seeing the total does leave me feeling... what? bummed? depressed? Not quite that... the term "financial hazing" seems to fit. In college there were all these extra costs that you never expected and always seemed to fall mostly on freshmen and we called it financial hazing. That's what this feels like. Here I am, already having problems and dealing with reprodcutive issues, and just to pour salt in the wound, there's all these extra expenses. It just adds to the unjustice of it all.

* estimate as it's so long ago I don't remember, I think this was only the hospital cost, not the radiologist or doctor.
** the hospital mixed up the billing, so I haven't received all the bills yet. $275 is what we've paid, I think it will be about $300 more still to come.
*** another estimate, it's hard to remember how many extra trips there have been.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Day 35 - the official negative result is in

Well golly gee, what do you know? I'm not pg. Stopping progesterone now, so I should start tomorrow.

I was supposed to have lunch today with a friend of a friend who just adopted a baby. She had to cancel, but it's got me thinking about it again. I know that it took her a long time to get a baby (2 years I think), and part of me wonders if I shouldn't start moving forward with adoption. We had started looking into it, but then we started getting hopeful about having one ourselves when we decided to go to the specialist.

I don't want to sound like adoption is a second choice… but I guess it really is for me. I think it's a great thing to do. I know I would love a baby no matter where it came from. But I guess that getting pregnant isn't just about getting a baby, it's about being a woman, about my body doing what it's supposed to be built to do. God, how unenlightened and anti-feminist does that sound? I swear I'm not a member of the "religious right"! I just don't know how to express it. But despite how much I want to carry a baby, having the baby is more important, so adoption is definitely an option. Also, I feel that if I have to have IVF to get pregnant, then that's too much. It's too expensive for something that's not a certainty. I'm willing to jump through a lot of hoops, but that's not one of them. Adoption is preferable to me over IVF.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Blood work

I went in to have a blood test today, no results until tomorrow though. I have to schedule another appointment tomorrow when they call to tell me it's negative. Yes, I'm sure it's negative. I'd be ecstatic if I were wrong, but I don't think I am. I had to negative tests with urine. They say that urine isn't a good enough test this early on… but I don't think I believe that. I mean I hear about people testing before their period is late, so they're on day 25 and getting a positive result. You don't think that it'd show up for me at day 34? Yeah right.

How much should a blood test cost anyway? The nurse/receptionist is hoping my insurance will cover it, so she only charged me the co-pay. Can it really be much more than $30?? That seems outrageous.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Cycle 25 Day 32

If I'm honest, I have to admit that I'm not exactly sure that this is cycle 25. I've lost count. But it is 25 months since we started trying, and my periods being what they are, 25 is probably accurate.

I've made it to day 32 because of the progesterone. It could be keeping a very early pregnancy alive, but it's probably just holding up my period. I did take a pg test this morning (as well as one on Friday), and both were negative.

I don't really know what comes next. I called the RE's office today and have to go in for a blood test on Wednesday because they say that urine tests aren't accurate enough this early. OK fine, I'll go and let them take my blood (at 8am, I am so not a morning person).

I'm not feeling too down this month, I don't think I was very hopeful (can't know for sure until I start to bleed, my emotions often suprise me). I think that just taking progesterone sounded a little too easy, like a magic pill that would solve all ills. There is no magic for me.

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