And then there were 3

From 13 to 3.

Unless I hear otherwise, I’m going in tomorrow for a day 3 transfer. According to the nurse, I have 3 embryos that look like they are in good shape.

Wait… What? 3? I did all that for 3 little turds?! (Yes, I did just potentially call my future child a turd. But…. RAGE.)

I recognize that this sounds like extreme complaining, but as previous explored, I don’t always have the most realistic set of expectations.

I will now publicly admit that I had “a plan.” Anyone who has experienced infertility will recognize this as an exercise in futility. And yet… I couldn’t help myself.

After I abandoned the “plan” of having babies like a normal person, I fast-forwarded to IVF. For some reason, I just didn’t think other methods were going to work. So I underwent the Great Clomid Experiment with little faith in the outcomes. Yes, yes… I did try in earnest, but I didn’t see that as the solution. So getting to IVF seemed like I was finally in the Reproductive Technology Big Leagues– and right where I belonged.

Much like my irrational fixation on getting 30 follicles, I really wanted 5 embryos. 1 to implant, 4 to freeze. You know… a “rainy day” stash. This is who I am. I make responsible decisions! I plan out my meals for the entire week! I have savings and a 401K, goddamnit! How could I not have some freaking embryos left over, just in case?!

BAH! ALL THE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!

Now that my righteous indignation has passed, I can see this for what it is. It’s the Four Horsemen of the IF Apocalypse. And will come as no surprise to any of you, I am sure.

  1. Disappointment. I had set my hopes on 5. 3 is not 5, no matter how you cut it.
  2. Sadness. I worked hard for those 13 damn oocytes. I’m a little sad to see them go.
  3. Fear. Shit. What if this cycle doesn’t work?
  4. Shame. And what meltdown would be complete without a dash of shame? My best efforts have not yielded my best results.

I just don’t want to do this again. The injections, the egg retrieval, the general shittiness I feel since I started on the hormones… I haven’t felt well enough to run in over a week, which makes me a miserable human. (And likely compounding all the aforementioned.)

I don’t want to be on this emotional fucking roller coaster anymore.

So please, can we just get a baby out of this one and call it a day?

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Lucky 13?

On Tuesday afternoon, I got “the call.” The one telling me my follicles were ripe for the plucking. After a thoroughly cryptic conversation with the nurse in my company cafeteria, I pieced together the triggering instructions. Then popped back into a meeting like it was NBD.

300 units of Gonal-F at 8:30. Novarel trigger at 9:30. At this point, I feel like one huge injection site. Ah, well… thems the breaks for the infertiles.

My retrieval was scheduled for Thursday morning. So nothing to do on Wednesday but wait. I’m used to waiting- that’s what the TTC game is all about, right? Mr. O, it seems, was late to that party. Because he had what is his equivalent to a freak out.  It happens infrequently, but when it does… Boyo, there is no talking him out of it.

It is worth noting that a “Mr. O Freak Out” looks a lot like my baseline for existence. He tends to latch on to something small then just perseverates on it for about 30 minutes. His obsession of choice today was how many embryos to implant. Like a dog with a bone, he would not let this go. “If we get one, obviously we’ll implant it and be done. But what if we get 3? Do we implant 2, then save the other one for later? What if we get 5?” And so on and so forth.

My feeling is that I will do whatever it takes to have a healthy pregnancy. If Dr. Petrel thinks that means implanting one, one it is. If she thinks that means two (and we have two viable ones), then we’ll go for two. Of all the things that have preoccupied my mind over our first IVF cycle, how many to implant has not been one of them.

Thursday morning, we show up for our retrieval. I don’t know how to explain this, but it was one of the saddest experiences I’ve had so far. Every couple that came in was “like me.” We’re all experiencing some kind of heartbreak. Perhaps I’m projecting, but everyone looked kind of sad and weathered.

When one couple walked in, the nurse said “I think I know you. Have you been here before?” They had been here in July. Like a dagger to my heart, friends.

Hooked up to my IVs, I sat and waited my turn. About 15 minutes before I was scheduled to go in, a nurse took Mr. O to the porn room. (Oh, come on… We’re all adults here, and THAT’S what it is!) I watched him walk out, and I just kept thinking “I didn’t want this for you.” I was just so deeply sad to be at this point. And so I sat there alone, trying not to weep openly.

When I woke up from the procedure, I had no idea where I was. I started crying, I babbled, I asked if it was Christmas*. It took about 5 minutes for Mr. O to calm me down, and for me to remember why I was there in the first place. Another 20 minutes later, we went home.

For the record, egg retrieval is fine. For me, it was a lot easier than the hysteroscopy. But don’t let anyone fool you- this isn’t like getting your teeth cleaned. I spent most of yesterday in bed, chugging Gatorade and eating a lot of meat because this is supposed to help my ovaries recover. (Who knew ovaries had so much in common with 15 year old boys?)

They were able to retrieve 13 in total. I’ll get a call today to let me know how they are progressing, then we could go in on Saturday to implant them. Does this seem early to anyone? I thought they’d need time to percolate or something…

Anyway, it feels like the hard part is over. Okay, the second hardest part… because this TWW will be one for the books.

Prepare yourself for more truly neurotic posts.

*This may seem random, but it isn’t. My mom went in for an endoscopy in November of last year, and experienced a whole mess of complications which have left her in the hospital for over a year. She went in November 1, and didn’t wake up until Christmas day.

Another CD1 = Another tussle with Incompetence

I keep hoping that I’ll be able to avoid IVF and the accompanying headache of dealing with my insurance by, you know… getting pregnant. I seriously hate this company. Just over the weekend, I got a bill from an appointment I had well over a year ago. They claim that they sent the check to me, and not the doctor’s office. Which is horseshit. And another story.

If these winners screw up perfectly run of the mill visits, imagine the wonderland of stupidity that awaits me now!

When Dr. Petrel suggested we go straight to IVF, I was cautiously optimistic. When I spoke with someone at the Infertility Hotline, they said that they required 6 cycles of something before they would approve IVF. Since I took Clomid for 6 cycles, I should be all set.

[But before I go on, I would like to pause for a moment to share some interesting information shared with me by Dr. Petrel. In the state where I live, most insurance companies (all the biggies) have moved away from a set requirement before IVF. Why? Because they crunched the numbers and found that most patients ended up at IVF anyway. Pragmatically speaking, it didn’t make financial sense to pay for treatments that have a lower probability of working BEFORE approving the one that has a higher probability of working. Logical, yes? Alas, my employer contracts with an insurance company out of TEXAS. And Texas may be many things, but rational about women’s health issues is not one of them.]

Anyway, as I was saying before I interrupted myself… I thought it would be a good idea to call and make sure I understood exactly what Incompetence meant by 6 attempted cycles with Clomid. Does it have to be done with IUI? Does it have to be done with accompanied monitoring? What kind of monitoring? Was I required to jump up and down three times before every cycle began? Rub my abdomen with juniper berries on every full moon?

So I called last week. I was on the phone for 45 minutes before someone told me that a specialist would call me back in 4 business days. This is the exact same crap I heard last time. 3-5 business days? How is this a HOTLINE, if I can’t talk to anyone for 3-5 business days? And did I REALLY have to wait on the phone for 45 minutes, only to learn I have to wait another 4 days? REALLY?!

Because the universe likes to kick me in the metaphorical balls, I get my call back from the Infertility Hotline the same day as I get by period. Let’s add frustration and elevated blood pressure to my pile of weepiness, desperation, and disappointment, shall we?

The good news is yes, my cycles with Clomid do count. This makes me feel a little bit better about the Great Clomid Experiment. In its own way, it has served its purpose. I just need to get something from my GYN saying that he did prescribe it. And provide some kind of “proof” that I took the medication and monitored it (OPKs count.)

Erm… proof? I started to panic, thinking I needed to have saved all my spent OPKs. I’m a pack rat, sure. But I have to draw the line at hoarding discarded OPKs. I mean, I PEED on those things.

In a delightful move back to civility, my word for it is proof enough. So I pull up my apps, report the dates of positive OPKs and scheduled sexy time. For the last 6 months. As I’m sure you can imagine, this took some time– 30 minutes to be exact.

The woman I spoke with was actually nice. Granted I waited 4 days to speak with her, so I sure hope she’d be nice. After we went through all the dates, she said she would start processing it so that I could be approved for IVF (pending some FSH test, I think? I dunno, whatever I’m getting done this week.) I hung up from that conversation not actively annoyed.

But just when you’d think that this could end on a happy note, I’m now embroiled in another bit of drama with my insurance company. Some of you may recall that I’ve been seeing a counselor to help me cope with “My Life”, aka the never-ending cyclone of very bad things I’ve experienced in the last year. Dr. Macaw has been so helpful. But because of a clerical error at Incompetence, they’ve rejected her claims so I’ve had to stop seeing her. I cannot fix said clerical error, Dr. Macaw has to. And they are not returning her calls, or sending her the forms she needs. Why?

Because they are assholes.

I’ve been okay with not seeing Macaw for now, but this shit is going to get cray once IVF becomes more real. I’ve already had one solid freakout after a Google session. (Sorry, but Egg Retrieval does not sound like a good time.) As one lovely friend pointed out, this might have to do with my total aversion to hospitals and medical procedures, thanks to my mom’s health situation. I NEED to talk about this with a licensed professional, but I can’t do it if my insurance company keeps denying claims because their records are out of date (and they seem to refuse to update them.)

Suggestions on how to strong arm your insurance company into delivering the services that you pay for are welcome.