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.

Advertisements

All By Myself

Yesterday, I went in for ultrasounds and blood tests for day 4 of stims. On one hand, I’m extremely grateful that Dr. Petrel’s office has early morning appointments. On the other hand (the hand attached to this non-morning person,) I’m thoroughly displeased I had to be anywhere at 8:15 in the morning.

The appointment went smoothly. I got in, got my blood drawn, was unceremoniously probed. Just a typical Thursday morning of the IF crowd.

The ultrasound tech told me that I have 7 ripening follicles in one ovary, none in the other. I will admit now that I was slightly disappointed. I really wanted a bumper crop of those suckers. Specifically 30. I came upon this number through a very thorough process of picking it out of thin air.  Totally at random. I have no idea why, but my weirdo pea brain was fixated on the number 30.

Of course, I have no idea what is “normal” or “good.” Even if I did, I know better than to compare my body to any sort of standard. It does whatever the hell it wants. So I spent the morning reminding myself that ultimately, I just need one. Just one that works and sticks.

Regardless of my lingering disappointment, Dr. Petrel is pleased with my ovarian progress. The stimming cocktail continues, now with the addition of Menopur at night and Ganirelix in the morning.

I have been stimming now for 5 days. Outside of a persistent, low-grade headache, I’ve felt fine. No other side effects to report. The injections themselves are no fun. Not terrible, but not something I’ll be signing up for again under any circumstances. (There goes my long-held dream of becoming a heroin addict. Shucks.)

Gonal-f is a non-event. I hardly notice it.

Menopur stings a bit going in- kinda like a flu shot.

Ganirelix didn’t hurt going in, but the inject spot was sore and a little red for about 45 minutes afterwards.

I’m making Mr. Ostrich do the shots. Between you and me, I’m okay giving myself the shots, but I really want him to be involved. Up until now, I’ve been muscling through the appointments and infuriating phone calls with my insurance on my own. It isn’t because he won’t help– I’ve just never asked him. Which is why I think he is a bit removed from the whole process.

For example, Mr. O came with me to the baseline ultrasound and blood test. He sat in the room with the Tech while the ultrasound was performed. This wasn’t such a big deal to me– I’ve been poked in every way imaginable at this point. But Mr. O was completely floored. He just didn’t realize what all this meant until he saw me go through it first hand.

That’s when I decided to ask him to administer the injections. This isn’t because I want recognition for what I’m going through- I really want him to feel invested in this in a concrete way. It seems harder for men to grasp what IVF means because… they aren’t physically experiencing it? They are biologically programed to not notice? I have no idea.

I wonder if the same is true regardless of gender- If you’re part of a lady-lady duo, does the partner who isn’t undergoing treatment “get it?” Or is this just something you have to physically go through to understand?

To be clear, I don’t intend to downplay the role of anyone’s partner plays in this process. Even if they aren’t getting probed by ultrasound wands or pumped with hormones, they offer so much love and support. They are obviously just as invested in the outcome. I imagine it’s difficult to be in the role of witness too. For Mr. O at least, he has said several times that he wishes he could do some of this for me. But you know… pesky biology gets in the way.

Mr. O and I share so much. We’re disgustingly egalitarian in our relationship. It feels odd that he isn’t experiencing this in tandem, the way we do so many things. For the first time since we started this journey, I feel strangely separate.

The One Where I Spend Two Months Rent on Drugs

First off, my apologies for not writing sooner.  I’m happy to see the continued correlation between my taking a blogging break and several of you ladies getting pregnant. To all of you now on your way, my sincerest, heartfelt congratulations.

Unlike before, this break wasn’t for my own sanity. I’ve just been busy. Nothing exciting , but nothing terrible. I went to visit my folks and had some truly beautiful visits with my mom (who is still in the hospital. We just hit the one year mark.) I’ve also been insanely busy at work. So I haven’t had a lot of time to obsess over my upcoming IVF treatment.

Which has started. And started off poorly, I might add.

I got a call from Dr. Petrel’s office on Thursday that my IVF treatment was approved. Perfect timing, since my CD1 was just around the corner. On Friday, I got a call from the pharmacy asking if I’d like my meds delivered or if I wanted to pick them up. Wonderful. Things appear to be going smoothly.

On Saturday, shit gets real. As in real bad. At 9:00, the pharmacy calls and says that Incompetence Insurance requires two authorization codes– one for treatment, and one for the drugs. Though they’ve approved the treatment plan, I don’t have authorization for my medication. Because it is the weekend, no one is around to get authorization. And at noon, I get my period. Panic ensues.

I spent the next several hours playing a desperate game of phone tag with my doctor’s office, the nurse on call, and the pharmacy. I cried at four different people. Repeatedly. By 4:45, I had exhausted every possibility and realized I had to pay for the start of my meds out of pocket. Two mother fucking months rent on Gonal-F, ladies. I have until Wednesday to get an authorization code for the rest of my meds, or I’m SCREWED.

First thing this morning, I called the pharmacy and asked if their team was on the case. They claim to have faxed over the forms to my doctor’s office. I called Dr. Petrel’s office. They can’t find the fax, AND their computers are down so they can’t really do anything. Well, of course… If I don’t hear back in an hour, I’m phone stalking EVERYONE.

In the name of all that is holy, why would my insurance approve IVF treatment but not the medication? I’m so done with Incompetence Insurance. Just two weeks ago, they tried to deny a claim on the anesthesiologist for my hysteroscopy. Because that was optional? What? After I pointed out that a) this occurred in a hospital covered by my plan, and b) there wasn’t a way to have the procedure without it, they finally agree to accept the claim.

What makes me angriest about all this is that insurance companies prey on people when we are at our most vulnerable. Like when I’m recovering from a hysteroscopy. Or when standing at a reception desk crying because I can’t get the medication I need.

According to the pharmacy, the “good” news is the Incompetence says no, but then says yes. And they usually approve things retroactively. In the meantime, if I don’t get the authorization by Wednesday, I have no idea what I’m going to do.

Quick- which bodily organs can I sell that are also not required for a healthy pregnancy?