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.

Planning, Schmanning

Ah, July 4th. A weekend to celebrate our grand nation with hot dogs, fireworks, and beer.

Or in my case, with failed OPK and awkward sex in a cousin’s cabin.

God Bless, ‘Murica.

Months ago, Mr. Ostrich’s cousins invited us to spend the 4th weekend in their cabin on the lake. It is just down the street from his uncle’s cabin, so it was a mini-family reunion. Never ones to pass up on a free trip out of the city, we said yes. Then checked the calendar, only to realize all this was happening at the very tail end of my fertile week.

NBD, right? On Clomid, I ovulate like clockwork on Thursday and we’re leaving Thursday afternoon, so I can stop obsessively testing and just relax.

Not quite, friends. Since I’ve upped my dosage on Clomid, my ovulation is delayed a day. So I peed on a stick Thursday morning, only to be greeted by an empty smilie face. “Okay. No problem. I’ll just bring all my gear with me to a cabin in the woods, and we’ll take care of business.”

Not quite, friends. I wake up that first morning, pee on a stick, only to have an OPK error. No idea why, just lots of blinky error symbols. As you all know, you have to hold your pee for 4 hours until the next test. And according to that day’s schedule, that would put us squarely at Uncle’s house which was filled to capacity with aunts, other uncles, cousins, and skads of small children.

Not exactly OPK friendly, eh?

So I decided “Fuck it.” You see, I’m just about fed up with all the monitoring and planning. So this month, we’re sorta winging it. I was having weird cramping any way, so I probably did ovulate that Friday.

Later that evening, we had sex in the basement of the cabin (where our room was.) It was the weirdest experience. On a futon, behind I KID YOU NOT a beaded bamboo curtain. Hellooooo, College! If only there was a doorknob to hang a sock on…

A few things to note from this cycle (mostly for myself, not you kids):

1) Since doubling my Clomid dosage, I’m ovulating a day later. My ovulation cramps are also very different. Before (even on the lower dosage) I could tell almost to the hour when I had ovulated. I would feel cramping in one ovary or the other, then a whole lotta OUCH. Said ovary would be sore for a few days afterwards, and that would be that. Now, my ovulation cramping is more like a generalized, primal aching. It lasts for hours leading up to and afterwards. Before my body practically screamed that it was ovulating. Now, it’s sort of a low, guttural moan.

2) My ovulation-related nausea is baaaaack! Also like clockwork, I’d get really nauseous the day before, during and a little bit after ovulation. I’m not entirely pleased with by its return, but maybe that means the Synthroid is working because my hormones are leveling out. That is wild and crazy speculation, mind you.

In unrelated news, I’m back on a plane next week to visit the family. My mother’s condition isn’t improving, though thankfully it is not declining either. I’m a little less apprehensive about this trip than in the past. No idea why. There are no real indications that my family with be any less insane than usual.

To be honest, I think I’m tapped on being sad. I just can’t seem to muster the energy to be upset about anything. I can’t even talk to my dad anymore because I can’t be sad with him. Like I literally cannot get myself to feel that particular emotion anymore.

I don’t know that this is a good thing. It’s just a thing. Maybe I’ve maxed out on grief with all that’s been going on. If you are exposed to it enough, can you build up an immunity to sadness?