Monday, January 30, 2012

Coming Out of the (Nursery) Closet

Krissi at Stress Free Infertility writes a wonderful blog and has a book ready to come out (and has already won awards for it!).  She featured my blog in her latest "blog love" post.  I thought that was kind of cool. I frankly think anyone wanting to read my rants & ramblings is kinda cool.  So I posted on Facebook, (because I am an addict), "An award-winning author featured my blog on her blog.  How cool is that?!"
I had, as I figured, many friends that "liked" this post.  However, I had not anticipated the protest from many friends for me to post my blog address.  Oh geez.  Hubby immediately said, "You're not going to post that, are you?"  I told him there was no way.  Let's face it, I've poured out a lot of my heart on here.  It's my therapy and just maybe it will help someone else along this same windy, not quite beaten bath.  But expose myself for the whole world ,or rather, my 1,500 friends on Facebook?  That's another level for which I'm just not ready.

When I thought about what would happen if I did post the address for the world to see, I felt very naked...and not in a Marvin Gaye Let's-Get-It-On kinda way.  Was it just that I don't want the world to know all my troubles?  Maybe a little.  Afterall, I do hate hand-on-the-forehead, woe is me, everybody pay attention to me kind of drama.  But I know that there's more to it than that.  I felt like it would expose this secret thing in my life.  Was it shame?  Was it embarrassment?  Deep down, do I have a fear that I'm the one-of-these-things-that's-not-like-the-others?  Possibly.  If I'm honest, probably.

I, though, get a guilty conscience when I feel the need to keep the infertility part of my life hidden from the world.  I'm very much a believer in being honest...hence some of my rather blunt forthcoming blog posts.  I feel like hiding this stuff from the people that know me is doing some injustice to our infertility community.  I'm continuing the trend of not wanting to talk about it and not wanting it to be such a public thing.  I'm hiding it and not making an issue out of it.  I'm not educating the general public that know me on something so near and dear to my heart.  Am I betraying who I am?  Am I leaving out a part of my identity? 

So, I'm not ready to come out of the closet...that is, the nursery closet...yet.  Many of my close friends and a lot of our family members know about our struggles.  That's enough, at least for now.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Banned Facebook Statuses

If you've read my blog, you know that I've said several times I'm a facebook addict.  I love the thing.  I use it for work, personal life, & a photography business that Hubby & I own together.  I put up pics, comment on others posts & share my thoughts with friends....A LOT.  I don't even mind the pregnancy announcements & pics that follow. 

However, there have been several posts that have run through my devious little brain, but I have NOT shared on facebook.  These are just things no one should ever share, at least not with the delicate fertile public.  For your entertainment, I present my top 10 Facebook Statuses that I ban myself to ever post:

1. Stuck some progesterone up my hoo hah before I went to bed last night.  Hope it doesn't fall out!
2. Well, it's Monday, so Hubby got up and stuck me in the a$$ first thing this morning.  What a way to start the week!
3. Wow, seems like the more men I add to the process, the more it costs to get knocked up!
4. Hope I mixed my drugs correctly before I shot up this morning.
5. No, I cannot have a meeting with you today because A. I don't like you, & B. I'm full of hormones.  NOT a good combination, for your sake.
6. Leaving the house to go get knocked-up.  For most people, that's just a fun option.
7. My Doc costs more than a virgin hooker!
8.  My drug dealer came through!  Yay!
9.  Hope the embryologist gets my ice babies all thawed & warm before putting them in me later today!  No frost allowed at the equator!!
10. Can peeing on a stick be a hobby?

11. When the Doc told me I'd be starting & ending my day with shots, this is NOT what I had in mind...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Better Late Than Never

At 2:30pm on Friday, January 20th, my IVF Nurse called & said that my blood results were in.  Hallelujah!  They were looking for my estradiol level to be below 80 - Mine was 30!  She made sure that I knew I had to come to their lab next Friday for my first blood draw after adding the Estradiol Valerate shots. They are looking for my E2 level to spike somewhere between 200 and 1000, which will help in building a thick lining in the uterus.  Yes, make it nice and cozy for my ice babies!  I have to go to the lab by their office (an hour away) because they have to have my results the same day in case any adjustments in dosages need to occur.  Another disadvantage to living in a small town - blood labs can't do same-day results.  :-(

So, I'm a "go" for adding Estradiol shots to my regimen on Monday, Jan 23rd!  We are moving along.

I figured, this being Round #3 and all, that getting drugs & bloodwork would not be a difficult part of this process.  Even these things are a challenge this time...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dealer Came Through!

On Thurs., Jan 19th, Hubby texted me when he got home from work.  This (estradiol valerate & corresponding needles & syringes) arrived!

Can you believe that this little vial cost me $70???

 Now if only my blood results would come back, I can start these injections on time on Mon., Jan 23rd!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Some Days I Just Shake My Head

On Wed., Jan 28th, CD1 arrived & threw a wrench in the day I had planned.  I called my Dr because he was going to order a blood draw to check my estradiol level the day I started.  I left them my work fax in case they had any trouble sending it to the hospital.  I was so happy that they were going to let me get my bloodwork done in town rather than driving an hour away to the lab they use. 

I also called my acupuncturist who had me come in right away at 10:30AM.  Normally I find acupuncture really relaxing.  She puts the pins in and does this extra electrical current thing called "Relax & Balance" - it's amazing.  But today, some jackA$$ doctor decided to stand outside the door & talk loudly on his cell phone about his recent skiing trip.  I even coughed loudly a couple of times, thinking that'd get his attention & signal that someone was in the room, but no. Acupuncture ended & it was not the blissful experience I'd had the last few times.

My acupuncturist is in the same building as the blood lab, so I stopped by the registration desk to ask if any orders had been faxed in for me.  I figured I might as well - I was already there.  Why would I think it would be THAT easy?  I still laugh at how naive I am.  The lady at the desk told me that she didn't know anything & I'd have to wait to talk to an intake specialist.  You mean to tell me you can't just look up my name on that handy dandy little thing in front of you called a computer?  So I took a seat and waited until an intake specialist was open.  I asked if any orders had been faxed in for me.  She looked in her computer - what a novel idea! - and also on the fax machine, but had nothing.

On my way out to my car, my cell phone went nuts.  I had 2 missed calls from my Dr's office.  The voicemails were the IVF nurse explaining there was no answer on my work fax.  I called them back with the lab's direct fax line, since I was already there and they were having trouble with my work fax.  I waited about 30 minutes and didn't hear anything, so I left to grab a bite to eat.  While I was eating, my cell phone rang again.  It was my Dr's office, but they hung up.  Then they called back.  So I grabbed it an answered it, only to have the sound of a fax in my ear....

Apparently someone at my Doc's office is LEARNING to use the fax machine today....perhaps we should work on following directions next?

So after I finished my lunch, I was walking to my car and the Doc's office called me again stating that they'd sent the fax & had confirmation that it went through.  Funny, I'm pretty sure you just tried to fax it to my cell phone, but whatever...

At 12:30pm, I went to the blood lab where I again had to wait my turn to talk to an intake specialist, who walked me through the registration process this time & sent me to the lab to get my blood drawn.  Two women walked me back & I complimented one of them on her pretty Pandora bracelet.  She scoffed and said that it wasn't Pandora and anyone that had a Pandora bracelet had more money than brains.  At that point, I showed her my Pandora bracelet...Hey Jacka$$ #2 today: Open mouth, insert foot.

Then, the other girl put on gloves and began looking at both my arms.  She told me she was a student & would be drawing my blood.  Yes, I now have a giant bruise on my left arm...

At least it was done.  Or so I thought...

I got a phone call from my IVF nurse at 4:30pm saying she'd called the blood lab and for some reason they don't perform this particular test in-house.  The Doc expected test results the same day.  Apparently, at my lab Estradiol tests have to be sent away and they would not have the results until Friday or Monday.  If we didn't have the results by Monday morning, I was to hold off on my first shot of estradiol valerate.  Ugh.

I called the lab myself just to see if I got the same story.  At first, the woman on the phone told me that she didn't know who I was so she was not telling me any information.  Now, aren't you just the cherry on top of this day?!  I explained that I wasn't calling for my results - that I just wanted to know if in fact this test was not done in-house and when they would expect my results.  Her tone changed and she said that was all true & they should have my results by Friday.  That made me feel a little better, although I'm still a little unnerved that the blood draw order had STAT written all over it & no one bothered to tell me this was not a test that they could run in house...So now, since they've proven a little incompetent with the tests, I now have to drive to the blood lab by my Doc's office more than an hour away for the rest of my blood draws.  I guess I'd rather have to drive and have it done correctly and on time.

Here's the kicker-when I finally got to work at 2PM that day, there was a fax with my blood draw orders in my mailbox from my Doc's office.

Some days I just shake my head.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Cell Phone's Worn Out

Tues., Jan 17th:

12:36pm Katie from BackOrderScript called to let me know that Estradiol Valerate is still on backorder and the manufacturer says it will not be in until March 1st.  Not helpful.

12:53pm Call Mary from my insurance co who has always helped with drug problems in the past.  She said she'd talk to the Pharmacy Dept and get back with me.  Do your magic, Mary!

1:20pm Mary left me a message that if the manufacturer says it's on backorder, there's nothing they can do.  If I can find it someplace else, I do not need an override, just go ahead and get it.  Gee, thanks!

1:43pm Called Barron Pharmacy, the alternative pharmacy I had to use during IVF Round #1 when BackOrderScrip couldn't come through then.  The man said they did have several vials of it in stock.  I told him I'd have my dr office get in touch.

1:47pm I called my Dr's Med Specialist, Dawn.  I left Dawn a message that I needed to speak with her about submitting my order somplace else because BackOrderScrip once again dropped the ball.

2:03pm Dawn calls me back.  I explain what's happened.  She says she will also make sure Barron has the drug and if they do and it's not outrageously expensive, she'd get it for me.  I told her I was sorry I have to be the one with an insurance company that only complicates matters.  She told me not to apologize, that she's used to dealing with insurance and she'd get it all straightened out for me.

2:10pm A representative from Barron Pharmacy calls to get my insurance info updated since it's been since last March/April since I've had anything filled by them.

2:20pm Another representative from Barron calls to confirm the drug that's needed and to make sure that I have all the needles and syringes ordered that I need as well.

2:52pm A 3rd representative from Barron calls to get my credit card info and confirm my shipping address.  She told me the Estradiol Valerate would be here within a day or 2.

4:05pm A 4th representative from Barron calls to get my email address so I can have access to shipping information for my package from UPS.

We'll see if I truly get my meds on time...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Let's Hypothetically Say I Make Guns

On Wednesday, January 4th, I got another call from my specialty pharmacy.  This time, sweet little Katie (Can you hear my voice dripping with sarcasm?) informed me that all of my drugs except estradiol valerate (EV) ought to be arriving that day. They did...

The EV, on the other hand, was on backorder and Katie so lovingly informed me that the manufacturer had no idea when they'd begin shipping it again.  Ought the manufacturer know this kind of thing?  I mean, let's hypothetically say I make shoot people...who can't fill drug orders.  I ought to know the next time I'm making a gun...

Shockingly, I didn't scream.  Actually this time, I almost laughed.  I knew that a drug order going through with no major problems was really too much to ask from this company that I refer to as BackOrderScrip.  I let Katie know that I take the first shot of it on Monday, January 23rd in the morning.  She said she'd make note that it would need to arrive by Friday, January 20th and she'd keep an eye out for the drug.  I asked Katie if I would hear from her or how I would know how to proceed.  She assured me that she'd let me know one way or another about the drug because she's the one that handles all the drugs on back order for them.  Damn straight you will let me I can quit waxing my hypothetical shotgun...

I figured I'd give them a few days to see if they could get it in before screaming losing my cool with them on the phone AGAIN.

Fast-forward to today (Jan. 10):  I still haven't heard from Katie or anyone else from BackOrderScrip about the missing estradiol valerate.  I will be calling sweet little Katie tomorrow.  Just like Lucy on Charlie Brown...when she goes into her booth and turns the sign around...the crazy lady is in.

As I've said many times before.  I didn't go into this process neurotic, demanding, and emotional, but the process sure makes me this way.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I Knew Drugs Weren't That Easy to Get!

On Tuesday, January 3rd, I got a phone call from the specialty pharmacy.  The woman on the phone said that she wanted to schedule delivery of my drugs.  Didn't we already do that once?  I told her that I had already spoken to someone the day before who had done that.  She said that person didn't have the authority to do that because all the meds were not run through the insurance division yet.  And that's MY problem HOW?  

She went on the explain that the progesterone suppositories are compounds that have to be made up by a pharmacist, and because it's a drug they have to make, they have to find out all the ingredients and then bill me accordingly.  She said she was going to put their pharmacist on alert to make up the suppositories and hopefully the drugs would ship by the next day (Wed., Jan 4th).  I wouldn't think getting something to just put in my hoo-hah is this difficult, but if you say so....

So I OK'd it and hung up.  By this time I wasn't convinced that this 3rd round of IVF was going to be any different than the other times.  I wasn't holding my breath about the drugs being right or getting here on time....

I should've known there'd be another phone call yet...

Getting Drugs Cannot Be That Easy!

On Monday, January 2 at noon, I called the pharmacy to see if they'd processed my paperwork so I could pay for my drugs and schedule delivery.  It wasn't like I needed the drugs anytime soon or anything...The woman who answered the phone transferred me to the insurance department.  I waited for 20 minutes on the phone and no one answered.  So, I hung up and called back.  The same woman answered the phone and I told her that I'd been on hold for 20 minutes since she transferred me.  She apologized and then pulled up my info.  Now why couldn't she have just done that to begin with???  She said that all but one of my drugs were run and the one just needed pre-approval, which should not be a problem.  She asked me if I wanted to pay with the credit card I had on file with them and I told her yes.  She told me that the drugs ought to ship out Wednesday and I'd have them on Thursday.

And so I hung up the phone happy that wasn't too much of a mess. 

Haven't I learned by now that it's just not that easy?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Getting Drugs Should Not Be This Difficult!

Let me bring you up to speed:  I have to use this certain pharmacy per my insurance company.  They have a history of not being able to find my prescription for about a week after it's actually faxed to them....which leads to cutting it close when it's time to take my meds.  More often than not, they are on backorder.  One time, they had to have a courier bring me my meds less than 12 hours before I was supposed to take the 1st shot.  Long story short, I don't have much faith in them.

Fast-forward to IVF#3:  Doc faxed orders to them on Dec. 23rd.  I have a copy of the fax confirmation.  I called the pharmacy on Dec. 29th because I hadn't heard from them.  They said I wasn't in the system at all and then, after digging, said they'd received the fax that day.  LIE!  No co-pays had been run and they could not schedule delivery yet.  I asked, not entirely nicely, if they were going to have my Lupron on backorder like the previous 2 times.  Then the woman gave me some crap story about being the end of the year and having many orders to fill and she couldn't say whether it'd be in stock when the insurance division ran my co-pays.

And that's when my brains oozed out my ears...Just don't even talk if you can't be helpful!

I asked her to get the paperwork to whatever division needs it - that I had to have the Lupron by Jan 6th - and that's all there is to it.  She told me that she'd forward it on and I should call back on January 2nd in the afternoon.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Funniest Christmas Letter I'll Never Send

I must say that 2011 has been an interesting year for Hubby and me.  It was mostly taken up with IVF stuff.  I'm not sure that I'm totally happy about that.  I sat down the other day to write a Christmas letter to family and friends and realized that either:
1. I could not put most of our year in it because we are not sharing IVF info with them
2.  The rest of the year was really boring and not worth writing about.

How sad is that?

So, here is what my truthful letter would've said to all our dear friends and relatives that I won't be sending out:

Dear Friends,

In January, Hubby went back to consulting for a local bank and also began Seminary.  He hated the bank the 1st time he worked there, so I'm not sure why he's going back, however it pays well, so I'm not complaining till he turns into a jerk that is unbearable to live with again.  We had to have several nurses travel to our home to draw blood to see if Hubby's genes and chromosomes were OK.  I do have to admit, I did sorta look at him funny for those couple of weeks when we were waiting on the test results.  Later, we got the go-ahead to pursue IVF-ICSI because Hubby's CAVD diagnosis was chalked up to "just a fluke."  Isn't that nice?  Thousands of dollars spent finding out that Hubby missing a couple little tubes in his body was just some oversight from the man upstairs?!

In March, Hubby has his MESA surgery and I sent out the infamous, "WE HAVE SPERM" texts to our friends.  Yes, I did that.  And I'd do it again.  These small little things found in Hubby's nether-regions were the biggest highlight of my year, thank you very much.  We have 9 tubes of it frozen.  He healed like a champ without too much complaining.  I must admit that washing around the stitches on his testicles were NOT the highlight of my year...  This month, our old house also got robbed again.  This time, since there were no more of our personal items to steal, they began stealing the actual house.  Doors, mantels, and other woodworking have now been stripped from the house.  I asked our insurance agent if I burnt it down and didn't turn it in for insurance if I would still go to jail for insurance fraud.  She said no, but that I'd still go to jail for arson.  Something to ponder...

In April & May, we went through our first IVF-ICSI attempt.  I was giddy with hope and excitement.  I was elated to receive the calendar that laid out all of the pills and shots that I was going to have to take.  Happiness was soon turned to confusion and disgust at the amount of money and stress that a round of IVF takes.  I tested young and healthy internally.  I responded well to the stimulants.  They got 10 eggs from me and I looked forward to the Embryologist's call each day updating me on how many were growing.  We transferred 2 Grade 1 Blastocycts on Day 5.  We also froze 1 for future use.  I pondered every single cramp and pinch for the next 2 weeks.  We received our BFN in June.  I cried at work and at home.  I made a fool of myself several times in public.  The Doc had no answer as to why it didn't work.  It just didn't.  I had thought that maybe we were owed something happy at this point.  Apparently this wasn't it.

Soon after, in June, Hubby and I went to a state-wide church conference at a little resort up north.  It was nice to get away, sit at the lake, eat ice cream, and not be surrounded by sadness.  It was just what I needed.  I spent the summer busy at work with the Youth Program that I run.  My boss "resigned" in July and the leadership at work has been less that great since then.  I've come home mad, crying, or yelling on any given evening.  The Board President is an older woman who has nothing better to do with her time and she has stepped in to do his day-to-day duties until a replacement can be found.  She is sometimes nice, but has no clue what she's doing.  She walks all over me, treats the staff pretty poorly, and handles criticism like a 2-year-old.  She just has no business being a leader of an organization.

In September, I didn't have a good feeling about IVF-ICSI Round #2 and my gut was right.  I had read so many other blogs that stated their round 2 didn't work, but their Round #3 did.  I felt like I just needed to get through this round.  Retrieval was very painful this time.  Healing took longer because I developed Ovarian Hyper Stimulation.  We transferred 2 Grade 1 Blasts in September on Day 5 and froze another 2.  In October, my period came a few days early and that's how I knew we had a BFN this 2nd round, too.  In a nutshell, Round #2 was God-awful.  I'm glad that b!+ch is over with.  At work, the Board decided to advertise for a new Executive Director.  They'd take apps through 2011 and begin the interview process in early 2012.  I knew I had lots of vacation in December and I'd dust off my resume when I had some real time to work on it.

In October, Hubby was deemed a "Locally Licensed Pastor" and so now he is Rev. Hubby. I think that's funny.

In November, I prayed that I needed some clarity about whether it was time to leave my job or hang on for the Exec Dir position.  That same day, at a Board Meeting, I was excused while they went into Executive Session.  When I came back, they had voted unanimously to approve what was talked about in the Executive Session.  Later in the meeting, they decided to tell me that they had approved the older woman who was the Board President and was filling in as the Executive Director as the Interim Director for "at least a year."  I went home very upset from this meeting and then realized, "Hey dumbass, you asked for clarity."  At that point, God didn't gently nudge me about my future.  He hit me in the face with a brick.  I guess I'm leaving.  I just have to figure out what my next steps are.  Hubby's convinced that I should get my Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psych.  My undergrad is in child psych.  I love working with children on IEPs and learning plans.  I've diagnosed several of our friends' and family members' kids before the Doc did.  I've helped families help their children with things ranging from OCD, Asperger's, Autism, and PDD.  I love the stuff.  I'm getting excited just writing about it.  I suppose Rev. Hubby is right.  I just have to figure out when, where and how we'll pay for it.

We also had our WTF appointment with my Doc in Nov. and he has no answers as to why IVF didn't work the 2nd time.  Blasts form and fail to implant all the time in the real world and people don't even know it.  We just happened to know that they were there.  Is this where the saying, "Ignorance is bliss" applies?  We agreed that the next step is to try a Frozen Cycle with our Babies on Ice.  And no, that's not an ice skating show.  Although I could arrange it if it would help pay for our next round....

In December, I had pretty much given up trying to play nice with our new Interim Director at work.  If she wants to be in charge, she's going to have to act like it.  I went at her with several complaints and at one point, I called Hubby saying that if I'd talked to any other person who was my boss that way, I'd probably be fired.  I know that's bad, but my give-a-damn is broken.  Late in December, I began birth control pills for this Round #3 of IVF and visited an acupuncturist.  I'm still not convinced acupuncture works, but am willing to do anything to help the odds this time around.  I received my calendar for IVF #3, FET #1, as well.  My behind already hurts from looking at the schedule of IM shots that is required this time.  I am cautiously optimistic at this point, probably naively so.

As for 2012, friends, I pray that my butt and to-do list grow smaller, that my family and wallet grow bigger, and that much happiness finds us all.

The Childless Mom