What I do in the middle of the night…or should I say early in the AM!

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I wrote this when I woke up in the middle of the night but I couldn’t post it until I was able to proofread it! I didn’t want to post some crazy half asleep hieroglyphics LOL!

Its 3:00 am! I usually wake up between 3 and 4 am so im right on schedule!!! My wife is next to me sleeping away while i toss and turn and think if i fall asleep now, i will get 3 hours more sleep. Insomnia is frustrating enough and to know that im electively taking medicine that makes it worse makes me want to bang my head against the wall! The things we do to have a family…

I don’t like being up in the middle of the night because i am alone with my thoughts; especially during this insane time. I think about the insurance fight that im most likely going to have the next day. It’s a daily fight with Aetna about SOMETHING! I think about the next round of drugs they are making me take and how they are gonna make me feel. I try to think about anything possible to stop me from thinking about what is always in the back of my mind…fear! Firstly, the fear of all of this not working. Weeks of injections, their side effects, countless doc appointments, copays up the wazoo and the endless fight with the insurance company…all for nothing? I think about the call i received when i didnt get pregnant from the frozen embryo transfer after we lost our baby and how upset i was. My second and most crippling fear is the fear that i get pregnant again and don’t end up with a baby. I dont think i could handle that again. With my last pregnancy, i started to show and i had the experience of feeling the baby kick, just to lose him. That put me in such a dark place…a place i never want to see again. Just thinking about it for the quickest minute makes me feel like it just happened yesterday. No wonder i cant sleep!!!

My most recent fear is that this cycle may be canceled!  I don’t even know this for sure but the hypochondriac in me is worried that I haven’t gotten my period.  I have been on Lupron for past 10 days and every time I take Lupron, I get a period.  It’s just what happens but this time nothing! I’ve been doing online research to find out what this means but I’m getting nowhere.  I’m going to call my doctor later today and find out but I pray that this does not mean that I’m not suppressed.  I have to go in the doc’s office for a suppression check tomorrow morning so I will know for sure but if I went through all this crap just to start over again…I may go looney tunes!!!  My wife keep telling me I need to relax and stop being so stressed.  I soooooo want to do that but anyone who knows me knows that I don’t know the meaning of relaxation.  I just had a hour long foot massage with 2 of my friends and I look to the left and one friend is relaxed and knocked out and I look to my right and the other friend is the same way.  I, on the other hand, was wide awake and thinking about all the crap I have to do after this massage…WTF!

Fear is crippling and I need to stop feeling this way and be more positive.  I always say that my motto for 2014 is “IT IS WHAT IT IS!”  I need to stand by that!  Thanks for reading my rants! 🙂

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Here we go again! The joys of hormone therapy!

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Now that I got through all of the crazy pre-authorizations and received my approvals and my meds, it’s time to start the whole process again!  The good news is that I was approved for IVF so there’s a good chance I may be pregnant by the end of next month.  Just an FYI…I am totally comfortable with sharing my entire experience from “soup to nuts”.  I’m a very open and honest person and I want to help others but I will not reveal if I get pregnant until we are pretty far along. Firstly, I don’t want to jinx myself and secondly, we have already been through all the excitement of telling all of our friends and family about us getting pregnant and then having to contact everyone again to tell them we lost the baby and I CANNOT go through that again.  Sorry for those of you who have been seriously reading my blog but once you are in my shoes, I’m sure you will understand.

My doctor wanted me to start with what is called a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) test. This is a diagnostic test (which you may have to get pre-authorization from your insurance) that takes a look at your fallopian tubes.  This is usually done in a hospital or a radiology center.  While you are awake, the doctor will numb your cervix and shoot some sort of dye up there with a catheter to make sure it passes correctly through your fallopian tubes.  They want to make sure there are no blockages and you want to pray that there are no blockages in there because if there are, there may be problems and the test will be more painful.  This is the third time I took this test and I have not had the best experiences with it.  During my second HSG test, there was a minor blockage in the tubes which the doctor passed through with the catheter.  OMG…can I tell you I was screaming on the table!!! Made me think…how am I going to deal with childbirth?  Major drugs…that’s how lol! A friend of mine took this test as well and advised me to ask my doctor for Xanax to relax me during the test.  What a godsend!  I took the Xanax before my third HSG and while it was still uncomfortable, the Xanax made me not care at all!  I was even cracking jokes with the techs so I recommend taking it if you have to take this test! My test results were normal thank god!

Then…more monitoring!  Bi-weekly blood and ultrasound checks which are so time consuming!  My clinic starts these at 7:00 am but if you don’t get to the office by 6:00 am and wait until they open, you will be one of the last to be seen and you can bet that you will be late for work.  All my levels look good and my inner lady parts look good so it’s time to start IVF!

The first thing they want you to take is birth control.  This gets your body on a schedule that they can track.  I’m used to taking birth control so it’s no biggie for me.  I tend to get ovarian cysts and my period has always been irregular…not to mention the “straight days” so I’ve been on and off birth control since I was about 17.  The birth control didn’t make me feel any different but many people I know say it gives them mood swings, makes their breasts bigger and lowers their sexual drive.  Thankfully I don’t have those problems because I have to deal with the mood swings from the other drugs they make you take, my boobs are big enough and I won’t even go there about my sex drive lol! Gotta keep some things private!!!  The protocol is to take the birth control for about 2 1/2 weeks.

Seven days before you stop taking the birth control, I started the Lupron injections.  Oh what a joy!  The are subcutaneous injections which mean that I can give them to myself in the stomach area. I always have a problem doing the first shot and this time was no different.  Giving yourself a needle is some hard stuff!!! It’s kinda like self mutilation! I don’t know how people do drugs like heroin because just this little needle gives me so much anxiety! But I got through it and have been giving myself these shots for the past 7 days now.  I’ve never in the past had side effects from Lupron but this time I do which really sucks royally!!! My first side effect is the dizziness, nausea and hot flashes.  I hate these feelings but I can deal with the occasional dizziness and nausea…it’s the hot flashes that are the WORST! Especially at night!  Think about yourself snug as a bug in a rug, underneath the covers and cuddling with your spouse. Then all of a sudden you feel an inner heat rush through you body like “guns blazing” and you immediately start to sweat.  As a result, you push your spouse away from you because the additional body heat will just kill you!  You throw the covers off of you in a fit of rage.  Literally 5 minutes later, your sweat turns into icicles and your are now freezing!  You pull your covers back over you and grab your spouse for body heat just to go through this vicious cycle about 4-5 times nightly! That’s a hot flash ladies and it’s not fun!  My wife gets hot flashes too (for other reasons) so let me tell you that there is a lot of movement in the bed at night and not the kind of movement I would like if you get my drift lol!  We also change our sheets quite frequently!

The next side effect are the mood swings.  I personally have little patience as it is and a short fuse.  On this medication, I have NO patience and NO fuse!  The littlest things make me so angry.  The other day I was stuck on a street with two cars parked directly opposite each other.  With the street already being so narrow and the snow, cars could not pass through the street because of the way these cars were parked.  Do you know that I beeped my horn for so long to get someone’s attention? When no one came to move their cars, I called the police and made a formal complaint! Any other day, I would have just turned around and went another way. Yesterday, I almost went nutso on this older lady who parked her luxury car in two parking spaces and there was no where else for me to park.  Thank god my wife was with me to calm me down and another car was about to pull out so I can park.

The last side effect that I experience and the one that I hate the most is the sleeplessness. I have been struggling with insomnia for quite a number of years.  To be honest, I don’t think I’ve had a good nights rest without sleeping aids since college.  Over the years, I’ve taken so many different kinds of sleeping pills but in my opinion, Lunesta is the best thing on the market!  Unfortunately, I am not allowed to take Lunesta or any other sleeping aids during the cycle.  The Lupron has made my insomnia 10 times worse.  I sleep for maybe 3 1/2 to 5 hours per night which makes me such a joy to be around! It’s so frustrating that I cry sometimes in the morning because I’m just so tired but I can’t make myself sleep.  I’ve tried so many things but they don’t seem to work.  Meditation and other forms of imagery works for a lot of people but to me…its bullcrap! I had someone tell me to “imagine yourself on a lily pad drifting down a slow river…” I have an analytical mind and while trying this, I start to think things like “how is my fat ass gonna fit on a lily pad?”  I obviously have problems imagining things that are not really true. People say that exercise helps and I’m sure it does but like most people in the world, “ain’t nobody got time for dat!”  My hope is to try yoga and I will let you know if that helps.

My last dose of the birth control is today and I continue the Lupron until my appointment on Friday, 2/28 where they will do bloodwork and find out if my ovulation was suppressed.  If so, I get the pleasure of continuing not only the Lupron (at a smaller dosage) but also have to start taking an additional injection of Gonal F which stimulates the follicles and makes them bigger! Two hormone injections a day and I still have to go to work and function like a normal person. I think that is too much to ask! After that, there is a lot more monitoring by doing blood work and ultrasounds until it’s time for the egg retrieval.

My egg retrieval will be scheduled some time in the second week of March. The embryo transfer will hopefully be 5 days after the retrieval and the lovely preggo test will come 10 days after the transfer. But I know myself and I will probably cheat (which means take a home preggo test) the day before my scheduled test at the doc!

Keep you posted as these things occur but please feel free to write posts if you have had similar or different experiences with all of this!

And I’m out!

 

Insurance Issues – What a pain in the you know where!!!

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When going through Infertility procedures, its not the injections, countless trips to the clinic for bloodwork & ultrasounds or the lovely side effects to the hormones that is the major headache…it’s dealing with insurance companies!!!  Especially when you are a lesbian couple! As an HR professional with over 10 years of experience, I have expertise in working with insurance companies, developing plan designs and understanding the confusing jargon but even I want to pull my hair out when it comes to dealing with insurance companies!

First let me tell you that it’s all a game and you have to know how to play! Get it in your mind that you have to be knowledgeable about your own benefit plan and what is covered.  You also have to be extremely persistent to get what you want…or should I say what you pay for.  Don’t let them bully you.  Insurance companies purposely do three things:

1.  They make policy wording so confusing that most people (including me sometimes) do not understand it.  If you don’t understand the coverage, they can charge you whatever they want and you have no basis to fight them!  If you do not understand your policy, I’m here to help!  Please write a post or email me at lesbianpregnancyjourney@live.com and I will totally assist you.

2.  Make things difficult!  Insurance companies are now making you get pre-authorized for everything…especially for infertility coverage.  They do this on purpose to make you frustrated.  A lot of people will just give up on trying get authorized for procedures because it is a constant battle that they don’t want to fight.  Insurance companies are banking on this! You HAVE to be persistent and it may take daily calls to the insurance company, being patient when you are on hold for hours, speaking to supervisors, etc.  Do not take “no” for an answer because you can always file grievances, even if they decline your coverage!  I suggest that you check with your employer and see if they participate in any kind of health advocate program that is a separate entity from the insurance company.  Health advocate programs are great in that they are an unbiased 3rd party who are trained in dealing with insurance companies.  They can fight on your behalf and they are a great resource!

3.  They flat out lie!  Ever notice that every time you speak to an insurance rep, they can give you entirely different information?  That happens all the time.  In my recent battle with Aetna, I had one rep telling me one thing and literally a few hours later, a different rep will tell me something totally different and when you say, “that’s not what the other rep said earlier”, they tell you they have no reference of your earlier call and have no idea what you are talking about.  They tell you when you call that they are taping the call for “quality assurance” but when you ask them to pull the tape, they can’t. DAMN LIARS!  Do yourself a favor…every time you call the insurance company and speak to a rep, make a note of the date and time you called, the first and last name of the person you spoke with, a detailed description of what was told to you and ask them for a reference number.  Some insurance companies will tell you that they do not provide reference numbers.  In this case, you should instruct them to make a note of your call and what was discussed but you still have to take your own notes.  Also, the rep may tell you that they won’t provide their first and last name but you should at least get their first name and last initial.

Pre-authorizations for infertility coverage can be very difficult, especially in the case of lesbians. Let me tell you about my recent experience with Aetna.  When I first called Aetna about my infertility coverage, they told me that I had coverage for 4 cycles of in-vitro fertilization at 80% including all monitoring.  I would also get an additional 2 cycles of in-vitro if there is a live birth.  SWEET!  I was so elated because most insurance companies do not cover infertility services and if they do, it is usually artificial insemination (IUI) which I didn’t want to do.  IUI is great for some folks but if I have to go through all of the injections and stuff anyway, I would rather go with a procedure that is WAY more effective…especially if it is covered by my insurance.  Then I found out that I had to get pre-authorized!  Here comes the fight…

Aetna, like other insurance companies, have an infertility hotline, where you have to register.  This process takes about a month so make sure you handle this before you plan to move forward with the treatment.  During the registration process, I spoke with an Aetna nurse who asks you so many personal questions about your prior infertility treatments and even about your sex life.  Man…do I hate putting my personal business in the street but you have no choice.  It is completely legal for them to ask you these questions.  I personally did not start dating women until college so I was sexually active with men from the age of 16 till about 22.  I had to disclose all of my mistakes about all the men I had unprotected sex with and never got pregnant.  Don’t worry…there weren’t THAT many lol…but it was embarrassing.  I had to provide every detail about each infertility treatment I had and all of the details about my prior pregnancy that did not result in a birth.  By the end of the call, that Aetna nurse had me in tears!  She said that in order for me to be approved for infertility coverage, I had to prove that I was “clinically infertile.” Every insurance company has different meanings on what being “clinically infertile” is but Aetna stated that I had to have had 6 sperm to egg contacts with no live birth and they do not include any of those unprotected sex times during my “straight days”.  They required my doctor to send them all of the information for my 2 IUI’s, 1 IVF, and 1 frozen embryo transfer.  That’s 4 sperm to egg contacts…I need two more!!!  There was a period that my wife and I decided to do some home insemination and I asked if that counted.  She told me that the doctor would have to write up something stating that he/she monitored me during my home insemination.  Also, if you used sperm from a cryobank, you had to send them receipts from the cryobank and if it was a known donor, that donor would had to have had a semen analysis done and you have to send them the results.  We used a known donor for those 3 or 4 home insemination cycles but we never had him get a semen analysis.  This is where an AWESOME doctor that had my back came in! I don’t want to get anyone in trouble but let me just say that having an understanding with your doctor can really come in handy and my doctor was able to assist me in getting the coverage I needed!

I cannot say enough about persistence because after both myself and my clinic sent Aetna all the documents they required, no one from Aetna followed up.  I would call them every morning and say “am I approved?”  They would tell me we are waiting for some additional information and since I’m an HR person and NOT a mind reader, how the hell would I know they are waiting on something if they don’t call and tell me!  See…that’s the kind of sh*t they pull.  It seemed like this was the case every day and I basically started every conversation with “I’m calling today to find out what else you need to approve my coverage since you can’t call me and let me know what you need!” After almost a month of going back and forth, they tell me I was approved!

At that point, I’m thinking that I’m so happy I don’t have to deal with this insurance fight anymore but that was not the case.  The next fight is the pre-authorization for the injectable medications!!! My question is this…If they have a team of nurses who approve you for IVF, they should know that you have to take certain medications with that process so why do I have to go through another pre-authorization for meds?  It’s so stupid but like I stated earlier, insurance companies try their best to make things difficult on purpose! My doctor prescribed a Lupron kit, Follistim, Ovidrel, Progesterone and antibiotics that they want you to take after the egg retrieval.  To control their costs, Aetna (as well as many other insurance companies) requires infertility meds to be filled through their mail order pharmacy so my doctor had to fax over all the prescriptions.  Now I’m being persistent with Aetna specialty pharmacy and calling them daily for updates.  In my many calls to them, I find out that Follistim is not one of their “preferred drugs” aka…they don’t want to pay for it because it’s more expensive!  They required that the doctor fax over a new prescription for Gonal F which is very similar to Follistim (and cheaper).  I once again had to explain to the rep that I don’t have psychic abilities so how would I have known that I needed a new prescription if they didn’t call me.  Of course she didn’t have an answer for that!  It also pissed me off that I’ve taken Follistim during 3 separate cycles and my body reacted well to it.  Why do insurance companies get to tell you what you have to take and not your doctor?  Well they can and they do!  So then I was going back and forth with the doctor to fax over a new prescription.  I got another feeling that something else would go wrong so I kept calling the pharmacy daily.  I guess I do have some psychic abilities because when I called again, they told me that Ovidrel is a controlled substance and they will not ship it to NY.  Ok…so now Aetna is requiring me to use their mail order pharmacy but they won’t ship it to me.  Does that make sense?  What did I say earlier about them making things difficult??? Now I had to fight to get authorization to take that script to my local pharmacy since they wouldn’t ship it! OMG!  If you do not listen to anything that I advise, please listen to this!  DO NOT START YOUR CYCLE WITHOUT HAVING ALL OF YOU MEDS IN YOUR POSSESION! God forbid, you start a cycle and then have problems with the insurance company to get the rest of your meds, then you either have to 100% pay out of pocket or stop your cycle!  Just so you know, drugs like Follistim and Gonal F are about $1200 – $1500 per vial so you don’t want to pay out of pocket if you don’t have to!

If you do not have coverage for the medications, my advice is to call around to every pharmacy in your area.  Each pharmacy has different costs in terms of medications and difference in price for infertility meds can be astounding!.  For example, during one of my prior procedures, Lupron was not covered.  I called one pharmacy and they wanted $675.00 per kit…another pharmacy wanted $125.00.  It’s the exact same medication so guess which one I chose!

One of the last things I want to mention is flexible spending plans (FSA) or some places call it health care reimbursement (HCR).  Even if you have infertility coverage, there are going to be some costs that you have to pay for like copays for visits & meds and your percentage of the procedure costs.  It’s rare that plans will cover infertility at 100%. If your employer has a flexible spending plan, it is important that you participate.  FSA plans deduct money from your paycheck on a pre-tax basis and allow you to use those funds for medical expenses.  Infertility costs are definitely covered by all FSA plans. You can choose to put as much money into that plan as you want but there is a maximum of $2500.00 per year.  You usually have to sign up during your open enrollment period (usually at the end of the year) for the deductions to start the next year.  The great thing about the plan is that most of these plans put the money on a “benny card” which is card just like a credit card with a mastercard or visa logo.  You also have access to all the money on January 1 even though you haven’t contributed all of the money yet.  For example, last year, I chose to put the max ($2500.00) in my FSA plan.  Because I’m paid bi-weekly, I have a pre-tax deduction of $96.15 per paycheck for the entire year but the entire amount ($2500.00) was put on my benny card on 1/1/14.  It should be noted that the rule was if you don’t use the entire amount by the end of the year (12/31) you would lose it but the IRS just changed the law to state that you can roll over up to $500.00 of any unused funds from year to year so choose your election amount wisely!  One other thing to note about FSA plans, married spouses are covered under this plan so if you are married in a state where gay marriage is legal, you can use this benefit for yourself or for your married partner.

Ok…it’s time to wrap up this post and I apologize for being so wordy but insurance is a big piece to this whole process and I wanted to explain it in detail!  Below is a listing of questions you should ask the insurance company when looking for infertility coverage:

1.  Do I have infertility coverage and if so, exactly what procedures are covered?

2.  Is there a pre-authorization for infertility coverage and if so, what does that entail?

3.  Does this coverage include monitoring (blood work, ultra sounds, diagnostic testing, etc)?

4.  At what percentage are my procedures covered? (For example, Aetna covers my IVF at 80% and I am responsible for the other 20%)

5.  Are the medications covered as well and if so can I go anywhere to get them filled or do I have to go through the insurance companies’ mail order pharmacy?

6.  What are my copays? (Note:  there may be different copays for office visits, diagnostic testing, and monitoring so take note of what each copay would be)

7.  Do I have an out-of-pocket maximum and if so, once I reach that, am I covered at 100%? (Most plan designs have an out of pocket maximum which means that you do not have to pay anything over a certain amount. My plan has a $1250.00 out of pocket maximum so when I hit that amount, everything else would be covered at 100%.  And that’s everything…not just infertility.  Once I hit that $1250, I can go to any in-network doctor, fill any medication or get any test done at no additional cost to me!)  Make sure you keep tabs and get receipts for everything you spent out of pocket because no one will let you know when you hit that out of pocket maximum.

8.  Get a list of infertility doctors that are in-network.  You want to use someone that the insurance company has as in-network in order to get the most coverage.  I suggest that you call around to those in-network doctors and find out what they charge the insurance companies because the more they charge the insurance, the more you will have to pay with your percentage!

Ok…that’s it but I may add some additional information as it comes to me but I’m sure I overloaded you already.  Once again, if you need assistance and want to be a bit more private, please feel free to email me at lesbianpregnancyjourney@live.com.

Thank you!. 😉

A little background on us!

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Hello Everyone!

Thank you for visiting my Lesbian Pregnancy Journey blog.  I would like this blog to be a great resource to people like me…lesbians trying to be mommies!  I want to share with you all that I have learned in terms of working with doctors, cryobanks, insurance companies and there crazy requirements as well as everything else that we have to go through to be mommies.  This is NOT my first rodeo and I really want to help others that are not “in the know!”

Just to give you some background.  My name is Jada Jones and yes, I’m that beauty in the picture! My wife Nicole and I have been together for almost 8 years and we got married in November of 2013.  Forgive the fact that you will never see a picture of my wife on this blog and I may not mention her all that much.  The reason for this is that she does not want to be on the Internet at all…she even gets mad if I post a picture of us on Facebook, but she had to get over that one lol!

We have been trying to get pregnant for a number of years now.  First we had to deal who our baby daddy was gonna be! We really did not want to have someone we know donate because there are so many extra legal issues you have to deal with and when we first started trying, gay marriage was not legal in NY so we already thought we had enough legal issues to tackle! The first thing I noticed when checking out cryobanks is “damn…why is sperm so expensive!”  We realized that we were about to catch the “broke train” with all of this.  Since we wanted to have more than one child and we wanted our children to have the same father we knew we had to buy quite a few vials at $500 – $700 per vial.  And why do these cryobanks get to make more off of us by charging extra for baby pictures of the donor, in depth health assessments, writing samples, personality inventories…you name it!  I let Nicole pick the sperm donor as it made no difference to me!  Like many other lesbian couples, Nicole wanted to guy to resemble her as much as possible.  We purchased 6 vials and spent almost $4000.00!  FOUR GRAND AND WE HAVEN’T EVEN DONE ANYTHING YET!

Then it was time to find a doctor! Most folks pick a doctor or clinic based on their success rates or word of mouth…not us!  After spending 4 grand on sperm and since I knew that we would at least have to pay a percentage of these fertility costs, I just called around to all the fertility clinics in our county and went with the cheapest option that accepted our insurance at the time.  Let me tell you that was one of the smartest decisions I ever made.  Most doctors use the same protocol and prescribe the same meds but can charge drastically different prices!  For those of you looking, we went with Montefiore’s Institute for Women’s Reproductive Health in Hartsdale, NY and apparently this is a “breeding ground” for lesbians as I have run into so many of our friends there!!!

Now you are at the monitoring stage which is SO much fun…that was obviously sarcastic right??? Multiple days of blood work and trans vaginal ultrasounds which means you are spread eagle in front of an audience! Especially because my clinic (Montefiore) is a teaching hospital and it seems like everyone was ready to learn when I was in the stirrups! LOL!!!  You also have to have a whole bunch of STD tests done as well as a glucose test where you have drink this nasty stuff and give blood twice to make sure you don’t have diabetes.  What a joy!!!

Our doctor recommended back to back IUI’s which is the clinical term for artificial insemination.  IUI is when they track your ovulation schedule with the option of taking injectable medication or a pill orally.  I chose the injectibles because you have a better chance even though its a horrible process! When you are ovulating, you have to go back to the office and have them shoot the sperm inside of you.  Then you sit spread eagle with your ass propped up for 20 minutes before they send you home.  “Back to back IUI’s” means that you go into the office on your first day of ovulation and then you go back again the next day for the second sperm shot! For those of you with insurance issues, you really want to call your insurance companies and find out if they count back to back IUI’s as one IUI or two IUI’s.  Many insurance policies do not cover infertility but if they do, they definitely put a max on how many times you can do certain procedures!  I fell into this trap and I was only covered for 3 rounds of IUI and I wasn’t aware that they counted my back to back as two.  It was unsuccessful…NO BABY!

I then got laid off of my job and wanted to keep my insurance coverage so I was paying out of pocket for COBRA, which was crazy expensive.  Since my insurance covered IVF (in-vitro fertilization) and I knew that it was much more effective, we decided to do it.  In-vitro fertilization is an extremely in depth process.  First they put you on birth control and an injectable medication called Lupron to suppress your ovulation.  Then you have to go on an ovulation stimulation hormone called Follistim or Gonal F while you go in for multiple ultrasounds so they can see how your follicles (eggs) are doing.  When they feel you are ready, you have to take a special shot called Ovidrel and the next day you go in for your egg retrieval. During the egg retrieval, you are put asleep by an anesthesiologist (which by the way is usually not covered by insurance).  During your nap, they go into your ovaries and suck out as many follicles as they can.  If you have a lot, like I did, they will take half and place in a dish with that expensive sperm you bought and let nature take its course.  The rest of the follicles go through a process called ICSI, where they take a needle and inject sperm into the follicle directly.  Then you are on the phone with the embryologist daily to let you know how your embryos are doing.  The next step is called an embryo transfer.  If your embryos are not doing very well or dying off quickly, they will do the embryo transfer on Day 3 after your retrieval.  If they are doing well, the best case scenario is to have a Day 5 transfer which I was lucky enough to have.  Just so you have an idea, they removed 14 follicles during my retrieval. By day 5, I had only 8 left but in good shape.  They put 2 embryos back in during the transfer and I chose to freeze the other 6 which is a lot of money to do but if you have frozen embryos, its a lot less work when you try to get pregnant again. Ten days later I found out that I was pregnant!  We were so overjoyed.

Once you have the retrieval, you have to start taking a whole different kind of shot (or beast) called Progesterone!  If you are lucky to get pregnant, you have to continue to take this daily for the first 3 months of your pregnancy!  This med is a thick oil that you have to use a longer, thicker needle for and it has to go in your butt so someone else has to do them for you!  It is absolutely horrible and I still to this day have the bruises from it.  Some doctors will give you the option to use progesterone suppositories instead of the injections but that comes with its own pleasures like constant leaking from you know where!!! Grose…I stuck with the injections!

We did the normal pregnancy thing and went to all the doctor’s appointments so excited and we really didn’t tell anyone until after the first trimester.  By then, I posted sonogram pics on facebook, we were planning our shower and so excited to register!  At 21 weeks, I went in for what they called a “body scan” I believe. The tech kept going around and around and looking at the same thing different times.  I didn’t catch that there was a problem until she called the doctor in.  They told me the baby had several heart abnormalities and after that everything was a blur.  I was whisked to so many different specialists, fetal heat doctors and more and more tests.  I had to do an amnio which I really didn’t want to do and it was absolutely horrific! Sorry to scare you ladies but I’m just being real!  After everything, we found out that our baby (which was a boy) had several severe heart defects and the doctors were not very positive about the whole thing.  At 24 weeks, we went to the doctor again and found out we lost the baby.  That was THE most earth shattering thing I have ever went through.  At that point, we told everyone we were having a baby and now we had to tell everyone we weren’t.  I fell into a state of deep depression for a very long time and I thought I would never do this again!

Thankfully, my wife and my therapist were extremely helpful in getting me through that and several months later, we decided to use those frozen embryos and do a frozen embryo transfer.  This is similar to IVF in that you have to take those lovely injectable meds again but you don’t have to go through the egg retrieval…just the transfer.  Out of the 6 embryos we froze, only 3 survived the “thaw” so we transferred all three.  Ten days later I found out it was unsuccessful…NO BABY!

At that point, I had had enough for a while and thankfully I had something else to take my mind off of things…my wedding!  Nicole and I were married on November 30, 2013 and it was such a beautiful and wonderful day.  I kept thinking that maybe God wanted us to do things “the right way” like get married BEFORE we have a baby.  So we did it…and it was fabulous!!!

Now here we are in February of 2014 and it is time for baby making again.  We are going to do IVF and I plan to keep you posted on all the trials and tribulations in terms of the insurance, meds, procedures and everything you need to do to get what you want!  THAT BABY!  Please feel free to make comments and/or suggestions. I really want this to be a forum!

Thank you for reading this long post but I had show you where it all started!