Wednesday, October 29, 2008

a good day

I am amazed. One week ago, I was a wreck because our third IUI cycle had not worked and I didn't know where we'd go from there. Today, I am nearly giddy. I don't know how they stay in business, but the health insurer that the RE patient coordinator suggested covers EVERYTHING. I figured we'd still have to buy the donor sperm ourselves, but no- it's COVERED! Not only that, but if I buy the right plan, there's no coinsurance involved, no co-pay. Once the deductible is paid in full (won't take long), I'll pay nothing but the monthly premium. We've been spending about 4 times the monthly premium for the last 4 months. This, today, may be as deeply in debt as we go with this endeavor.

Sometimes, it's hard to gauge just how stressed I am until the stress is removed. I was really really stressed about our finances. And now, not so stressed. I feel nearly weightless. I could hardly wait for C to call me on his commute home so I could share the news.

And then, as if that wasn't enough, I called the local home heating oil company to check their prices. We bought 100 gallons in September because our tank was nearly empty. I didn't want to buy much because I thought the price might go down a bit further. We paid $3.899 in September. Today, a gallon of home heating oil costs $2.799!!! I can turn the heat on and not panic every time I hear the hum of the furnace! I know this is a lot more than it was last year (I have $1.899 in my head for some reason), but it's so much less than I was afraid it would be. Hurray!

Today is a

I hope yours is too!

Monday, October 27, 2008


Another cycle of clomid, 100mg on days 5-9. One more insem using lucky #18. I'll keep my fingers crossed, but I've stopped holding my breath. Luckily, I had a wonderful chat with the patient coordinator at the RE's office and I am encouraged by the prospect of independently-purchased health insurance. It's not as expensive as I had feared, and costs a lot less than our monthly sperm purchases of late. So, if November doesn't work for us, we'll take two months off- one just to take a break, and the other to undergo all the pre-IVF testing that my new insurer will require.

I am still hoping that November will be our month.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

insurance is a scam

I feel as lost as I did in July, when C and I first learned we had no sperm. We knew nothing of the costs and logistics of the one obvious solution- donor insemination. We didn't know where to begin or who to turn to. We had this devastating news and no way to respond productively.

This morning, I called my employer's HR department and the customer service folks with the insurer offered by my employer. My employer is based in Ohio; I am in Massachusetts. Massachusetts has a fairly generous state mandate concerning infertility treatment. Ohio mandates diagnosis only. I called to find out if the insurer had to obey my local mandate or the mandate provided where my employer is based. Neither. It turns out that, even though our insurance is handled by a major national brand insurance company, the company is considered self-insured and therefore EXEMPT FROM ALL STATE MANDATES!

I must say I'm glad we didn't put our efforts on hold wating to switch to my employer's health insurance. That would have been even more frustrating than finding out after months of IUIs that the switch would do us no good.

I fell apart this morning, in my office. I slunk off to the restroom for a while, but in an office this size there's really nowhere to hide. I am pretty certain that this month's IUI did not succeed. We have two more vials of donor sperm that we can use for a November insemination, but then I really don't know what to do next. I am terrified of pointless debt, and if we invest in IVF or additional IUIs, there's still no guarantee.

Back in July, when I spoke with the patient coordinator at the RE's office, she mentioned supplemental insurance that I could buy to cover just infertility. I'm waiting for her to call me back. I spoke with my employer's insurance company about purchasing additional individual coverage, but none is available. They told me to call my employer, but I really don't see the point in that- they're not going to re-do the 2009 options just for me, and I am tired of letting strangers into my personal life. I called Fertility Lifelines for advice and learned about their IVF scholarship program. That's a possibility, but it can take as long as a year to find out if I've been selected. What do I do in the interim? I'm already 40 years old. I can't just sit back and wait!

One more IUI cycle. We'll use clomid again. I'll ask the MW if there's anything else I should do/take/avoid. I bought a Yoga for Fertility DVD and a bag of FertiliTea. I don't know what we'll do next if November's IUI fails, but I'll try to figure out if there's any benefit to switching insurers. My plan covers diagnosis of infertility, so it may still be worthwhile to change, but it'll cost me $900 over the course of the year (plus deductibles, co-pays, etc.).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I've been useless for nearly two weeks. I can't stop wondering if this is our month to conceive. I spent a couple of days reading Maybe Baby from start to present (there is no "finish" in real life), and now I am wondering if our next step should be straight to IVF before we waste any more of our precious, dwindling resources on IUI's. We're bordering on fiscal crisis. The clock is ticking louder every day. Why do we want this so much? Do we want this enough to go through more of the expense and the agony of another TWW, and another, and another... until we either succeed or some callous health "professional" deems me too old to be a viable candidate for any fertility treatment? If I switch to new health insurance that's covered by the state mandate for fertility coverage, will IVF be included?

For about 45 minutes this morning, I was convinced that I am definitely not pregnant and I couldn't stop crying. I don't feel any symptoms. None. Nada. But I don't want to think about it, yet I can't stop. Nothing else matters right now.

It's hard not to feel as though I need to make all of our most life-altering decisions right now. How much debt can we handle? What if we succeed, and then can't afford to raise our child? Which do I value more- the prospect of getting pregnant, or my excellent credit rating (which is slipping fast as my debt-to-income ratio grows)?

Every blog seems to end with a baby, but so many took years and years of TWW's to get there. I don't have years left. I think we're approaching the point where C and I will need to ask for help, but no one has money to spare, especially on something as frivolous as a child. How do you argue convincingly that you need this?

For the next few days, I need to stop thinking about fertility. I can pee on a stick on Friday and the results will be credible because it'll be CD30 & 14dpi. Until then, there is absolutely nothing I can do but wait. And remember to breathe.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I was hoping for something to think about during this tww besides whether or not I am "feeling pregnant" yet. Well, I kind of got my wish. I am worried about my brother. He, my mother, and I all work for the same company, albeit in very different roles. Yesterday, my brother was laid off. He's been here for seventeen years! I've only been here for just over 2. But apparently, his organization had one of the lowest on-project labor histories, so the higher-ups in a far-off state in middle-America decided that some cuts were necessary. They issued the edict, and left it to the managers to decide who'd get the axe. D's manager is here, in the same facility where D, Mom, and I work. He manages staff in other facilities, too, but the other sites only have one person. Can't cut where there's only one! So, D is gone.

He walked into my office yesterday after receiving the news and looked completely shellshocked. You see, D isn't like a lot of people. When he graduated from college, he went back to the deli job he'd held through high school. I think he was laid off there, too; after a few years he'd become too expensive to keep or something like that. But D would not have left otherwise. He tends to find a comfortable rut and then stay in it. He likes routine. He doesn't like to shake things up. In his wildest imagination, he probably wasn't thinking that his future included working anywhere but here.

He did receive a very generous severance package, so money isn't the real issue. It's the instability. For the first time in 17 years, D doesn't know where he'll be at 3:00 next Thursday, or at 11am on the 19th of some month. And he's kind of alone. I mean, he has our family, and we're a pretty big family by modern standards. But he lives alone and doesn't have a significant other (anyone got any friends they're searching for a special someone for? He's 42, a gemini, and fantastic with kids. He's been a scoutmaster forever and loves to hike and camp and play soccer. Let me know. He's a great guy.) So, at the end of the day, he still has to pay all the bills himself and cook his own dinner and eat it alone.

Ironically, at the same time that D's org is laying people off (they axed someone else this morning... with only 85 employees on-site, losing 2 is a very big deal), I'm working with my supervisor to have my position reclassified, which would result in higher pay and more potential for moving further up the ladder. I started working on this well before D was laid off, but this has me thinking that I should become more vigilant about searching for a new job somewhere else. I never stop job-hunting. D, on the other hand, stopped as soon as he got his first offer 17 years ago.

There we go- I think I just spent a whole 20 minutes NOT thinking about IF and TTC and the TWW. But now my breasts are a little achey, and it's got me wondering...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

the bbt habit

I woke up this morning at about 2:30 when C crawled back into bed. I found out later that he woke inexplicably at 2am and went downstairs for a glass of water. I refused to open my eyes or speak for fear of waking myself completely, but when I was even more awake at 2:52, I gave up. And what did I do, first-thing upon deciding that I just wasn't getting any more sleep? That's right- I reached for my trusty thermometer that has been a fixture on my bedside table for exactly 7 months and took my bbt to start the day.

Seven months of temperature plotting. Fertility Friend is "full," so instead of their nifty charts and observations, I've created my own spreadsheet and analyzed it myself. I laughed in July when the first fertility clinic I visited said to the AI orientation audience that our first step would be to begin plotting bbt's for at least three months. Ha! I had four under my belt by then. I was a pro. And my charts were so pretty and predictable, with a dramatic temperature rise indicating ovulation on CD17. I temp now, not so much to learn my body's rhythm but to try to guess what it'll be each day. My guess was off by 0.03 today. Not bad.

Anyhow, I am looking forward to the day when I can just wake up in the morning and relax, not worry about sticking a thermometer in my mouth or waking up my husband with all the beeping. I wonder if it'll be a hard habit to break?

Monday, October 13, 2008

fingers crossed

I am incredibly optimistic this cycle. Not that I haven't been optimistic before, but this time I feel confidence on top of optimism. On the "scientific" side, my BBT rose (predictably) above my ovulation temperature on Sunday, the day after the second insem. Our timing was spot-on, again. I felt something going on in the neighborhood of my ovaries on Friday and Saturday- ovulation pain, perhaps? Then there are the superstitious excuses for optimism, the biggest being lucky number 18.

Anyhow, we did the second insem on Saturday. C went with me, but stayed in the car and napped while I was in the office. I was grateful for the company on the drive and didn't need him to go into the office with me, although he did offer. So now we wait and I try not to overanalyze every little twinge and ache. I can test on the 24th. I may be kind of quiet between now and then, avoiding this environment that's focused on ttc. I will try not to think about it every minute of every day.

Friday, October 10, 2008


As anyone who might have a similar side effect to taking Cl0mid will want to know, I am happy to report that the dreaded hemorrhoid has pretty much disappeared. I couldn't find any reference that mentioned how long they last, so I can now state from personal experience that a mild case lasts less than a week.

IUI #1, take 3

Halfway there... one more IUI and we officially enter the TWW. I'm hoping THIS is the one. Of course, I've hoped that twice before. I kind of snapped at C a little this afternoon. He called as I was driving back to work from the insem and told me that "it's all in your attitude. Keep positive." To which I replied that, while I believe a positive attitude does help, there's far more to it than that and I don't want anyone insinuating that a lack of success is MY fault for having the wrong attitude.

I am thinking positively. I have been since we tossed the condoms and began this whole process. I know that at some point we will have a child. I do not know, however, how we will get there. Maybe this is the route that will work. Maybe it isn't. If I were not a realist, I would not survive the ups and downs we've been enduring. So please don't tell me that my attitude will determine the outcome of this attempt. It's not realistic, and I don't need that kind of pressure or blame. I am hopeful. I am certain that *something* will work. Enough said on that topic.

As for today's insem... well, the MW said they've had much success and many pregnancies this month, so maybe that will rub off on me. I took Cl0mid this month, and I can feel something going on in the vicinity of my ovaries, so I'll believe that the drugs helped. It's a new donor, prewashed, so there should be a higher volume of motile, viable swimmers than with the frozen-thawed-washed specimens we used in our first two attempts. She made no comments today, though, on how the specimen looked. It was very busy at the clinic, so maybe she didn't have time. Or maybe there's no real opportunity when the specimen needs only to be thawed, not thawed and washed.

Tomorrow, C will go with me to the clinic for insem #2. Maybe we'll go out to lunch, but I really don't want to dwell on it. I hope there are loads of distractions (good ones) between now and 10/24. I don't want to wake up every day wondering if I'm feeling imaginary symptoms. Here goes!

Monday, October 6, 2008

side effects

Cl0mid, so far, is not my friend. No hot flashes or cramps, but I've snapped at C several times over the last week. And on Saturday night, I developed my first ever hemorrhoid. This was not listed as one of the potential side effects, but there's really nothing else I can attribute this to. It's not terribly painful, but it is extremely uncomfortable to sit at my desk at work. I feel raw.

I will forgive Cl0mid this irritating inconvenience if it helps me get pregnant. Today is CD11, and O usually happens around CD14, so assuming the OPK turns positive at some point, this will be a busy week. I wonder if I should mention the 'roid to the MW at the insem. I bought a tube of Prep-H, but is there anything else to be done? Web MD suggested incorporating more fiber into my diet and drinking more water, but that's for prevention, not to make this go away. I also couldn't find any info on how long, once present, such a condition persists.

Here's what's different this month, in case I need to know what works...
1. Eased up on the pineapple juice, now drinking a small can approximately every other day;
2. Cl0mid on CD5-CD9, 100mg;
3. New donor, pre-washed.

Last cycle was the longest I've had since I started paying attention- 30 days where my norm is 28. I guess 2 days difference isn't much, really, but it seems like a big deal. And when you're in the TWW, your mind can play tricks on you. I wasn't convinced I was pregnant, but I wasn't sure I wasn't, either. I think that's why I was more down than usual when AF finally began and the truth was known.

But, it's a new cycle now, with a new donor who bears my lucky #18. C has been very encouraging, and at the same time has expressed his frustration with not being able to take care of the sperm half of the equation himself. He even offered to go with me to the clinic for the insems if I happen to ovulate on a weekend. That may not sound like a lot, and many of the blogs I've read mention that both partners did all they could to be present at every insemination. But C doesn't have paid vacations or sick time, and this costs so much money that we really can't afford for him to be with me. On top of that, he doesn't like hospitals or doctors' offices (who does, really?), so I'm grateful that he'd join me on a weekend. And if my timing is like the last cycle, we might be headed to the clinic on Saturday.