First Appointment – Meeting Nurse T & Financing

So next we met with our nurse, Nurse T. Just as with the doctor, Nurse T would be our point of contact through this entire process. She will be our go-to girl for any and all questions, all instructions will be provided by her, etc. She walked into the consult room, and I was instantly put at ease. She went over all of our next steps.

For me –

  1. Diagnostic Blood Work & Ultrasound – used to asses ovarian funtion (at fertility clinic)
  2. Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) – used to asses the size and shape of the uterus, as well as the opening of the fallopian tubes (at fertility clinic)
  3. Genetic Disease Screening – especially important for us, because I known from previous testing that I am a carrier for spinal muscular atrophy. The panel I did in the past checked for 12 diseases, the new panel tests for over 100! (at fertility clinic)
  4. Gyn exam and pap smear – (at my obgyn office)
  5. More Bloodwork – a basic blood panel, blood type, immunity titers, and other various tests (at labcorp)
  6. Infection Disease Bloodwork – checking for HIV, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, and RPR (at labcorp)
  7. Vitamins – prenatal vitamins (I was already taking them, so no problem there!), and Ovasitol (supplement to promote cycle regularity and ovarian function)
  8. then, once all of that is done, we will schedule a follow-up with Dr. B to go over all the results and our next steps.

For D –

  1. Infection Disease Bloodwork – checking for HIV, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, and RPR (at labcorp)
  2. Semen Analysis – (can be done at home or at the office)

 

Financing

Thankfully, I have very good insurance. Very basically, all of diagnostic testing, monitoring, and IUIs are covered at 100%. (Except a $30 copay for office visits, and a $100 copay for “surgeries”, which includes HSG and IUI) There is a note at the bottom of my insurance benefit report that states “No limits listed. May be subject to criteria of 6 attempts per live birth.” If we do have to go to IVF, unfortunately that is not covered, and that was quoted at $10,500 per cycle. So that is pretty terrifying. Hopefully, we do not get to that point, and medications or IUIs can do the trick.

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First Appointment – Meeting Dr. B

So, yesterday we had our first appointment at the fertility clinic! Going in, I was completely terrified. My wonderful husband (let’s call him D) took a half day from work and met me there.

First, we checked in and handed over the mountain of paperwork, had IDs and insurance cards scanned, the usual. Then I had my vitals taken. Because of my nerves, I told the MA that my blood pressure would likely be high. It was 134/84. Not super high, but considering the environment, it was not surprising. Then back to the waiting room, where D squeezed my hand and told me everything was going to be okay.

This fertility clinic is world-known, and has many different facilities, which can leave you worried that you’ll be “just a number”. But at this practice, each couple is placed with one doctor and one nurse, and those two people are your liaisons through the entire process. I am happy about that, because I have heard horror stories about people going through fertility treatments, and not knowing who to go to with questions, and meeting someone brand new on procedure day, etc.

So our doctor, Dr. B, came out and took us back to her office for the consult. It was a clean, well-lit office. On the corner of the desk, there was a bamboo essential oil diffuser just whirring away. It was calm. Dr. B was the one who presented at the fertility seminar we attended last month, and I was hoping that she would not be our doctor – she just felt kind of harsh and sterile to me. But after talking to her I really like her. She was honest about what she thought we needed, without sugar-coating it. She was gentle and kind, but also serious. We talked for a long while about my medical history, my cycles, etc. She believes that I may have PCOS (poly-cycstic ovarian syndrome). I had somewhat self-diagnosed myself with PCOS, just judging off of my symptoms and comparing them to people who do have it. D was very involved, and asked a lot of questions, which I loved. Very basically, PCOS is a hormone imbalance that makes it so you do not ovulate at all, or ovulate very sporadically. It also has the lovely side effect of weight gain – and a wonky metabolism that does not easily allow weight loss. Makes sense, because since I met my husband, I have gained about 50 pounds, which I have not been able to lose no matter what diet or exercise regime I am on – which is also around the same time that my cycles became irregular. So Dr. B laid out our options:

  1. Target the weight / metabolism, and see if that alone will reset my body into ovulating
    • using two medications – Metformin and Myoinositol
    • takes approximately six months to see full effects
    • has a 50/50 success / failure rate
  2. Target the weight / metabolism, and target the hormone imbalace to force my body to ovulate
    • using four medications – Metformin, Myoinositol, Clomid and Femarin
    • starts regulating almost immediately

So, with those options laid out, we both kind of wondered why anyone would chose option #1. It will take six months, only has a 50% chance of working, and then we are back at square one?? No thank you! So we decided to “hit the ground running” and go all in. This is all pending bloodwork and ultrasound to see how my organs are doing their job, of course. If the medication cycles do not work, we will move onto IUI, then IVF as necessary. Of course, we are hoping that the medications alone work, but we will have to see!

Next, we would meet with our nurse.

Taking steps and making appointments.

(Photo from ShadyGroveFertility.com)

About a month ago, my husband and I attended a fertility seminar called “What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting”. The seminar went over the basics of all of the first steps in fertility planning – from initial consultation to explaining the actual treatments. At the end of the seminar, everyone in attendance filled out a registration card, and from there we would be contacted to set up our consultation appointment. We walked out into the hallway, hugged, and just kind of melted into each other. It was overwhelming, it was scary, but it was the first step.

The very next day, I had a missed call and voicemail from a patient service rep from the fertility center. I had every intention of calling back right after work, every intention of putting the wheels in motion. But when I pulled up that phone number, I froze. All of the sudden, I remembered that I did not have my insurance card in my wallet – oh darn, I would have to find it and call later. Then we had a meeting at work, when I was reminded that my insurance was going to reset on August 1st. Oh, I couldn’t schedule an appointment before then! Because my deductibile will reset then. The next week and the week after that, I was going to wait for this or that or a hundred other things.

So today I took the first step. On my lunch break today, I called the fertility center and made my initial consultation appointment. My preferred office only holds new patient appointments on Thursdays from 8:00am – 3:30pm. Which is, of course, super inconvenient for me, because I work on Thursdays from 8:00am – 6:30pm. My next choice office did have appointments that fit into my schedule. So, I scheduled one. Next Friday, July 21st at 1:00pm.

I texted my husband to see if he would be able to make it to the appointment – a long shot, since the appointment was snack dab in the middle of the day. To my supreme happiness, he immediately texted back that he would take a half-day from work so he could be there. God, I love that man.


As soon as I hung up the phone and added the appointment to my calendar, my stomach dropped and I felt nauseous. I can’t believe it’s finally come to this. I put this off for so long – because making that appointment, taking that step….it makes it all real. It means that this is our life now. Making that appointment means admitting defeat – admitting that I cannot do this on my own. It was a hard pill to swallow. And even now, twelve hours later, just writing about it is giving me that same feeling. The queasy, lump-in-your-throat, uneasy feeling. And I know I will feel the same, if not worse, at the actual appointment.

So today, I made the step; I made the appointment. And I’m trying to recognize that this is not admitting defeat, or waving the white flag. Needing help is not the end of the world or the end of our story, it’s just a new, unexpected chapter.

To Buy, Or Not To Buy?

(Photo above from Google – Pinterest)

I am an active member on several infertility facebook pages and groups. Basically, it is a safe place to commiserate with other women (& sometimes men, depending on the group). It is especially helpful in cases like mine, where no one around me seems to understand. Not only do people not understand, they don’t know what to say about it…so they say nothing. Which feels worse than saying the wrong thing – because at least they’re trying.

One of the recent posts that gained a good bit of traction was a woman asking if anyone else was already purchasing baby items, despite their struggle. She stated that her husband did not understand, and he would get upset seeing the items. There were many responses; most women stated that they purchased a onesie, blanket, or small item here and there, but nothing too crazy. Some women stated that they had not purchased anything, and would not, because seeing it in their home, sitting unused, was just another reminder of the fact that they don’t have a baby. And then there were one or two women that went above and beyond, but of course I am not one to judge and I would never tell any women that she was wrong for doing it. One woman had purchased an entire set of nursery furniture, stating that she had done so because it was on sale. Another woman had an entire room in her home dedicated to her “stockpile”; she stated that everything she had stashed away had been purchased at extreme discount, using coupons and sales wherever possible. She had furniture, decor, activity gyms, strollers, diapers, creams, multiple boppys, etc. But hey, if that is how she is choosing to cope? All the more power to her.

I, myself, have a small stash of items, squirreled away in our spare bedroom, AKA what will hopefully one day be a nursery. I will admit that I did purchase more freely early on in this journey. I am little more hesitant these days. Mostly because some days, even walking past baby section in any given store is enough to bring tears to my eye. Some days, I am perfectly fine and can peruse through, looking at items without missing a beat. I have mostly small, inexpensive items; a cute onesie that I found on clearance, three small wooden baskets that I used at our wedding as a surprise Cigar Bar for my husband (perfect now for organizing small items), a little piece of artwork and a lamp that I found at an online swap & sell, etc. Before our wedding, which is when we officially started trying to conceive, I stumbled upon an adorable little upholstered rocking chair at Home Goods. I texted my (then) fiance, and he agreed that it was cute, and that I should go ahead and purchase it. He then went to New Orleans for his bachelor party, not realizing that he was going during a large art festival – and brought home a small hand-painted canvas to hang in the baby’s room. That fantastic, wonderful gesture has now sat in that empty room for fifteen months.

I still occasionally find something that I want to purchase, but I am much more hesitant now to pull that trigger. With every item, as I hold it and run it through my fingers, I wonder how long it will sit unworn, unused, unseen. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but one day. I know that one day, we will have a baby in our home. And I know that one day, that beautiful little human is going to use all of the wonderful things that have been purchased and loved and squirreled away, just for them.