When face to face with our fears, we have 2 choices...
2. Fight like hell and give it all you've got.
It's almost time to fight. (I suppose we've already been fighting for the past 3 and a half years, but in a sense those were all little fights prepping us for the big battle to come.) We are starting an IVF cycle within a few weeks. (Excuse me while I go pass out.... reality is starting to set in.)
I'm definitely a bit behind in blog updates but June was a pretty intense, busy, and stressful month. School was winding down and we also decided to change fertility clinics. Big move for us.
Changing fertility clinics wasn't easy on an emotional level~ as I've posted before, I truly love and adore a lot of the staff I've worked with there. The nurses were amazing and I loved most of the doctors too. BUT dishing out $15 thousand for one cycle when we had the chance of paying less at a NY clinic was a no brainer. We found a clinic here in NY that has the NYS Infertility Demonstration Program (essentially a grant program for IVF) and made it on their list. We met all requirements (age, not having done a certain number of IVF cycles before (or any at all, I forget), finances, etc. I'm not sure what amount we will receive yet, but our thinking is anything cheaper is better than nothing. I'm worried our amount won't be as much as it could have, because our tax return file for 2014 showed our income to be significantly higher than it actually is now. Scott got a pay cut since then for changing jobs AND his severance from Best Buy was thrown in- so it looked like our income was a big chunk more than we make. A bummer, but nothing we can do about it. I just pray that all we need is one cycle to be successful and get pregnant.
**UPDATE!!!... After posting this, I heard back from the clinic. Our application for the grant was reviewed, we qualify, and are receiving grant money!!! We now "only have to pay" just over 10K (haha, in comparison to 15+, this is a BIG discount!) ... 5 thousand dollars cheaper (or more) than what we would have had to pay in CT! Yesssss. Super duper thankful.**
So off to the new clinic we went, for an initial consult with our new Dr. (RE/fertility specialist). He met with us for a good 45 mins or so, which was more than we had ever sat with our last Dr. We immediately felt like he genuinely cared about us and took time to get to know us and our situation. Being that everything was done in CT by different Drs, our new Dr wanted me to do a saline sonogram (HSN) to make sure all looked good with my uterus and also make sure all my recent blood work was everything they needed- (I was keeping my fingers crossed that I didn't need any more, and Scott was secretly hoping I did need something- he knows how much needles bug me and his mischievous side came out, haha) Turns out I did need one more quick blood draw that day. I had to wait until my next cycle for the HSN, so that pushed us back a little bit (if we had stayed with CT, I was hoping to do a July IVF, but it all works out honestly and it is what it is).
The Monday after school got out for summer, off to the Dr I was for the saline sono (still an hour drive from our house, can't seem to get away from that... maybe we need more fertility Drs in this area, they're mostly in the city, but whatever way you cut it, they're all an hour away. Grr.). I was nervous as all heck (the first one I did was NOT a smooth run and it was one of the most painful procedures in the past few years) and Scott had to work so I went alone, but I held it together and it wasn't awful. Honestly, it was comparable to an IUI procedure (they pass a catheter up into your uterus, so that whole part was the same... not the most comfortable thing, certainly not the most comfortable position to be lying in, BUT it wasn't the worst either). It was done pretty quickly, I have a "beautiful uterus" (ha, I should be flattered I suppose, but it's an awkward thing to hear!). Hopefully that means I'm a good candidate for IVF working with a high chance of success. It's frustrating that everything keeps checking out wonderfully for me and 6 cycles of IUI didn't work.
Also, in the meantime, I've been jumping through all kinds of hoops to get our sperm transferred from CT to NY. It turns out that NY can't accept specimens from another state, so we had to have it shipped from CT back to VA where the cryobank is. In order to do that, CT needed permission and release forms from me, and couldn't send it out until those were received. At the same time, I had to set up delivery of a special tank from VA (frozen specimens need to be transported in a special tank, which is only good for a week... took a few days to get to CT, they packed it, and shipped it right back to VA). Once VA checked it & processed it (which happened just this morning), they pack it up again and send it to NY. It's scheduled to get there Friday. All in all that was approximately $600 JUST to transfer it. The clinics are only about an hour or so apart... too bad I couldn't transport it in the tank myself. So frustrating. We debated destroying the CT vial and ordering a new one, but a new one runs around $700, so it was actually cheaper in the end to do all that.
While contacting the cryobank to figure that out, I came across a pregnancy pledge on their website. They pledge a free vial if you meet certain criteria (under 38, having ordered 4 vials, having done 4 procedures in the past year without being pregnant.... yes, yes, and yes), so the CT team signed off on it and I just got that set up on Monday. 1 "free" vial ($185 shipping fees paid by us), but still saved about $600 there. So, all in all, 2 vials will be at the clinic by the end of the week, to be used however they need. Talk about all the craziness. We just returned from vacation but I already need another!
I never wanted to be on deck for playing on the IVF team. Don't take that the wrong way, I have absolutely nothing wrong with it, and in fact I think it's such an incredible process. I embrace it whole-heartedly, I only tried to avoid it because of 2 main things: 1. I'M A WUSS and 2. The price tag. But, here we are. This is the next option on our list of ways to become parents. So this is what we'll do.
Some of my IVF fears:
-Needles, Needles, and Needles, Oh my!
It's no surprise that I have a fear of needles. I can't look at needles, I cringe hearing stories of needles, I cover my eyes when seeing them on TV, I hate blood draws, my anxiety is legit when it comes to needles. I finally mastered IUI needles/injections and most weren't that bad. But with IVF, it's all those same needles PLUS more.
-Mixing IVF drugs.
All the injections I've had to do before are pre-filled and measured... OR all I had to do was turn a dial to my dose, and press a button. Easy peasy. Using syringes to mix up other drugs scares me and I'm worried I'll be too confused or stressed to figure it out. Also, super worried about hitting a vein or blood vessel (I've heard awful stories), BUT I don't think those are the bulk of them anyway if they're in my stomach? Not sure. Never had a prob with any so far bc they've all been in the fatty part of my belly and it was never an issue.
PIO is Progesterone in Oil. These suckers are BIG needles (1.5-2inches) and go into your hip/upper butt area. Scott will be doing these. Need I say more as to why I'm scared? haha. BIG needle... NOT in control of it. I've done 100% of the injections myself, to date. No offense to Scott but unless it's a medical professional, I'd rather do it myself and be in control. Having him in charge makes me nervous bc it's new to us. I know he wouldn't purposely hurt me but I'm scared for some reason that it won't be accurate, or it'll hurt if done wrong. Afraid he'll hit a blood vessel. Also afraid of doing it myself if such a big needle. Being in the backside, at least I won't really see it. The other thing is, it's not just 1-2 of these, it's weeks worth. Then if/when we finally get pregnant, these PIO shots need to be done for weeks and weeks into the pregnancy. Agghhh. I also hear that, because it's in oil, it's thick and difficult to push the plunger down. Blahhhh.
I'll be knocked out for the egg retrieval procedure itself (thankfully! But then again, more needles/IV freaks me out. I swear I am a hot mess with this stuff!!). I'm worried about being in a lot of pain after. I'm worried about hyper-stimulating and producing a crazy amount of eggs, which isn't good for your body. I'm worried there won't be enough too. Worried about how I'll feel after.
I'm worried there either won't be enough eggs... worried that a good number won't fertilize... worried that they won't be good quality embryos. Worried, worried, worried.
This should be the easiest of the whole process, transferring an embryo or two back into mama's uterus to hopefully camp out and live for many many months. Wrong. This procedure must be done on a full bladder (in most cases).... I'm terrified of peeing myself on the table, in the middle of the procedure. How embarrassing would that be!? My bladder is small as it is and I almost always have to go. And when I do have to go badly, don't talk to me bc I can't focus or function. Legit worried that my bladder will burst and I'll want to crawl into a hole and die.
After going through allllllll these extra steps and spending all our savings, what if it doesn't work?? I would lose it. We'd be at a loss. I am not prepared to deal with that if it happens.
What's life without facing your fears and letting life's obstacles allow you to learn and grow?
So anyway, here we are, mid-July. I'll be starting up in a few weeks. At this point, I might as well keep everyone posted bc there won't be many secrets. Extra shots, Egg retrieval, etc. I'm going to need all the support and love, and good vibes that we can get. Facing my fears is obviously scaring the bejeezus out of me, but all we can do is move forward, together.
I had a really strange, crazy dream last night. Scott and I were on a hike and encountered a large, scary snake. I dropped the food I had with me, and it took it (while we got as far away as we could). We found a car and hopped in, driving out of the woods as fast as we could. We somehow ended up in the river and our car was now a boat, but we had to get around crazy turns and some rough waves. I admit we watched the new TV show Zoo last night (which scares the heck out of me so idk why we keep watching it), so I bet the scary animal and the rough escape were part of that BUT I also thought it was symbolic of the journey we are on, and the rough obstacles ahead that we have to endure. It'll be scary. But I know I'm not alone. I know SOOOO many strong and incredibly inspiring women who have gone through IVF, some multiple times, and all came out okay. Some are mamas, some are not yet. But all have done it while staying strong. And here I am whining and complaining when it hasn't even started... I need to channel their strength and energy, face my fears, live, fight like hell, and give it all I've got!
Stay tuned!! I should be returning to the clinic some time during the last week of July to get started!