Thursday, August 30, 2012

Big Box o' Drugs

I just used my credit card to pay for one cycle worth of IVF drugs.  The total was a very large number that did not quite hit the $5000 mark.  But it was close.  Hopefully our new insurance will reimburse us for much of this.  We just couldn't wait any longer to get the drugs ordered, and it was going to be another week or more before the insurance company could authorize things.  We will have authorization before we have to pay for the actual IVF, for which payment is due at the baseline ultrasound appointment which will be in the middle of September.

The drugs should arrive on Saturday between 9am and 2pm.  Ian will have to be home to receive them and 2 of them must go into the refrigerator.  When I travel to Ohio in a week I will have to bring refrigerated drugs (in a cooler of some sort) and needles onto the plane with me.  I've not done this before, although it's something I'm sure people with diabetes have dealt with often.  I've found a lot of information about what I need and how to do this on websites geared towards diabetics.

I will have to give myself injections every night for many weeks in a row, and for some portion of that time (to be determined by my blood draws and ultrasounds) I will be giving myself 2-3 injections every night.  I am not the most excited about this ever.  Sore belly much?

This is the list of drugs that should arrive on Saturday:
  • Follistim
  • Crinone (Progesterone)
  • Estrace (Estradiol)
  • HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin)
  • Lupron
  • Medrol
  • Menopur
  • Valium (one tablet, I assume for either retrieval day or transfer day)
  • A whole shit ton (official measurement) of syringes and needles as well as a sharps container
And for Ian:
  • Cipro - 1 pill
Now I am just waiting for my period to start.  I am hoping it comes by Saturday because otherwise the whole schedule that was put together for me will have to be pushed back a week and all my appointments re-made.  It's such a pain - figuring out all these appointments and times I'll have to be away from work.  Luckily they seem to really save the first thing in the morning appointments for IVF people, so that's good in terms of work.  Unlike when I was doing IUI with the study and almost always had to go in at 1pm.  But, also, the doctors work by rotating weeks, and if the schedule I am on currently works out, I'll have my own beloved doctor for my first week of appointments, and Dr. Rosen, who I like and who shares my nurse with Dr. Tran, for the second.  If it gets pushed back I will miss having Dr. Tran and will have Dr. Rosen and ???.

Anyhow, if my migraine today is any indication, period should show her face soon.  Send me flowing vibes, I guess.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Infertility affects your life in ways far beyond the most obvious.  I've been hinting (not so subtly) at the fact that we needed to decide how to handle our next steps financially before making them, but haven't been able to really talk about what our options were as everything was still very up-in-the-air.  I can now announce that Ian had his last day at Rdio on Tuesday of this week and will be starting at Google X on Monday.

And while, of course, congratulations to Ian are in order, I think it's really important to note, on this blog if anywhere, that he did not want to leave Rdio.  As he says on his webpage, he was not looking for a new job.  He was really happy at Rdio, working  in a city he loves and can easily commute to with people he respects on a product he cares about in a role that was exciting for him.

So, what were our choices?
1.  Ian could stay at Rdio and we could fund all of our own fertility treatment by either waiting until we could save up or going deeper into debt (we just bought a house) and in either cases making major lifestyle changes and sacrificing things like travel to visit family.
2.  Ian could look for a job at a company that was large enough to offer some benefits for infertility.

We talked about these options a lot (really really like a whole lot) and ultimately it had to be Ian's decision.  The first thing he did was try to find any way possible to stay at Rdio.  Ian's bosses at Rdio explored every option.  Everyone wanted Ian to stay.  But in the end, there was nothing, as a startup, they could really do that would match the benefits a larger company is able to provide in a situation like ours.  But I do love them so much for trying.  In a way, that makes the leaving even harder.

Anyhow, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda, among other opportunities that he explored, Ian interviewed at Google X (which is a part of Google) and was hired to work on Project Glass.  Google X is totally super cool!  It's like secret future magicland.  He'll be working with people he's really psyched about, and this will be the third company in a row where our friend Steve will be his coworker.  He really likes working with Steve.

Oh, hi, Supermodel Steve, modeling Glass!

So, this is no great tragedy, obviously.  It's a great opportunity and it's something really different for Ian and for us, as a family.  It is, though, a huge huge life change that was brought on due to our circumstances, as opposed to our desires.  Ultimately, that's how all choices are made, I suppose - based on changing circumstances creating differing needs.  So, we have different priorities at the moment than we did two years ago.  That meant making different choices.  I can feel sad about that because the cause of the different priorities is a little sad, but it's also how life works.  So, Ian will be taking a shuttle bus to a job that is over an hour drive away.   We don't know how it will affect the amount of time we have together, but we know his schedule will be far less flexible.  We'll be able to afford IVF, but he won't be able to come to my appointments with me anymore.  

We are so lucky that we even have this option and this opportunity.   More choices are a good thing, but that doesn't make them, always, an easy thing.  In this case, a good choice has been made, so now we are looking forward with hope and excitement and we feel ready for whatever this change will bring our way.    

Without going into great detail, the benefits Google offers are incredible.  This move will save us a vast amount of money in the infertility process, as well as the adoption process if we end up going down that path.  They also provide things that will make a difference in our lives once we have a child.   Not gonna lie, I have been dying to try one of those famous Google cafeterias for a long time, so there's that too!

So, what now?  Well, we met with Dr. Tran on Wednesday to go over all the different options, and have a plan of action in place.  Our goal is IVF with ICSI with a day 3 transfer of 3 or so embryos.  We'll see how I respond to drugs and take it from there.  (More on the drugs when I get them all.)  I'm not going into details about what factored into each of the decisions we made about our treatment, because it's just statistics and cost and our age and our test results and the length of time we've been trying put in a pot and then this is what falls out.  But if you are curious about what any of these things mean and the specifics of why we chose one option over others, please ask and I will happily share.  

When my period arrives (sometime in the next week) I will start on monophasic birth control pills which I will take for 21 days (all the active pills).  Beyond that, I don't have details of how my meds will work, but I have a phone date with Olga, my nurse, on Monday, to go over the calender.  So, I'll know more then.  And then I shall share again with you.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back on the Horse

Ok, well, so financial stuff is sorted.  I'll do another post one of these days to explain what we decided and how and all of that.  But in the meantime, just wanted to post a more basic update.   We're on target for starting the process of IVF on the first day of my next period (so about 3 weeks from now).  It's a 2-month cycle, so the first month will be me on birth control pills, primarily, and getting everything sorted and ready for the following menstrual cycle to include actual IVF.  IVF should happen around mid-October, if the cycle isn't cancelled and everything goes according to plan.  There are so many variables and it's all a little confusing and overwhelming at the moment.

For now, we have an appointment with Dr. Tran to talk about the details of what our IVF plan will be.  He'll go over the results of our most recent tests with us and tell us what he thinks.  I'm thinking that it'll be IVF with ICSI (where they inject the sperm directly into the eggs).  But we'll know more about that and about what meds he wants me on after our appointment, which is on the 22nd.

There are some medications (Z-Pak) that Ian and I will take ASAP (as soon as I get to the pharmacy to pick them up).  I'll also pick up the birth control pills right away so I have them and am ready to start them on day 2 of my next cycle.

I have a phone date with the nurse to go over an IVF calender that she'll have put together after our conversation with Dr. Tran.  Then she'll order us our medications and we'll take an IVF Injection Orientation and move on from there.

I'm not gonna lie - it's been really nice to have a break from all of this.  I have enjoyed not going to the doctor constantly and I have not missed the needles.  I have actually been able to think about other things, and to feel light and free and happy once in awhile.  But, of course, this has all still been in the back of my mind and I've been anxious to get back at it.  Because we still have no idea how much longer it's going to take before we become parents and how much more we have to go through.  So a couple month delay seems like not a big deal in some ways, but it also seems like a huge deal when I imagine the possibility of IVF not working - but us going through several cycles of it...then having to move on to other options, like adoption, which takes time time time as well.

tick tock tick tock tick tock.

In the meantime there's a whole new batch of people excited about the prospect of us potentially being pregnant at the same time.  I feel like I've missed two batches worth of people already, so I am not holding my breath.  But wouldn't it be nice if something just worked for us?  This time next year will I still be trying to figure this all out or will I be holding a wee new baby or something in between?  This time last year I certainly assumed something different for the right now than is actually happening.  Two years ago I thought I'd surely at least be pregnant a year later, let alone two years later.  Still hopeful.  We shall see.