Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Expected to have Children

If I had a $1 for every time this past week I was asked when we were going to have children I would be able to treat myself to a pretty nice night out on the town! For some reason we came across several people we haven't seen in a while and who we aren't close enough to know what is going on. I don't think I should have to explain myself to everyone. I feel bad for couples who decide not to have children. I am sure that have they to answer to acquaintances all the time as to why they don't have children. After about a year of marriage or so, especially if you are closer to 30, you are expected to be expecting! I know most of those people who quizzed us about our fertility calendar don't have a clue what we are going through or they wouldn't have asked. But a person doesn't always know what others are going through. Think before you speak and pry about something so personal. There are no rules in life that say you have to get married, you have to have kids, you have to have a dog and a cat and a white picket fence. That's what makes the world interesting.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Support Staff

In any facet of life it is important to surround yourself with positive people who add happiness to your life. It is my belief that with a good support system you can make it through just about anything - that doesn't necessarily mean it will be easy but EASIER maybe. I am truly blessed with wonderful friends, family, and an incredible husband. Even though most of my friends don't understand what I am going through they are supportive and always have an open ear. My husband doesn't always show his emotions; like most men. But I know it affects him too. We are forced to be there for each other - we are battling this together. I sometimes feel like it is my fault that we are in this situation and it angers him that I would even have the tiniest thought of feeling guilty. Lets face it, the woman has to go through hell during IVF. My husband has ultimately let me make the decision if I want to go through all of the unnatural hormone therapy, the rigorous schedule of testing and taking medications, and the emotional and physical stress on my body. It is his support and understanding that will eventually get us through this. Whether it be reaching out to a friend, family member, or researching on the Internet it is important that you have a strong support system. I am forever grateful for everyone that is there for me and I love you all!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Treat Yourself

I decided that I wanted to create something to symbolize my journey. I wanted a symbol of hope, love, inspiration, fertility, and faith. A friend of mine is very talented at designing beautiful, unique jewelry. I asked her to design something for me and this is what she came up with. I love it! She calls it "All I Ever Wanted."
Each part of the necklace has meaning. The rose quartz stones represent love and fertility. They are said to protect the mother during pregnancy and protect the unborn fetus from miscarriage. The turtle is a symbol of fertility, strength, perseverance, and female power.
I don't really care what it is but I think it's important you find something that is meaningful to you to "treat" yourself - anything that is going to remind you of your journey and give you inspiration.
In my never ending quest to stay positive I am convinced that it is so important to make sure YOU are your number one priority! So many times in life people get caught up in worrying about everyone else, about work, about family and friends; but they don't take enough time out to do something for themselves.
This piece of jewelry will symbolize much more than just any necklace sitting in my jewelry box. It will forever represent a time in my life where nothing was a "given." It will represent a range of emotions from sadness and hope to hopefully someday pure joy.
Thanks Tyne! Please visit her blog at TyneBoden Necklaces

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It Just Isn't Fair

I don't want my blog to be whiny or to seem like I am always complaining; however, anyone struggling with infertility has had days where they feel it just isn't fair. With that said, I know that there are a lot of people going through a lot of worse things than I am right now and I am grateful for the things I do have. Unfortunately though, I feel the need to complain just a little bit! I am MORE than happy for all of my friends who are all WONDERFUL parents! However, it's the parents who I don't feel deserve to be parents that anger me! Parents who abuse or neglect their children do not deserve the privilege of being a mother or a father. Parents who don't know what birth control is, live off of welfare, and keep bringing child after child into poverty - that's who bothers me! Believe it or not one of the TV shows I watch is 19 Kids and Counting. They don't believe in birth control and believe that God will give them as many children as he wants them to have and can handle. Does this mean that God doesn't think I can handle children? They can have 19 and all I am suffering to have one or two in a lifetime! I know my husband and I will be wonderful parents and I just find it frustrating that people can get pregnant when they are too immature to have a child, when they are having a "one night stand," or when they are addicted to drugs and we can't get pregnant and bring a child into a loving, stable, providing home.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Crazy Lady Shots

Tomorrow I go for my 5th $600 crazy lady shot! I call them my crazy lady shot because it is supposed to make your hormones go crazy and cause hot flashes. So far the side affects have been minimal. However, every time I go and get one I have to meet with my doctor to discuss how crazy they are making me! It's nice to see her though, she always asks where we are at in choosing an IVF clinic, etc. I like to believe that my doctor really does care if we have chosen a clinic yet. And I am sure that she DOES want the IVF to work for us! I don't really care if she is just giving me a line of bull because it makes me feel better knowing that she is looking out for my best interest. In a way these shots may be preparing me for IVF. I will get used to being even MORE of a pin cushion and it may soften the blow of the sticker shock for the IVF drugs. I mean $600? The needle IS pretty long but that's a monthly rent payment. Luckily insurance pays 80% because this is still considered treatment for my ovarian cysts. But all in all this all is preparing me for all those shots in the butt.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Insurance Companies

If insurance companies were smart they WOULD pay for IVF. Some other countries have it right, I just wish the US would get with it! In other countries where IVF is covered by insurance they often have a clause where they control the amount of eggs implanted. This reduces the risk of multiple births which in return would cost the insurance companies MUCH more money than IVF. It's too bad that infertility is seen as an "optional" medical expense. I didn't choose to be infertile just the same as someone doesn't choose to have a broken leg. It's not like I'm going to get a boob job and I want my insurance company to cover the expense! Some IVF clinics will try and "slip" things through to insurance companies. However, Insurance companies often automatically turn away anything submitted from a clinic with the word "infertility" in it. We had two consultations; both clinics charged us about $300. The clinic who had "Reproductive Medicine" in their name was paid for by the insurance company. The clinic who had "Infertility" in their name was denied for the same service. Insurance companies are not cut and dry by any means; then again, neither is IVF. You need to be a scientist to figure out what procedures, testing, and drugs are covered. And you need to be a detective to figure out what procedures, tests, and drugs you will need and how much each will cost. There is no easy answer! I want someone to give me a calendar associated with dollar amounts to figure this all out!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Money Money Money Money

I don't wish I necessarily had ALL the money in the world, but enough to not have to worry about it would be nice. I am a new homeowner, newly married, working a very "normal" office job, and I DO NOT have $16,000 laying around for IVF! I am not sure how many people in my situation would? It's depressing to go through the inner struggle of: Do I spend MORE than my life savings on a CHANCE to get pregnant? Or do we spend MORE than our life savings and go straight to adoption? My husband and I spent hours weighing the pros and cons. In our situation our decision was finally made when I found out I could get additional insurance that helped cover part of the expense. (we did, however find out that you still need to have the money up front and insurance reimburses you) I have heard of several ways that couples have financed IVF
  • Loans (easier to get probably before the economy went down hill) I once had someone tell me that taking out a loan was like having an extra car payment for 5 years and it was well worth the price of being able to have their own children - she has twin girls through IVF
  • Grants - there are IVF grants available depending on where you live and what your qualifications are
  • Studies - some clinics may give a small discount if you agree to participate in any studies they have going on
  • Mom and Dad - a lot of young couples may borrow money from a family member or receive a gift (this can be a tax write-off)
  • Work your tail off - get a second job and put all the money away in a fund
  • Fundraisers - I have even heard of couples holding fundraisers for themselves

My husband and I have decided that it is worth spending some of our hard-earned money for a CHANCE to have our own biological child. (and we do have parents who want to be grandparents bad enough to help out a bit as well!)

It's worth it to us to try at least once; if it is not meant to be, it isn't, but at least we will know that we tried.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Information Overload

I am very lucky in the sense that my husband and I don't have to go through several avenues of infertility therapy such as IUI and Clomid, etc. before trying IVF, which is often a last resort. But once a couple decides to go that route all the information can be overwhelming. How much is it going to cost? What does insurance cover? What are my odds? Which clinic/doctor is best? Is it worth the money? How many men with metal objects are going to be between my legs? I found it very hard to compare clinics and procedures - especially different costs. You also need to learn the IVF "lingo." At first I went into the process thinking I would go with whichever clinic is cheapest. However, after our experiences I feel it is more important to find the clinic you feel most comfortable with. This is probably one of the biggest decisions you will make as a couple and there is a chance it won't even work if you feel uncomfortable with your doctors or clinic. Start to shop around for a clinic
  • Make a chart similar to this one that compare the cost of each clinic http://www.mcrh.com/MCRH-Cost-Comparison-Worksheet.pdf
  • Find out what your insurance does and does not cover
  • Attend seminars of a couple different clinics and get a feel for how each operates
  • Ask lots of questions (you may have to pay for a private consultation)
  • Ask what YOUR chances are (not what the overall clinic's success rates are-they are all about the same and the clinic has to include everyones stats so even if someone was given a 2% chance and they try and don't succeed it is counted)
  • Research potential money back programs clinics may have. But find out before hand if you qualify for a program. (we assumed we would qualify and were extremely disappointed when we didn't)

I never promised any of this was going to be easy. In fact it is extremely overwhelming. You are still dealing with the emotions of infertility. I cried after every meeting/ seminar/ consultation that we had. It doesn't seem fair that you have to go through the procedures and financial burdens to conceive when everyone else just has to "boink" to get the same results.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Why Blog?

I am starting a blog, mainly for me - kind of like a diary. But if I write something that one person can relate to, that one person can get inspiration from, or if it gives one person a glimmer of hope; it is well worth it! I've wanted to be a mother pretty much since I was a child. I was always the one that played "mom" whenever we played house. I've always been the one "in charge" and "in control" of things. I never imagined that out of all my friends I would be the one to have fertility issues. For once I wasn't in control. I was married this year and my husband and I started TTC before we were even married. I didn't care if I was a pregnant bride. Children have always been in my future and they still are, now it's just a matter of how we are going to get there. One thing I have learned in life is that it does not always play out the way you planned it. But I am also a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. It is that attitude that is going to get me through this process. Whether God blesses us with a child of our own or a child to adopt, it was meant to be and I will be grateful. There are many stages one goes through while trying to conceive; anger, jealousy, frustration, and disappointment just to name a few. There are times when I have felt very alone just because I don't have any other close friends going through the same thing. However, the reality is that we are not alone. Without giving too many boring details - I have suffer from endometriosis and ovarian cysts. I have had two laparotomys and have been told that IVF is our only chance to "conceive" a baby of our own. Thus begins our journey of infertility...this thing called IVF.