Baileys Adventures

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…-Proverbs 17:22

Finding Our Path February 1, 2011

If I’m honest with myself, this is a post I’ve actually been looking forward to writing for some time. Have you ever felt a certain way but tried to convince yourself you felt something different because you thought you were supposed to?  I guess it’s lying to yourself, isn’t it?  I’ve been doing that.

At this point, we’ve been “trying” for three years, including two and a half years on some form of medication and treatment.  With 13 rounds of clomid and two cycles of injectible drugs to prepare for artificial insemination, it’s been a long road of trying to find the right combination of things to achieve pregnancy.  Obviously, we haven’t found it.  Now, I’m waiting on these stupid cysts to resolve so we can begin our third IUI cycle, a gracious gift from my parents.

Friday I went to the doctor to find out if my cysts were gone (they’re not) and to see if we were good candidates for a third cycle (we are).  Something strange happened there.  As he gave me bad but improving news about my cysts and good news about our chances for success, I realized that I was….disappointed.  Not that my cysts weren’t resolved, because I could have told you that already.  No, I was disappointed because he didn’t give me an out, and excuse, a reason not to go on with Round 3.  I realized that I had been pinning my hopes on the possibility that these cysts were a sign that I’m not cut out for gonadotropins.  I realized that I had been hoping that our success rate would be so low that it would be silly to go on.  I wanted to be able to say “We can’t do a third IUI.”  Because I didn’t want to do it.  I don’t want to do it.

That’s hard for me to admit.  It’s not hard for me to accept that I don’t want to — it’s hard for me to admit that to other people.  I’m supposed to push on, to persevere.  I’m supposed to stop at nothing to have my baby with Baileys eyes, good Hill teeth, and a brilliant little brain.  I’m supposed to strive toward a baby with my mama’s nose and Brian’s sisters’ figure.  A child who can sing but understands the writings of Hawking like his daddy.  I’m supposed to do it all for my possible child.  But at what cost?

Infertility has nearly destroyed us emotionally.  It’s tested our marriage, and it’s obliterated our finances.  When you add the other things that are going on in our lives, it’s nearly tipped the already precarious balance to a very scary place.  Some days I’m not even sure who I am anymore except in relation to infertility.  I’m learning to live with a load of guilt that I don’t anticipate will ever go away.  I’m learning to accept failure at something so basic it’s literally instinct.  As it stands right now, we can’t afford the scary stuff — a spate of bed rest would mean lost income that we can’t cover anymore because we spent all our savings.  A baby in the NICU could mean bills we would have no way to pay.  Physically, I’ve allowed PCOS — a disease, mind you — to have free reign in my body for three years.  I’ve gained an inordinate amount of weight from that, and on top of it I’ve added many cycles of what are basically steroids.  My health is great, but my body is a wreck.  At this point, I have to ask myself if being pregnant would be the best idea.    That’s a big question.

This isn’t a new thing.  Every few months we’ve made it a point to touch base and see if we felt that we were following God’s will and if we should continue. Obviously, if it was God’s will for this to work, I’d be pregnant, right?  Every time we’ve tried a new treatment or a new method, God has thrown up a road block.  Some we’ve told you about, some we have not.  Some have been minor — here’s six cysts for you! — but some have been major things.  Each time we’ve been able to see a road block pop up, either derailing us or sending us in a new direction.  Unfortunately we’ve usually seen it in hindsight.  This time we just had the foresight to stop and consult God before we jumped into IUI #3.   I talk a lot to Brian about the still, small voice.  This time, the answer was loud, and it was clear.  The relief we felt upon truly hearing Him can only be described as the peace that passes understanding.

10% of all couples who are of child-bearing age experience infertility.  Two thirds will go on to have biological children.  We are not in that group. At this point, we have made a very important decision and want to let our friends and families who have been involved in this process know where we are headed from here.  At this time, we will not be pursuing any further fertility treatments in hopes of pregnancy. While we will probably return to treatment in the future, it is not the path we are going to continue down in hopes of our first child.  We definitely want more than one child, and know that they will not all come to us in the same manner.  We are feeling very definitely led in this direction, and are making this decision after much prayer and discussion.

Instead, we will be taking a few months off to process and heal, and to generally give ourselves a break.  At this point our plan is to then pursue adoption through foster care.  We would ask that you continue to lift our family up through this process as you have through our infertility.  While it’s exciting, we know that it will also bring with it hard work and possible heartache, and a whole other set of circumstances.  I personally can’t wait.  I feel like I am walking the path the Lord has laid out for the first time in months.

After we decided this, I sat down to write a little note to our families and friends who had supported us.  As I told them, we want to take the time to thank you for supporting and praying for us for the past three years as we have tried to start our family.  This whole process would have been so much harder if we hadn’t had the support of so many of our friends and family, without the constant encouragement and interest.  This definitely includes my bloggity friends who have been just as instrumental in my survival.  I know that at times people haven’t known what to say, or haven’t understood what we were going through, but the fact that you were there has been more important than you will ever know.

As we move forward, first taking care of ourselves and then trying to find a small person to take care of, we’ll need you.  I’ll still need to vent, to think “out loud”, we’ll still need prayer.  This decision will never take away my passion for infertility and breaking the silence that surrounds it.  Infertility, baby loss, barrenness, childlessness — all these things still weigh heavy on my heart and I will never stop listening, posting, advocating, and praying.  Share your stories with me or ask for prayer.  Let’s just add a new facet….let’s learn about foster care adoption, y’all.

And from the very bottom of my heart — thank you and God bless every single one of you.

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Money Money Money Money November 8, 2010

Filed under: Infertility,TTC — andreabaileys @ 9:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I really hate talking about money.  We have such a love-hate relationship with it around here.  We are desperately trying to get out of debt, and yet seem to run into it at every turn.  We’re living on a shoestring budget but need to tighten up.  We strive to be non-consumers in so many ways, mostly because we both hate materialism and commercialism.  But we sure could use two new laptops and some hardwood flooring.

So when we started to do this whole IF thing, money naturally was a concern.  For the first nine months, it was easy — no gurus, OB-Gyn copays only, and no meds. When we started with the gurus in September 2008, all my diagnostics were covered by insurance, with our copays and deductibles being our only issue.  However, the minute I took the first Clomid, insurance stopped paying for anything but the drugs.  All appointments were now on us.  This still wasn’t a huge deal.  Ultrasounds and blood work usually wasn’t more than $150 each month and we could fit that nicely into our budget.

Injectables and a planned IUI have changed all of that.  I make no bones about telling people this whole cycle is on Visa.  We had my old Visa almost entirely paid off, and it will most certainly not be by the end of this cycle. Which is why we’re almost at the end of our TTC mess.  Unfortunately, it seems to be a huge taboo to talk about how much fertility treatments cost.  I am over it, y’all.  I’ve talked to you about giving yourself injections, and about all manner of personal stuff.  I want this cycle of my infertility trial to benefit you by providing you with information.  So I’m going to through some numbers at you in case you got here by Googling “how much does an injectable fertility cycle cost?!”.

Please bear in mind that these are the costs that I have been quoted.  Your clinic and insurance are sure to be different.  Your willingness to use internet drug sites might be a lot more…willing…than mine.  I am just telling you what we have as a baseline.

Each visit to my doctor for monitoring includes an internal ultrasound and blood work to monitor my estradiol levels.  My gurus tell me that estradiol, or E2,  is an indicator of how well I’m responding because it’s produced by developing follicles.  I typically have an appointment on the weekend and one during the week.  Lately I seem to fall on Wednesdays and Sundays, or Tuesdays and Saturdays.  Two visits each week.  Each visit costs $217. Each week therefore costs $434.  I have been eight times, I believe.  Luckily, the insurance coordinator at my clinic called me aside last Wednesday and said that once I reached six GNT appointments, they no longer charge for ultrasounds.  So each visit will only be $54 for blood work.  Yay for being a big ol’ failure so far!  In all seriousness, this has injected (HA!) new life into this cycle – we were within three visits of having to quit, and now have about 12 more until we are broke.  If you are trying a GNT cycle, plan ahead for the number of visits you can afford and make it known to your doctor.

I have a vial of human chorionic gonadotropin waiting for me at the end of this cycle.  It cost me $70 with insurance, and is one dose. I won’t be linking to any shopping sites for this as it’s technically an anabolic steroid and I don’t need that kind of traffic, thankyouverymuch.

I am currently on Bravelle.  I order it from a specialty pharmacy because that is the only way my insurance will pay for it.  However, I love this pharmacy and am seriously considering transferring all our prescriptions there because they have been courteous, helpful, and super-fast.  Even when there was a little snafu that was not really their fault, they jumped in to help out.  I was prescribed 30 vials of Bravelle, or 6 boxes.  I have four refills, for a total of 120 vials.  I am currently halfway through my second order.  I pay only a $50 copay for each shipment, which includes all my syringes, needles, drug box, and alcohol pads.  And shipping, as far as I can tell.    When I ordered my first shipment, I asked the kind lady on the phone how much this would cost if my insurance had turned it down.  She either told me $150 or $170.  I can’t remember, so let’s err on the side of caution and say $150.  PER VIAL, y’all.

Reality check:  If I were to order all 120 vials that I may very well need without benefit of insurance, it would look like this:
30 vials x 4 refills =  120 vials

120 vials x $150/vial = $18,000

Wrap your head around that.  That is just for drugs. Not for an IUI, not for monitoring visits, not for the $25 in gas I spend for each appointments.  18K for tiny vials of medication to maybe have a baby.  I currently use 2.5 vials each night.  That’s $375 worth of medication each night.  My insurance may suck, but thank God for it!

Luckily, there are lots of sites online where you can order drugs for cheap.  The cheapest site I saw listed Bravelle at $80.  $80 times 120 = $12,000.  So much more reasonable.  Sure.

So you can see why this is a big deal.  I hope this information has helped someone in some way, even if it’s put a kink in your plans.  Knowledge is power, and information is a good tool to have at your disposal.  I’ll do a similar post for our IUI when we finally get there.  Which, at this rate, if probably going to be in about 2012…..