Thursday, November 29, 2007

Let's add it up, shall we?

I have to start by saying that Frank and I are VERY thankful that we have insurance coverage for IF, even if it's only temporary. Also, we don't like to make the financial aspect a big issue, since this is a HUGE goal for us and we'll do just about anything to achieve it.

BUT, I need to vent. Isn't that what this blog is for? :)

This post started because I was thinking about how I have to stop at the pharmacy on my way home and pick up $85 worth of prescriptions. And that's only for TWO of my meds...two out of who-knows-how-many.

The insurance coverage, by the way, is my COBRA plan...which costs us almost $500 a month. Yes, I'm covered under Frank's insurance, but it covers practically NOTHING regarding IF. And as I've mentioned here before, it expires in June. Oh, and copays on my plan are $30. When you're going to the doctor anywhere from 2-7 times a week, that adds up.

Even before we started seeing an RE, the amount of money spent on ovulation kits, tests, and monitors...pregnancy tests (seems like I've taken a MILLION of these)...and all the other 'accessories' needed when you're in that limbo stage (Preseed, etc)...I have no idea what the total cost is, but no matter what it is, it was all money pretty much thrown out the window.

Also, since Frank isn't covered under my insurance, we have to pay out of pocket for any of his procedures (sperm anaylses, etc.). Again, I have no idea what the tally on that is.

Oh and my acupuncturist, who I truly adore, and who I can't quit because she's helped me get pregnant twice...2 times a week at $75 a pop. Nope, she's not covered under insurance either.

No coverage for embryo freezing and everything associated with that either (which you pay for an entire year, no matter how long they're stored)...and let's not even get started on what the bill for our PGD testing will be, IF (and again, I say it in the most positive way) this FET cycle doesn't work.

And if you think my RE is the only doctor I see, think again. There are others who take up my precious time by poking and prodding me and figuring out why I'm broken. They cost money too.

Wow, didn't I start this post by saying the financial aspect of IF wasn't a big deal for us? LOL. Maybe I was wrong...just a LITTLE wrong.

It ain't stopping us though. At least not yet.

SIDE NOTE: Dad's out of the hospital. He's not feeling better, and they can't figure out WTF is going on. But, at least his levels are somewhat back to normal and he's home, back on his couch. Thanks to those who sent their well wishes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ah yes, the ol' lupron headaches...

It wasn't that long ago that I was doing this same exact protocol (BCP, lupron, estrace) could I have forgotten about these side effects already?

It's only the 4th day of lupron and my head is POUNDING. When I asked my RE about it the last time, he said it's because the body is deprived of estrogen...and once I start taking the estrace it should be better.

Too bad that's a week away.

I'll spare you all my "none of this is fair" speech, since I don't really have the energy to type it out...but beware of me tomorrow! :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

2 years down

Yesterday was our two year anniversary. Even though we've been through so much in the past two years, it actually has gone by pretty fast. This is what happens as you get older, right? The whole time flies thing? Crazy.

We vowed to go away for our anniversary each year but many factors got in the way this year (last year we went to Mexico and had a great time), so we ended up going into the city for dinner and then saw Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It was so much fun...and we weren't even the youngest people there :)

We're hoping that our next anniversary will be just as nice, and will include another member of the family, either live or in utero.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Never a dull moment

My dad is in the hospital. I won't get into too many details, but it's never smooth sailing when he gets sick, given all his health issues. It took a lot of kicking and screaming for my mom to get him there (even though he was in a lot of pain), but he's pretty content since he's in a private room with a flat screen HDTV.

Hopefully he'll be out in about a week. And no, we don't know what's wrong with him yet...we're waiting for more test results.

As for me - I start my lupron tonight. Got my cooler packed since we'll be going to the hospital then to a friend's 40th birthday party. As crazy as this sounds, I LOVE the lupron shots, for a few's one step closer to transfer, and it makes me feel really productive about my treatment. There's a big difference between injecting drugs in your belly and popping them in your mouth, in my opinion.

Yeah, I'm nuts :)

Speaking of which, my sister and nieces slept over last night, and my sister and I were in the bathroom brushing our teeth. She saw me take all my pills out and couldn't believe how many I take before bed. And to me, it's yet another thing that doesn't even make me blink twice. It's amazing how all of this becomes completely NORMAL after a while.

Or should I say, scary...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

It feels good to FINALLY be done with all my baking! Although I must say, it's very therapeutic for me. Hell, who am I kidding...I love doing it :)

Before we start our long, hectic day with our families, I thought I'd list a few things I'm very thankful for this year.

1- My husband. Yeah, that handsome guy you see on the right side of the page. He is the best thing that's EVER happened to me...hands down. I'm not sure where I'd be right now if I hadn't met him 3 years ago.

2- My family and friends...many of whom are both. They're all great people. Well, almost all of them ;)

3- Modern medicine. Without it, Frank and I would have ZERO chance of having our miracle baby someday.

4- Our daily lives, in general...our careers, our home, being financially comfortable, living so close to the greatest city in the world, always doing fun and new and exciting get the picture. I know not everyone has these luxuries, and even though we've worked our butts off for many years to get where we are, we're very thankful for it.

I hope all of you have plenty to be thankful for too. Enjoy your turkey!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Good news is always welcome

We got the results from my RPL (recurring pregnancy loss) panel yesterday...all the bloodwork came back negative. Which pretty much confirms what we already knew...there is absolutely no reason why I'm miscarrying, except for the fact that my eggs SUCK.

I love my husband more than life itself...I just wish I'd met him a few years earlier!

Oh well. Off to bake some pies...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The upside to being in limbo...

You can drink. lol.

I've been craving sangria for a while now, but wasn't able to drink for a few months. A few friends were going to take me into Newark last weekend (the old "drowning sorrows" night out), but I came down with a nasty cold :(

So last night, at around 9pm, we peeled ourselves off the couch after watching American Gangster (bootleg copy, and a good one too! I highly recommend seeing the movie) and headed to Iberia. Frank indulged in one glass, and I gladly downed the rest of the pitcher. A FULL pitcher. And it was damn good.

Now I've been up since 8am getting stuff done around the house, and preparing dinner for some family coming over. You can bet a nice fat glass of cabernet will be part of my meal. My shots start up again next week, so I'm partaking in as much as I can until then.

Oh, and any ideas you may have for me so the next month FLIES by...please add in the comments section. My Christmas shopping is halfway done, my house is clean, I'm caught up on all my Tivo, I'm booked solid for all of Thanksgiving weekend (which is also our second anniversary!)...but still, the third week of December can't come fast enough. I just want this cycle done and over with.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Just call me Aunt Miss...

That's what these little rugrats call me! Well, Petey doesn't call me anything yet, but he'll be yelling "Tia!" in no time, I'm sure...

Maddie, Nina and Petey. Three big reasons why I keep the faith. Oh, and Uncle Frank loves them lots too.

Doesn't the Big Man understand that these kids need more cousins??

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"...always look on the briiiight side of life..."

Who sings that stupid song anyway?

I'm trying. I really am. It's just so damn HARD. Especially when you're constantly surrounded with reminders.

Like, for instance, three shows that I watch (um, yeah, I guess I watch a little too much should see our Tivo season pass list) had characters who had miscarriages...ALL LAST WEEK. Same week as me. I haven't cried that hard infront of the TV since...well, I guess since the week before that (everything makes me cry these days). But you know what I mean.

Let's not even get into the reminders that occur on a daily basis everywhere I go. Babies and pregnant women are EVERYWHERE. And even when they're not around, people are talking about them...who's pregnant, who just had a baby, how wonderful is my baby, my baby is SO smart and SO cute, my baby went pee pee on the potty...

Plus, our house could be mistaken for a crack den...we've got more needles, syringes and drugs than I know what to do with.

There's no escaping. And speaking of escaping, trying to book a vacation has become virtually impossible. WE NEED ONE....badly. Ugh.

OK, I feel a little better.

Thanks to all of you who have supported us during this struggle (you know who you are). Your kind words and listening ears (and knowing not to say "just relax, it'll happen" or "drink a lot of wine") have been very helpful with easing the pain a bit.

And yes, I still like hearing about your kids...I'd just prefer some adult conversation to go along with it :)

I'm slowly making my way to the bright side...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How it all began...

I've been toying around with the idea of starting a blog for a while. Why? Because I've gotten to the point where I need to just GET THIS ALL OUT. I started keeping journals on my 13th birthday, and for some reason I stopped writing about 6 or 7 years ago. I always felt better when I got my thoughts down on now it's time to start again.

Frank and I were married on November 25, 2005. We met on Frank was very persistent and tried making a date with me for a whole month before I finally agreed to meet him. You know...I was 'busy' a few other losers, um, guys...I didn't have time for someone who actually showed a huge interest in getting to know me. Wake up Meliss!

So off we went to brunch on September 25, 2004. And to make a long story short, that's how our wonderful (and QUICK!) courtship started. We moved in together a month later, and got engaged on December 17, just 11 weeks later. And no, not one person thought we were crazy. Everyone knew, just like we did, that this was RIGHT. Finally, I met "the one"! :)

We knew from the beginning that we wanted to have children IMMEDIATELY. Why? Well, there are a few reasons...

1- We both love kids...and always knew we wanted to be parents
2- I've always had issues with my we kinda knew from the get-go that TTC (trying to conceive) would be a little tough
3- I was 36 and Frank was 32 when we got married. Time wasn't exactly on our side, from a biological clock standpoint, especially if we want to have 2 kids.

About 6 months before we got married, I bought the CBEFM monitor and started tracking my ovulation, in order to get to know my body better (starting taking my prenatals too...just incase!). Well, I got to know it better alright...I began to realize that I didn't ovulate all that much. Hmmm.

We figured we'd take a shot at it (literally) and not be careful the month before we got married. Nada. Ok, fine...we've got the honeymoon. Nope. Ok, no problem, we've got time to deal with this...

But first, we have to buy a house so we have a place to put all these kids we're going to have!!! Yeah, GREAT IDEA!!! And inbetween all the chaos of househunting, saving money, realizing we couldn't afford to live where we wanted to, FINALLY finding a house we like, making an offer, making a counter-offer, closing, gutting and renovating half the house, packing, and moving (oh, and furnishing)...we'll keep trying. Great.

Or, maybe not.

Soooo, we figure it's time for professional intervention. Onto the OBGYN, who prescribes clomid and prometrium for 6 months. With NO monitoring. What did I know? I was too busy trying to figure out why I felt like I was going through menopause...holy hot flashes.

Tick, tock, tick, tock...

Finally, a referral to an RE (that's a Reproductive Endocrinologist, for those of you who are challenged in the infertility area)...what's that you say, you can't see me for TWO MONTHS? Don't you realize we've already been TTC for over a year now? Sorry honey, get in line...believe it or not, you're NOT alone. REALLY?

So, we wait...and while we wait, I lose my job, Frank begins what turns into a very long furlough, and my grandmother passes away. Happy 2007.

Our journey with the RE began in February of this year and this is how it's gone down...

Feb - first appt. with RE. referred to an endocrinologist after b/w and ultrasound tests are administered. diagnosed with PCOS, hypothyroidism, advanced maternal age, and unexplained infertility. Frank's boys are fine.

March - saline sonogram detects fibroids in my uterus (not detected during my HSG in December) is scheduled for mid-March (hysteroscopy). then we wait until I'm healed before beginning IVF cycle.

April - IVF cycle begins. protocol includes BCP (birth control pill), lupron, gonal F, ovidrel, and PIO (progesterone in oil). I might be forgetting something...there were just way too many needles and pills to count.

May - egg retrieval goes well, even though I'm bloated to the bejesus. 26 eggs retrieved, 21 fertilized (ICSI), 15 make it to day 3, which is when the RE calls and says, come in for your transfer. we transferred 4 embryos. 7 of the remaining 11 made it to day seven, and were frozen.

less than 2 weeks later was the first time I ever saw the word "pregnant" without the word NOT infront of it. also the first time I saw 2 lines (I took MANY MANY tests, LOL). we are ecstatic. the first few betas go well, until...

June - gestational sac and yolk sac are identified, but there is no fetal pole. missed miscarriage at 7 weeks. D&C scheduled for June 19th, the day after Frank's birthday.

pathology tells us the baby had Trisomy 16...and it was a boy.

more waiting...and long does it take for my body to realize I am NOT pregnant anymore?

August - given the go ahead to begin cycling. we decide on a FET (Frozen embryo transfer) and will transfer 4 of the 7 frozen embryos. UNTIL, saline sonogram detects something "leftover" in my uterus.

Sept 11 - hysteroscopy/D&C scheduled. pathology detects no fetal was another fibroid. one week later, the RE gives us the go-ahead to start our FET cycle. protocol is BCP, lupron, and estrace...followed by PIO.

October 17 - all 4 embryos survive the thaw (which is almost unheard of) and look great. what could be better? we go in for the FET and things seem so promising...

one week later...of course I'm going to test, who waits for the beta? sure enough, I'm pregnant, again. YIPPEE!!

one week later...2nd beta indicates slow growth. no more bloodwork...scheduled to come in for an ultrasound a week later to see what's going on.

and, one week Dr. detects a sac which is great news! ok, some relief! until my beta comes back later that day...and it's NEGATIVE. early miscarriage at 5 weeks 1 day.

Which brings us to today...the day after I took my first birth control pill for our next FET cycle. Yep, call us masochists, but we're trying again, and even making sure we get it squeezed in before this miserable year is over. Why, you ask?

1- um, hello, haven't you been paying attention? I'm old in the eyes of fertility. 39 will be here in less than 3 months. I can still hear the clock...
2- the other fun factor that is dealt with in this crazy world of IF...the insurance factor. my coverage is through my COBRA policy, and guess what? COBRA doesn't last forever. matter of fact, mine ends in June 2008.

IF, and I do repeat, in my most positive voice, IF this FET cycle doesn't work, we will be candidates for a new procedure coming out in Jan/Feb which is the most thorough embryonic testing out there. That'll be sure to give us the answers we need regarding my ancient eggs.

So there you have it...if you read this far I commend you for your patience and your bravery! I feel better already...all it took was typing out all this craziness we've been through in the past two years.

The most ironic thing of all of this (and I'll end on this note, I promise)...

When Frank and I were engaged, we talked about how we sometimes wished we'd have more time 'as a couple'...since we dated for such a short period of time, and agreed to TTC immediately, we realized our time alone, without children, would be limited. But, we were so excited to start a family, and knew it would bring us just as much happiness...or MORE...even if we couldn't drop everything and go away on vacation, or sleep late, or spend money frivolously, or go to AC on a moment's notice...

Guess who got their wish.