Friday, March 25, 2011

Good News!

Well, today I finally got to talk to the scheduler regarding our insurance verification process and getting started. She sent all materials to Aetna yesterday and was surprised to see the approval letter today! Adam and I are approved for In Vitro, ICSI (where sperm is manually placed into the egg), and crypreservation of our embryos (which is almost unheard of)! It didn't pre-approve AZH (assisted zona hatching), but will go back and authorize it IF is is needed. We are tickled pink (or blue) at this news and can't wait to get started.

On April 15, we will be in Nashville by 8am (which will mean leaving the house by 6:15am) for our "teaching." We will sign all consents and arrange for drugs to be shipped to the house. Obviously, we will also pay for everything... (The whole process should be less than $3000, which is wonderful! Thank goodness for Bank of America Aetna policies! We are very blessed.)

So, now we wait...again...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ok...They Called!

After sending my previous thread, I left the less than a cheerful mood. While driving, Anita (the IVF Coordinator/Nurse) called. I talked to her for several minutes about the data and my concerns. She answered all of my questions candidly, which I really appreciated. I now know why the numbers were the way they were and exactly what was done about them. Long story short, recent numbers (with new staff) are 40% in all age groups. (My age group with our issues is running in the 60+ percentile.) This is above the national average, so I'm very comfortable.

Tomorrow, I'll talk to Sue (the scheduler) to arrange our consents and IVF teaching session. While this will be sometime next month, we are looking at a June egg retrieval time. For those curious about the delay, it's because of me! My vacation and Girls' Weekend kind of ruined the April and May cycle opportunities. Since I value these 2 trips (A LOT), I was fine with the delay.

Will hopefully send a quick update tomorrow and we'll look forward to receiving our "calendar." Hope everyone has a great rest of the week!

They called...BUT...

Well, my patience is wearing VERY thin now. Despite asking 3 times that I be contacted via my cell phone, the office called my home today and talked to Adam. He has no clue as to what my office schedule or obligations are, so he took the message and told them I would call back.

As you would expect, I called them back and had to leave a voicemail for the IVF nurse and a second voicemail for the scheduler. ( have to talk to both.)

Neither one has bothered to return my call...which is just unacceptable to me! Trust me, we pride ourselves in answering the phone (no voicemail crap during business hours) and we always return calls during the business day.

So....maybe this is telling me something. I know that if we change doctors, most of the tests would be repeated by the new physician. Plus, there are no providers that are in network with Aetna within 100 miles. So, that means we would be looking at paying everything in cash...which we just aren't prepared to do.

Will see what tomorrow holds, but for now I'm seriously wondering if all this is worth going through for a 20% chance of success...Sigh...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

No News...Grr...

Well, I kept my phone glued to my body all day long but the phone call never came. I'm a little disappointed, as I am SOOOOOO anxious to get a schedule. (Those who know me know that I plan everything in my life...way ahead of time!)

I also saw the newest data on our doc yesterday and was really discouraged. His success rates in 2009 were NOT good, which scares me to death. Adam knows a couple who swears by this doctor (who had girl/boy twins thanks to him), but I'm a little torn. After lots of discussion, we've agreed to ask about the data when the nurse calls. If the explanation is reasonable, then we will proceed with IVF with him. One positive sign is that his numbers only included 1 male-factor, which is 95% of our issue. So, maybe our numbers will be way higher than his average!

Anyway, will post once we get something else scheduled. Trust me...noone is as anxious as me!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Well, It's Official...

As most of you know, today was the big day. Adam and I drove to Nashville this afternoon for our 2:30pm appointment. I guess you could say we were a little anxious, as we arrived almost 50 minutes early! We checked into the office and were taken back about 30 minutes late (around 3). We were then taken to the exam room where vitals were taken and the nurse told us we would be going to Dr. Vasquez's office soon....when he finished an insemination. This provided good enertainment for us as the woman being inseminated was in the room next to us and was quite vocal (to say the least)! After a few laughs, Dr. Vasquez came in and escorted us into his office.

After some small talk about low reimbursements, patients who fail to pay, and those who sue, we got down to business. My cultures, sono-hysterosalpingogram, and hysteroscopy were all good. That's unfortunately all that was good...

Adam's counts were only 4 million and with bad morphology, movement, and pH. The first order of business was to discuss the need to freeze a back-up. Out of 4 million, he's seriously worried that he wouldn't have enough perfect ones to fertilize the eggs! So, we agreed that it was a good box on the form checked.

The real news was that I wasn't as perfect as we had thought. While my numbers are satisfactory, they weren't that great. I apparently have a luteal phase deficiency with less than ideal eggs. They work, just a little more sluggishly than we would like. I should respond well to IVF meds, but will not be a candidate for "natural cycle" or low-dose med hormones, here I come!

In the end, there is absolutely no chance of us conceiving on our own (outside of a real miracle). The remainder of the form was left unchecked and the letters "IVF" were written across it in capital letters. Guess that's as clear as it gets!

We will be called next Monday or Tuesday (after insurance gives the green light) to set up an IVF teaching session where we will have all medications and protocols explained (and I'm sure this includes the financial discussions as well). Once done, we will begin the cycle. This may not happen until May, as we already have paid for our cruise vacation for the end of April.

Overall, Adam is THRILLED that this "isn't ALL his fault!" He even did a little jig down the long office hallway singing a little tune... "It's not all my fault," over and over again! He announced his proud news to the male receptionist...who just smiled, and he reminded me (and everyone we called) on the way home! In some ways, I'm a little happy that I'm not perfect. I NEVER blamed him for everything (well only once...but that's another story), but he was obviously feeling some of that. So, now we are on a level playing field and he's a lot more relaxed!

I'm thrilled that we can be helped, though am cautiously optimistic. We are thankful that this technology and medical experience exists and are just anxious to see where this path takes us.

Thanks to all who sent messages and called today. I really did appreciate it!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What a Week...

Well, it has been a tough week. Last Wednesday evening, my Grandaddy unexpectedly passed away while at rehab. The news was a real shock and was deastating for our family. Adam and I learned around 11:30pm (CST). We got dressed and drove over to Mom and Dad's house. After helping them get ready to head home, Adam and I got home around 2:30am and tried to sleep a few hours. (This didn't really happen for me, but Adam did rest a bit.) Adam and I awoke at 6am and prepared to head to Moultrie. We finally got home around 4 pm and went straight to the funeral home.

The next several days were time spent with family and friends as well as Grandaddy's funeral on Saturday. It was a sad, sad time for all of us. John, Jacob, Trey, and I eulogized our Grandaddy with Trey and I reading what my Dad had written in tribute to him. The oldest 4 grandchildren (myself included) along with my Dad's first cousin stayed at the graveside until Grandaddy was burried.

On Sunday, we divided some precious keepsakes (knives primarily) and loaded the car to come home. I was VERY touched to find a speech that my Grandaddy wrote for me when I received an award in 7th grade (which he presented to me). After 20 years, he had saved it! Adam and I went by Grandaddy's grave one more time, just the two of us. While I know he's in heaven, it was still really hard to say Goodbye...and still is. Adam and I got home around 9:30pm.

My Grandaddy was really the keystone to our family and was such a wonderful man. I just can't hardly imagine the future without him, particularly as we continue on this journey to have a baby. I know he would have been there on the delivery day and when that day does come (if ever), it will be bittersweet. I know he'll be watching from above and he will guard us carefully as we navigate this process.

Thank you Grandaddy for never missing a moment in my life and for loving us with your whole heart. We love you!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Leupron Challenge...

Well, this is likely our last update until March 18. Yesterday, Adam and I drove to Nashville for our official Leupron challenge test. This consisted of a blood draw of 6 vials (yes....6), a pelvic ultrasound (my first ever), and an injection of Leupron. Being a medical person and somewhat of a geek, I kind of enjoyed watching the ultrasound. We could see lots of immature follicles (egg casings, for those who aren't medical) on the left ovary and not much on the right. The ones on the right were there, just too tiny to see well. Didn't have any side effects from the injection throughout the day, so was thankful for that.

Today, drove back to Nashville to have more blood drawn. This time was only 3 tubes! While being stuck isn't fun, the lady that does the draws there is really amazing. She's taken 9 vials of my blood in 2 days and I don't have a single bruise to show for it! (Total of 13 since going to Nashville on February 18!)

So now the wait begins...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Visit Number 2, March 2, 2011

Well, March 2 came around and here's how it went... (Don't read if you don't really want the details!) Sorry the entry is late...

Today went fine and actually much easy than I expected. We (Adam, Ms. Lokey, and I) were told to be there at 9:45 and that my procedure was scheduled for 10:30. (Mind you, this meant leaving our house at 7:30 am.) They were running late, naturally, so I made a couple of observations. 2 women came in alone, there were 2 lesbian couples, and 3 heterosexual couples (including us). The magazine collection for reading consisted of Golf Digest, Sports Illustrated, and Family Circle! Really??? Family Circle for infertile couples???

Adam was called back for his sperm analysis around 1030, so he was gone before me. He also had some labs done, but I have no idea what all were drawn. I was called back around 10:40. Went to the OR suite. Was given a buttless gown, stupid little booties (shoe covers), told I could keep my bra and jewelry on (how nice), and told to pee in a cup for my pregnancy test. Necessary, but kind of funny as well...heck, it's a freakin infertility clinic!

After walking out (while trying to keep my butt covered in a gown that was not particularly roomy), I was given a blanket and taken into the "OR." It's basically a room with a fancy exam table, fancy stirrups (not the usual ones), TV monitor, and nice ultrasound machine. The tech placed me on monitors (BP, pulse,EKG, pulse ox) and asked several questions. The nurse then came in. She gave me a 10mg valium pill to swallow. I saw her with the 2 syringes and raised the sleeve on my left arm, but was told that they wouldn't be going there. So, got two shots on my left butt. The toradol barely hurt (just the "stab") and the Demerol/Phenergan hurt a pinch more (the stab and the burn). Nothing terrible though!

The lights were then dimmed and I was allowed to "relax" for about 30 minutes. The nurse came back in and put my knees in the fancy stirrups. They stayed there about 15 minutes. She then came in again and said the doctor was behind, so she took them out. As you expect, 10 minutes later, the knees were back in place. I suspect this is an awkward feeling, but at this point, I was totally fine! (Had to struggle to keep my eyes open.)

The doc came in, spoke to me, and the "table" was brought in. Speculum went in (cold and mildly uncomfortable) and off he went. He first did cultures..felt just a tiny bit more uncomfortable than a Pap. I think he numbed the cervix, but I'm not sure. I felt about 2 seconds of a pinching sensation, which was then over. He then put the little catheter in, removed the speculum, and did the sono-hysterosalpingogram. Both tubes were wide open, which is a good thing. (I saw the image and knew they were open before he told me...) He then removed the catheter, replaced the speculum, and did the endometrial biopsy. Once again, a pinch for about 3 seconds. For those wondering, I'm sure this is horribly painful if you aren't souped up on tons of drugs like I was! He then did the hysteroscopy, which was surprisingly not uncomfortable at all.

That was it for him. He told me everything looked good and that he would give us the plan on March 18. After he left, I was allowed to "rest" (and was told not to move) for about 15 minutes. The tech came in to draw a CBC (standard blood count they do, just in case bleeding occurs later). She missed, but I kind of could tell she wasn't confident in her drawing skills. Nurse came in and drew it in the other arm without issues. She helped me up and I went to the changing room. Cleaned up (they have washclothes, babywipes, pads, you name it) and got myself dressed. Was placed in a wheelchair and met Adam and Ms. Lokey at the elevator.

Basically, just rested and slept off the drugs today. Took a pain pill, but only so that I could sleep. Really, no pain and very minimal cramping. I feel fine tonight other than being sleepy!

So...that's today's experience. Now, we sit and wait until the 18th! Thanks for asking and sending nice thoughts!

The Beginnings....

Since May, Adam and I have actively tried to begin our family. There were a few road blocks (like the thyroid mass turned thyroidectomy), but otherwise things seemed to be in order. After no success, we decided that we would seek "help" in 2011 if we didn't see the magical two lines. Well, 2011 rolled along and nothing changed. We began our testing with our Ob/Gyn and Urologist, only to find that things we not totally ok. So, at the end of January, we made our first Reproductive Endocrinologist appointment (RE).

On Februrary 18, we saw Dr. Vasquez in Nashville for the first time. The office seemed nice and very well organized. The first visit consisted of tons of paperwork, a brief exam, a "talk" with Dr. Vasquez, a trip to the lab for my blood to be drawn, then another "talk' with the financial guru of the office. Afterwards, tons of tests were ordered and scheduled for March 2; and we were on our way!

A Resurrection (Of Sorts)...

After lots of thoughts, I have decided to resurrect our blog. When we began this back in 2007, Facebook had not yet been created and we want to keep our family and friends updated as to our lives. As Facebook became more popular, we more-or-less abandoned the blog for the more convient posting attributes of Facebook. Now, however, Facebook is huge and very impersonal. So...thus returns our blog!

Since a major portion of our lives centers on us having a child, this will probably become our "infertility" blog and hopefully one day, our "baby" blog. Time will tell...