Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I feel like I've been waiting for something for two years. This month is two years since we started trying to get pregnant. I never thought two years later, I would be writing a blog about infertility. I haven't moved on from that first day I didn't take my birth control pill. Sure, I get up in the morning, eat breakfast and work all day. And then I make dinner for my husband, clean the kitchen and watch TV. But I truly have not been living. I haven't scrapbooked since I don't even remember when. I love to cook complicated things...lately I have been making turkey burgers. The only times I am kind of content is when I am watching General Hospital or when I am eating something very satisfying. The infertility road is full of bus stops where you just wait and wait and wait...

It goes like this: You first realize that something might be wrong and you search for a fertility clinic and make an appt...only to be told you have to wait 6 weeks for said apppointment.

Bus Stop #1. Then you get there and they put you through a battery of tests...some of them not fun. Your husband gets to jerk off in a seedy little room with a TV. Other than some blood, that's the extent of his testing. I get to have an HSG. Don't even ask. I get to have an ultrasound with a dildo cam. Really...don't ask. Let me just tell you that modesty is a thing of a past. I really should just become a stripper...might as well make some money if everyone is going to see me naked. Do they have stripclubs for size 12 strippers? So after all this testing, you're told that you're fine, but your husaband has a little problem with his sperm and you need In Vitro in order to get pregnant. And you have to wait another 2 months to do a sperm extraction in order to do In Vitro.

Bus Stop #2. How much does In Vitro cost?! Again, don't ask. After obtaining sperm, securing funds and choosing a clinic...

Bus Stop #3 More tests. Now it's a hysteroscopy and more blood testing. Finally, IVF starts...only to be cancelled because I was only growing one egg.

Bus Stop #4 Have to wait for two periods before we can start IVF again. Oh, and dad came for vacation so had to push it back another month. Second IVF gets under embryo.

Bus Stop #5 Two week wait. BFN...Big Fat Negative for all you muggles out there.

Bus Stop #6 Have to wait for two periods again before we can start another IVF. THREE EGGS this time! Maybe there is hope. Wait for it...wait for sperm.

Bus Stop #7 Need more sperm...two month wait for another extraction. So after freezing the eggs and obtaining more sperm, I chose to get on a different bus. I'm hoping the CCRM bus is an express bus straight to motherhood.

Bus Stop #8 More testing. Almost done...officially starting Clomid Challenge tomorrow. Another dildo cam...more needles. Can I get off this bus already?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Friends and Frenemies

I have decided to start being more honest and real with my friends about my struggle. I realized during a therapy session that in my conversations, I tend to use sarcasm to deflect or just discuss the logistics of treatment, rather than share the emotional impact this has had on me. I believe I do this in order to push my bubbling emotions back down so that I can maintain control. So I sent an email to about 15 of my friends and family members. I totally came clean about how much pain I have been in throughout this struggle. I confessed to having jealous feelings toward those friends that have children. I openly admitted that I am soooo very angry and am silently screaming about how this is monumentally unfair. I voiced my annoyance at the dumb things people have said. I felt good, or better anyway, after having done it. I felt like I was no longer hiding anything anymore.

So I was excited about the reponses I would get. I wondered who would respond and who wouldn't. Some of the responders were people I KNEW would respond. There were also a couple of surprises. One, my former roommate and also one of my closest friends, only responded after I thanked "those who responded." AND, all I got was a cursory one sentence email to the effect of, " know that I support you." Really? We lived together for 7 years and had probably hundreds of girl talk sessions about how we would get married and have children someday and that's all she's got for me? Another close friend...someone I have been friends for 20 years didn't respond at all. My SIL, who is slightly insane, and incredibly self-absorbed, also didn't respond. Not a big surprise there, but it's strange the way people behave when faced with such raw emotion. Perhaps they didn't know what to do with my grief, so they did nothing. I am not exactly sure what a "frenemy" is, but I do know that those who responded with pure empathy and concern for me are people who truly care about me and about how infertility has affected me. The others? I'm not so sure.

Here is one response that touched me so deeply, I would like to honor it here:

First…I didn’t get this lastnight but this morning when I got to my desk and it hasn’t ruined my day or dampened my spirits…and I’m glad you did this. Hopefully it was cleansing and maybe took some of the burden off of your beautiful heart.

Of anyone in my life that I have known, loved and really respected…you DESERVE children. All of your life you have dreamed of this, waited until you found the right guy, and I’m proud that you’ve never “let nature take it’s course.” The few times we’ve broached the subject of your infertility I’ve never felt sorry for you, thought you were anything less than perfect (which you have always been in my eyes), and even though your heart is broken…it’s still beating. After reading this a few times one thing I am so very happy for is that you and your husband have maintained the strong connection that you dreamed of all of your life. You waited so long for “the right guy” and at times I thought he would never surface and look…there he is. That man seems to have the unconditional love for you that so many of us can only dream about…

Your wit and sarcasm are coping mechanisms and they could be considered unhealthy if you weren’t crying all the time, angry at people you know that really don’t deserve the happiness a child brings…so many people that we both have known are not worthy of being a parent. Above all other women I know…you were born to be a mother. You should feel bitter and pissed…everybody at some point loses their faith in God…and if you didn’t wonder “what if…then what”…well, then you would not be being honest with yourself. I know that deep down you know that whatever people say is said with the best of intentions…I liken it to when someone loses a child or a mother…you don’t know what to say and just say nothing at all. Or…you can say it will get easier, they could have suffered more and death was a blessing…whatever. With your situation…it is the same thing and for you…this is like a death sentence.

That being said…

People are given no hope to survive an illness and somehow…they do. Your ovaries and his sperm are only in a coma and not dead by a long shot. Mind f*ck yourself into KNOWING this next cycle will work. Envision a growing little peanut growing into a healthy and loving baby that will be everything you are and more. Like you, I have worked for everything I have but take a look at your past…everything you wanted, worked for and dreamed of has ultimately happened…just not on YOUR timetable. Your future little one is no exception.

I wish I was a better friend, was able to keep in touch more and spend time with you. The time and distance will never diminish the love I have for you. Somehow, you will find strength, rekindle your faith in God and have your baby. Your Karma bank is full…you just can’t access it yet.

I love you honey…

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The List

So my therapist gave me a list of words to reflect on. I am just now looking at this list one hour before my appt! I am supposed to ponder them and write down what comes to mind... I am specifically going to try to correlate them to my fertility challenges.

Hope...I need to maintain hope that this next cycle will work and I can get off the roller coaster.

Love...I need to remember that for my future for my for my the reason that I want to be a mom in the first place and not get so caught up in winning.

Forgiveness...I need to forgive my body for not cooperating. Forgive my husband's body for not cooperating.

Action...I need to recognize that I am taking the best action I can take by going to CCRM.

Direction...I need maintain direction in this process so as not to dwell on the whatifs.

Power...I need to recognize that I have the power to not let my mind go to the worst possible scenario.

Spirit...I need to not let this proces crush my spirit and that I am so much more than someone who wants to be a mom.

Earth...I need to realize that leaving behind descendants is not the only mark I will make on the earth.

Connection...I need to maintain a connection to my friends, even though, I am jealous and envious of the fact that they are moms and I am not.

Time...I need to not spend so much of my time dwelling, researching and talking about infertility and take more time to enjoy life.

Health...I need to be as healthy as possible for this next cycle so as to give myself the best chance.

Relationship...I need to nurture my relationship with my husband inspite of the hurdles we have jumped over and will continue to jump over thru this process.

Friend...I need to be a better friend by trusting my friends with my feelings instead of acting like everything is fine.

Community...I need to make more of an effort to make more friends in Scottsdale by getting more involved with community stuff.

Quality...I need to be cognizant of the quality of everything I do...from work, to interactions with others, to managing money, etc. and not let everything suffer because I am so obsessed with infertility.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Where does God fit in?

I am not particularly religious, but I do find myself often wondering what kind of God could allow this to happen to me. Why couldn't the woman who is hooked on Meth wind up infertile? I try to keep my faith, but it's so very difficult. I will sometimes make "deals" with God such as "I will remember to pray everyday if you will give me a baby," or "I will stop cursing if you give me a baby." Other times, I will give God a good "talking to." Just last night I was praying and it quickly turned into a lecture. I informed God in no uncertain terms that if His plan was to leave me childless, He had just better make a new plan because whether He works with me or against me, I WILL HAVE A BABY dammit. Well...there goes my promise to stop cursing.

I also really grapple with the term "God's Will." Was it God's Will that I should have to bear this much pain over struggling to get pregnant? Maybe I'm paying my dues because nothing too terrible up until now has happened to me? What about my husband? He has not had such an easy life and sure as Hell does not need to pay any dues to any one. Is it God's Will that I should have to wade through this swamp of infertility while across the street, there is an olympic sized pool full of people who get pregnant when their husband looks at them sideways? I would hope not, but it still does not make me feel better about God's role in all of this. Then again, why is there child sex-traffickiing? Why are there serial killers? Why is there animal abuse? I could go on forever and the truth is that I may never know the answers.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Advanced Maternal Age

What exactly is "advanced maternal age?" I don't consider myself much of an advanced age. Isn't 40 supposed to be the new 30? Who in the Hell came up with this term "advanced maternal age?" Today I went on FF to see the new posts in the IUI, IVF or Medical Assitance forum and someone decided to ask other AMAs about their history. It was so nice to see that this struggle is affecting so many other women. I think it's programmed in our society to wait to have kids until we are married, financially stable and have everything else first. Why is children last on our lists? We see people like Geena Davis, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna all having children later in life and we think we can do it too. Clearly, if you ask my fellow FFers, this is not always the case. Obviously, R's azoospermia would force us to pursue IVF anyway, but had we done this 5 years ago I might've been able to cough up more eggs and I would be pregnant by now. I realize I can't know what would've happened had I done things differently. But what I'm saying is that I wish I hadn't been so arrogant as to think I could have children whenever I wanted. And I wish someone would have told me this. Instead, people always said, " have PLENTY of time." No, I don't.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Insurance and who's contracted with whom?

I'm really frustrated today by this health insurance business. My company was located in Nevada and we had basically zero infertility coverage. We were purchased by a company in Rhode Island and poof, in January 2010 I was eligible for their insurance that had IVF coverage. Color me happy! I thought..."WOW! I can just keep doing IVF over and over until it works dammit!" Not so fast Sister.

I also had decided to start working with CCRM because they are the best and still close enough to drive. I checked to see if CCRM accepts Blue Cross and they did. So far so good! So I get there for my one day work up and I am told that the "lab" and the "surgery center" are legally separate entities and do not contract with Blue Cross. I thought..."Well, annoying, but okay...I have 80% coverage whether it's in-network or out. No problem." That was until I got my reimbursement check from Blue Cross. Of the $500 I forked over for blood tests, I got back $31. WTF! Apparently, I only get 80% of the "usual and customary" amount, not 80% of the actual. With some research, I have found that a lot of clinics are doing this. It's their way of duping patients into thinking they have insurance coverage when really, the amount you are covered for is just a consolation prize. And you are certainly not guaranteed to take home a baby.

This is a despicable practice and it needs to stop. Fertility clinics need to either accept insurance or not. Make a decision for the love of God! I wonder what would people say if they walked into Lenscrafters and was told, "Well...your exam is covered, but unfortunately (Bill Lumbergh tone of voice) the frames and lenses are not because that part of Lenscrafters is not contracted with your insurance. So sorry..." I may have to become an activist when all of this is said and done. SOMEONE needs to stand up and fight for the rights of the infertile!

Monday, June 14, 2010


I started this blog because my new therapist gave me a homework assignment. She says I need an outlet to let out all of the feelings I have associated with my battle with infertility. I have never been a journaler so I figure everyone else is blogging, why not me?

So just to give anyone who may be reading this a bit of background info...R and I got married in November of 2007. We decided to start trying to conceive that following summer. I would have happily started trying on our wedding night but R wanted to get used to the idea of being married first. He was still grieving his bachelorhood. Anyway, I...being the control freak that I am...I immediately signed up for the Fertility Friend charting website. I dutifully took my temperature every morning and recorded it in the hopes of narrowing down that fertile window. There really is only a small's amazing to me that anyone ever gets pregnant at all with all of the stars that have to be aligned in order for this miracle to take place. So after six months of seing one lonely line on the pee sticks, I made an appt to see a fertility specialist...just to rule out any "issues." That's when my nightmare began.

One of the first things they do since it is the easiest, cheapest and least invasive test is the sperm analysis. Ours came back with ZERO. Yes, that's right This was in March of 2008 and I can still hear my doctor's voice with his Indian accent in my head, telling me possibly the worst news I may ever hear. My head immediately started spinning. How could this be? Surely, it's some sort of horrible mistake? The lab had to have screwed up? So after a day or two, I regrouped and marched on. We made an appt. with a Urologist and was told that a biopsy was in order to confirm that R at least manufactures sperm. This would tell us if he has obstructive azoopspermia or unobstructive azoospermia. Unobstructive would be the one we don't want...that would mean he does not even make sperm. The biopsy was scheduled for May 27, 2008. Good news! They found sperm. We had 15 vials of testicular tissue frozen for future IVF.

Next step: Decide which clinic to give our money to and oh yeah, where we were going to get the money! So after lots of research, spreadsheets and a fight or two, we decided to take out a loan at 15% interest (yuck) and chose a clinic in Los Angeles. They weren't my first choice, but their success rates were decent and I could stay with R's parents. My first choice was CCRM, which chances are...if you are still reading, you know they are the best, but their prices, along with the travel expenses was just too much. Mind you...we were out of pocket at the time. I also looked at a clinic in OR, the Czech Republic and NYC. But the real draw was being able to stay with family. So LA it was.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2008, I had just completed my 2nd IVF cycle and was getting ready to start the POAS marathon. My first cycle (Long Lupron) was cancelled because I only had one follie...and well...I can do that all by myself thank you very much. Did I mention my FSH was 14.3? On my 2nd cycle (Antagonist), I had 3 follies, one stopped developing and one ovulated before they could get in there so we got one egg. That egg fertilized (thank you ICSI) and we had a beautiful 8 cell embryo. So the peeing started...BFN. Beta was 1. Mother trucker.

At this point, I would have probably switched doctors, but we purchased the two cycle plan so I was kind of stuck. And then, as it turned out, I was unexpectedly eligible for my company's sister company's health plan, out of Rhode Island! RI has mandated IVF coverage! So my clinic converted my two cycle plan to a single cycle plan and would allow us to use the excess funds toward copays for the next IVF. Finally, some welcome news! So February 2010 was the start of my third try (Stop Lupron). We got 3 eggs, and wouldn't you know it...couldn't find any viable sperm in the remaining 6 vials of tissue we had. Mother trucker.

The next step was to get some more sperm. Our Urologist suggested trying to clear the obstruction and at the same time collect more sperm. So surgery was scheduled for May 19th 2010. We also signed R up for my healthplan to have secondary coverage. That turned out to be more trouble than that it was *almost* worth. I could write a-whole-nother blog about navigating health insurance. Anyway, the surgery didn't go quite as well as hoped. We did get more testicular tissue for another IVF. And they did repair the obstruction, but the surgeon didn't see any sperm in the epidydimus so the prognosis is not that good. We have our first semen analysis the first week of July. In meantime, I got the ball rolling with CCRM. We are in this so far for over $35k...might as well keep going.

I went for my one day work up and was pretty amazed at how well they have their system down. I was in and out of the there in 7 hours. Dr. Schoolcraft didn't say that I was a lost cause so I thought that was a good sign! After that everything moved along quite nicely...I shipped R's blood to them for communicables testing in order for them to accept his sperm, I got a mammogram (that was fun), got some documents notarized, shipped them my CD3 blood, and that's when my momentum came to screeching halt. The clueless lab here that drew my blood put it in the wrong tube so it could not be tested. I really don't want to know what my FSH is anyway, but still annoying. So we are going to try again next month, but instead of just CD3, I am actually going to do the Clomid Challenge. They said they probably would have made me do it anyway, so might as well do it next month to save time. Now I'm just waiting for AF to start.

So that's the background. This process has been nothing less than gut-wrenching at times, borderline hopeful at times...but mostly just very frustrating. I decided to seek therapy because I realized that I was having more bad days than good ones and really starting to focus and dwell on the what ifs. So I'm hoping that seeing her will help me remain positive and stay in the present. If you have read this far, chances are you are either a friend and I thank you for boring yourself to are having your own standoff. If it's the latter...I'm truly one deserves this. It's so difficult to see my friends get pregnant and have children...moving on with their lives without me. I find myself wondering why I was singled out. I was telling my therapist last week that I can't process the fact that I, who have always tried to live by good morals, am dealing with this, while other people who cheat on their husbands multiple times and are really not nice people, go on to have perfect babies. It's grossly unfair and I'm really angry about it. But this is the hand I was dealt so I have no choice but to ante up. The bet? One cycle at CCRM. Stay tuned.