Monthly Archives: October 2010

responses

I am really struggling with this IVF business.  I don’t feel entirely justified in saying I don’t want to do it without having examined it thoroughly, because my husband does want to.  I feel like if I can’t come up with a good reason why not, I’ll end up agreeing to it for his sake, and I don’t think that would be a good scene.  To say the least.

I’m trying to get to some kind of place of certainty–either the ability to articulate why not, in a language that people who don’t actually share my brain would understand, or else an acceptance that this would be the next step for us.  I am guessing that this will shake out one way or another in the next few weeks, because my husband will be (finally) seeing the urologist.*

I’m continuing to avoid the RE’s office; yes, they will still be there if and when I need them, and no, I don’t really care that much if they think I’m flaky.  But I really want to get this straight in my own mind before it becomes an urgent possibility, because I know myself and I tend to take a very long time to make decisions.  If I let things play out as usual we will be having this conversation a year from now and I will never. stop. treading. water.

We are focusing on TTC naturally (as I said before, this is our first real try since the surgery since I’m finally physically up for it) for now.  Getting those fibroids out had to be good for something, right?

Your comments on my last post were so insightful and I’m grateful for all of them, so I wanted to make sure to respond to each of you up here in the daylight.

Bunny–you’re totally right about there being a continuum of hopelessness.  That’s actually a great way of putting it.  And of course we are hoping that the urologist will have good news for us as well.  Part of the issue, I think, is that with my experience over the last few years neither my husband nor I is any longer predisposed to trust what we hear from doctors without a second opinion.  So I really feel like the sperm thing is a totally open question–even though my RE is absolutely sure we’re looking at severe MFI.

Augusta–thank you for the reminder that the clinic can wait.  That is such an important thing to remember and I think I’ve been feeling a little artificial urgency since they are so persistent in trying to get me on their schedule (since, from their perspective, they know exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it).  I need to keep reminding myself that they will still be there if and when we’re ready to go back.

JS–congrats to you!  It’s always great to hear success stories.  I appreciate your perspective as well, since I’m so scared of the process it’s good to hear that it wasn’t so bad for you.

Egghunt–you’ve hit the nail on the head.  I’m not at peace with not wanting this, largely because as I said above, my husband does want it.  It feels incredibly selfish for me to basically stamp my foot and say “I don’t wanna.”  Can I be at peace with saying no to his best chance of having a biological child, or do I need to get over myself, get on the train and start mentally preparing myself to do it anyway?  I’m starting to think that’s the real question.

Gurlee–are you kidding me?  That is TOTALLY a line.  🙂

Lesley–yes, you’re right, there is no need to rush.  Deep breaths.  Also I read your last post on Evolutionary Dead End, but by the time I went back to comment I was locked out.  I guess that’s what I get for being slow–but I wanted you to know I saw it and I’m thinking of you.

S–thanks for that.  Taking the time to figure this out is exactly what we’re trying to do.

conceptionallychallenged–it sounds like we’re in similar places right now.  I hope your next cycle is the one!

Me–that’s an astute observation and I suspect you’re right.  But I don’t agree that a non-medical “adventure” is less interesting.  Sure, there are fewer snappy acronyms, but that doesn’t make it a less important story.

Sarah–thanks for that.  Relatives on both sides of the family have expressed their thoughts about my husband’s and my financial ability to care for a child.  It’s hard to know how to respond to that kind of thing, because these are people who are in the thick of raising their own children, and I know that their experiences are real and I absolutely don’t want to negate their perceptions of what it is taking for them financially.  Suffice it to say that any children I ever do manage to have will have a very different childhood than their cousins.

Lucie–yes, there is life outside TTC.  Thanks for the reminder!  I think I’m going a little crazy…  🙂

Roccie–THIRTY FOLLICLES?  No wonder you’ve got a smile on your face!

WiseGuy–don’t worry, no offense taken at all!  But it’s sweet of you to be concerned.  Thank you for sharing part of your story here.  As I mentioned way, way back in the murky past, you were one of the amazing people who inspired me to start blogging in the first place.  I just can’t get over how happy I am for you!

*He waited so long because he was taking his comprehensive exams.  Which he finished yesterday.  I am SO proud of him!!!! Hurray for husband!

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the reasons why not

The fact is that if my husband and I want to continue to pursue a medical solution to our infertility, IVF with ICSI is the first, last, and only stop on the train.  Our RE feels strongly that IUI is not a good option for us:

  • Either my husband’s sperm is in a lot better shape than the last SA showed, in which case we should be able to conceive naturally in the next few months with no fibroids in the way, or…
  • The SA was accurate, in which case IUI wouldn’t help the sperm penetrate the egg.

So it’s all the eggs in one basket, so to speak, if we want to proceed.

There are lots of reasons why I don’t want to do this, and only some of them are insane.  The first reasons below are not the most important–they are the easiest to explain and talk about.  The last reasons are not the least important–they are the murkiest and craziest.

Financial.

I’ve said before that IVF is out of reach for us financially.  I am grateful for my health insurance, which covered my myomectomy, but it won’t cover any infertility treatments at all.  The $14,000 that our clinic estimates for one cycle would have to come from somewhere, and that represents more than half of our combined annual income at this point.*  If we decided that IVF was something we needed to do, we could maybe have one try at it with some significant financial help from my mother and possibly a bank loan through our clinic’s financial office.  Or if we were really determined we could put it on a credit card and pay it off for the rest of our lives.

I guess the point is that if we are going to be financially responsible at all, we cannot afford this; but if we were to decide that one shot at IVF was worth being in debt for the rest of forever, we could probably do it.

There would be a lot riding on that one shot.  Which brings me to my next set of reasons.

Emotional.

As is evidenced by my entire blogging oeuvre, I am a fucking basket case.**

I have watched so many of you go through this process through your blogs, and it’s a hugely intense experience that I just don’t think I would be able to take.  I don’t think my husband fully understands that it’s not just the retrieval and the transfer.  How will my body handle the injections?  How many follicles will there be?  How many eggs will we retrieve?  Will any of them fertilize?  Will any of those become transferrable embryos?  Will any of them make it to blast?  How many will we transfer?  Will there be any to freeze? And what will we do with the frozen embryos if our cycle is successful?  If it’s not?

I don’t even want to talk about the 2ww.

Every single one of those steps is a Moment Of Truth.  I don’t think I can jump from Important Milestone to Important Milestone like that on a daily basis.

And then what if it fails?

If we were to do this, we would really only have one shot.  It feels like gambling with our entire lives, and I have a hard time even imagining that there could be a baby at the end of the process.  Which brings me to my last set of reasons.

Irrational.

This last one is hard to admit, though I think it has been waiting to bubble up to the surface for a while.

Deep down in my soul I don’t think I believe any longer that I am capable of being pregnant.  Somewhere along the way I have lost hope.  What the fuck would be the point of IVF if I don’t even really believe it can work?

I know that this is insane.  I know that sans fibroids, there is no reason to believe there is anything physically wrong with me.

And yet.

*I am a little nervous to put that number out there because I’m afraid that it will make some people think that at that income level we have no business being parents–but lots of families make it on less, we live in a place with a relatively low cost of living, and there is a difference between being able to support a child and having $14,000 to shell out before he/she is even born.  Some people like to talk about birth expenses as an analogue to IVF costs, but the fact is that the birth expenses will be covered by insurance, while the IVF costs will not.  We can afford our hospital copays.

**Which, again, makes me wonder what, exactly, it is that I think qualifies me to be a parent in the first place.

breaking up or on a break?

My RE’s office has been calling me.  I have been….let’s say, less than responsible in returning their calls.  They have been really nice about it and very persistent, and I feel like the douchebag boyfriend who doesn’t call back.  Except I’m not just blowing them off because they finally put out.

First they wanted to get me on the November IVF cycle.  Now of course it’s too late for that, so they’re talking about December or January.  As I’ve written about before, I don’t want to do IVF.  Not now, not in December or January, not in a box, not with a fox.  I’m still working through why I feel such a strong aversion, and I don’t have a complete answer yet.

My husband, on the other hand, wants to give it another 6 months naturally, then try IVF.  He figures that I am still healing, and it’s true that this cycle I’m feeling much more back to normal than last month, so this will be our first real try since the surgery.  Also he is finally seeing the urologist in a few weeks so we will hopefully get some more information about the possible MFI.  I can see why he wants to give it a few months.  But for him, the progression is so easy:  in 6 months I will either be pregnant or not, and if not we will do IVF.  From Plan A to Plan B (though I really think we’re on Plan Q or R by this point).

Why isn’t it that simple in my head?

When I (finally) call the clinic back, I’m going to have to tell them something besides thanks for putting up with my flakiness.  Do I tell them what my husband wants me to tell them, which is that I’ll call them in 6 months if I’m not pregnant by then, and we’ll try IVF in the spring or summer?  Do I tell them what I (secretly) want to tell them, which is that I will never, ever be back because I don’t want IVF and there is nothing else they can do for me?  Yeah, probably not that one.

My husband wants this.  Why don’t I?

 

read it. just read it.

Bolivia

this is going to be loud

My ensemble is heading to a festival in the Chicago area this weekend to play a concert.

See you later!


you guys are awesome

Thank you so much for your feedback on my last post.  I have calmed down a little (always a good thing, I think), and thought about it some more.  Here’s what I ‘m going to do:

I’ve done some poking around and it looks like Lesley’s suggestion of travel insurance may be a viable one (more research definitely needed, as I’ve just taken a cursory look so far).  If and when we start to get phone calls about this I will be prepared to direct the kids and parents towards this option.  I know it’s not a real, long-term solution, but it’s better than a flat-out “Stay the hell home, uninsured people, and sew this scarlet ‘U’ on to your dress while you’re at it!”

I’m going to write to my Congressman (a bleeding heart like me, hurray!), my Senator, and the person I hope will be my other Senator in a few weeks.  I’m going to ignore the current Senator whom I’m hoping will be out of a job soon.

I live in one of those states that has one of those stupid laws on the books saying that it won’t comply with the federal health care reform legislation when it goes into effect.  Toothless and useless, since I don’t see how these states are going to be able to get out of complying, but poisonous as a sentiment nonetheless.  Hopefully if enough people like me make enough noise we can start to counterbalance the loonies on the other side who seem to operate on the principle of IGM-YOYO.*

I know that none of this is likely to make an actual difference for any actual kids this year, but at least I won’t just be sitting on my hands.**

*I’ve Got Mine, You’re On Your Own.

**Which leads me to wonder, am I doing this to salve my own conscience while avoiding taking a real stand that would very likely lead to losing my job?  Ugh.

let them eat medicaid

OK, so you’re in the eighth grade.  You play the saxophone.  You’ve been at it for a couple of years and it’s pretty fun.  Your parents no longer leave the room when you practice at home; maybe that means you’re getting better.

Your school band director thinks you’re getting better too.  She nominates you for a region-wide weekend music workshop, and a few weeks later you find out you’ve been accepted.  You’re really excited about it.  You will get to stay in a hotel with other kids from 5 states.  You will play the saxophone all weekend long and when you get home you’ll have new friends, better musical skills, and great memories.  You will eat way too much pizza.

Except you can’t go.

Your dad got laid off over a year ago, and your mom’s job doesn’t offer health insurance.  She makes enough money to afford rent and groceries, but not enough to pay for private insurance for you and your sister.  You don’t qualify for Medicaid.  You’re uninsured, at least until your dad finds a new job.

You get really mad at your mom when she tells you you can’t go.  She just starts crying.  You ask your band director if this means you need to practice harder.  She just shakes her head.

You stay home; you watch football with your dad; you keep practicing the saxophone.  Missing the workshop doesn’t ruin your life, but you do sometimes think about how much fun it would have been.

——-

Unfortunately the place where I do my admin job has adopted a new policy for this year.  In the past we have required a medical release form for all youth activities, particularly those involving an overnight stay, and have requested a copy of the child’s insurance card as well.  There have been one or two unfortunate kids accepted for our programs each year who don’t have health insurance, and we have allowed them to attend anyway, with a signed consent form allowing us to take the child to the emergency room if necessary.  This year it has been decided that the university’s liability issues outweigh our mission to provide arts opportunities for kids of all socioeconomic backgrounds, and we will be turning away children who cannot provide proof of health insurance.

I am livid.

I brought this up with my director, telling her that I am extremely uncomfortable with the idea of excluding a kid from our programs just because she’s one of the 7 million American children who don’t have health insurance.

She looked me straight in the face and told me that there’s no reason for a child not to have insurance.  She said, and I quote, “Anyone can get insurance.  And if they can’t afford it they can go on Medicaid.”  Therefore, in her mind, we wouldn’t really be excluding anyone.

I was flabbergasted.  I couldn’t even come up with a reply.  I mean, have you looked at the Medicaid eligibility requirements?  And have you priced out private insurance plans lately?  There is a huge gap between the Medicaid income requirements and what you would need to make to be able to afford private insurance.

I am so angry.  We are supposed to be a community school.  It is literally our mission to provide opportunities for everyone.  EVERYONE.  Not just people with health insurance.  I mean, I understand the university’s point of view, liability blah blah blah, but there has got to be a way to do the consent form so that these kids don’t have to stay home.

This is kicking people while they are down.