Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I turned 32. Did my egg disappear with my youth?

So as I've said many times before, I am so thankful that my cycle is still functioning like clockwork.  Somewhat.  I usually have a period on CD 28 around 9am and ovulate on CD 13-14.  Well, today is CD 14 and when I tested this morning, I was showing a high level, but not peak.  NOT PEAK.  Of course this has completely freaked me out.  I turned to Dr. Google, pouring over his many entries.  Followed with my many fertility books.  Luteal phase defect?  Endometriosis?  Crap!  I have been having, what I would call, some pretty heavy ovulation cramps (in fact, I am having them right now!) for the last 3 days, I'm bloated, but my boobs aren't sore.  Now, since we took time off, I can't remember exactly how I have felt during ovulation in the past, but this sure seems right, but no peak level?? 

I know it's not the end of the world, I'm sure ovulating on CD 15 is fine, but it's the CD16+ I'm worried about.  Maybe I just didn't ovulate this month, I know it's natural.  It would just seem very ironic that on the very month we start trying again and include a $200 intralipid, I don't ovulate.  Crap crap crap.

I got really depressed about it today, though.  I haven't felt that down since, well, the last 6 months of trying to concieve.  Taking a break was really a break for me.  I didn't have to think about peeing on sticks of any kind, charting, researching, cramps, twinges, implantation, sore boobs, metallic tastes.  You know.  The usual.  And I will have to say it was nice.  I get stressed just thinking about the TTC Game. 

Hopefully this will all be resolved in the morning when I see a full fertility bar and a little egg on my monitor.  Until then, I will most likely flip the F out.

Go, little egg, go!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Feeling bloated? Must be the thousand calorie infusion.

Had my first intralipids infusion on Monday.  Pretty uneventful, but my nurse was really nice.  Come to find out this little bag only really contains 4 cc's of the actual 20% intralipids, the rest is saline solution.  I still get fired up when I think about my lying, thieving doctor who wanted me to go to "their" clinic, (not even associated with his office or hospital in any way) and pay $700 per infusion.  Don't get me wrong, $200 is still highway robbery, considering the medication is only $75, but a 100% markup is just disgusting.  No real side effects, just a little headache, a cold arm, and feeling a little bloated afterward. 

On a sadder note, a girl from my fertility group lost, or I guess I could say "is losing", her second twin today.  She went in at 6 weeks, heard both heartbeats, then lost one.  She went to her 10 week checkup yesterday and no heartbeat on the second.  That makes me fall down.  I cannot imagine.  I think I would probably have to be committed, much less be willing to try again.  Ever.  I have read so many stories and try to stay positive, but that is just simply not fair. 

I have been thinking more and more about pregnancy and motherhood.  Yes, hard to believe that after obsessing for 8 months I could think about it MORE, but I have.  Despite the non-stop baby showers, sonogram pics, newborn announcements and babies every-freakin-where, I think I will be okay without one.  I love infants, but Jason and I have a great life.  I don't see it being less complete without a baby anymore than I see us being more complete with one.  No doubt I would like to know that my body is capable of holding and producing a fetus, but I look around at everyone pregnant or newly delivered and it looks scary.  Exciting, but scary.  So, while I continue to infuse, ingest a handful of pills, a cupful of herbs, and avoid dairy, gluten, wheat, alcohol, caffeine, fried foods, and sugar, I am not hell-bent on pregnancy anymore.  Could this be acceptance?  I am fairly certain I have cried all the tears I possibly can with miscarriages, failed attempts, and poor prognoses.  I will hope for the best. 

Ovulation window starts Saturday, so J and I will be home all weekend "preparing".  I can't imagine this thing would work on the first shot, but I'm more interested than anything to see if I could actual take control and conceive.  Like I said, I would be excited to just see a positive pregnancy test after 8 months.  We'll see.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Maternity Ward

So I went and visited my friend Lauren in the hospital yesterday.  She had her 7.5 baby boy and he was the cutest little peanut.  I went in, held him for a while, rubbed her feet and listened to the long and exciting story of how the little monkey came to be.  I was fine up until the lactation nurse came in.  She was so sweet, attentive, informative, and even funny.  I got teared up listening to her take Lauren through the whole processs because it hit me that I really actually may never lay in a hospital bed, hold my new baby, and listen to a lactation nurse take me through breastfeeding.  With intralipids less than a week away, I can't help but feel a calm like "all is well" and it's the magic potion and solution.  But what if it isn't?  It would be just my luck to have gone in to my doctor with pages of tests to ask him about, only to have him reject all of them, go through the entire IL process and not get pregnant.  THEN we'll find out something else is wrong. 

I'm pretty over the whole pregnancy lust anyway.  Of course I want a baby, but it is so freakin' exhausting going through the pain, the loss, and then seeing the countless pregnant women and new babies everywhere.  Of course I had to see a woman being wheeled out with her newborn leaving the hospital right as I walked in yesterday.  Of course.  I saw three more pregnant women in the lobby.  It's never-ending.  So it's utterly exhausting.

I'm ready to get infused.  I'm ready to see if it works and I am SO ready to finally see a positive pregnancy test again. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

A new kind of patience

So my intralipids have been ordered and should arrive on Friday.  (PS I love when people tell you when something "should" arrive or that someone "should" be contacting you.  Um, can you let me know when they will "certainly" call, arrive, etc?  Thanks.)  I don't know why I'm looking forward to that date, maybe just because I am ready to get started.  We only ceased the feverish trying for one month but it seems like years.  And I am really ready to see a positive pregnancy test-even if it doesn't last, I would like to know that I am actually capable of getting a little line.  Ok, I'm lying, I want it to last, of course, but I am prepared at this point for miscarriage.  I'm sure it's going to take some time, maybe a few months, to get my system acclimated.  I would really like to just know that THIS is the answer and that we're actually on to something with the intralipids, even if it doesn't mean I get an infant on the first try. 

Speaking of infant, my friend Lauren is having one.  Right now.  Right this very minute.  As an extra little kick in the stomach, she and I were going to be two weeks apart, so I would be in major preparation, anticipation, excitement mode right now.  But, alas, I am not.  Well, maybe all of those things, but just for a needle to be jammed in to my vein pumping well-centerfuged fat into them.  Heh. 

I'm on "Spring Break" this week, which is laughable.  After being out of school for almost 10 years, I find it so sad that I have a spring break.  I'm actually a little bored.  Sure, I have tons I need to do, but can't get motivated.  Although, I did scrub my house in anticipation of a total stranger being here to administer the IL, didn't want to scare them off. 

After a long battle with my doctor's office, I deserve a little spring break anyway.  They were such assholes about the whole thing.  And who has 1700 patients and one nurse?  You have to leave a message and she returns your call between 4-5pm.  4-5pm only.  "Messages left after 4pm will be returned the following business day".  Between 4-5pm.  Heaven forbid you miss her call back, you're looking at a 2-3 day response time.  And given that the doctor is only in the office 3 days a week, it's a real pain in the ass.  I fought back though, after hearing he was going to administer IL at ovulation.  I knew that wouldn't work for me, considering I have had 3 doctors tell me that my problem lies in the implantation stage.  If I did the intrilipids at ovulation (day 13), I'm looking at day 20 until they take effect, right around the crucial start of possible implantation, which is just cute if you go by that idiot's timeline.  So, I told her I wasn't comfortable and said I wanted to infuse on CD5 or 6.  After 4 days of waiting, she called me back to tell me that he would allow it, but not without adding a shitty little comment like only a doctor can: "as long as you know that if you don't get pregnant, it could be because you didn't follow medical advice".  Really?  Because "medical advice" was actually you infusing at $700 a session, then charging me an extra $600 for an IUI I don't need, then infusing again and again and again until it (hopefully) worked.  Thanks, but I'll do it my way.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Infertile with Implantation Problems vs Nurse Krissy

The nurse in my RE's office is clueless.

I called yesterday to really tackle this referral/prescription issue (yes, believe it, still fucking dealing with this bullshit) in hopes of getting things squared away and the ball rolling as it has been over a week since I sent my request and still no response/relief/reaction.  She calls and acts completely offended and disturbed that I am going elsewhere for my infusions.  EX:  (with a tone) "Um, is there any way you could send us some information?  We know nothing about Walgreens, we usually just send people across the street."  Um, am I the only person that's ever sought a second opinion, done research, saved money, gone against your lying, thieving program?  Sad.  And I'm quite aware that you send people "across the street", it's where you make the most money.  Ironically, they were in OptionCare/Walgreen's system.  The doctor was obviously playing dumb because he didn't stand to make a cent, which is what I'm aiming for.  Dr. P is really something else. 

He also administers intralipids at or around ovulation.  This fact is laughable to me because a) I'm not even a doctor and I know that's not right, b) intralipids take 7-10 days to take effect, c) if administered at ovulation, I have no shot at implantation success.  So I am basically having to beg some moron, who has no business being in practice, to let me have some say on my own treatment and allow me to infuse at CD 6, which in my book is still a little late.  Oh really?  And how it must behoove him to administer on ovulation.  If people are going through him for infusions (at $700 a pop) and he infuses at ovulation, the chances at success are significantly lower.  What a crime.  If that's not an unethical practice, I truly don't know what is.  He is a shifty little bastard who couldn't care less about women and their empty wombs.  In fact, he likes it that way.

I cannot wait until I either get pregnant or get over wanting a baby because I will launch a fucking campaign against this criminal.  Every message board, every blog, every review site, hell, I may even hand out flyers at his door. 

I should know more by Friday and hopefully have all of this straightened out (yes that's 11 business days after initial request.  What a factory they have there).  But I won't be any less mad. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cautiously optimistic

Ever since I found out about this $150 infusion thing, I am so optimistic.  I am actually excited about controlling my own plan.  But should I feel positive?  Nothing about this entire process has gone according to plan and with a 0% success rate! I spent about an hour planning my "attack" on those little NK's last night before bed.  I carefully poured over the timeline Dr. S gave me in order to schedule what days I would start aspirin, progesterone, infusions, etc. for myself. 

I can safely say I have never been more excited, nervous, anxious, ready, and terrified than I am now with this whole experiment.  If a couple of rounds of this doesn't work, then I will have no choice but to re-assess the whole process and face the fact that there may be something really, actually wrong, apart from this ridiculous ANA/NKa nonsense.  Nothing in my life is ever easy, so I feel like I might be getting off a little easy on this one.  Could it be that I have actually found the solution?  Better yet, could it be, despite the price tag and physical toll that other afflictions carry, that I have found a way to get pregnant that's not going to put us out on the street?  Again, nothing in my life has ever worked out easily, I just don't have that kind of luck, but we'll see.  Of course,  I will be thoroughly recording each and every aspect, in hopes of sharing it with everyone who has had to swallow the $600 (times 4-5 treatments) in addition to the other costs of trudging up Mount Deperately Seeking Baby. 

Here's the tenative schedule, so far:

CD 1:  Here we go
CD 3:  Intralipid Infusion #1
CD 4:  Start baby aspirin
CD 11:  Intralipids start to take effect (day 8)
CD 13:  Ovulation
CD 19:  Start Progesterone
CD  23:  10 dpo, if implantation occured (or if it felt like it), 1st beta at OBGYN
CD  27:  Beta #2 (4 days after my first, a little nervous about this, may change #1 to CD 24), also the day before AF, so I will definitely know if I was successful or not by now.
CD 28:  AF?
CD 29:  Infusion #2

Sheesh.  The good news is, this try will not cost me $15,000.  It will not even cost me $600.  So I am thankful and will vow not to stress or put too much pressure on myself.  I will devote more time to yoga, acupuncture, and meditation to avoid over analyzation and insanity. 

Next obstacle: calling my doctor and convincing him to give me the referral for Inralipids.  The entire office is full of bitches, so we'll just see.  Fingers tightly crossed.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Have you been diagnosed?"

Well if that isn't the question of the day...

So, I got an appointment with yet another RE.  I don't care what people say, I know what I'm looking for and I am determined to find it.  So there.

This particular center has offices throughout the nation and are known for their "success" rates (Note: from now on, I am parenthesizing the word "success" because based on the reporting and how corrupt the fertility/infertility machine is, it's a farse that plays on women, their emotions, and their bank accounts).   They also do some very intersting studies on immunological disorders and how it relates to fertility.  In fact, they are the reason I even know that intralipid infusions even exsist, so I wanted to give them a shot.

Going in to this consult, I knew that I was most likely never going to go through IVF, but I was more armed and far more informed than I was with the last asshole RE, so I was ready to ask some specific questions and try to get some answers.  His staff was really nice, I will say that.  Interestingly enough, my insurance didn't want to cover my consultation with the doctor, even though it was a second opinion.  How do I know this?  I was disputing the $200 charge for the consultation with the receptionist and when I pointed out that it was just a meeting with the doctor, she asked me if I had been "diagnosed".  Now what the F does that mean?  No one has formally diagnosed me, I mean, my doctor hasn't even told me what I "have".  But apparently, once you have the infertility code/diagnosis on your record, you're not allowed to do, go, see what or who you want anymore.  That's cute.

I get all of that nonsense worked out and I finally see the doctor.  He is really nice, very friendly and wants to get right down to business (and, of course, I mean bu$ine$$). 

To review, the asshole RE's suggestion was to:
Infuse at ET
Infuse again 2 weeks after IUI
If pregnant, continue to infuse each month for the next 4-5 months
If not pregnant, repeat (of course)

This new guy completely unraveled that plan and wanted to go like this:
Infuse at ET
Micro IVF (along with bcp, Lupron/Lucifer, and Progesterone)
Infuse once HCG doubled
If pregnant, refer me back to my OBGYN as a healthy, not-at-risk pregnant person. 
If not pregnant, repeat (of course)

This is interesting to me for a number of reasons.  1) the fact that the plans differ so much. 2) the fact that the only reason I would undergo 4-5 months of infusions after BFP would be if I was a DQ Alpha match.  3)  I asked the first doctor if he would test me for the DQ but he said it wasn't neccessary, but apparently going ahead and doing them/charging me $700 a pop is. 4)  neither doctor, at any point in time, discussed a single side effect of any of the procedures, drugs, or injections that accompany the procedures.  Not one. 

I was also told that my diet wouldn't alter my NK activity a bit.  We'll just see about that.  When I talked to him about the awful pain I was in during January and February ovulations and 7-11dpo's, he told me that it is a proven scientific fact that women can have micro-miscarriages.  Meaning the egg fertilizes, travels, implants or tries to, but gets attacked before the test would show up.  I completely believe this happend to me in Feb.

I also completely believe that any doctor who preforms IVF is a salesman, plain and simple.  Not saying IVF is bad or that there haven't been hundreds of thousands of babies born through this miracle of science, but we don't have all of the information.  What are the side effects of Heparin injections and FSH?  What will happen to our bodies once we age?  No one, especially the professionals, is talking about this and that freaks me out.  I would never judge another person for doing what they want and believe they should do in order to have a baby, no way.  I personally just cannot jump in to this, uterus first. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Master of Research and Intralipids for Everyone

I am.  Yep, that's me. 

So, through all of this NK/Infertility nonsense, I have found that about 50% of what my doctor says is reliable, effective, or even true.  50%.  I now take pride in researching options, finding alternatives and disproving what he, the doctor, the guy who went to medical school and is making HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS off the souls of "infertile" women, recommends.  It may sound evil, but I've snapped.

After meeting with Dr. P last week and leaving the meeting in tears, not over the diagnosis, but because of the way he treated me with his snide comments and condescending tone, I came home and sank in to a depression.  Not only was this obviously going to physically break us, but we had no guarantee it would work.  Yes, intralipids are less expensive, but still, the course was not going to be cheap. 

His plan:

Retest NK levels: $340
Infuse, if elevated, at ET:  $750
IUI to "increase" our chances: $600
Infuse, if pregnant: $750
Infuse for the next 4-5 months (WITHOUT testing levels, mind you): $4000
Grand total: about $6500
And that's IF I got pregnant.  If not, I'm basically betting $1300 on sperm meeting the egg each month.  Maybe I'm nuts and maybe I'm just completely obsessed with and in denial of my diagnosis, but that's preposterous.

So, I went to work. 

Come to find out, you can do infusions through Walgreens for 60% less.  Yeah, 6-0.  You register through them (free), get the lab and test results from your doctor to them so they can confirm recommendations, they contact the doctor and obtain the referral (prescription), mix it, and infuse intravenously, all for...wait for it...$185(!!!!), including the IV and the your house.  Your insurance could cover this and, most likely, unless you have someone other than BlueCrossBullShit, your IV will be covered, leaving you with a $75 bill.  $75.  I want to shout that from the mountaintops. 

So I can bypass my P.O.S. doctor and have professionals administer my medication at a mere fraction of the cost and hassle, and hopefully get a baby!  I thought it was too good to be true, but I gave them a line of questioning that left no room for error.  I don't know when I have been this happy.  Not only because the road may lead to motherhood, but because no more of my dollars will line the pockets of Dr. P.  Like I said, it may sound evil, but I'm sick of getting dicked around by this system.  It seems that diagnosis is secondary to a one-size-fits all treatment that just so happens to be the most expensive and physically costly way possible and I'm not getting on the assembly line.