Jenny & Jerry

The plan

Well after 5 days, I finally heard back from the IVF-C.  I was not a happy camper and may or may not have called her a few ugly names behind her back…I’m not a big fan of waiting around.  My patience is pretty much non-existent.  But she had some family stuff going on & I know how that goes so I forgave her.  Plus, she’s super nice.

Anyway, I thought we were way ahead of the game but no…I still need my History & Physical, Cervical Cultures and mammogram; plus bloodwork for HIV, HTLV RPR,  Hep B&C, cyctic fibrosis.  Jerry is getting all of his bloodwork and stuff done today so she set me up to have everything done in one fail swoop on 3/11.

Blood work @ 10:30
H&P & cultures @ 11
Physician’s consult @ 11:30
Lunch with my Mom @ 12:30 J
(mammogram is scheduled for 3/6)

Bam!  Then we’ll order the meds, schedule our nurse talk (aka..pay up!) and we’ll be on our way.  Oh, and get this…Jerry found out that his insurance covers IVF treatments up to $10,000!!  That would be awesome if I were on his insurance.  But I’m not.  Whomp, whomp…

So we decided that we’re going to buy the 1+1 ARC package (one fresh & one frozen transfer) for around $10,000.  If that doesn’t work, we’ll buy another 1+1 package.  The 2+2 package is @ $17,500…and as we don’t get anything back if it works the first time, Jerry prefers to take a $2,500 bet over a $7,500 one.  And if that doesn’t work, we’ll wait to do the final cycle at the beginning of 2014 after I’m on his insurance (both of our plan years end 12/31).  I love having a plan!

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Orientation

It was rather uneventful.  I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but it was really just basic information about the process.  No specifics, which I guess makes sense b/c every case is different.  Jerry found it very informative.  As I’ve been doing a lot of my own research (Dr. Google is such a blessing &  a curse!), I really didn’t learn anything new.

There was a social worker present and we received information about the support groups and counseling which is available to us.  We also got a lot of financial info, and by a lot I mean, they made it real clear that you have to have your payment in full before any treatment starts.  I was a little surprised that there wasn’t a rep from ARC there.

The following day, I got to work.  I called the IVF Coordinator (IVF-C) and left a message explaining we wanted to get the ball rolling ASAP.  I called ARC and got quotes on each treatment package.  I called my OB/Gyn and requested copies of my most recent Pap test.  I called and scheduled Jerry’s follow up analysis and blood work.  We’re lucky that we have a lot of the pretesting out of the way.  This could all be happening within the next month!  Yikes!

 

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Money, honey

Let’s talk about money.  IVF is EXPENSIVE!  To the tune of $10,000 per cycle + the cost of meds.  Jerry and I have both maxed out our Health Spending Accounts for 2013.  That’s $2,500 each.

We are pursuing ARC (Advance Reproductive Care) to offset the cost of treatment.  ARC makes the IVF process kind of like buying a car.  There are different “packages” you can purchase and you can finance all or part of the treatment.

Option A              One cycle            1+1         1 fresh and 1 frozen embryo transfer     $9,000+

Option B              Two cycles          2+2         2 fresh and 2 frozen embryo transfers   $17,000+

Option C              Three cycles       3 +3        3 fresh and 3 frozen embryo transfers   $22,000+

Obviously it makes more sense to pick Option C.  That gives you the best shot at having a baby in the most cost effective way.

But here are some fun things to consider:

  1.  If you get pregnant on the first attempt, oh well…they keep the balance
  2. Who knows if there will be any viable embryos to freeze?  We may only get one perfect little bugger to transfer, so that would eliminate the benefit of getting the additional frozen embryo transfers
  3. ICSI costs an additional $1,500 per cycle…YAY!
  4. There is an additional $2,000 – 4,000 in pharmacy costs (aka drugs, shots, hormones, etc) per cycle.

So we have a lot to think about in terms of which option we want to pursue.  I can’t help but be a little angry that most people don’t have to spend 1/2 of their kid’s college fund on just having the kid.  But it’s the hand I was dealt so suck it up and stop being bitter, right?  Riiiiiggghhht.

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Wanting a family

If you would have asked me 5 years ago if I thought I would ever have kids, the answer would have been a resounding NO!  I don’t want to get married.  I don’t want to have kids.  End of story.

Until I met Jerry and all of that changed.  I knew I wanted to marry him within a few months of dating and suddenly the prospect of having a family of my own didn’t seem so bad.  So now, I want kids.  Or a kid.  I think Jerry & I would be great parents.

But I’m not one of those women who has always ached for a baby.  I don’t have that “thing” that’s all consuming and makes a woman desperate for her own child.   But I don’t realize how much I wanted a baby until I couldn’t have one.

That being said…I think deciding later in life that you want a child makes you more accepting if it doesn’t happen.  I know we have a small window.  I know there is a pretty big chance we won’t be parents.  I’m at the point now where I’m ok either way.  Took me a little while to get here, but I know it’s out of my hands and there is only so much I can do.  I want to exhaust all of our options and have no regrets.  If we don’t have kids, I want to know we did everything to have a family…it just wasn’t meant to be. We will have an amazing life regardless.

IVF is the last stop.  I kind of feel like we’re going to the casino, plopping $30,000 on the table and letting it ride.  There is a good chance we’ll walk away from this with nothing.  But there is that small hope that it will work.  And if it does, it will be worth all of the heartache and $$ that we’ve invested in this process.

Hope for the best…plan for the worst.  That’s all we can do.

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Bit of History

I was 38 when I married Jerry in 2011.  He was 36.  First marriage for both of us…I guess we took our sweet time to find our perfect someone.

We knew we wanted to have kids and started trying on our honeymoon.  Perfect timing, right?  According to my ultra scientific iphone app, I was supposed to be ovulating during that week and I honestly thought I’d come home from Aruba and we’d be having a baby.

Well it didn’t work out that way but within 6 months, I found out I was pregnant.  We had just made an appointment with my OB/GYN to start fertility testing and were thrilled that we wouldn’t need it.  I miscarried around 7 weeks.  Put it up there as one of the suckiest things I’ve had to deal with in my 38 years.  I’m not going to dwell on that now but suffice it to say, I should have put myself in therapy stat…it was a really dark few (many) months.

After my D&C, we were cleared to start trying again in June.  Flash forward to November, 2012.  Still not pregnant, getting more and more frustrated that we weren’t doing anything about it (other than using an OPK and trying to time sex appropriately…very romantic).  I was very concerned about my Advance Maternal Age (aka old ass eggs) and felt like time was ticking away.  My OB/GYN (Dr. L) suggested we start with a few cycles on Clomid for me and some testing for Jerry.

We found out that Jerry has a low sperm count, including poor motility and morphology.  So Dr. L suggested we contact a reproductive endocrinologist.  I went off Clomid and we scheduled an appointment with the best of the best in our city.

Enter Dr. S.  We met with him on 12/07/2012 and went through an extensive consultation.  I left feeling very hopeful that we were formulating a plan and getting things moving in the right direction.  I was given scripts for a billion blood tests and a whole host of other tests for my lady parts.

Everything checked out fine for me.  My tubes aren’t blocked. My uterus is “perfect”.  My ovaries are working, albeit one side is over producing and one side is under producing…I say it all evens out.  There is a whole lot of technical stuff that we discussed and I wish I would have taken my magic pen with me so I could have recorded the information.  But I didn’t.

The recommended course of action for us is IVF with ICSI.  Basically, with Jerry’s low sperm count, it makes more sense to pull out my eggs and inject them with one perfect sperm that will hopefully do the trick.  That is where we are now.  We have an orientation to learn about the process on 2/20.

Let the games begin…

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