Fertility Center

Things Have Gotten a Little Wild

K and I have run into what I can only describe as a clinic guided by the principles of religious fanaticism. We have been told by a local-ish fertility clinic that science does not support the safety or efficacy of reciprocal IVF and therefore this clinic does not offer it. Oh, but they do of course offer IVF with donor eggs (just not my SO’s, apparently). I am trying really hard to wrap my head around this discriminatory fuckery and not feel completely gaslighted. Also, I should mention that at no point did I actually request information about RIVF because SO and I haven’t been interested in pursuing it. She just felt the need to tell me all about their stance on it because I am a lesbian. Also, known donor sperm is out. I wonder how the straight couples feel about having to use anonymous donor sperm? Or did she just mean that known donor IVF just wasn’t available to me, as a lesbian??

 

I spent all day trying to decide if I was making more out of this than I should. So today I did some Google searching and K found the FB page for their clinic. Turns out this is not the first time that they have tried to turn a lesbian couple away from treatment. Coincidentally, there was a reporter’s number on their page so I took the liberty of calling the reporter and leaving a message (don’t mind if I do!).

 

The woman I spoke with at this clinic, while she didn’t outright say that she didn’t want to work with us as a gay couple, she was very quick to suggest we seek treatment somewhere else and she made a point at the end of the call to let us know about their cancellation policy. Part of me wants to keep the appointment and demand that they provide us treatment. But the other part of me doesn’t want their bigoted, hateful hands touching me or any of my embryos.

 

I just have no fucking words. Unbelieveable.

Catch Up Post · IVF

New Things and More Waiting

I haven’t really had anything much to post as K and I consider our options. It’s been pretty quiet and super nice to not have to think about fertility stuff all the time. We have been slowly working our way toward a plan for IVF. I upped my short term disability plan for next year hoping that I will be pregnant then and actually need to use it. We are both taking on some side work to bring in some cash. K has a pretty lucrative freelance job lined up so that’s exciting.

Last week was our anniversary so I surprised K with a fun day trip to an island where wild horses live and you can collect large beautiful seashells. It was a wonderful day. We both enjoyed it tremendously. It rekindled our passion for travel and adventure. Since moving to the East Coast we really haven’t had much opportunity to travel. Last summer we had hoped to do a 3 week trip in Southeast Asia but it just didn’t work out. K was crushed. We took a fun trip to the Florida Keys instead. That sort of made up for it… sort of.

We’ve both been thinking for some time now that where we are living now is not at all where we want to be. We are longing to move from here, either back to the West Coast or to Hawaii. Of course that complicates the baby plans. K and I were chatting tonight about that and there are just so many directions we could go it’s hard to know which to choose. But as with any big decision in life, I’ve found it’s more about putting one foot in front of the other and being present in the process that gets you there. Plans are great but they can be crippling too because there is no way to control all of the variables and it’s easy to get paralyzed worrying about a potential barrier far down the line instead of focusing on making the decision that lies just in front of you.

All that said, which direction we choose will be heavily dependent on the baby timeline. There are a few things that we are working through in order to make that happen. The first is that our current fertility clinic for whatever reason is exorbitantly expensive. We live in a metro area but it is by no means cutting edge or a huge city. We do have a very prestigious university near us with sizeable medical and research facilities. However the university is not directly affiliated with the fertility clinic that we use.

I have looked around a bit at prices to see how our place stacks up. One thing I have learned is that the only consistent price for any of this is the medications. Those seem to be running in the $4-6K range no matter the clinic. Aside from that it’s wildly different from place to place. For example, we paid $1700 for our recent IUI. That price does not include the sperm. That was an additional $900ish plus shipping. Altogether, it was a stupidly expensive IUI cycle. For IVF at my clinic with a discount for being a “public servant” the IVF quote we got was $18K. I can’t remember if that included meds or not. Either way, that’s damn expensive. And that quote was for a retrieval and one fresh transfer. Additional transfers were $4K. They do not offer shared risk programs or package deals.

Knowing how different the prices can be I wanted to see what other options were out there. I found a fertility clinic about 2 hours away that has an IVF special where the procedure plus monitoring would be $7800 plus meds. That’s already about $5K cheaper than what my clinic is offering. Another place out of state offers a single cycle of IVF for $3900 plus meds. We decided to get a phone consult with the out of state clinic but they are booked until mid January. I had hoped that we could get the consultation and any initial testing out of the way now in order to time the meds so that we were ready for a retrieval in early January. I’m pretty bummed to put everything on hold for so long. My fingers are crossed that there is a cancellation so we can get things going sooner than mid-late January.

I will probably call the other clinic tomorrow if I have time to see about a consult with them too. It would be such a relief to get everything going as soon as possible so that we can start the new year with retrieval. Though it costs more I think it would still be a good option since it is closer– less hotel costs, no flight costs, etc. Plus, we need to have some options to decide which clinic we would prefer to work with and review their stats.

Thinking about moving, we might be crazy thinking of piling it on top of pregnancy and birth and new baby but what can I say? It’s really hard for us to sit still. But as I said, that decision is many steps ahead of where we are now. I’m trying to remember that so that the frustration of *more* waiting doesn’t creep in. Can you believe that it’s been nearly a year since K and I decided to try for a baby? Anywho, that was my stream of consciousness update, thanks for reading. 🙂

BFN · IVF

13DPO

Well, we tested at 11DPO and again this morning 13DPO, both stark white negatives. Sometimes I wish I would get a defective test just to see what it looks like when I get a second line. I know it wouldn’t actually be a useful second line and when I discovered that the test was a false positive I’d be sad. It’s a strange urge. TTC is strange, indeed.

 

I’m calling it for this cycle. No baby. Again.

 

I’m not that sad (ok fine, I’m a little sad!) I’m just mostly disappointed that we have to spend more money that we don’t have on this. And then of course I get upset that the only thing that I am constantly worrying about throughout this entire process is the money. How much it costs. How long we are going to be making payments on this.

But worrying about money apparently doesn’t stop us from deciding this morning upon receiving a negative pregnancy test that the next step is to pursue a loan for IVF. Have we gone completely insane? Possibly. 😀

IUI #1

And Now We Wait

Labs showed that my LH was not surging yet, so I was instructed by the RE to trigger at 10pm Friday night and arrive at 10 am Sunday morning for the IUI. Friday evening K and I went out to see a Halloween double feature of Hocus Pocus and Beetlejuice at a local historic theatre. Outside there were handlers from a wild bird sanctuary who had some type of vulture, an owl and a raven. They were SO COOL! I wanted to hold one so bad but we were late. K hurried us in (she’s definitely better at managing time than I am) and we found our friends. At 10 pm, just after intermission I snuck off to the bathroom and did my trigger shot.

Sunday I started getting the stirrings of baseball gonads (that feeling where your abdomen swells and your insides feel like they blew up like a balloon from the trigger shot) on the way to the clinic, so I think that means the timing was good. The actual IUI was pretty easy and on par with a pap smear, though I felt that the placement of the speculum was slightly more uncomfortable and the tube they pass through the cervix was slightly reminiscent of the HSG. Luckily the whole thing lasted maybe 5 minutes and it was over.

Now we wait.

I’ve got some wonderful friends sending all the woo, manifestations, thoughts, prayers, intentions, etc. my way. With any luck this will be the one. 🙂

IUI #1

Go Time

Ok, so I know I promised an update when the labs came back… I am just seeing them today for the first time. UGH! I have no clue what took so long. Anywho, here they are:

AMH: 1.41

LH: 6

FSH 7.5

Estradiol: 38.3

My AMH has dropped from 2.66 to 1.41 since February, but it’s still a good number for my age, better than average, and indicates that I have good ovarian reserve. Whew! The RE also said that the AMH number will fluctuate and since we are still over 1 she is not concerned with the number.

I also had my ultrasound to check my follicles and I have 2 mature follicles and one smaller one. Given that, I am scheduled for IUI this Sunday at 10am. Unless the labs they drew today show that my LH is surging, in which case I will have the IUI TOMORROW!!!

I’m excited. And K, who is notoriously anxious and scared over big things actually gave me a hug and squealed with excitement. For her, that’s a big deal. Big decisions take her a long time to get comfortable with. I’m so glad she’s here with me for this right now. I’ve been a little bit nervous that we were pushing forward for something that I wanted and she didn’t. Even though we talk about it and she tells me she wants a baby too sometimes I feel unsure because she is scared. It just felt good to see her excited too. Alright, well that’s the update– tomorrow or Sunday is the day. Hopefully it works!

 

 

Assisted Reproduction Technology · Multiple Sclerosis

CD 3 and a Kinda Sorta Decision

It’s a new cycle. K and I have analyzed and wracked our brains. We have crunched numbers and played out infinite hypothetical situations. We are stumped. If money was no issue then we would go with IVF all the way. So today I will go get my usual CD 1-3 ultrasound and the RE will be redrawing my labs to see if anything has changed that might point us in one direction over another. As a benefit these labs can be inputted into some sort of statistical analysis app that will give me some probabilities of conception from IVF based off of my personal stats.

If everything continues to look good on paper then K and I will move forward with one round of IUI. I don’t know what will happen after that. After spending this time trying in vain to predict and plan the future we have resigned ourselves to focusing only on the immediate steps in front of us. At this point those steps are:

1) ultrasound

2) labs

3) preparation for IUI

We have narrowed our donor down to 2 excellent options and we will make a final decision here in the next couple of days. Did I mention that K and I excel at taking our sweet time deliberating on decisions?! For better or worse we do not make quick decisions! Our A1 form has been provided to the doctor in order to ship the sperm and all other paperwork for the sperm bank has been completed. There has been some progress and a small decision made. We are content with that (mostly) for now.

I should have my labs back in a couple of days and if my AMH has dropped significantly or there are other signs that I would not be a good candidate for IUI then we will have to revise our strategy.

I also had an appointment with my neurologist yesterday and discussed TTC with him. It turns out that he actually wrote a book chapter on IVF and MS so I feel like I am in competent hands in regards to developing a safe protocol if I do need IVF. He also said some amazing things: “I am not worried about you being off medications TTC.” and best of all: “Your MRI has been essentially stable since 2014 so you don’t need an MRI this year, do it next year (2019).” Folks, I have had to get MRI’s every year for the last 6 years, sometimes more than one, and often with many different studies. It is not uncommon to spend 1.5 hours or more in the MRI tube. I am thrilled that I am stable enough to put it off for a year. 😀

I’ll update once I have my labs back and let y’all know if our plan has changed.

Birdie

I Raise You by a Birdie

Nothing is happening on the IVF vs. IUI vs. Invocell front so please enjoy this shameless montage of pictures of Birdie, aka the Precious.

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The first thing you need to know about Birdie is she’s cute. I’m not biased either. 😛

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And she’s got blue steel for days. Just look at that face: pensive, contemplative. It’s perfection in canine form.

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She has also inspired art. This fine piece was created by our very first Airbnb guest. It’s titled: Birdie With The Pearl Earring

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When she is not busy acting as a muse, she has also inspired crafts such as this mid century dog bed, complete with custom sewn sheets and 2″ memory foam topped mattress. Nothing but the best (I totally didn’t spend 2 weeks building this bed, not me)

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Birdie pretty much looks adorable no matter what she is doing.

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Never one to do things halfheartedly, she really knows how to kick the cuteness up a notch by cuddling adorably with other creatures. Like this cat.

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And this one.

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I’m really laying it on thick here, aren’t I?

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Birdie is adventurous. She also loves squirrels.

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And ducks. I like beer. Anywho…

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I hope you enjoyed the montage of this incredibly adorable beast we call Birdie. After you have had some time to recover from the cuteness overload K and I will have a decision about which method of ART we will pursue.