Woes

This is going to be a difficult topic to write about.  But it’s been on my mind a lot that I really want to get it all out.  

My husband switched jobs a little over a year ago.  His previous company provided excellent health insurance that covered for almost everything 100%, except for fertility.  Anything fertility related was not covered.  When he switched to his current job at a large corporation, we were very pleasantly surprised that there is a $10,000 lifetime maximum for fertility treatments.  I was secretly hoping that we wouldn’t need to utilize this benefit.  It was a good-to-know kind of thing and I tucked it in the back of my mind.

Fast forward to March this year.  We started seeing reproductive endocrinologists and discovered that all the visits with these specialists so far including ultrasounds and the lab work that is ordered have been paid for under our general insurance.  Our fertility lifetime maximum had not been deducted until we actually started our first IVF.  I started to realize how blessed we are with the amount of coverage that we have so that we haven’t had to dip too much into our designated funds for IVF.  

Most recently my husband has been miserable at his job.  There has been a lot of changes in his group.  His manager suddenly assigned him the task of overseeing the whole project and for him to put the whole system together.  This wasn’t his job before so he has a lot to learn.  Not only does he have to learn fast, he also has to battle getting results from his group mates who are less than cooperative.  On top of that, he has to commute about an hour each way to work.  He used to take the train but because of potential transit strikes the past two months, he opted for driving instead of purchasing a monthly train pass.  Since his work has been so frustrating, he has been thinking about switching jobs.  He began to speak with recruiters and has found leads for job openings that interest him.

Last weekend was a testing time between us.  We started talking about the possibility of a job change.  He wants to work for a startup company with fewer people that would provide more room for growth.  If he can find a company doing what he enjoys doing, then he won’t mind working extra time on his job.  There is a lead for a small company that is located a bit closer to home than his current job.  The founder is really interested in him.  They met up twice already.  

When Bob shared this with me, my fear crept in.  We are in the middle of an IVF cycle that has been paid for by his insurance.  I know that this fertility coverage won’t last forever as we are definitely going to use up the whole lifetime maximum if we indeed do a transfer.  But it’s not only the fertility coverage that I like.  I also like the fact that even after the fertility coverage is over, visits to an RE including blood work and ultrasounds will still be covered under our general health insurance.  We also have the fringe benefits of chiropractic care, acupuncture, and counseling.  They are all covered.  If/When I get pregnant, all the prenatal ultrasounds, visits with the OB/GYN, and the hospital visit are largely covered.  We only have to pay a small copayment.  And currently our complication is the potential laparoscopic surgery to remove the uterine fibroid.  I am 99% sure that this will be covered under the general insurance. My fear is that the new health insurance that is provided through a new job at a startup company will not even begin to compare to what we have right now.

Bob was angry and hurt that the first thing I thought of was the health insurance that we may lose.  He thought that I cared more about our insurance coverage than his happiness and wellbeing as an individual.  This led to “robust discussions” throughout the weekend about the best decision to make.  I admit that I allowed myself to be fearful of the unknown and the future, a future that may not provide us with the comfortable cushion that we currently have with his work health insurance.  This fear is so crippling.  At the same time, it pains me to see Bob suffer so much.  We prayed and prayed for a clear direction.  I have been praying for God to allow me to have faith in Him that He will provide.  I want to have peace with whatever decision that we will make.  I would love to be the one that supports my husband’s decision no matter what he does.  And it hurts me for him to think that I didn’t care about his feelings and his unhappiness.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night pondering about all of the above.  How does one strike a balance between being a supportive spouse and providing another perspective of the situation without making the other person feel judged?  How does one speak with love and openness without hurting the other person’s feelings?  Marriage is hard work.  It’s even harder when the relationship is complicated by the inadequate feelings of infertility, dissatisfaction at jobs, the need to provide for your loved ones, and finances.  All of these make the road tougher.  Sooner or later we will find a solution to all this.  The worst financially will be that we’ll have to pay out of pocket for many things that are covered right now.  The amount of money that we have saved is finite.  If we spend the money on something, then we’ll have less money to do more cycles.  Again, I am letting my fear speak.  I just hope and pray that I will not let this crippling fear take over me and that we will have the faith that God will guide us to the right path.  

“Always something!”

Yup.  There is always something.  That was what my friend said to me today.

At my follicle check today, Dr. E found six follicles of various sizes on my right ovary.  I could personally only see four of them.  But she saw six.  She didn’t tell me the size.  I didn’t ask.  The left ovary is not doing its job.  The two follicles are still tiny.  They grew a little but not enough.  Dr. E said we’d still give them time to grow.  No one knows what will happen in a few days.

We’re continuing with four vials of Menopur, 25 IU of Omnitrope, and one vial of Cetrotide to prevent ovulation.  She wants to see me either tomorrow or Friday.  I have been dreading her asking to see me because of the Bay Bridge closure and I would have to go on another bridge to go see her.  I could always go to another clinic on this side of the bay.  After thinking long and hard about it, I’d rather drive the distance to go see her.  I’d feel better that way.  

Oh by the way, my CD2 FSH this cycle was 10.6!  It was over 18 last two times.  My estradiol was normal at 31.  My DHEA is creeping up and is high.  I guess it’s normal since I’ve been taking 75mg of DHEA a day.  Dr. E still wants me to continue taking it.  

I asked Dr. E if she was sure that we would do a day five transfer instead of a day three transfer.  I meant it as a question to see how she decides on a day three versus day five transfer.  She understood my question in another way.  She said she wasn’t sure if we were going to do a day five transfer because the fibroid that she thought was only making the uterus cosmetically unpleasant looking is now actually growing bigger.  It may creep into the uterine cavity.  She wouldn’t want to transfer any embryos if the fibroid might affect implantation or pregnancy.  She wants to assess the fibroid on the day of retrieval and will make a decision then.  If she decides NOT to do a transfer, she would refer me to “the best” surgeon for the removal of the fibroid.  I have had enough of a full-blown abdominal myomectomy that took six weeks to recover.  I really don’t want another big surgery.  She reassured me that it would not be a full one but one that would be done laparoscopically.  

So we may not get to transfer, again.  We may need a surgery.  Yup.  There is always something.  Bob is very positive about it.  He likes that we still have a bunch of follicles in the running.  If we need a surgery, then we’ll take care of it first.  To him, this is all good news.  I am still taking it one day at a time and am asking God to give me the strength, patience, peace, and calmness to deal with anything unexpected.  Anything can happen in an IVF cycle, right?

Six?

I was more nervous than usual going in for my follicle check.  My blood pressure attested to that.  I have had five days of stimulation with Femara interpersing with Omnitrope.  Yesterday was the first day we did two vials of Menopur.  Last cycle with Menopur I was bloated.  That gave me an illusion that follicles were growing.  With oral medication, it was hard to tell if anything was happening.  Before I went inside, I prayed to God to calm my nerves.  I felt much better after that.  But my blood pressure was high.  Actually a lot higher than normal: 142/92.  Two minutes later, it was 132/92.  My blood pressure two weeks ago was 100/60.  Dr. E came in and said that I should stop my Dexamethasone because anxiety and nervousness could be a side effect of it.  Good to know.  I’ll stop that.  Dr. E proceeded to check on my follicles.  We have four growing on the right.  They ranged from 6mm to 10mm.  There were two tiny ones growing on the left.  She called out 3mm each.  Dr. E is changing her plans.  She said she is getting greedy.  Now she has seen what is going on inside my ovaries, she wants all six follicles.  Instead of continuing with two vials of Menopur, she is upping it to four vials for the next four nights.  I will return for another visit on Wednesday to check on the growth.  She seemed unfazed by the uneven growth of the follicles.  And she did not draw blood to check on my estradiol level because Femara reduces estradiol.  Interesting.  That’s why she’s the RE and I am not.

Bob is super excited about the potential of six follicles.  He was hoping for five .  I was more cautious and would be happy with three (since the resting follicle count was four).  And I know I shouldn’t worry about the tiny ones because they may really catch up.  We’ll start Cetrotide tomorrow to prevent ovulation.  Looks like retrieval will most likely be on Sunday and day five transfer will be the following Friday.  I had hoped and prayed for the retrieval to be either Saturday or Sunday because that would make day five transfer on Thursday or Friday.  Bob has a very important appointment with immigration that he has to attend on Wednesday.  If retrieval happens a day or two sooner, then it would make day five transfer the day Bob can’t make it.  I really want him to be there.  But I know that it’s not the end of the world if he isn’t.  My SIL has already cleared her schedule for Wednesday just in case transfer is on that day.  I think most likely my husband can watch Clay go into my uterus on the day of transfer.

God has watched over me with my emotions this past week.  I am praying for continued calmness.  I am thankful that multiple follicles are growing.  I just hope and pray that I continue to let go of my need for control and just let God be in control and let Dr. E do her part.  We’ll see how the follicles are on Wednesday.

Glad this week is over

Somehow this was a more difficult week than usual.

I had had a headache throughout the day on Wednesday.  My day started out with a speech-language evaluation with a difficult-to-test three-year-old.  He totally refused to talk despite the many tricks that I used with him.  The headache started right at that moment.

I thought that my chiropractic visit would ease the headache.  Somehow it made it worst.  I took two Femara at 8pm that night and went on to eat my dinner.  In those two hours, I also took eight pills of various supplements and drank a glass of orange juice mixing in with powdered wheatgrass.  I made a wrong decision of eating the last bit of pot roast just because I couldn’t fit all the leftovers in the Tupperware for lunch for the next day.  By bed time, I was feeling very sick.  I lay in bed with a huge headache.  After getting ready for bed, I could not even lie down without feeling dizzy and nauseous.  Something wasn’t sitting right in my stomach.  It didn’t matter how I stacked up the pillows and sat up.  Whenever I leaned my head back a little, a pang of dizziness and nausea came over me.  I knew that I could try to puke to make myself feel better.  However, I was very very reluctant to throw up the Femara so I tried to hold everything in.  I felt so violently sick that no position was comfortable for me.  After an hour of torture, I finally decided to just do it.  What came out was not pretty but boy, I felt so much better afterwards.  I had moved my pillows and made myself the bed in the spare bedroom so that Bob wasn’t disturbed by my moving around and puking.  I finally fell asleep and woke up at 3am pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t dizzy or nauseous anymore.  I dragged my pillows back to my own bedroom and my hubby didn’t even notice I was out of there!  I woke up worried about the Femara so I emailed my RE.  She instructed me to take an extra Femara just in case I did throw up the ones the night before.

My headache was gone but I was out of sorts on Thursday because of the bad night of sleep.  I was trying to get my busy day started.  Five minutes before my appointment with my first client, my boss came in and told me that the father from my speech-language evaluation called to complain about me.  So he basically accused me of barely speaking with him and only speaking to his ex-wife most of the time.  He said that I gave her the business card instead of handing one to him.  He complained that he observed the same thing at his pediatrician’s office and wrote a bad Yelp review to complain about that office.  He said that his ex-wife told him not to come to the next appointment.  I am fortunate that I’ve been doing this for a while and know who I am.  I am confident in what I do and I know exactly how professional I was during the evaluation.  To me, this guy has more issues than his complaints about me.  He is making it about himself and not about the child.  And he probably has doubts about his ability as a father as he expressed to my boss that he is “a good father” and “a good provider”.  Although I am confident in my ability, it’s still unsettling to start my day with negative feedback, especially after I tried so hard to help this particular child the day before.

Good thing the Femara hasn’t made me sick since that crazy night.  I have only done one injection so far; the human growth hormone.  This is so much more low key than what we did before.  Bob mixed the HGH at ease and drew 25 IU of it.  I injected it in no time.  We were out the door for dinner within ten minutes.  It was so unlike my last cycle with four vials of Menopur and the HGH.  Since I am doing minimal injections, I keep wondering if any follicle is growing.  My motto this cycle is to take it one day at a time.  I am trying and I think I am doing fine.  I just have to trust that my RE is right about her protocol.  I am grateful for the chance at trying for our own baby with a great doctor and insurance.  I am just very happy that this week is over and I hope and pray for a better week next week.

Random things

Hi everyone from ICLW. Welcome!  Here is my little blog documenting things that I feel like documenting. 

Updates on IVF #2:

  • AF decided to show up late last night, which left me scrambling to email/phone my RE to see if I should get my CD2 bloodwork done today.  I got her on her cell phone.  It was adorable to chat with her while her kids were being loud and splashing water in the background.  It’s often confusing for me to know if CD1 is CD1 if AF comes in the later part of the day.  Dr. E said that if I have to use a tampon or pad, then we’d treat it as CD1.  Okay. CD1 it is.
  • I couldn’t go to my bootcamp class this morning at 6:15 because I wanted to get my bloodwork done before work.  The hospital lab that is 17 minutes away from my house opens at 7am.  I got there at 7:16 and had to wait for 30 minutes.  By the time the blood was drawn, it was 7:50.  I had to be at work by 8:30.  I brought an empty mug with me as I was secretly wishing that I could buy a cup of my favorite coffee if I happened to get out early.  I recently discovered that their decaf coffee is as good as regular.  That didn’t happen.  I got into work 5 minutes late without my decaf coffee.
  • My bootcamp instructor is so cute.  I was instructed by my RE to do low impact exercises during the first half of the cycle and not to do any exercises at all after transfer.  So my bootcamp instructor made a three-minute video of all the modified joint exercises that she could think of to show Dr. E if they are okay to do for my cycle.  Dr. E found it “way too cute” and said “yes” that I can do them during the cycle. Yay!  I hate not being able to move around, although sleeping in sounds mighty good to me too.  Did I mention that bootcamp is at 6:15am Monday, Wednesday, Friday?  Last cycle I had an excuse to lie in bed while Bob dragged himself out of bed at 5:30am.  😀
  • I will start Femara tonight.  Praying that my FSH and estradiol levels are acceptable.  I will also get my calendar today, so I’ll know what exactly I am going to do this cycle.
  • An elementary school friend of mine will come to San Francisco for a conference from Hong Kong.  I haven’t seen this guy in ages but it’ll be good to catch up in my hood.  It’s just that the date that he proposed meeting up is the day that I may have my egg retrieval.  It’s really hard to tell him why I may or may not be able to meet up with him. And he’s booked on other days with obligations.  Oh well.
  • I called five different online pharmacies and found a wide range of prices on the medications that I need.  When I expressed to my RE that I might want to order from multiple pharmacies, she told me that I could actually ask pharmacies to price match so that I could just order from one pharmacy.  Good to know.

That’s it for now!  Now onto starting  my day.  🙂

Second Cousin and her baby

I told myself that I probably wouldn’t play much with the baby, but my heart melted when I saw his big smile.

Bob’s oldest Cousin from his dad’s side got married and had kids at a young age.  Her daughter is about eight years younger than Bob.  Bob and this Second Cousin grew up in two different towns but would see each other during summer time.  Second Cousin has an arranged marriage set up by her parents at about 20 because she wanted to come to the US to study.  She and her husband used to live within a half hour from me.  Of course I didn’t know anything about them when I first started dating Bob.

After our first date, Bob and I chatted for a long time on the phone.  He warned me that he had baggage that he would have to carry with him if he ever got into a serious relationship.  He told me about him being the only child of his parents and their expectations of him to marry someone that they would choose. Dating a non-Hindu Brahmin would be a big no-no.  I tried my best to understand the circumstances but they were beyond my world and my imagination at that time.  I really didn’t know that dating, choosing your own boyfriend/girlfriend, and deciding to get married on your own are not things that are expected in his culture.  Bob and I continued dating as he tried to find a way to share this news with his parents.

Three months after we started dating, Bob’s parents arrived from India for a 7-week visit.  At the airport upon their arrival, Bob told his parents about my existence after they had traveled for over 24 hours.  He asked if we could all have lunch together that weekend.  I think his mother was so in shock and exhausted that she just said Okay.

Of course lunch didn’t happen.  I did not meet them the whole time they were here in the US.  In fact, I didn’t even get to meet them until I stepped into India as Mrs. Bob, with a changed last name and a new status.  His parents changed their minds and would not want to have anything to do with me.  Bob had to sneak out on the weekends to see me.  It created such an awkward situation for him that I don’t know how he survived those weeks.

It was during that visit that my birthday was coming up.  Since it was his first time celebrating my birthday with me, he had planned a celebration for me and had to struggle to come see me as his parents expected him to be always around when he wasn’t at work.  He snuck out regardless.  On the day of my birthday, I got the weirdest text from a phone number that I didn’t recognize.  It said, “B could do so much better.  At least find someone pretty.”  Whoever it was knew that it was my birthday and wanted to ruin it for me.  I was furious but there was no way to find out who it was.  This behavior was so juvenile/middle school that I could only laugh about it.

We had no way of proving who it was that sent that text.  But I often suspected Second Cousin since she was just around 22 at the time.  She would be the person who would have contact with his parents.  I just couldn’t believe that someone would do something so juvenile.

Since nobody was supportive of our marriage from Bob’s family, I had never met Second Cousin as nobody from his family came to our wedding.  Her parents were actually nice to me in India.  They came to visit me at Bob’s parents’ while Bob went to visit his grandmother who pretends that I don’t exist.  Since then, I feel comfortable with his Cousin.

I finally got to meet Second Cousin when her mom came to visit her last October.  Cousin cooked a truly authentic South Indian meal for us.  Second Cousin was courteous and didn’t seem like somebody who would send a text like the one I received.  What I noticed was how she complained about being tired and I couldn’t help but stare at her belly.  I had a feeling that she might have been pregnant at the time.  Don’t ask me how I knew.  I just had that hunch.  And of course she was pregnant.  That was right around the time when Bob and I were at a lower point in our TTC journey as we were approaching the end of our first year and had nothing to show for.  It was at that time that we started talking about going to IVF seminars and really getting the ball rolling.  Second Cousin’s pregnancy  was not welcome news.  Of course she got pregnant easily.  She is so young.  I was jealous and felt sorry for myself.

Said baby is now three months old.  We were invited to go visit with Bob’s Cousin this past Saturday.  Before we arrived at Second Cousin’s house, I said to myself in spite, “I don’t care”, “It’s her baby”, “I won’t want to pay too much attention to that baby”, “I will sit afar and not touch him”.  Ha.  I don’t know why I am holding grudges against a fertile woman and her baby.   When that door opened and when I saw that little face, my heart melted.  I found myself holding him, playing with him, watching him coo, and engaging in interactive peek-a-boo with him while all the adults chatted.  I shared my professional tips with Second Cousin about speech and language development.  I guess I can’t really be mad at a very cute little human being and his overly tired mother.

Maybe it was her that sent that text.  Maybe it wasn’t.  I have decided to let that go and just enjoy having some Indian relatives around if Bob so desires to keep in touch with them.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll have my own little life growing inside me the next time I see Second Cousin and her super cute baby?

IVF #2 is a go!

The visit today was good.  I was a tiny bit nervous when I pulled into the parking lot.  A prayer for peace right before going in calmed my nerves instantly.  Dr. E came into the ultrasound room all excited saying that she couldn’t wait to see how my ovaries were looking.  This cycle I ovulated on the right side and the lining is 10mm.  Looks like I have two follicles on each side with a total of four.  Since I went in with zero expectation, I am happy with four.  Dr. E exclaimed, “See those two follicles?  Aren’t they adorable?”  Only REs would call follicles adorable.  HAHA.  She also measured my fibroid.  It is quite big but according to her, it’s not going to interfere with anything since it’s not in the uterine cavity.  She compared it to a mole on your face.  Then I said, oh it’s like a big o’ mole on your uterus that only makes the uterus ugly but doesn’t affect anything.  She immediately said, are you calling me ugly??  HA!  Dr. E has a signature mole right under her left eye.  We also discussed about doing comprehensive chromosome screening (CCS).  I reminded her that we won’t do that because of our belief that life starts from conception. She said she could respect that although that’s not her world view.  I said yeah… I just can’t justify it morally.  She then immediately said… are you call me immoral?  Of course she was just joking but I was putting my foot in my mouth twice!  Anyhow, it was overall a good visit.  AF should come either Monday or Tuesday.  When Dr. E exited, she did say that maybe we have gotten pregnant on our own this cycle.  She’s always so positive.