The First Steps to the Next Step

I think I am slowly coming out of my cocoon.

My friend Jo continues to gently poke at me every single day in regards to contacting other REs for a second opinion.  So here is what I have done.

I contacted Li.fe IVF down in Irvine on my day off.  I chatted with the new patient coordinator about the process to cycle there as an out-of-town patient.  Bob and I went to the clinic’s IVF seminar in April 2013 and received all the paperwork.  I knew the clinic had raised their fees so I needed to know the new fee schedule.  The coordinator emailed me all the paperwork, which included the new fee schedule, all the pre-IVF screening requirements, registration and history forms, and explanation for their assisted reproductive technology and CCS testing.

For the first time ever, I actually sat down and calculated the amount of money it will take for us to buy a 3-cycle package there at Li.fe.  Of course it is not just the package fees.  It includes all of the following:

  • 3-cycle package fees
  • out-of-town monitoring management fees required by Li.fe, for three cycles
  • estimated cost for ultrasound scans and blood work at local facilities, about three to four times each cycle
  • estimated cost of medication for three cycles
  • plane tickets from SFO to Orange County (times seven assuming Bob only needs to go the first time, four round trip tickets for the three retrievals and three round trip tickets for three transfers)
  • hotel room times six (three retrievals and three transfers)
  • rental car times six (three retrievals and three transfers)

In the fee schedule, it didn’t specify the cost of freezing and thaw sperm.  From one of the high FSH forums, I learned that you can request for the sperm to be frozen at the first retrieval so that your partner doesn’t have to go give a fresh sample at every single retrieval.  I had to email the coordinator and ask about the cost.  And yup, there is a fee for that too.  I am sure frozen embryo storage also requires a fee.  

I calculated the estimated cost for going to Li.fe, which takes a 1.5 hour plane ride to get to.  Then I calculated the cost of doing three regular cycles with my own local RE Dr. E with the cost of medication.

It will cost us $20,000 less to fly to South California and bank our embryos than to go with my own RE again, for three cycles.

TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS less.

Told my friend Jo.  She said, “No brainer”.  I am sure she meant she’d travel to SoCal.

So that means that I will have to do a lot more hard work.  The list of out-of-town monitoring sites that Li.fe offers for the San Francisco Bay Area are all in the South Bay…  Very far from me.  One of the clinics is my own RE’s clinic.. but she’s also far away.  I wish I could just walk over to UCSF since it’s so close to my work.  I have been dreading picking up my phone and calling the IVF clinics in SF to see if they do out-of-town monitoring.  But if we’re seriously thinking about cycling down south, I will have to do that.

I will pat myself on the back though.  I have done more planning and calling around than I ever wanted to do in the last three months.  And guess what?  I also scheduled phone consultations with those two REs that I said would contact for a second opinion.  One is scheduled for June 21st.  The other one on July 8th.  This is a start, isn’t it?

One of the problems I have with traveling to SoCal for my cycles is that I will have to take off two days for retrieval.  It will be difficult to figure out in advance which day to book the plane tickets and it’ll have to be a last minute cancelation on my clients.  I hate to cancel on them so much.  But I’ve got to do what is important to me.  So I’ll have to handle telling my clients’ parents about the reason for my cancelation.  Maybe I am thinking too much about it.  Maybe it’s going to be fine.  It just stresses me out a little having to think about coordinating the logistics.  I also run the risk of ovulating before retrieval.  

And the thought of cycling all over again is still daunting at this moment.  

You guys… I am going to turn 40 next month.  I know I shouldn’t let fear take over.. and I believe I am not.  Otherwise, I would have started my cycles again shortly after our chemical pregnancy.  When I got married at 36, I never thought that I would be childless or not pregnant at age 40.  But the thought of me approaching 40 without a baby doesn’t do my emotions any good.  

Today I survived going to my first baby shower in a very long time.  I went for only 30 minutes since I also had to attend my infertile pregnant friend’s baby party.  I wanted to go to support my friend Anna who struggled to get pregnant and will give birth in August.  I actually had dinner with her last night so I don’t feel too guilty only going to her shower for 30 minutes. I am glad I had a reason to escape the second part of the shower which was the present opening part.  It would’ve been a lot harder for me to sit through the whole shower smiling.  The second party was at a Chinese restaurant with a 10-course meal.  Bob and I sat with a bunch of ladies who were my friend’s former coworkers.  The conversation turned to one of the ladies’ grown kids and whether or not they would get married any time soon.  One of the ladies said, “Don’t wait until you’re 40 before you have your first baby.”  

I was sitting there thinking…. Uh.. that’s me.  Forty years old and no babies.

I didn’t react much to that though.  Bob was concerned that I was offended.  But I was not too affected by it.  In a lot of people’s eyes, 40-year-old is old to have a baby.  I didn’t want to wait until 40 but if this is the path, then what can I do?

Anyways, I am back in the game.  I started taking my prenatal vitamins and all the supplements again.  I even placed an order for more.  My friend Jo gently challenged me to stop drinking coffee.  Her argument is, since I have to pay so much money and put so much effort into making a baby, why not also give up something that may influence the outcome?  So… I am taking up the challenge and haven’t had my daily morning coffee at home.  I arranged for my medical records for all of my IVF cycles to be sent to me and one of the physicians.  I am doing what I can do right now to put my toe in the water for the next chapter of my life: IVF #5.  

We still don’t know what the solid plan is.  But it’s the first step to explore all the different options.

Maybe things will change if Bob gets a job that offers fertility insurance.

We shall see.

 

 

 

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33 thoughts on “The First Steps to the Next Step

  1. I am still praying for you sweet girl! God will not leave you ‘high and dry’ as they say! He has great plans for your life and even though you already know this, get it so far down in your heart that age to God does not make a difference. He put life inside of Sarah and Elisabeth at their old age and I think He did it just to prove a point 🙂 xoxoxoxo

    P.S. I can’t give up coffee…

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    • Yes like my husband said today, we wait expectantly. So it’s the difference between thinking with the natural human mind vs. thinking supernaturally with God in mind. Still learning to trust and obey. 🙂

      Coffee is tough to give up, isn’t it.

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  2. I got married at 36 too and I worry at times about being an older parent, but then I think that my age will bring more patience and grace to my parenting. (Hopefully). Based on your posts and responses, I know the same will be true for you. I went to UCSF! Oh how I miss the Bay Area! There is a secret squirrel way to get to South SF freeways up past Laguna Honda that you should Google. 🙂 Wishing and hoping for the best for you and Bob!

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    • Oh yes I call that way the back way, although I have my own way going home from work. I am actually closer to the Mt. Zion center where the IVF clinic is. But I know exactly where you went to school. BTW, when are you coming to the Bay Area? Let me know if you have time and up for getting together. Would love to meet you if you have the time. Email me at binkymoongee at gmail dot com.

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      • I wish we could! Unfortunately – since it has been 3 years since I have seen any of my long time friends, the time got swallowed up pretty fast with plans. I wish you lived in Seattle – we don’t have much planned up there at all!

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  3. 20k less?? Holy cow!! And I hated canceling clients too but they have to understand you have a life as well. If you aren’t sure how to explain your absence I think I just said I was having a procedure done. Glad to hear you’re getting ready!! 🙂

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    • Yes 20k less. So in terms of money… that’s really a no brainer. So much more traveling though. Yeah I think that’s what I will say… I have some medical procedures to take care of. It’s just that if we do embryo banking I’ll have to take off once every month for 3 months.. if we do 3 back-to-back cycles… so I hope I don’t cancel the same kids over and over again….

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  4. This makes me happy, lady. That you are able to gradually make these plans, to take this journey again. And Elisha is right, He’s there and will be there for both you and your husband. I am hoping that everything aligns with the clinics!!! It’s so tough to have to try to coordinate everything, especially with work! I am praying that Bob will get that job! Yay, love, I am so excited for these first steps!!

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    • Thanks girl! I am happy that I have started to think about the next steps… been in a rut for quite some time. Yeah the coordination makes me shudder. But if that’s what I need to do, I’ll do it. Thanks again!

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  5. I’m definitely taking notes on how you are gathering info & planning your cycle–very helpful. I am not keen on giving up my coffee, but try to be conservative about it. Excited for you to begin this new cycle! XOXO

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    • So my take on the coffee is… I have been skipping the coffee that we make at home because it’s not the best coffee. When we go out for good coffee, I take sips from my husband’s here and there. Anyways, thanks! We’ll see when I’ll get started again.

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  6. Good for you! This part is hard but worth it. I was in the exact same boat. Live in Colorado but it was way cheaper for me to fly to Houston for all my cycles…4 times…you can do it! By the way, we pay $300 a year for frozen embryo storage…don’t know how standRd that is.

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  7. So happy to hear that you’re feeling healed enough to start making moves again. I definitely understand the need for both breaks and resumed forward motion!

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  8. I dreaded arranging local monitoring to cycle with our RE in DC, but my local clinic is so nice and supportive. There was no questioning our decision, no pressure to use their clinic. It’s actually been a breeze. The travel logistics are daunting–there’s so much uncertainty and it’s hard to explain why there’s so much uncertainty without getting too personal. it’s doable, but it’s still daunting.

    I’m glad that you’re starting to take the first steps towards moving forward–I can’t wait for you to be a mom. AND fingers crossed that Bob gets a new job with great fertility coverage!

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    • Yeah it sounds and feels so so daunting to coordinate everything.. But I’m sure I’d be fine once I get started… I know many people do it. So I should be able to do it. I’m more worried about working with the nurses at the new clinic and not having direct access to the doctor like I do now with my RE. But money is a big huge factor. Anyhow… it seems like the opportunity with great fertility insurance is not there anymore…. So either we take a job without it, or we want for one with it…

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  9. It took me a long time to get back into the swing of things after my chemical too. Especially for folks like us who have so much riding on that one embryo, it’s particularly hard. Anyway, your research sounds exhaustive. I hope it’s helped in getting you where you need to be to move forward.

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  10. So overwhelming all you have to research and look into and call and coordinate. The whole process is daunting. You are so very brave! Baby moongee is going to be so blessed to have you as their parents! I am so glad you were able to go to your friends shower in the midst of your own struggle, that’s no easy task. I had the hardest time giving up coffee- so I slowly weaned myself off- now I’ve lost the taste for it (something I never thought would happen to me!) That would be wonderful if Bob’s next job offered infertility insurance- I’ll be praying for you both!

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    • Thanks Amy! Yeah I hadn’t gone to any baby showers in a very long time. I went because this is a very good friend and someone who had struggled to have a baby for a long time. I thought that I should go support her instead of going autopilot and saying no to any baby showers right away.

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  11. Lots of solid planning going on, I’m happy for you! It does sound like a pain to drive that far! But I’m glad you found an option that figures out to 20K less. Crazy.

    I turned 40 in January and the reality of becoming 40 was a lot less awful than the anticipation of it. It was scary, but now it doesn’t matter. I hope you have the same sort of experience. x

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    • Ha thanks for calling it solid planning. 🙂 I guess it is solid. Yeah we’ll most likely fly to SoCal but Bob kept saying that he can drive me because he doesn’t have a job yet. But yeah we have to think a few cycles down.. coz one extra cycle probably won’t give us a chance of having a take home baby.

      I guess I am not sad about being 40 per se… It’s the thought of being 40 and having no kids and not pregnant. I know I’ll be fine… Just the month leading to it feels a little…. overwhelming.

      Excited for you though! Sounds like the pregnancy is going wonderfully!

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  12. I got married when I was 33. I hate when people talk about how much better it is to have kids when you’re younger. I didn’t plan to meet my husband so late, but that’s when it happened. We don’t all magically find the right partner at 22.
    Good for you for doing all that calling around! Seems like the travelling is worth it for $20,000.
    I gave up my daily coffee before my pregnancy, but now drink decaf on the weekends. I tell everyone, but Kicking Horse (water processed) decaf is delicious! Tastes like “real” coffee!

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    • Yes exactly. Can’t plan these things right? I wasn’t just going to marry anyone so that we could make a baby at a younger age. I also started drinking decaf. My favorite coffee shop actually offers wonderful decaf that tastes just like regular coffee. So I get it once a week. Thanks for the tip though!

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  13. I think Life is the way to go. I’m also 40 but stopped trying with my OEs at 38..My eggs were crap when we also got married at 36. I think high stims are terrible for older eggs especially when you are only getting a couple of eggs. They just fry them. I tried low stim and had I been younger or had a hint of my eggs being viable, I would considered banking or very low stim. As for the traveling, you figure it out. It’s not easy but you just do it. I did it for 3 years between low stims and then for DE. Wishing you GL:-)

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    • Yeah it seems like it doesn’t really matter what we do, I get one egg. Even with just Femara… I know Dr. Y uses Clomid a lot so we shall see how it may help/not help me. I have been trying to avoid traveling but it seems like it has come to a time now when I should just pull up my big girl panties and deal with it. Thanks girl! Super happy for you that your pregnancy is going well!

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