Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Turn of Events

I realize I haven't written in about 2 months....I can only chalk it up to "if you have nothing nice to say, don't."

 I lost my job I've found myself unemployed.
I don't want to use the word lost, because its not like I've misplaced it.  I got fired.
(insert Shock and Awe)
With out going into all the hairy details I can rewind back to September when I got a new supervisor at work that made it her goal in life to make me miserable.  I'd been suffering from her snide remarks and dreading going to work each day.  Having my surgery and all the holidays gave me a nice 6 week break from her and then whammo, I slipped up and gave her the perfect excuse to let me go.  I actually tried to get a lawyer for a wrongful termination suit but I didn't have a strong enough case and your cant exactly sue someone for being a jerk.

My last day of work was 1/24.  The last day I had insurance was 1/30. No insurance, no IVF. 
I tried to get my medications filled but there wasn't enough time to get all the paperwork sorted out.
So there you have it, back at square one.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Great Breakdown

How does this go? 2 steps forward 1 leap back?

We spoke with Julie the finance officer and she emailed this breakdown of cost. Our insurance covers 50% making us responsible for 50% co-insurance. 

"We will collect a 50% co-insurance deposit up front when your cycle starts. Please keep in mind that this is only an estimate of cost for the treatment based off your benefits.
The estimated cost of this treatment will be as follows (excluding medications):

IVF Deposit   $3700 co-ins                                      
surgery center for egg retrieval       $435.50 co-ins                                   
surgery center for embryo transfer  $583.50 co-ins                                      
ICSI (single sperm injection to create embryo)  $1200.00                                                            
AHA embryo assisted hatching       $550.00                                                
Total  $6,469.00 co-ins deposit  Due at time medication is started or first appointment

The anesthesia will be billed  to insurance first.  
Medications are billed and paid to the pharmacy directly.
Additional cost that you may want to consider is Embryo Freezing, $700 (not covered) and includes one year of storage. Storage fee every year after would be $695."

OK great so how do we start the finance process?

"Financing is only available to those who don't use their insurance, we suggest you check with your bank for a personal loan."

We were really counting on the financing option, we just don't have 10k hanging around to drop here.  If we did I'd have remodeled my bathroom already!

We went to our bank, no dice.  I called the credit union through my work.  It looks promising, however like all loans and credit cards they are going to look at our debt as a whole and we are also trying to refinance the house in our names.

There's basically a whole lot of nothing we can do until February, after our taxes are done.  At least we have some numbers to work with though.

Friday, December 13, 2013



It took me a while to wrap my brain around what happened and figure out how to write this post.
Dr. Potter felt very optimistic that he would save/repair the left side.  He did tell us that there's always a chance that they will find a surprise when they got inside.  My gut told me they were going to have to take both but my heart was stuck on the hope that it would be repaired and I'd have a shot some day at doing this the "normal" way.

When I heard the hospital staff talking outside my room, I thought well this sucks. I knew it.
After I'd fully come out of anesthesia I asked my recovery nurse to make sure I wasn't hearing things.
The nurse confirmed yes and then my loving husband told me the rest.

Dr. Potter met with him while I was sleeping.  When they opened me up the left side was considerably more damaged than the scan had shown.  They preformed another HSG to see where the dye would flood to double check the results.  The left end was completely sealed no dye could pass and it was extremely enlarged, to the point it was translucent.  The right side was able to have some dye go through but it was beyond repair, also being enlarged and blown out.  Imagine blowing up a balloon to the point where you could see though it and its almost about to pop.  If it had been left in there would be a serious risk of ectopic pregnancy and losing it anyway.  My uterus and ovaries look great though.

So this is the hard part, there is no more hope for one day thinking I'm late I might be pregnant or let's try to have another baby.  It will always have to be clinical, calculated, frustrating and Stinking Expensive.  My brain tells me "you couldn't get pregnant with your tubes anyway."  But my heart screams "this isn't fair, I don't want to pay for a child, I just want to be normal."

It took about 4 days to sink in.  There was the Ugly Cry, I sobbed in the dark and my husband rubbed my back and repeated "I understand".


When we left the hospital it was 3:30.  I slept the whole way home, was put in bed and woke up at 6:30.  Hubby had gone to pick up my meds and left my mom to babysit.  I requested tortilla soup and she delivered.  Funny how mom's are; she made sure I had my robe and slippers, pillows and a step stool to reach my high bed.

There were flowers, magazines and cards.  Lunch and Dinners brought.  Hot cocoa and RUM. Yes, my friends know me well.

My sister made me this amazing basket, it was so beautiful and pink.  I was genuinely touched and started sobbing.  Like uncontrollably. What can I say? It was a rough week.

I had two incisions in my belly button, one right above my pelvic bone and one directly over my right ovary.  They taped me up from here to kingdom come!  Like my entire stomach.  I was told to leave them on until my post op (a FULL week) and to sleep sitting up.  My anesthesiologist told me that they were going to blow up my abdomen with gas and it usually ends up trapped in the shoulders.  He was not kidding.  I had so much pain in my right shoulder it felt like someone was trying to rip my arm off.  What do you do when you cant move your tummy?  You use other parts like your back and arms to maneuver yourself.  Well every time I would move my arm it would shift that bubble and blind me with pain.  At some points I literally screamed.  It was way worse than the actual incisions!
They were just sore and itchy.  My bandages didn't last 9 days, by day 5 I was dying to take them off and let my skin breath.  Hubby used to be a EMT, he got me waterproof bandages and got me all set up so I could take a decent shower (which was Amazing).

When I had my post op Dec 10, Dr. Potter confirmed what happened in surgery and showed me the pictures.  He looked at my incisions, all were healing well but one.  Apparently my body was rejecting the stitches and pushing them back through my skin!  Frankin-stitches. He had to get his tweezers and pull it out!  It didn't hurt but it did freak me out.

He then gave me the A OK to proceed with IVF.  We met with Janet to get our list of meds and made a appointment with the financial person Julie.  We also had both our blood drawn for genetic screening, we will not be screening our embryos.  More big decisions ahead.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Salpingectomy....Farewell Fallopian tubes

The Surgery

Monday morning we made our way over to Hoag Memorial.  It was like walking into a hotel, marbled floors, elevator music and a swanky reception desk that let me know they were waiting for me upstairs.  Should have known better when they valeted our car. 

The wait wasn't to long before I was taken back to my tiny room, more like a stall to change into my stylish gown.  Everyone was nice and accommodating, with every passing nurse I got a new bracelet and recited the spelling of my name and birth date for accuracy.  My favorite was the no blood bracelet, the others were name tags and allergies, I even got a orange band to identify which side they were removing from!

After a while they let Hubby come back and keep me company.  We used the wifi and watched some Dr Who. Then I shut it off thinking "what if they put me out and I dream about something terrible and can't wake myself up?"  I was also extremely afraid of waking up during surgery and how badly a IV would hurt.  My mother in law suggested I ask for a IV nurse and anti anxiety meds.  

Well I struck out on the nurse but my anesthesiologist was fantastic! He insisted on doing the IV himself, talked to me through the whole thing and I have to say the worse part was the shot to numb my hand. He totally hooked me up on the anti anxiety and the next thing I knew I was waving good bye and lights out. 
Literally lights out, I had to remove my contacts (legally blind without them) it was blurry going into the hallway and I remember looking down at my hand that was burning like a hot poker and looking up at the lights whisking by. 

The next thing I know I'm touching my face and I hear a voice telling me to put my hand down and then physically pushing it down.  I still don't know what I was touching, maybe a oxygen mask? The next voice I heard was a man asking me what my pain level was, I mumbled 4 and he said it's ok your still sleepy I'll ask you in a little bit.  ...sleeping..... Moaning, it bad? 7.....pain's dark and noisy and there's a man next to me yelling.  I remember blinking hard and asking if I was supposed to be waking up (trying so hard to wake up) or if I could go back to sleep.....sleeping....asking to use the bathroom "your still a little sleepy to be walking do you want a bed pan?" I'll hold it....more voices and something that sounds like "No, it was a double salpingectomy."

Even in a stooper I know what that means, they took both tubes. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pre Op, Pre Op My Baby

My surgery is officially 10 days away.

I had my pre op today, all things considered it went well.

Every other time we’ve gone the waiting room has been seriously empty.  Not this time, there were at least 4 other couples waiting and several that were slowly filtering out.  It’s hard not to people watch. My appointment was set for 2:50 pm, we sat in the room for just over a hour, I was able to read 2 people mags and play with every app on my phone in the midst of slyly glancing over to check out for lack of a better term “the competition”.   I can’t help wondering what other peoples issues are and at what stage of this whole process they are in.

To our left was a couple, looked like later 30’s, husband looked casual, wife looked totally annoyed. Her body language was terrible, she was turned completely away from him and had the most sour look.  Maybe they had bad news?  Maybe they’ve already been trying for years?
To our right a single woman, looked mid 20’s.  She was in and out pretty quick, I’d say she was there for blood work.

Directly behind us is an older couple.  They look like they came directly out of the 80’s, She a pastel floral dress with big shoulder pads, white Minnie mouse shoes, frizzy perm hair and He Mr. Rogers sweater vest cousin. We couldn’t tell if they were in their 50’s or just had aged terribly and were early 40’s?

On the counter where you sign in there is a candy jar and a sign that asks patients to please consider others at a sensitive time and please do not bring in children.

Right when I finish reading this sign, a woman walks in with a diaper bag.  She says “Is she back there, I have the baby.”  The receptionist gives her the ok, she opens the door and a man quickly whizzed by in a black blur with the stroller trying not to disturb anyone.

Time passes.  I notice that about 3 different couples, including Sour Puss, have come out with organza bags filled with a green blanket.  When we first came we were given a book, so I wondered if this was some kind of new give away.

The stroller couple comes out and I notice not one but two babies!  The stroller was front to back, not side by side.  I continue thinking about the sign, I wonder if it really disturbs people to see babies here.  I know it can be difficult with you want something so bad, but seeing those babies gave me a little (tangible) hope that this place is successful.

We were finally seen about 4 pm.
I had a physical complete with breast exam.  I don’t know why but this was totally awkward, probably because 1. I’ve never had a male doctor before and 2. I’ve never had Hubby go to ALL the Dr apts.  I wasn’t quite sure where to look, the ceiling seemed the safest.

Everything looks good.  He drew 4 marks on me, 1 in the belly button and 3 along my pelvic bone.  
We talked about blood loss (less than a table spoon) and how we refuse blood transfusions’.  It was a relief that he was familiar with Jehovah’s Witnesses and he said he practices all his surgeries bloodless.
He’s going to take pictures before and after, that’s a new one for a creepy scrapbook.  He plans to drain my tube, clip it and pull it out.  Worst case scenario would be that it’s attached to my bladder, intestines or another organ.  In that case he will detach it from the uterus and leave it in to not risk nicking anything else.  He won’t know until he’s in there but he feels very optimistic.  

Another contributing factor to this ongoing saga is male infertility.  Yea, that’s a thing.  Dr. Potter said we hit the infertility jackpot marrying each other.   So now we are 100% on track for IVF.
Hoping everything goes right, good healing and all to start a cycle in January.

Got a blood draw to check my thyroid levels and was given instructions for surgery day.

While we were checking out I asked my nurse about the green blankets.  She said once couples make it to the 10 week mark of pregnancy they have a little graduation, getting a blanket and are turned over to obstetrics.   I then told her about Sour Puss, come on lady you got a blanket, Smile!

I felt like the lady on Napoleon Dynamite that is giddy over Tupperware whispering “I want that”

I will get my green blanket.  Heck, I’ll take two.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Unexpected Results - Hydrosalpinx

This is what happens when your appointment is at 1:45 and you don't get seen until 3pm.
My feet were freezing! I left my socks in the car and thought for sure the second I sent Hubby to get them that the Dr would come in.  Should have got the socks!

He got a hot coffee, while I could not have fluid for 4 hrs.  This is the "do not instagram me" face.

The sonohysterogram was not as bad as the HSG. It was pretty awkward, I had to maneuver myself to sit on a trash bag!  This procedure also required a cath to insert saline in my uterus during a ultrasound to get a better look at the walls and make sure everything was in the right place.  I'm not gonna lie, the cath hurt, fell out and hurt again.  The saline felt cold and there was cramping but I survived.  When everything was done we looked at the images and he said everything looked good.

My ovaries are good, I have a great supply of eggs (apparently the chart I posted meant 14 total not per side) 20 plus follicles.  They are small but with stimulating drugs we should get some good ones.

He also said my hormones are in the right place so the metformin is working (yea!) my TSH is in the normal range at a 3 but under 2 is preferable for pregnancy so he's put me on thyroid meds to bring it down.

Then he talked about my HSG results.
This is what I have:
A hydrosalpinx is a blocked fallopian tube filled with clear fluid due to injury or infection.
The inflammation and healing process resulting from such infection destroys the delicate finger-like fimbria, which extend from the end of the fallopian tube to the ovary. When injured, fimbria become fused together, thus closing off the tubes. Fluid then collects in the fallopian tubes, making it impossible for them to function.
The blocked tube may become substantially distended giving the tube a characteristic sausage-like or retort-like shape. The condition usually affects both fallopian tubes, (even when only one tube is affected, there is usually some residual damage to the other).

He drew the tube while explaining all this to us and it looked exactly like my X-ray.
Apparently somewhere in the past 10 years I had a infection that inflamed my uterus. He could not tell me what exactly caused it and that sometimes it's asymptomatic.  My suspicion is this has to do with a burst cyst or something related to PCOS. 

He went on to tell me that he believes the fluid in the right side is now damaging the left side (accounting for the partial blockage) and that the tube will have to come out.  The fluid is toxic and will kill any embryos and continue to damage the left side.  So I have surgery set for December 2.  He will try to repair the left side when he removes the right.  If its beyond repair the left will come out too.

Laparoscopy. This is a surgical procedure using a laparoscope -- a thin, lighted instrument fitted with a tiny viewing camera. The laparoscope is inserted into the pelvic area via a tiny incision in the belly button, enabling the surgeon to directly see the fallopian tubes on a screen.

I'm a little freaked out about this, I've never been in the hospital, never broken a bone, never had stitches. It's been a week and I'm still wrapping my brain around all these pieces. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hot Air Balloon - Baby shower

One of my very good friends enlisted my help and the power of Pinterest to through an amazing shower for a bouncing baby boy.

We started out by agreeing that bottles, blocks and trucks have been done to death.  After scouring pinterest for shower ideas we had both pinned this little guy:

Basic Grey Instructions
After scanning the directions we dove head first into this little project with a mandatory trip to Michaels.  Of course I had to open my big mouth with "you know what would look really cute?  A big one and a little one side by side"
Should have read the directions more closely.  Alas hindsight is 50/50.
It took me a couple tries, a few curse words under my breath, the engineering of my husband and a trusty measuring tape but did these come out cute or what??
With 6 of us on the decorating committee we were able to knock them out in about a week.

All packed away nice and cozy
Making a debut the day of the shower
To add a little more whimsy we hung hot air balloons and clouds from the trees
We ordered our banner here on Etsy, the shop owner was amazing and totally worked with me on the design and how we wanted to feel of the shower.  We also got matching balloon cupcake toppers pictured below.
My friend Joi Lawler over at Cake Mix created our lovely lemon cake based on this design; as well as the balloon and cloud sugar cookies.
Even if your having a boy, there's nothing like adding a little sparkle.
Down to the very last dreamy cloud detail, I'm pretty sure this shower was a hit!