The Not-So-Fun Adventures in Infertility Treatment
As my blog readers, family, friends, acquaintances, and really anyone with ears knows, I have been undergoing fertility treatment to have my second child since August of 2013. It has been a 9 month rollercoaster, and quite frankly, I'm sick of the ride.
I remember how gung-ho I was -- I wholeheartedly convinced myself that, like the first time around, it would be a snap of the fingers (well, in my case, a snap = one month of ultrasounds, Clomid, and a positive pregnancy test).
Unfortunately, it has been anything BUT a snap of the fingers.
My January blog, "Living with Hypothalamic Amenorhhea in a Baby Belly World," shared the beginning of my journey -- describing the two, albeit, failed attempts of Clomid (50mg and 100mg) with my obgyn in September 2013 and in October 2013. It went into depth about my referral to the Fertility Physicians of Northern California, and my first consultation with my primary Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) in January of 2014. At this point in my journey, I was still pretty gung-ho. I had forced myself to forget about the two failed Clomid cycles with my obgyn, and looked forward to working with the "big guns" -- the REs that could dispense injectables, perform IUI, or possibly, IVF What I hadn't realized was that working with the big guns also meant big bills. My "superior" PPO insurance doesn't cover any fertility treatment, only the diagnosis of fertility problems; therefore, our wallet is covering the cost of treatment. Which, of course, would be fine if the first or even second attempt worked. But, I'm now starting my fourth cycle with my RE, and still no positive pregnancy test.
Four cycles (not including the two obgyn cycles) may sound like no big deal. And yes, I've read that it takes an average of six cycles (or tries) for women with "normal cycles" to get pregnant. However, what most women who haven't run the gamut of fertility treatment don't understand is that you lucky women with "normal cycles" get to try month after month to conceive, in essence for free. You may spend a couple bucks on ovulation kits and/or pregnancy tests, but essentially, it's a free ride -- pun intended. For women undergoing fertility treatment, or at least in my case, one cycle means:
1) Clomid Check ultrasound. A vaginal ultrasound on cycle day 2, 3, 4, or 5 to check for any ovarian cysts. ($464)
2) Purchasing the Rx for the oral medication (in my case Clomid and/or Femara) ($65, $30)
3) Taking the said oral medication for 5 days, and withstanding the side effects (basically any and all menopausal side effects -- fun stuff!)
4) Follicle Check ultrasound. A vaginal ultrasound circa cycle day 12-14 checking the growth (or lack of growth) of any follicles in my ovaries. ($464)
5) Taking the second round of oral medication because my follicles grow so slowly
6) Another Follicle Check ultrasound circa cycle day 16-18 -- because my follicles grow, again, so slowly. ($464)
7) Picking up the Rx for Ovidrel (the injectable that forces ovulation), Estrase (vaginal suppository to help my lining grow thick), and Progesterone (vaginal suppository to keep my lining thick in hopes of implantation). ($120, $30, $60)
8) Giving myself the Ovidrel injection in my stomach circa cycle day 19-20 -- which takes a real gut check.
9) Inserting the vaginal suppositories of Estrase and Progesterone every night during the two week wait
10) Going to the lab for a blood pregnancy test ($90)
11) Awaiting the result
Get why I'm feeling so dejected? The cost, the time, the schedule, and the mental fortitude it requires to continue with treatment after repeat negative pregnancy tests is overwhelming. Not to mention the fact that my family or very few friends actually take the time to ask me how I'm doing. How I'm feeling. How treatment is going. It's like they have totally forgotten my hardship.
But I want a second child. I want to be pregnant again. I want Livia to have a sibling. I don't feel like my family is yet complete.
On the brighter side, I am so thankful to have such a supporting husband. He's ok with just having Livia -- which relieves a lot of personal stress. He's ok with moving his work schedule around to come with me to my ultrasounds. He's ok with picking me up and holding me when the negative result comes in. And, thankfully, he works his ass off to pay for the treatment.
And so, I will continue with the sixth cycle. But, it stops after this. My husband and I need a break -- emotinally, mentally, physically, and financially. If we don't see a positive pregnancy test after this next cycle, we will wait until the fall to proceed with IVF.