Thursday, June 07, 2012

The Couple's Guide to InVitro Fertilization

Well it's been a little bit since my last post. Not really much to report other than I finally got another period on my own. This is my second one since the failed IUI in February. I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but I have been able to go for almost a year without one. With that being said, having two in 4 months feels like a big accomplishment. On the other hand, a period still brings on the "I'm not pregnant blues". The cramps are also bad - I've never had bad cramps, so it makes me think that my endometriosis may be coming back. Ugh - I do not want to have that surgery again! But we will just have to wait and see. I would do just about anything to have a baby ....

Ryle really does spoil me rotten! My favorite thing to do is read and we are running out of places to put all of my books! So he took me to get a Kindle Fire! I'm so excited. It is by far, one of the best things ever! My most recent read, is a book called: The Couple's Guide to In Vitro Fertilization by Liza Charlesworth. I was browsing the Kindle store and came across this book. I thought I might as well read it since we will soon be a couple attempting IVF. I love the Kindle because you can highlight things that you want to come back to, so I'm going to cover only a few of those in this post! There is no way that I can go over everything that I highlighted - most of it was for my benefit anyway, but here it goes:

The book was very informative and I found it quite interesting. I didn't know there were so many different steps or options available to couples. There were some parts of the book where I was like, "I know exactly how that feels!"

There was a whole section dedicated to Keeping Your Emotions In Check. This is where I got a little teary-eyed. She describes an infertile woman's emotions as a 64-count box of Crayola Crayons. I just love this analogy - I guess it's the teacher in me! She says:
" First there are the blues: feelings of sadness, desperations, isolation, and bone-tired weariness from the months of disappointment. Then there are the greens: unbridled jealousy of sisters and cousins and colleagues with kids - even complete strangers that parade their perfect babies down the street in fancy carriages just to spite us (or so it seems.) Then, there are the reds: pure fire-stoked rage at your insurance carrier for not covering treatments, at your friends for not understanding the depths of your despair, at your body for not delivering on its promise. Finally, there are the yellows: those occasional bursts of hope that nurture our spirits and keep us optimistic. Those sunny jolts that remind us that, with treatment, our dreams of babies are real possibilities."
I can honestly say, that's exactly how it is. I'm sad, jealous, angry (especially at my body for not doing the one thing that a woman's body is supposed to do!), and yes, I do have some hope. Do I feel hopeful every day, no - not at all! But there are moments when a ray of hope shines through. I even had one tonight. While finishing reading, I looked at Ryle and said *with tears in my eyes*, "I'm ready to go back. I need to go back". Now, you know from previous posts, we are trying to pay down some debt first. We have one card paid off, and by the end of June, card number two will be gone! I asked if we could go back to the clinic after the third was paid off. He said yes, so to me that is a ray of hope! Is all of our debt going to be paid off before we get the IVF loan, no. But that's ok. Because about 7 grand of debt will be gone. It's the hope that makes the sadness, jealousy, and anger more bearable.

Through out the book, there were little "fertility facts" posted. One of them caught my eye:
" Research shows that the levels of depression faced by infertile people are as high as those dealing with life-threatening illnesses."
I absolutely believe that. Many of you know, I was on a few anti-depressants in the past. I got off before our last IUI attempt in February simply because Ryle asked me to. There is really no way to explain the helplessness and sadness you feel during infertility struggles. Ryle was against me getting on any medication at first. He thought that I should just be able to deal with what I was feeling, after all, he was dealing with the situation just fine, right?! But I just couldn't. After MANY breakdowns - even several at school in front of my class! - he agreed that I should go to the doctor. And the medicine did help. I guess I am more at terms with my situation now, but there are still some times when I feel like I should get back on them.

There was a whole section on insurance coverage, and wouldn't you know it that I live in a state with mandated fertility coverage, but this is what the law says "Requires employers that are not self-insured to cover some infertility treatments, but not IVF". Well I guess I should be happy that my insurance will pay for the occasional blood test. And I do mean occasional! The law makes it so that the coverage is provided to diagnose the problem, but not to treat it. How dumb is that?! I told Ryle we should move to Hawaii - they are mandated to pay for one IVF cycle, or Arkansas - they are mandated to pay up to 15 grand for one IVF cycle, or Illinois - they are mandated to cover up to 4 cycles of IVF. Don't get me wrong, Louisiana is not the only state that does not mandate coverage. But frankly, it just sucks! Another fertility fact:
"A recent study found that if insurance companies chose to cover all infertility benefits - including IVF- the cost to each policy holder would be about $20 a year."
Twenty dollars a year doesn't seem like that big of a sacrifice to help thousands of couples who can't afford IVF, does it? Not to me anyway - I would gladly pay the extra money a month if I knew that I was saving another couple from the same heartache that we are currently facing. Just my opinion :)

There was so much more in the book that caught my eye, but I would be here forever! I would recommend this book to any couple thinking about pursuing IVF. It was very helpful! It goes on to explain the whole IVF process and what you can expect from each step. It also allowed Ryle and I to discuss how we felt about certain situations. For example, we agreed that if we needed to use doner eggs or sperm, that's ok. We also learned that we don't really agree about selective reduction. This is when the doctor will stop the heartbeat of a young fetus (about 11 weeks). Ryle says yes - he would want to reduce the number of fetuses from 4 down to 2 for the safety of the babies and myself. I'm still undecied. The whole stopping the heartbeat thing gets to me. We will just have to keep talking about it, and I would like to talk to our doctor first.

Anyway, this is an wonderful book - it answered so many questions that I had!  With that being said, I can't wait to get back to the doctor. I'm hoping that we will be able to go back around October. Everyone cross your fingers!


  1. I stumbled across your blog a few months back while exploring the sidebar of another blogger I follow. Thanks for writing down your feelings about this whole journey and the color analogy. We have been trying for #3 for 2 years with nothing but heartache and losses while others around us keep moving forward. I have been taking BCP for the past 2 weeks in anticipation of surgery today to "fix" what is wrong with me...of course there was nothing "wrong" when they got inside. The description is so true though. I feel all of those things and more and even my husband doesn't fully understand. I can only imagine the pain of trying for 1. I feel heartbroken and I have 2 already. I guess the thing is that no matter how many you have, the part that hurts is when the plan doesn't work and your body fails you. IVF was suggested to us due to various medical reasons, but we just can't afford it. Hugs to you and I pray that you are holding that baby soon!
    Karri in NY

    1. BTW, forgot to elaborate. On the BCP for the last 2 weeks in anticipation of surgery and it kills me to take them. It feels so wrong considering we are TRYING to have a baby and now I am taking something to PREVENT it from happening. Even though it's for the good of the situation, I can still hear the pill laughing at me every night. It's so hard to be in a holding pattern, for whatever reason you are in one. This whole process just sucks!

  2. Yes, it's hard no matter what your situation is. I've also done the whole birth control thing, and you're right. It feels like you are totally going against the grain. You should be doing everything in your power to get pregnant, not prevent it! But you just have to try and remember that there's a reason your doctor put you on it. We can't afford IVF either - we are going to have to finance it ... somehow. Thanks for reading the blog - makes me feel good that someone is reading and can relate to the whole situation. Hugs :)