Thursday, November 08, 2007

I've mentioned before on this blog, that this time, getting pregnant for me was much more challenging. As part of the Infertility community, I'm posting my story below. It's National Infertility Awareness Week, and I'm doing my part here to spread the word.

Here's my story for Blogatavism, for the My Story Project.

I got married in 2002, and was immediately ready to start having kids. My husband preferred to wait a while, considering we had just gotten married, he just got his Masters, we both started new jobs, and moved 2 states (and 8 hours) away from our families. This made absolute sense to me, so we decided to wait about a year and a few months. The first month we tried to get pregnant, it worked! I had a great pregnancy (minus the gestational diabetes), and gave birth to an amazing little girl (Celia), on February 26, 2004. Just 5 days before our 2 year wedding anniversary. After Celia was about 1 year old, we decided to wait until she was closer to 18 months to get pregnant again, assuming it would be just as fast as last time. We decided to start in October, since we'd be going on a cruise that month, so why not make it memorable? The morning of the cruise, I ovulated, and was SO excited with the timing. 2 weeks later I got my first BFN. And it proceeded to be like that until February. At my 6 month checkup with my OB/GYN, he asked how things were going, and since I was ovulating somewhat irregulary, somewhere between 6 and 8 weeks, he wanted to try me on clo.mid to see if it would help regulate me some. My first clomid cycle lasted 13 weeks...and no, I was not pregnant. I was devistated. At around 9 weeks, I called my OB/GYN's office, and was in a bit of a panic. He immediately said that this was NOT a normal reaction to clo.mid, and he wanted to send me for some more testing, at a Super Giant fertility clinic.

My first appointment with my RE was great! He was so optimistic, considering I had one successful pregnancy already. So we did all of the tests, and went back for another consult. He told me that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (explains the irregular ovulating, and tendancy to gain weight easily but not be able to lose it). The next step was to test the hubby, which given his age and health shouldn't be an issue, and then we'd jump into IUIs as soon as we were ready. Since our insurance policy covered IUIs at 50%, we needed to save some cash, and wait until the following year so we could set aside some flexible spending dollars to help compensate. And that's when we got the letter in the mail- my new primary insurance needed a statement from the RE regarding my husband's sperm count, and the likelihood of it working with IUI. That's when my nurse called, asking us to come in for a consult. We had never talked about his semen analysis, so we assumed all was good. Little did we know, it was very, very bad. Extremely low (at 0.6x10^6, or 600,000) with very poor morphology. Not good news. He wanted to repeat the analysis and send hubby to a urologist to see why this was happening. We saw the Urologist, and there was nothing there that would cause such a low count. Now the question comes in- was it this low when we got pregnant with Celia? What changed in the last 4 years? NO IDEA! Anyway, it was on to IVF with ICSI- do not pass go, do not collect $200, without any other optinos.

On the plus side here, IVF was covered by BOTH of our insurance policies at 100%. This made that much easier to swallow, but emotionally, we knew it would be hard. In May 2007, we started our first cycle, only to have it postponed because of cysts. After my next cycle started, things were clear to start. We got a total of 10 eggs (only 3 of which were mature), and we got 5 little embryos out of it. Two of which didn't make it to transfer, and we did a 3 day transfer of 2 of our little embryos. Both took, but a week later, one had clearly stopped growing, leaving 1 healthy baby growing. I'm at nearly 22 weeks now, and without any complications, I should be giving birth, via C- section, in about 16-17 weeks.

Having insurance coverage made this whole experience a lot easier to swallow. When IUI was going to be covered at 50%, we helped fix it with adding a second policy which hopefully would have helped somewhat with the difference. IVF was covered at 100%, as were most of the meds (minus Crinone, which I paid out of pocket for). It helped me to focus on myself, and my husband and daughter throughout treatment. I didn't have to worry about her not being able to continue with gymnastics classes because of money. Or worry about buying her new clothes, or shoes when she needed them. We took a vacation this summer. All things we never would have been able to manage had we had to pay out of pocket. Most importantly, we're going to be giving her the brother or sister she's been asking for for the last year and a half. When we told her about the baby, she was SO excited. Any time we go to a store, she keeps talking about the things she needs to get for "my baby". It's not mine, it's hers. And none of this would have been possible without our insurance coverage. We are so lucky to have our policies, and I wish that everyone else was that lucky. IVF really took it's toll on me, physically and mentally. But I didn't have to worry about money at all, which made that part of it so much easier. I hope that things change some day, and IVF and other infertility treatments get more coverage, so that everyone else has the option to persue treatements without worrying about paying bills, or putting food on the table.

That's my story. I know how lucky I was, and am. I know how different Secondary Infertility is from primary infertility. But it still hurts, and changes you forever.