Our journey through infertility, failed adoptions and now parenthood through the miracle of embryo adoption/donation.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Home Repairs

We currently live in a mobile home. It is a nice one but it is still a mobile home. We had saved up for a house on two different occasions and the first time we put it off and used the money for 4 IUIs. The second time was for Maddie. I do not regret putting off buying a house one bit but will be glad to buy a house. We thought about using our inheritance money for a down payment but we won't have enough to do EA, buy a used a van and buy a house so we will put it off yet again. But that is okay, a baby is worth it!

SO for now we are getting our place ready to sell (hopefully next year!!) The biggest project we have is a yucky one: Mold. About 3 years ago we found that there was a leak near our sliding glass door. We had it fixed (or so we thought) and replaced the flooring and forgot about it. Then this year I noticed the floor starting to buckle (wood laminate) and after closer inspection we found that it had been leaking still and now the damage was much worse. So we have to replace the door, the sub floor, the laminate and part of the wall. And maybe the insulation. Bleh! But I must say I will be very glad to have this all done. It will be a mess but necessary. I think that it will also help us all be in better health. We have all struggled with sinus issues, allergies and breathing/coughing problems. It never occurred to us that there might be mold making it all worse. So next week we will start work on all of this.

After that is finished we are going to replace the carpet in our living room and hallway. It was put in late 2008 and the place we used sucked! Majorly. It is Berber and the seams showed and quickly unraveled. Then our A/C (in the hallway) got a clog and leaked while we were out of town and we had rusty water all over our hallway. Lovely! Not to mention the messes Maddie has made and the coffee I spilled last week. And the water damage from our kitchen hit about 1 foot of the carpet as well. So its got to go!

While I am excited to get it all done I hate, hate, hate the thoughts of my home being in such disarray. The door and flooring will be a two day job. Yikes! And I watch 2 children in my home now and will need to relocate for those days to my mom's house. I can just picture Maddie trying to "help" them work. Then once this is finished we can start decorating the nursery. Nope, I am not pregnant. But I am hopeful. My last post I mentioned that our EA situation fell through but a new one has presented itself. That is all I can say right now but pray for us!!!

bankrupt us, why don't you?

Seriously, it feels like some fertility clinics are trying to take complete advantage of those dealing with infertility. I completely understand that IVF and EA and other ARTs have to cost us. I get that. Clinics have utilities, doctors, rent, staff, and many other expenses. And we are paying for their expertise as well. I get it. But how can one clinic charge $4000 and another $7000 for the exact same thing?? How can they justify an additional $2000 for a few pieces of extra paper? I know that CA may be more expensive to live so their fees may be higher (which actually isn't the case) but $3000 more? Or for those that charge $4000 for an FET if you did IVF there but $3000 more if you want to use the donated embryos? Do they not realize that they are already making money by the patient donating the embryos for another couple to use than if the embryos were destroyed? And don't get me started on requiring home studies! If I wanted to pay $2500 for one I would either adopt or go through the NEDC or Snowflakes.

If infertility is not stressful enough the clinics decide to pile it on too. I was on the phone yesterday for a few hours calling clinics. Even those listed on the EA "list" on one site did not do EA. And then they referred me to clinics that did not do it as well. It should not be this difficult to find an EDA program!! Or if you do find one they never return your call. Or they reserve it for their own patients. Or they charge you an arm, leg and a kidney.

Can you tell I am a little peeved?? I just. want. a. baby! And not to have to file bankruptcy to get one.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

about ready to give up

This last week has been infertility hell. I have been calling and emailing the clinic where the embryos are located, trying to get answers about what I need to do to get started. This clinic does not do a lot work with a lot of out of state patients and keep telling me what I need to do "there". What started out as being one trip there for the FET has turned into 2-3 trips, one of which for a hysteroscopy. On top of that there is a $315 consultation fee, a $1500 admin fee, $1000 extra for using donor embryos instead of my own, $400 for the psych eval, and up to $1900 for the hysteroscopy. If I had the procedure done here I could most likely get it covered by insurance. But they won't give me a clear answer as to whether or not I can do it here. I have to talk to 2 different people and never get a clear answer.

Last night I finally received a response from one person and she mentioned that she was getting "conflicting information" about donating from the donor couple and that I needed to contact them. I have no clue what this "conflicting information" means and immediately emailed the donor couple for answers. I have not heard back which is a red flag as she always responds quickly. We are giving this till Friday and then we email them to let them know that we will no longer pursue this situation.

I think that right now I would be fine if it ended. I am not happy about working with this clinic nor the rising costs. I have already begun calling clinics and that is a whole other issue. Some have a crazy long wait list, others have ridiculously high fees. We were so fortunate with our first one as it was $4000 total, including meds. To pay $7000 is killing me! There is a clinic in CA that is $4500 including meds and that is the one we are leaning towards at this time. I know of a few that went there and had great success and they work a lot with out of state patients.

So right now we are in a holding pattern waiting for answers. Bleh!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tiny steps forward

For those that have been following me you may know that we were matched with embryos a few weeks ago. The donor couple wants us to travel to their state for the FET and I have started compiling info on what needs to be done to get things started. It took over a week to finally get a response and I still don't have all of my questions answered. The biggest one being just How do I become a patient while being out of state. I do NOT want to travel there for a consult. To me that is a complete waste of time and money. I should be able to do everything here and then travel there for the actual FET. So I am still waiting on that answer but did receive a list of things that needed to be done prior to the transfer.

So far I know that we will both need a complete infectious disease screening and a PAP. I am due for my annual exam so I called to schedule that for next Friday. While there I will ask for him to order the screening. I also need a "uterine evaluation". From what I can gather via google is that this is a SIS. I think? I hope to get clarification on that and ask my OB if he can order that as well. I have a history of polyps so that should be covered. I hope! It would be nice if most of this could be done now either by my OB or ordered by him. I do not have a new RE yet and while I know I will need one I would like to get some of this done and out of the way.

I was just reading on the list of requirements that they do a mock transfer. What exactly is that? I never had to do that before. Will I need to do one if I had a successful pregnancy after an FET previously? I am not going to be happy if I have to travel down there twice. That will be an easy $500+ for the trip between the flight, hotel and rental car. Not to mention having to drive myself around in an unfamiliar city. I am the epitome of a "woman driver" and that would not be a good idea!

So we are moving forward, albeit very slowly. But that is okay. The whole thing is a bit overwhelming and taking it a step at a time works for me.

February ICLW....Welcome!

Hello out there fellow ICLWers! Welcome to my teeny tiny corner of the world. I am Jess and I am infertile. Sounds like something you say at an AA meeting. But it is what it is. The hubby and I have a bagillion fertility challenges. All of them I think: azoospermia, endo, PCOS, blocked tube and damaged ovary. I still have my uterus which is my only saving grace. After 11 years of ttc (this includes 4 failed IUIs with donor sperm) and 2 failed adoption attempts we finally decided to try embryo adoption with anonymously donated embies. In December 2009 I saw something that I thought that I would never, ever see: Two Pink Lines. It took 9 pregnancy tests, 2 Betas and an ultrasound for me to finally believe it. In August of 2010 we welcomed our little miracle into our lives, Maddie Grace.

Fast forward 18 months and we are wanting to complete our family by doing EA again. A few weeks ago we were matched with 2 embryos and are in the process of doing all of the preliminary work. If things work out we will transfer them this summer.

So that is me! I can't wait to meet all of you and read your stories. So stop in, take a seat and enjoy the ride! It is never boring around here!!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Do finances influence your ART decisions?

I have been compiling information about our upcoming FET with donated embies. The donor couple wants us to use their clinic and I am fine with that. What I am not fine with is some of the requirements they have and the costs associated. Their FET cost is $3450 but they require a $1500 administrative fee when using donated embryos. While I am fine with paying for any extra work required due to using donated embryos I think that $1500 is a but steep. Many clinics have no such fee. I am not even sure what it is for. There is very little extra paperwork required and no extra testing so it seems unnecessary to me. The other thing is the psych evaluation. They want one on us which is fine but they only allow it done in house and it is $400. Since they want to make sure we are not some crazy psycho and capable of caring for a child as well as emotionally okay with an open donation I am fine with this. But they are trying to decide if the donor couple needs one as well. They did one less than 2 years ago for the first set they donated. If they have to do it again I am thinking that we will be required to pay that as well. So all of this will increase the cost to almost $5000 and that does not include meds. Insurance pays most of that so it should be around $300 which is not bad at all. And then there is the travel and any testing that insurance does not cover. So we are thinking about $6000.

While going through some of my previously compiled EDA info for someone else I found an email from a clinic in CA. They have available embryos and their fee is $4500 which includes legal fees, FET and meds. I would still have to travel but it would still save us around $1000. So now I am conflicted. Our current situation fell in our lap. Seriously, it did! How do I look a gift horse in the mouth, ya know? But a thousand dollars is still a thousand dollars. So I am making a pros and cons for each.

Donor couple's clinic:

*embryos already available and waiting for us
*about a 10% higher success rate than other clinic
*open donation which means child(ren) can meet siblings
*this situation was handed to us, like God handed it to us

*at least $1000 more
*may require 2 visits which means more travel costs

Other Clinic:

*save $1000+
*they work quite a bit with out of state and only require one visit
*anonymous which is what we have already done

*10% lower success rate
*up to 6 month wait
*only anonymous available (either way is really fine with us)

While no one can make this decision for us but I am curious to know how much the financial aspect of it all plays a part in your decision making. Either way we go God will have to provide the money for us and $1000 in the grand scheme of things really is not that much. But if the cost keeps going up with the first clinic we may have no choice but to back out.

So do you make your decision based solely on financial reasons? Or do success rates mean more? Or is it all about which place "feels" right? Share with me your wisdom!!!

update on meeting my dad

Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers for me meeting my father. It went much better than I expected. Saturday morning my dad called to verify that I was still coming and told me that he looked forward to seeing me. He lives 2 hours away and we met halfway at a Cracker Barrel. When I got there I held Maddie like a shield. It was good to have her there to give us something to talk about. He did ask if he could give me a hug and I let him. It wasn't too awkward though it definitely didn't feel natural either. He is basically a stranger so I guess that is normal. We ordered our meal and spent time chit chatting and laughing over Maddie. He told me a bit about his kids and the death of his wife and dad. I told him a bit about my life. We really didn't discuss the past much which was fine with me.

He claimed that he wanted to see me because he had a brain aneurysm and after he was faced with death he decided that he wanted to get to know me. (he told me this back in December) Come to find out this happened back in 2007. So his change of heart came 4 years later. I even sent him a message on Facebook in 2009 so he had an opportunity to try to reach out to me then but did not. Whatever. He also brought up how he tried to see me once when I was 1 year old but my grandpa shot at him. (which he did because he was being aggressive and wouldn't leave). I informed him that the past was the past and we can go from here if he would like. I had no interest in rehashing a past that I was too young to remember. I also told him that Maddie needed a grandfather and he could be that for her and our relationship we would take it one step at a time. This worked for him so that is where we are at right now.

He did really well with showing restraint. I could tell that he wanted to be "dad" but I am not ready for that. I may never be. He is Roger and that is all that I can do right now. He showed that he cared by reaching out to Maddie and he bought her a couple of toys there at Cracker Barrel. He offered to buy me something as well but I declined and he backed off pretty quickly. He later texted me (at almost 11 pm) to make sure we made him home okay (I left him at 3 pm) but it was nice of him to check on us. He also said that he enjoyed meeting me and that he loved us all (I guess meaning me, Maddie and hubby). He also said to give Maddie a hug. I ignored the "love you" part and said "Will do" in regards to giving Maddie a hug. I am sooooo not ready to say "love you" to him. At all! I was hurt by him, my step dad and my grandfather. I do not love easily at all, especially men.

I am doing pretty well with it all and was happy with how the meeting went. However, I am struggling with where he fits in my life. I like things neat and orderly and this is.....messy and confusing. But I am not shutting the door on this and will take it one day at a time. As long as he doesn't push I should be okay. I am thinking about calling my counselor and go to see her about this (I haven't seen her in almost 2 years). Talking to her may help me sort all of this out.

One funny thing about the whole thing: his fiancee. He told me that she was a lot younger than him. She has four kids and 1 or 2 are teens. She was very nice and looked to be in her early 40s. She sent me a friend request on FB last night and I was reading her info and did a double take. Her DOB is 2/25/....................1978! My DOB is 7/19/1977. So my soon to be step mom is 7 months younger than me!!! He also put on FB that he got to see his daughter for the first time in 34 years. Anyone that knows her will figure out that I am older than her. Ahhh...........gotta love the craziness!!!!

So all in all not too bad. I am still trying to process it all.

Friday, February 17, 2012

meeting my dad tomorrow

Tomorrow is the day. I will meet my dad for the first time since he left when I was a year old. I posted a bit about it in December and I struggled with whether to actually meet him or not and finally decided that I would do it. I am not sure how I really feel about all of this. I want to hate him, yet I want to forgive him. Actually, I have forgiven him but forgetting is a different story. Through the years I contacted him, as did my mom, and he rejected me each time. He claims to have had a health scare and he is a "changed man". I want to believe it but I just don't know.

For so many years I desperately wanted my dad to want me. I romanticized him in my imagination and thought he just couldn't find me. Reality was so very different and it sucked. I finally came to a place where I accepted that put the past behind me. Now he surfaces and I have to rethink everything. I have no idea how to be a daughter to a father. I had a step dad for about 6 years but I was young and he has not been around for many years. So now I have this man that is trying to be a dad to me and I don't know how to deal with it.

The good thing about all of this is that if Maddie ever gets the chance to meet her genetic family I will understand better how she will feel about it. The nerves, the uncertainty, the trepidation. But at least she will never have to deal with the feelings of rejection I am going through as well.

If you think about it please say a prayer for me tomorrow. And I will update tomorrow evening. Thanks for all of the support, ladies!

Monday, February 13, 2012

IF is always unfair, isn't it??

Let me preface this post by saying that I am very thankful for my daughter and very thankful for the opportunity to try for baby #2 (and maybe #3).

Now, onto infertility unfairness. Last week I placed a call with the RE's office that I will need to go to for the FET. It is where the embryos are currently stored. I called on Tuesday and left a message. Apparently this was not the person that I was to speak with as they called back and referred me to another person. That was Wednesday. A message was given to the new person that same day and I called again on Friday to leave a voice mail. Nothing. I am still waiting. And I am irritated. This new person is only in the office 3 days a week so I have to wait to call her later in the week.

At this point there is nothing that I can do to further the process. I have no idea what local clinic they will allow me to work with. I know that we need a psych evaluation but am not sure the specifications on that. I am sure that we will both need blood work and I would like to at least get started on that. And I have a history of polyps and would like to get checked a surgery date scheduled if needed. But instead I am sitting here twiddling my thumbs, waiting.

Then I started thinking about all that must be done before I even get a chance at a pregnancy. And a chance is all that it is. There are no guarantees. We all go through so much! The tests, the pokes, the prods, the surgeries, the travel time. It really can be so overwhelming!!! I wonder if people really understand just how strong you have to be to be infertile!

While it really is unfair I try to remind myself that even if it does not work it will be okay. God is in control and it will be fine. I will be sad, but I will be fine.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Updates on, well, everything

*This past Saturday was my MIL's memorial. It went very well. I was worried about the 10 hour trip with Maddie but we bought her a mobile DVD and it was the best investment EVER!!! Maddie kept everyone laughing which was what we needed.

*I posted before that I have never met my real dad. He contacted me via FB and wants to meet. I put it off for a few months and finally called him tonight. We will be meeting on Saturday. Not sure how I feel about it.

*I called the clinic for our upcoming FET (hopefully in a few months) and left a message. She should call me tomorrow with details. I have started taking my folic acid in preparation. It feels good to be doing something.

*We found out that hubby has a severe vitamin D deficiency. The worst that the doc has ever seen. This could be part of the reason that he is having trouble losing weight. His testosterone is low too and he is being referred to an endocrinologist. This can hinder weight loss too. He had it checked a few years ago by a urologist for fertility issues and they dismissed it as being caused by weight issues. The doc is not sure so she wants him to be thoroughly checked. Maybe this will help with his spermies too. With my luck we will have twins with the FET then I will start popping out kids like a fertile after that! LOL A girl can dream, can't she?!?!

*Maddie has started talking which is a relief. We have been worried about that but she decided over the weekend to tell me "no, no", "get out", and "up". All said during the memorial service. Crazy kid!

I think that about sums things up. I will update once I talk to the clinic coordinator about EA.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

MIL's memorial

On December 29th we said goodbye to my MIL. She was 80 years old and ready to see Jesus. This Saturday we will have her memorial service back in hubby's hone town. We have not been home for about a year and it will be so difficult knowing she will not be there. Hubby will be speaking and his niece and I will be making a memorial collage of her life. Hubby and I were looking through photos last night and we laughed. We cried. We missed her. I really wish that Maddie would have had time to know her. But her legacy will live on and we will tell Maddie all about her

Please pray for my hubby as he speaks. And for us as we travel. This will be a very long trip for us with Maddie.