Are we parents yet?

The Clements’ IVF Journey

Today’s appointment, endo, and a MAJOR WTF (no, not pregnant) October 30, 2008

Filed under: Confusions,The process — Aria @ 7:24 pm

Let me preface this by saying we are NOT pregnant.  That would be the only news more shocking than what happened.

When I was 24 my left ovary was removed when the hole in my small intestine was fixed.  This is crucial to know.

The RE did a vaginal ultrasound initially to check the follicles on my right ovary and the condition of my uterus.  Both are extremely good, and there were FIVE mature follicles on the right, plus a few that weren’t.  A couple tiny spots of endometreosis, which doesn’t surprise me in the least…but she found a second ovary, plain as day.  I saw it.  It was there, with eight mature follicles (plus two that weren’t).

While it’s definitely better having two ovaries when harvesting eggs, why the hell are there two?  How?  One was removed…or was it?

At this point I have no idea what the hell is going on.  Part of me if relieved and part of me feels nauseated and upset because I now have no idea what the hell was removed from my body, if anything.  Years of believing I had one, gynos not bothering to check an ovary I thought wasn’t there, stress over whether there’d be enough eggs from one ovary to make good embryos…and yet, right there on the screen, it was.  I saw it.  Cody saw it.  The RE saw it, two others saw it.  It was there, and with more mature follicles than the right.

I’m going to call the hospital where the surgery was done and arrange to see my records, Mom in tow.  I already called her, and she said yes, the doctor said the left ovary was removed.

I am upset over not knowing what’s up with my own body, combined with thrilled that it looks like I have a left ovary after all.

Also Stanford verified for us that our insurance coverage covers ALL of their services, so if United tries to deny anything, they’re going to have to deal with Stanford and answer to why they’re refusing to cover.


Financial reactions October 27, 2008

Filed under: Financials for IVF,Frustrations — Aria @ 2:36 pm

Maybe slightly off topic, maybe not.  I kind of get the feeling I’m not the only one who’s gone through something like this.  People who think that, if fertility treatments can be afforded, then it must mean you’re in a strong financial state, but who also say that if fertility treatments aren’t easy to afford, you can’t afford to be a parent.

One of my best friends had the latter as her first reaction earlier this year when I told her we were going to do what we could to start IVF.  I told her it would mean Cody and I would have to save more instead of going out as much.  We simply weren’t going to be able to afford to do both IVF-stuff AND go out every weekend or every other weekend.  Her reaction was that we couldn’t afford IVF then and couldn’t afford to be parents.

UGH!  IVF out of pocket is less than 10% of what they estimate it takes to raise a kid, true, but you also don’t have to have all that estimated money up front.  It’s spread out over the years (and I never figured out how it’s supposed to take a quarter of a million to raise a kid to age 18 anyway, not unless you’re factoring in an off-the-lot car at 16, private schools and tutors, etc).  Many MANY people have children who wouldn’t be able to afford IVF and they’ve done just fine!  My parents afforded me and my brother without government help, but they definitely couldn’t afford IVF, yet we always had a home, plenty of food, and even toys.

(I also encounter that a lot right here on LJ, people telling me they hope I don’t ever have a baby because I wouldn’t be able to afford to raise it, hypocritically often the same people who are so pro-welfare-for-all.)

The spot that caused me to feel a rant coming on just happened via IM a few minutes ago.  Her unofficial-fiancé (waiting on her to decide which ring she wants, and the one she’s almost settled on has a price tag of $20k) got a new job today.  He lost his last one for taking a week off just a week after starting to take her on a pricey Hawaiian vacation (I believe they stayed at the Hilton in Waikiki). She’s openly boasting about it being a $120k/yr position, and about how this means she can go back to decorating the wall by their front door, which she’s already dropped $300 on.

But I couldn’t summon up a bunch of, “YAY! I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU! YAY!” emotions because I’m trying to research more insurance stuff for IVF while also arranging for me and Cody to move into a smaller, lower-cost apartment to help save money for this, and my own stuff has me pre-occupied.  IMO, it’s more important for me to take care of my life than to summon up a bunch of excitement I don’t feel when I don’t pity their “hardship”.  Having stocks worth six figures and having to pass on weekly make-up shopping isn’t a hardship!  I congratulated her for him, or course, but did ask her to please not begin suggesting expensive outings again as she used to do (truthfully, I was a bit glad when her guy lost his job last time because I thought that maybe, just maybe, if they had to get by on her salary, which is about 15% more than Cody makes, then maybe she’d be more fun to hang out with because it would include trips to the mall to watch her drop $200 or more on make-up, and maybe it would make her more sympathetic to not being in the top 5% of households by income).

To her, $15 or $20 is “just $15 or $20”, as she has told me when I said I couldn’t afford a girls’ night out again that week, but in my world, that’s part of a co-pay.  To her, $100 on a haircut is a good bargain, and she’s been trying to get me to go to her stylist and drop $100.  If Cody and I can be trying for IVF, it must mean I can afford $100 for a haircut.

So what is it, IVF is difficult and expensive and not easy to afford, meaning we can’t afford to be parents because raising a child costs more overall, or we’re rolling in dough because we’ve managed to come this long without completely giving up?

She’s not the only one I know who has made presumptions about our financial state based on our discussing and aiming for IVF.

Why, oh WHY, do people feel that they have this right?  We CAN afford to raise a child.  We are NOT rolling in spare cash.  I am so frustrated that is seems like the ONLY people who understand are Cody (obviously), one of my other best friends who lives three time zones away.  Sad, very sad, when I feel more comfortable talking about this with people I don’t know and I am wishing my best local friend would forget I ever even mentioned IVF.


Accupuncture October 26, 2008

Filed under: General baby stuff — Aria @ 10:52 am

I’m wondering what it could hurt, but am wondering if anyone’s tried it.  Maybe it can somehow magically cause the occlusion to go away.  Or so I like to dream.

And just for something cute, I made this layette set.  Making stuff helps sometimes.


Underlying medical condition? October 23, 2008

Filed under: Financials for IVF — Aria @ 8:41 pm

Are occluded fallopian tubes generally considered to be an “underlying medical condition” for infertility?

Why I ask is infuriating.

Last time I talked to the insurance company, they now claim we DO have out-of-network coverage (saying we didn’t is why we had to stop, and now we magically do??), but they the woman said that IVF and such isn’t family-planning, birth control and abortions are.  I ripped her a new one for that, for trying to claim that preventing a baby is family planning and trying to have a family isn’t, and then she withdrew that statement and said that, okay, if fertility treatments are due to an underlying medical condition, then it’s covered.  I asked if occluded tubes counted, and she said it might not be a medical condition, I’d need to go through treatment AND THEN see what billing says.  She spoke opposites throughout the entire phone call.  I have her name and number.

Cody and I are drafting a letter to Steve Jobs about United.  We found out from one of Apple’s HR reps that we aren’t the only ones having problem (my oldest friend’s husband nearly died and United refused to cover the ambulance because they didn’t get it pre-authorized!!).

So I’m trying to find out if this is generally considered to be an “underlying medical condition” or not.  If it is for other companies and doctors, then they have some explaining to do about why they haven’t covered us so far and why we’re getting billed from the previous doctor, and we can try to figure out from there how to trap them into paying for what they’re supposed to pay for.

Our next appointment is the 30th.


I can’t be the only one… October 20, 2008

Filed under: Frustrations — Aria @ 4:42 pm

…frustrated in lines at the store, seeing magazines screaming about who’s pregnant.  Or who might be pregnant.  Whoever the hell Trista is, it seems like she’s only known these days for nearly dying somehow the first time she had a kid and is a champion or something for deciding to have another baby.  And what’s this about Jamie Lynn Spears possibly being pregnant again after just three months?  And Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have already been looking into adopting again even though the twins are just over three months old?  They’ve acquired (birth or adoption) six kids in six years and three months, four of those in under two and a half years.  (It’s like she’s hording, gets the adrenaline rush of a new kid, then needs another to keep the rush going.  And I admit to being bothered that they had IVF and conceived the twins just three months after adopting Pax and bringing him to this country rather than spending time acclimating the child to a new country, home, and siblings.)

I don’t have to go looking for this stuff to be able to tell you the names of celebrity kids, how old they are, and where they were born.  It’s shouted out on every magazine cover.

Okay, so a celebrity has another kid.  Is this really news anymore?  How about more info on Christina Applegate’s cancer treatment?  Something other than Hollywood’s baby boom that’s only snowballing?

It’s at the point where, as soon as Cody and I get to the checkout, he pulls my head this shoulder to try to prevent me from having to see them because he knows I’ll start crying.  The last time we went to the store I had time to glance, and every single magazine by the register, EVERY SINGLE ONE, was about who was pregnant, even the tabloid ones.  Bring back Bat Boy.  ANYTHING!

Even friends of mine who aren’t infertile are tired of seeing this and pissed off especially about how teen moms are made to sound completely normal and put on a pedestal.


Doubts, or just normal fears? October 14, 2008

Filed under: Frustrations — Aria @ 12:42 pm

Fuck fuck FUCK.  Why didn’t he tell me he started having doubts?  WHY?!  So he SAYS he didn’t want me to be sad, but did he think he’d be able to hide this forever?  Did he not stop to think that, when I did find out, that any sadness might be compounded with feeling lied to?

He says he doesn’t feel ready, that he knows some doubts are normal, but he doesn’t know if the level he feels it falls in that normal range.  He said ideally he’d like it to be when he’s 27 (December 7th of next year is when he turns 27), but he knows that cuts into our already-shorter-than-usual time frame, but he is “willing” (his word, not mine) to go ahead anyway because we are against a clock and don’t know when time runs out (family history of endo and very young hysterectomies – my mom was 28, her mom was 31, and her mom was 32, so, already being down an ovary, the docs aren’t hopeful for me beyond a couple more years) and because we have insurance (now) that covers most of it whereas we don’t know if we will in 2010.

He feels his life can still be just as fulfilling without a baby.  Mine won’t.  But can I go forward with trying to conceive a baby the father doesn’t feel ready for and doesn’t want yet?  Or would the better option be to wait to try in a year and a half, even if it means we end up not being able to have a baby in the end?  Is it worth it for that baby to conceive it when we have the best chance and hope that the father ends up feeling different when it’s born?  Or should we wait, even if it means possibly losing the chance?

In my spinning fall, I was desperate for ideas, and actually tossed out the idea of IVF using donor sperm so I can still be a mother and he he wouldn’t have to be a father legally and wouldn’t be obligated to help with the baby in any way, and could adopt later if he decided he wanted to be.  He got a bit offended and said he wouldn’t raise a child who thought of him as anyone but as father, regardless of genetics.

If he is willing, should we go forward and take the chance that he might/might not want the baby later, or should be wait even if it means a substantially decreased chance of having a baby to begin with?


Starting again…again October 8, 2008

October 30th we have yet another appointment with yet another RE.  The third one this year alone.  This time it will be a doctor with Stanford.  While United now claims to cover the doctor and Stanford, as one might imagine, we are weary.  I don’t exactly have home after the games of ping-pong they played with us being the ball.

Exactly what is wrong is known.  What to do about it is known.  Getting it paid for is the problem.  I have little doubt United will try once again to get out of paying.

About all I can do right now to sustain any hope is to make baby items.  Night before last I made a robe.  Last night I made a gown and booties.  They’re as unisex as I can make them.  And them I look at these things and get angry.  I think about the buyout and AIG CEOs spending nearly half a mill at spas at our (all us taxpayers) expense, and I get angry.  I think about all my cousins having so many babies and not a single one of them has a job, every last one of them living on welfare, and it makes me mad that I’m supporting them instead of using the money to have my own, and I get angry.  I look at the floor and see a ghost of a child playing, and I can barely hold back tears.

Tonight I’ll make a bonnet and bib, if I can get the energy.  All the hope I have left is tied up in these little things.