Therapy

I’ve been seeing a therapist for 10 years and he’s Amazing! I wasn’t referred to him I just looked up a clinic that would accept my insurance and Andrew agreed to take me on as a patient. I remember driving to my first appt with butterflies in my tummy wondering if I was making the right decision to open up to a total stranger about some of the most personal things that were going on in my life.

Just a little background on why I started therapy. 6 weeks into my relationship with John he had a massive heart attack, he was only 26 yrs old. Our relationship was still so new we should have been out having fun with not a care in the world but his heart condition put a screeching halt to that. He spent a week in the hospital and had a stent put in. I’m going to use layman’s terms when I explain this, he was born with a heart defect that was never detected and one of his artery’s to the heart was curled so even the most minuscule amount of plaque blocked the artery which caused him to have a heart attack. It was a tough time for us, we instantly went from being carefree in our 20’s to dealing with physical therapy appts, medications, thousands of dollars in medical bills and the emotional toll a heart attack takes on a 26 year old guy who’s been an athlete all of his life. I’m not going to lie it was a lot to take on and it was hard on the both of us but I knew that there was something special about this fella that I just couldn’t walk away from. And that’s how our love story started, with a broken heart…literally.

I typically see Andrew for therapy once a week, throughout the 10 years I’ve taken breaks here in there but for the most part I’m consistent with once a week. Andrew has gotten me through a lot:

  • the heart attack
  • losing my job and then finding another one
  • 3 miscarriages
  • 2 tubal pregnancies
  • 6 surgeries
  • and everything Infertility related

He’s been my go to guy for so long, He talks me off the ledge and lets me shelf things that I’m just not ready to deal with yet. He calls me out on my bullshit and isn’t afraid to call me Teresa when I need to be set straight… just like my mom does. He’s become such an important person in my life because he’s seen me at my most vulnerable. A few weeks ago He told me he’s going out on FMLA and will most likely not be going back to the clinic.  I know it’s selfish but all I can think of is how am I going to get through my last hurdle of infertility without him. This is the final chapter doesn’t he want to know how it ends, how can he just close the book and never think of me…maybe that’s how therapy works I don’t know because this is the only experience I have. How can someone know all of my secrets and struggles but yet I only know maybe 10 things about him. I’m embarrassed to write this but he feels like my friend and I’m losing him.

I had one last appt with him before he went out on leave. Driving to the office I felt just as nervous as I was the very first time I went. I never imagined that he would turn into such an important person to me. I cried hard and ugly in front of him while saying goodbye. How do you sum up 10 years and thank someone for always being there and never judging. It’s only been a few weeks and I miss our standing Saturday appointments, I got so much out of these last 10 years and I will forever be grateful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Best of Us.

 

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The best of me + The best of him = The Best of Us. It seems like such a simple equation but when you mix in the science and the DNA of it all, that’s when things can get a little complicated. Even though I think we’re compatible in more ways than I can count, our DNA and egg quality may not.

My retrieval was on 4/6, this time around they were able to retrieve 14 eggs that’s 5 more than my last retrieval. Considering my age that’s a good number and I will gladly be ecstatic about it. Out of those 14 eggs 13 of them fertilized, again I’ll be ecstatic about that number as well. Then I had to wait 4 whole days to find out how many of those embryos made it to day 5. Cue my ecstatic state when I found out I had 4 mature on day 5. They sent my cells to Colorado for testing and out of those 4 only 1 came back genetically normal. I know…I know I should be ecstatic with 1 but I so wanted there to be 2 just in case. In case the first one didn’t work we would still have another shot, in case it did work and I somehow talked John into trying for baby #2. But here we are again with 1 embryo, it’s like I’m watching a rerun of my last retrieval. I did have my consult with the dr and found out that the 1 embryo we do have is a 4AA which my dr was very giddy about so it was hard to not also be giddy! She said looking at the embryo she would never guess it was from a 43 year old….I’ll take that as a compliment.

So now we wait for CD 1. I have found it’s so much easier to wait for something when it’s nice outside than when it’s below freezing with a foot of snow on the ground. I’ve got a lot to keep my occupied until then and just like preparing for retrieval the time will sneak up on me and I’ll be in the midst of drugs and all of the other  worrying and over analyzing that goes along with a transfer. Is it weird that I want the time to go slowly this time because once it’s here I will know one way or another…Either I’m pregnant and my life will change drastically or I’m not and I continue living life as I know it; but that also means closing this chapter. For 7 years my life has been tracking, taking drugs, going to dr appts and waiting constantly for this or that. I’m not sure who I will be if I don’t have all of those things to preoccupy me. Either outcome is going to make me a different person and I pray with all of my heart that the stars align, my lining is at least an 8mm and this perfect little 4AA embaby decides to make its grand entrance into this world–because we’re ready to be the best parents ever!

 

 

The Eve before IVF #2

Dr appts everyday this week.

2 snowstorms which made trips and traffic to the dr appts horrible.

I had a 2-hour job interview because really why not throw in a little more chaos to my week.

I ran out of meds twice because my transfer was pushed out because those follicles were taking their sweet ass time growing. We have one pharmacy that fills fertility meds and round trip it takes about an hour and 30 mins from start to finish and remember we got 2 snowstorms this week so again not fun with the driving. I can seriously see why couples get divorced over infertility because this shit is stressful! Thank god I’ve got one of the good guys because he’s been nothing but amazing through this entire process. He’s picked up the meds, gotten up before the sun to mix them and has shot me up every single time only drawing blood once or twice. He’s the one that keeps me balanced and he calls me a Warrior….hardly!

I have to be a the clinic at 7am tomorrow morning, I’m so ready to be done with this. I want my body and my emotions back. I want to feel normal for a few weeks with absolutely nothing in my system. I’m not nervous or afraid, I’m going into the retrieval with no expectations I have no idea idea how many eggs they will get or how many will make it to day 3 or day 5 and then how many will make it through the genetic testing. It’s all out of my hands and I know that I did everything possible for this to be successful. I’ve been taking my supplements for 8 months and in the last 35 days I’ve been to the gym every.single.day. and because of that my name is #7 on the biggest user wall at the gym! I feel healthy. Considering everything I’ve been through I’m going to chalk that up as a huge win.

Tonight we’re having a dinner date at Portillo’s because John always likes to do something special before I go in for what he calls crappy stuff. Cheers to this chaotic week ending on a positive note.

 

IVF #2: Don’t Overthink

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It’s in my blood to overthink and it’s just not about one thing or another, it’s about everything. When I went through my first IVF I wrote down that I was going to “Enjoy the Journey.” That didn’t work so well for me because I ended up not being pregnant. This time around I felt like I needed another phrase to focus on and it came to me when I was furniture shopping. I walked into the store and saw a pillow with the words in big black letters, “Don’t Overthink.” I’m not a huge impulse buyer but I walked out of that store with a $25 pillow and you know what, I didn’t overthink that purchase for even a second….the couch and loveseat I also ended up buying did cause me a lot of overthinking stress though….baby steps!

So things are getting real for me as I start the prep work for IVF #2. Leading up to this point we’ve had a few bumps in the road because naturally why wouldn’t we. It started with the clinic experiencing a security breach meaning all of our medical history ended up compromised, this was not a good first impression with our new clinic. I swear nothing is safe anymore. Then I got a letter stating the doctor I had been working with decided to leave the practice. Ugh…Seriously. I felt like she knew our story, showed us the compassion that made me feel good and was going to do everything in her power to help us make a baby and now she was leaving us. I had since met the other doctor who actually opened the clinic and she is just as amazing so I know I’ll still be in good hands. I’m finally at the point where CD1 starts, I have my baseline scheduled for the next day and I swear I can’t even make this up, I wake up with the flu. Like the kind that had me out of commission for 4 days. I was too sick to even cry about it, best diet in the world though. lol! Things get postponed another month only to have the nurse forget to tell me to start my priming meds. Again it’s hard to get mad because really what good would it do and I make mistakes at my job too even though I don’t have a job that affects someone’s life! It sucks that it got delayed but I want to be in a position where I know I’ve done everything possible to be successful. So I’m about a week away from CD1 and I’m hoping for an early April retrieval with no more bumps in the road. In the meantime I’m going to try really hard not to Overthink!

Being alone at the end.

Last Friday I went to a funeral for my Auntie Grace.  I like to think I got my flair for being Fabulous from her because she was the true definition of Fabulous and losing her has hit my family hard. If you really want to put your own life into perspective attend a funeral; a million thoughts raced through my mind as I sat through the service, mostly what would my older version of me look like without a child/children. Who would be sitting with me when it was time to say goodbye; totally depressing I know but it was a sad day already so why not. My Auntie Grace’s legacy wasn’t about her  money or possessions it was about the 2 rows of people sitting in the front of the church, her husband of 59 years, her 3 children and her 6 grandchildren. I may never get to experience half of what she had but I promise myself I’m going to try to my hardest and pray that this round of IVF will be successful and at my end I will have the legacy I have fought so hard to get.

This morning I had to attend an IVF class that my clinic puts on as an overview of what to expect during the IVF process. Even though we’ve already been through IVF we still had to go because this is a new clinic for us. I had a rough weekend, I think the holidays are getting to me and I’m just so angry that each month we continue to try for a baby on our own and each month we’re not successful. On top of all of those feelings, plus having to be at the clinic at 7:30 this morning and knowing that the clinic just recently had been hacked and all of our medical records and personal information have been compromised I wasn’t in the best of moods going into this. It turned out to be a really positive appt, we sat through the overview which was just a nice refresher and then I met with my case nurse who was absolutely amazing! She listened to our concerns, answered our questions and was so compassionate. She shared that she had been through IVF as well so she gets it. I love connecting with people who actually get it and after the appt I gave her a big hug and thanked her for sharing her story with us. It’s so nice to be at a clinic that actually cares and I’m super excited to start the protocol, it’s so different than the first one I was on. They start by prepping you for about 3 weeks prior to injections so hopefully I’ll start that sometime within the next 8-10 days. If all goes well the retrieval will be the end of Jan with a transfer in late Feb/early March. That seems forever away but I know in reality it will be here before I know it. So here we go again….

Chances.

I knew in my heart that when my cycle in July failed that I wasn’t done. I found a new clinic to work with and my experience has been so different with them. I’ve had to start from scratch with all of the testing but it’s been worth it because I feel like they’ve been more thorough and they have a different approach on treating me due to my history. I had an appt earlier this week to talk about all of my lab results so we could determine if my levels were still good enough to use my own eggs or if we should consider donor eggs. All of my lab work came back within normal range which is pretty amazing consider I’m almost 43. This doctor is completely ok with me using my own eggs. The protocol would be a little different than I did last time which may or may not improve the amount of eggs that they retrieve. We talked about the option of using donor eggs and what would be involved if we went that route. I will admit that I was starting to think donor might be the way for us to go because it’s been 6 years and even though my levels are within normal range we’ve either miscarried or had tubal pregnancies. I felt like we had a pretty big decision ahead of us and the dr was very supportive and told us to take the time we needed to think it over. All that changed when we met with the finance person, I feel like once again the wind was knocked out of me. She showed us the pricing for doing an IVF cycle using my own eggs. My insurance will cover almost all of one IVF cycle minus the cost of medications which I would have to pay for out of pocket. My insurance will not cover donor eggs and the breakdown from start to finish would cost between $27k-$29k out of our pockets.

I can’t fathom paying $27k but I also can’t fathom going through another IVF cycle, ending up with one good egg and not having it work. Nothing about this journey has been easy and once again this decision we need to make solidifies that.

Ugh what to do…what to do….

On a side note, I read on someone’s blog this morning that today is IVF’s 40th birthday and over 5M babies have entered this world after being conceived with the help of medical intervention. It prompted me to google IVF and to read up on the history, it’s some pretty amazing stuff that happened 40 years ago and is still happening today. So if you’re one of those 5M in one capacity or another celebrate it! I may not be a mom yet but I’m still going out tonight to get a cupcake because if it wasn’t for those doctors and the Brown family who took a chance I wouldn’t be where I am today. Maybe this journey is all about taking chances…..and praying that the chance is history changing.

Healing.

Nothing prepares you for a failed transfer. It was the darkest of days, I closed myself off from my family and my friends. I cried hard and was angry with everyone and everything. I believed with all of my heart that I was pregnant and then the dr called, “I’m sorry you’re not pregnant” no emotion just the facts. It was like a sucker punch. It’s been six weeks since that phone call and I’m healing.

A few months ago I was asked to judge a pageant and I really think being a part of the pageant world again helped heal my heart. The events filled my calendar and no matter how much I dreaded getting all dressed up, doing my hair and putting on make-up at the end of the night I felt good about myself again. I re-connected with old friends, made new ones and was honored to be able to give two lucky girls a title and a crown that they will forever hold in their hearts. The whole experience was life changing and was presented to me exactly when I needed it the most and for that I feel very grateful.

So now the question I keep asking myself is “where do I go from here.” I’m fighting with my insurance company because they denied my claim, they told me that I was out of network so I’m in the process of appealing that. There is no way I’m getting stuck with this $14k bill. The #1 reason we were even able to do IVF was because my insurance increased my coverage to $20k and I never would have used a clinic that wasn’t in my network. They make you jump thru so many hoops in the hopes you get discouraged and give up but I’m in this one until the very end.

I’m meeting with my ob/gyn in 2-weeks for a few reasons. 1) she’s amazing and has a passion for women’s health specifically fertility issues. 2) I’m going to see if it might be beneficial to go in for laparoscopy to get my endo cleaned out again. 3) This last one is my own selfish reason, I just want to go see a dr who actually gives a shit about me. We hated our infertility clinic so much and I want to go back to the clinic, the dr’s and nurses that made me feel safe and cared about me.

On 10/4 I have an appt to meet with a new infertility clinic who I’ve heard really good things about….I wish I would have known about them months ago. We’re just going to be gathering information we’re not sure if we want to go through another transfer or not. That’s where we’re at for now, no decisions have been made we’re weighing all of our options first. Call me crazy I just don’t feel like my journey is over yet.