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A moment of hope

02/26/2014

Belle

For a brief moment I dipped my toes back into the insanity that is infertility treatment. After writing about our remaining embryo I called my RE in Ohio. We had a nice long chat, catching up on his kids and filling him in on the kid he helped create. Then we talked options with the remaining embryo:

  • He gives this one embryo a 20% chance of producing a take-home baby. This is much higher a chance than I ever expected.
  • We can opt for a traditional FET.
  • We can opt for a non-medicated “compassionate transfer” when the embryo is transferred to a non-prepared uterus. Chance of success is much less, as is out of pocket cost.
  • We can donate our one embryo. Yes, there are families who will adopt a single embryo. He is not sure if anyone would be open to an open adoption where the kids can know each other, though.
  • Or we can discard the embryo.

And then he threw in a little factoid that made my heart pound, my palms sweat and my mind wander back into the muddy waters of IVF – New York is a mandated state. Meaning infertility testing and treatment is covered here. BUT, there can be some catches with IVF. What? Coverage could be provided? IVF could be free? We could have piles and piles of babies (not really) and not drain our savings again? Suddenly our 900 square foot apartment seemed so small and the possibilities for our family seemed so large.

I dug around the Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield webpage and did not find anything regarding infertility coverage so I phoned. It took a long time but they finally got back to me last night on our coverage.

Let me first say that since placing that initial call my outlook on life, on Sabine, on my marriage, on New York, on everything changed drastically. Suddenly I was saving baby outfits and looking at buying toys that would last us several kids. I even ordered Sabine a lovely wooden drum that will easily last years. I chatted comfortably with my mom friends about their plans for No. 2 and for the first time ever I did not feel like a mom-impostor. Not that I don’t feel like a real mom, because I am and I do, but often I feel like my take on parenthood comes from somewhere very different than theirs. My plans for the future of my family include things like three plane tickets to Australia, not a three night stay in a fancy birthing suite for Baby No. 2. I just feel… different. But after placing that call, I felt very much the same, minus the need for heavy injectable drugs and multiple dates with a dildo cam.

Then last night the insurance called while I was on the train to Manhattan for class. I saw the voice mail pop up when I was underground and eagerly waited for us to stop in a station where there was service. After what seemed like hours, but was only minutes, we pulled into the 96th Street Station and paused long enough for me to hear the message – basic testing is covered. IVF is not.

It felt like someone had pulled the plug out of my heart and all my hopes and fantasies drained out. I knew that feeling all too well. I felt it when I reacted poorly to Clomid. I felt it when I hyperstimulated. I felt it when my fresh cycle was turned frozen. I felt it when I miscarried. I felt it when my natural birth plan was changed to a c-section. I am well acquainted with the feeling and it was not good to be back there after so much joy (re: Sabine).

When I got to class I quickly texted my husband, who was on bedtime duty and battling a child who won’t take a bottle and is not a big fan of solids (a post for another day).

“The insurance called back. IVF is not covered. Relish every moment with Sabine, even when she is sad and challenging. She will be it.”

We have not spoken about that text yet, but I know he saw it. This morning I could hear the change in his voice with her. He, too, had been living the past two weeks on borrowed hope. Even more disheartening is that I am crying while writing this. I feel like I’m back where I started, mourning the loss of something that was not really there. Mourning the loss of a hope, while missing precious moments of joy elsewhere.

I am sad that there will not be another fresh IVF cycle, and that Sabine’s chances at a sibling are again very slim. At the same time, I feel a little relief that I can return to the life I have built up for months – one with the three of us. One where 900 square feet is plenty, the world is our playground (as three plane tickets are much more affordable than four) where we will always have one extra seat in the car for Sabine’s friends (assuming we ever buy another car!), where we can infinitely invite a solo diner to join our table for four (as we do often at the local pub).

With this post I want to renew my vow to enjoy every second with my tiny girl. I want to stay focused on what is important – the present, the gift that is today – and comfortably release the sadness I might feel over what we do not have or have lost. Just like I let Pip go in the rolling hills of Shaker Village, I am ready to let my dream of No. 2 go while remaining filled with joy over our No. 1.

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As for our remaining embryo, we will continue to pay quarterly storage and will make a decision in a year or two as to what to do. It is worth the money to do this. Realistically, I would like to transfer it during a medicated cycle that we time to correspond with a visit to Kentucky. Again, though, we will make the ultimate call in a year or two.

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One upside to all of this is that insurance will cover any testing and treatment I might undergo to determine why I don’t have periods. It is not healthy not to cycle and something that I need to address once I am done breast feeding. I am thankful there will be no battles with this, no matter how many times “ovulatory disorder” and “PCOS” is scratched into my chart.

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16 Comments

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  1. Mo #
    February 26, 2014

    I cried reading this. Good tears and sad tears. I wish you didn’t have to go through that all over again. But I’m so happy you’re embracing your amazing family.
    Huge hugs.

  2. February 26, 2014

    What a roller coaster. It almost makes one want to choose where they live based on state insurance laws.

  3. February 26, 2014

    Wow, that’s just so much. Thank you for sharing this poignant (and painful) moment with us. I am glad you were blessed with one of the most adorable babies on the planet, and that you cherish her so wonderfully. I am saddened for you that you are dealing with this heartache again.

  4. February 26, 2014

    I can relate. We have no frosties and whether we do ivf again is very much in the air. And of course, even if we do it again, there are no guarantees as aways. I did both of my ivfs in ohio. Now I’m curious what clinic u used? If I’m not being too nosy by asking. I used IRH and UC Center for Reproductive Health.

    • February 26, 2014

      Me too! We saw Dr Burwinkle and he was amazing!!

      • February 26, 2014

        Dr Burwinkle did our first transfer. I loved him! He was my favorite at IRH although Dr Awadalla was actually our RE. I met all of the Drs at some point while doing iuis and ivf. I cycled there in Nov 2012 so we were probably going there around the same time. Small world! :)

  5. February 26, 2014

    It is never fun to return to that place. That place of sadness over something we don’t even have, but wish (even just slightly) we could. It’s a place that very few people know, but a place we all know so very well. I’m sorry you had to go there again.

    It’s funny you mention the compassionate transfer. If we have frosties left after a third baby, I was just thinking last night that I’d like to transfer them into me, off-cycle, so they can live out their remaining moments with me. For medical reasons, I can’t have a 4th pregnancy. I didn’t know what to call this, but that’s exactly what it is.

    Thinking of you.

  6. February 26, 2014

    That image of someone pulling the plug out of your heart–devastating. I’m sorry your hopes were lifted for that short time, just to be dashed again. It’s a feeling I think we all know a bit too well. Hugs to you and your precious #1.

  7. catie #
    February 26, 2014

    Have you and the Professor considered moving to Massachusetts? Lots of colleges to teach in and health insurance is required to cover fertility treatment (including IVF.) If you don’t feel that your family is complete maybe it’s something to consider?

    For me one is the perfect number of children but I’m very aware that not everyone agrees with me. :)

  8. Amy #
    February 26, 2014

    I’m sorry, truly. I don’t think you are alone, though & I think most moms feel like a fraud in some way/at some time. I don’t have infertility issues, but I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks & lost my daughter’s twin at birth (32 weeks). I feel so awkward most of the time. Dancing between wanting to be open & not wanting to be weird & over share. Getting pregnant to have my son was scary, full of worry, doubt…facing fears of the past & not wanting the pain of loss again. I think this is part of the burden of motherhood, not matter how functioning of a uterus you have. You are lovely & kind & relatable. Thank you for sharing your thoughts & story & I hope you fell a bit less alone- I know I do! Big hugs to you!
    Ps. I’m an only child & (mostly!) content with it.

  9. February 26, 2014

    I just wanted to ask why the doctor told you a natural fet was a lower chance of success??? Studies show that there is no difference and some studies show a natural environment is better for the embryo!?! I did a natural fet with only 1 embryo and we are 7+ wks pregnant. We did end up doing PGD but an unmediated cycle is under 4K depending where you do it. Don’t wait!! Your body gets older every month. If you can do a payment plan try it as soon as possible!! I know that I wasn’t ok with having just one child .. I feel your pain! Good luck and I’ll be praying for your miracle!!!!

  10. February 27, 2014

    I’m so sorry. The situation is similar here in California – testing and even IUIs may be covered, but not IVF. I know the feeling of getting hopeful and then being let down… But I’m so glad you have Sabine to focus on, to love.

  11. nonsequiturchica #
    February 28, 2014

    I found the same thing in CT- testing and IUIs are covered, but not IVF. It’s so frustrating. When you do your FET I will be crossing everything I have in hopes that it works!!

  12. February 28, 2014

    Ugh. This made me tear up too. I have all these thoughts. We are fortunate enough to be able to keep trying for a second, but the more it takes the more I wonder if we will never get there. If I haven’t cherished every moment enough. As it all has been flying by I keep promising myself I will do it again. I buy gender neutral pjs and snowsuits and convertible strollers that accommodate two…..I don’t know how to deal with that decision being out of my hands.
    Enjoy that gorgeous baby. She is 100% worth the heartache incurred.

  13. March 1, 2014

    I’m so sorry you didn’t get the news you wanted or needed to hear. Any chance of switching insurance? Any chance of trying naturally? I don’t know your background. Sabine is perfect and beautiful!!!

  14. March 16, 2014

    Belle: curios to know what the doctors said about the cost to thaw and use? We have one left too and also paying storage fee. Debating on next steps! We are 38/41 this year!

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