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.
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.
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.