Chris and I are living proof that well meaning the "relax, take a vacation, and don't think about it and it will happen" advice rarely works. A few months back, when much more new and naive to the infertility process, we booked a vacation to Mexico. In retrospect however, the money used for the vacation would have been better served for treatments. I don't regret it though and in fact I believe God works in mysterious ways. With the past few months being as stressful as they were, it was much wanted and much needed get away. It wasn't just a vacation but a temporary escape from everyday problems, including infertility. I don't live to work. I work to live, but lately feel like I can add on to that sentence by saying I work to live (and to pay for our infertility treatments). The life as we once knew it has been forever changed and shaped by our struggles. Not only has my perspective and outlook on life changed but also physical things such as work....I find myself working 3 jobs to save up for treatments and often mentally beat myself up when I buy simple things such as a cup of coffee the morning after working a 12 hour shift. I want alot of things in life that money can buy such as a pool for our backyard, but I would never take on extra jobs to pay for it. I learn to do without and live within my means. Whoever said money doesn't buy happiness never struggled with not being able to have a baby. Needless to say the next few months I will be buckling down to save the cash needed for just one chance of that dream.
The vacation was great. On any given "normal" day when going through treatments, I can honestly say I think of our problem well above 50 to 75% of the time. Some days, I'd venture to say 100% of the time. Many times I try to forget just for sanity sake but it's so hard. I'll be having a conversation about how to treat one of my patients at work or I'll be out with friends talking about old times and in the back of my mind my thoughts of infertility are shouting at me and racing through my mind. Sometimes they are so loud I can't even hear what others are saying. It's frustrating and not fair to myself or the people trying to have my attention. I can't help it and I know that no one wants to hear my sob story every-time I think of it so I try best to ignore these thoughts. When in Mexico I only thought of it a few times. I'm not sure how this is possible, but like I said, God works in mysterious ways. We enjoyed the vacation and didn't think about baby making too much, even though it was the week I was ovulating. I'm back from Mexico with only memories, pictures and a few souvenirs. There is no great story to tell about how we tried and tried to conceive for months and months and then went on vacation to paradise and then magically got pregnant. We are NOT the minority that this happened to. Now I can honestly say I've tried ALL the advice so kindly given to us. It didn't work so we are back to modern medicine and the marvels of science. When living with infertility you learn the hard way (and pretty quickly) that our expectations and ideas of how we'd like things in life to happen aren't always a reality. Never in my wildest dreams did I think (or want) to conceive our baby in a petri dish after being drugged with enough hormones to perhaps kill a chicken. So again, there is no great romantic story that we will get to tell people or our future child about how they came to be.
At our last consult with the doctor we all agreed to try one more IUI cycle, but with a different approach....injectable hormones. I responded well to clomid (oral hormone), however the injectable medications will allow for even more eggs to be "harvested", thereby increasing our chances. This is our last stop before taking the plunge to IVF. Tomorrow officially starts our 4th, and last IUI attempt. I will be completing initial bloodwork and ultrasounds and on Thursday will be starting to give myself daily shots of Follistim. I guess I'll learn more tomorrow on how all this works. I've learned there's not much patient education involved in learning to give yourself injections. It's pretty much, "grab your skin and fat, stick the needle in, and press the plunger." MUCH easier said than done when you hate needles.
The bump in the road is that I learned some disturbing news about my prescription coverage. While it's much better than most, it's not perfect. Months back I remember calling the insurance company to inquire about drug coverage and was pleased to hear that my co pays for most medications would run about $65 per medication. I used to complain about a $20 co pay, but after learning these drugs can cost thousands of dollars it was music to my ears. Now all we needed to come up with was the money for the actual procedure. WRONG!. Today I learned the catch. I have a $5000 per lifetime cap. What does this mean exactly? Most of these drugs cost hundreds of dollars for one dose. I still have to pay a small co pay, but the insurance covers the rest. BUT after they pay out their $5000 I'm on my own and it's all out of pocket. Today I learned that a 900 unit of Follistim can cost $1600 per vial! What the pharmacist said is that I can basically use the entire allotment on just ONE medication. Today I ordered Follistim and it cost about $800 with a $65 co pay....which comes out of the $5000 pot. What this means is that when and if we need to do IVF we will need to self pay more most of the medications. When calculating figures on paper a few months back I did not anticipate this. Most likely this will further delay our attempt. We've gotten through worse and will learn to adapt.