I sure do hope you know what movie that is from! That’s exactly what I told Paul after we got all the details of our treatment ironed out. As we get ready to begin IVF, it feels very surreal; part of me is still in disbelief that we are really doing this. Then the excitement of realizing we are that much closer to our dream coming true kicks in and all the disbelief crumbles. Despite everything we have been through, I feel more grounded, relaxed, and positive than ever. But first let’s rewind.
On April 18th, 2014 I had my second surgery. Dr. A performed a Laparoscopy, Hysteroscopy, and a Bi-Lateral Salpingectomy. In the simplest of terms, he removed both of my tubes and checked for any other complications. If you remember from anatomy class, there is no possible way a woman can get pregnant on her own without her tubes. I guess some part of me clung to the dream that we would have one of those miracle babies at some point down the road. You’ve all heard the stories of couples who try for years and end up doing IVF/adopting only to later be blessed with a “miracle baby” all on their own. This will never be a possibility for us.
When Dr. A sat me down after he discovered the Hydrosalpinx was still in my right tube, he actually gave me the option of the surgery or proceeding straight to IVF. He said the fluid wasn’t horrendous, but it definitely wasn’t good. There was a 50% chance that the Hydrosalpinx would not leak and harm the embryo, or there was a 50% chance that it could. He said if we went the surgery route, he would do everything he could to salvage my left tube. But he expressed very openly that if it looked too bad, he would remove that one as well. He wanted me to be emotionally prepared since removing both tubes is permanent. This is just one of the many things I love about Dr. A.; he is brutally honest, yet caring at the same time. We sat there and talked for about 45 minutes. This busy, miracle doctor didn’t rush me through making this decision. I asked him what his professional opinion would be and he responded with the surgery route, but that it was entirely my decision. Oddly enough I didn’t even cry or hesitate when I told him to schedule me for surgery.
I knew that this would give me the very best possible chance of the IVF working. IVF is extremely expensive and I didn’t want to go through a round with the chance that it may not work due the one circumstance that I actually could control. I decided to take back control for the first time in my journey and man, did it feel good. I felt confident that even if Dr. A had to remove both tubes, that I was giving my body the fighting chance it needed.
So on April 18th, Paul and I checked into Christ hospital at 5:45 AM. There were no tears this time around when I woke up in recovery and Paul informed me that Dr. A did have to remove BOTH tubes. I guess you could say I have come a long way since the beginning of my journey. I feel at ease, relaxed, and confident. Even peaceful. I know with all my heart I made the right choice. I was extra reassured when I heard that Dr. A told my husband he felt extremely confident that I was going to have success with the IVF. He reiterated that if you are going to have any type of infertility diagnosis, you want Tubal Damage. It was the easiest to “cure” because you surpass the tubes in IVF; you simply don’t need them. So I left the hospital that day tubeless and as confident as ever.
With IVF comes a lot of legal paperwork/decisions we also had to complete. I had contacted my insurance and they informed me that once I received the “infertility” diagnosis, they would stop covering any treatment I received. No office visits, no blood draws, not one single aspect of the treatment I needed would be covered. To them it was not a disease and deemed as not medically necessary. Therefore, we made the decision to do the Money Back Program. If we were able to produce embryos to freeze this would give us 6 total attempts (3 fresh IVF cycles & 3 FET cycles (Frozen Embryo Transfer)) to achieve our dream. Even though it seemed crazy expensive at $17,500 plus the cost of meds, this was statistically the best and most logical choice. Plus God forbid it didn’t work, we would get 70% of that money back. We also had to complete a psychological questionnaire to ensure we were both mentally prepared (and sane) to embark on the IVF challenge. I guess they don’t want crazy people trying to reproduce. Then came one of the harder choices: what did we want to do with the extra frozen embryos in case one of us (or both) passed away? We decided to donate them to medical research. If this tragedy were to occur, at least maybe someone else could benefit. All of these documents were legal binding contracts.
On Tuesday, April 15th, we had our Education Day at IRH. Here we met with one of the IVF nurses, Ricia. She walked us through the entire process from the very first step all the way through to the last. I was given my medical protocol down to the exact daily medicine dosages along with a general timeline of events. I learned how to administer the injections I would need to do 1-2 times a day. Always fully prepared, I had a list of over 30 additional questions that Ricia helped to answer as well. By the time we left IRH, I felt I had a really good grasp on what we could expect. We were prepared and ready.
I began calling Fertility Pharmacies and pricing my medications right away. I was amazed at how expensive it was for one month’s worth of meds. The prices ranged anywhere from $2,800-$5,600!!! I also applied for Compassionate Care; a program that provides discounts on fertility medicines as long as you can show proof of hardship and the need for financial help. So I wrote a pretty kick ass letter and provided a copy of our 2013 Tax Filing. I was overjoyed when we received the phone call saying we were eligible for a 50% discount off my medications for a whole year!!! The Compassionate Care along with a coupon brought down the cost of meds from $2,800 to $1,111.00!! I also applied for several IVF grants/scholarships, but have yet to hear back on any of them. Slowly, I felt like our luck was beginning to change in our favor.
Wednesday, April 30th, I received the next day air package of my medications, or as a fellow member of IRH calls it “My Box of Hope!” (Thanks Jennifer!). As I sat down to organize them all, I couldn’t help but feel slightly overwhelmed. I mean look at it all!!!
But more than overwhelmed I was excited! For the first time since we began this journey a year ago, we were taking our first step towards real treatment! No more major setbacks. “We’re really doing it, Harry,” I told my husband. (all right it’s a Dumb & Dumber reference!!) I felt like I should feel nervous, scared, or maybe even sad that this was what we had to go through to have a baby. But oddly enough, I wasn’t any of those things.
I think a huge part of the reason I was so excited was due to the level of support we receive. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: FAMILY AND FRIENDS- you truly are AMAZING!! You have helped to make this experience so much easier, knowing we have people cheering and praying for us along the way. The unconditional love and support you all offer to Paul and I makes me tear up every time I think about it!
I also have to contribute a lot of my positive and peaceful state of mind to the wonderful women in my support group. This group consists of women who are currently undergoing some kind of infertility treatment at IRH. There are monthly meetings where we meet face to face, along with an online support system where we can share our stories, questions, struggles, joys, and fears that arise throughout our journeys. I have never met a more inspiring, resilient, stronger group of women. Many have experienced true heartache and loss, along with repeated disappointment. But they keep fighting. They keep encouraging others. The positive energy that they give off can be truly felt. And instead of feeling alone, I was met with “ME TOO”. Two little words have never felt so great to hear. Some of these woman I have never met, but I feel as though I have known them for years! I will never be able to truly explain how the strength that I have received from these woman has helped to ease the pain of this emotional struggle.
So as we are ready begin our first IVF cycle, I feel I have come full circle. I am ready for this next chapter in my life. I am eager and excited to start the treatment that I felt I kept getting pushed further away from. It’s no longer one step forward, ten steps back. Watch out world, cause the Roses are moving full speed ahead and can’t nobody hold us down!! Oh no, we’re gonna keep on moving!!!