Thursday, February 28, 2008

Salt in the Wound

First let me say that I really liked the new therapist I saw at my RE's office. I'll write more about my first appointment in a later post, but first I have to share something that happened just before my appointment that really bugged me.

There I was in the waiting room ready for my first appointment at my clinic's counseling center when a couple came into the small waiting room with their 9-month-old. First I was in total shock. I think mostly because I see that area as a safe place. It's where I wait for acupuncture and it's a soothing environment. There are soft colors and lighting, green plants, even a waterfall. This is one of the premier mind-body infertility centers in the country. It's been designed to feel like a haven. I guess it shocked me because obviously there are no havens.

When the shock wore off, and I realized the little family was sitting down next to me, I started losing it. I couldn't look at them, it hurt so much. Honestly, it felt like someone had kicked me in the gut and if I caught a glimpse of them I felt kicked again. I pretended to read a book, Conquering Infertility (yeah right), but I was just trying really really hard not to cry. When the dad started playing with the baby, making gorilla noises I started tearing up. It was one of those situations where I just wanted a hole to open in the earth so I could disappear into it. I'm seeing a counselor there because I'm having a hard time coping with the idea that this next IVF cycle is our last, that DH and I may need to let go of the dream of having a biological child. I know my response to this family was strong. That's why I'm there. But why would you bring a child to the counseling center of all places in the clinic? Yeah, let's go to where people are hurting the most and rub salt in their wounds.

I thought that maybe they were getting couples counseling but I couldn't figure out how you could do that with a child in tow. It seems like it would be kind of distracting. When I thought I was going to have to leave and go wait in the lobby, finally a counselor came out and called the mom in. Just the mom. No couples counseling. She kissed dad and he left with the baby. I got mad when I realized that he was leaving. WTF! If he wasn't staying anyway, why didn't dad just leave with the baby in the first place? What makes it worse is that I heard the counselor and the mom talking about how they had seen each other about 2 years ago so the mom must have experienced primary infertility. How could you forget what that felt like? I think I'm harder on my fellow IFers when they do something insensitive than I am on others who are just plain ignorant. She should have known better.

Children at the RE office is one of my pet peeves. It just strikes me as so inconsiderate and insensitive. I sympathize with not being able to get a babysitter, but I hate the idea that's it's OK to do something that hurts other because it's too inconvenient for you to make other arrangements. Let's face it, if you really wanted to find an alternative you could. It may not be your first choice, but it is possible. Bringing your child to the RE is either a willful disregard for the feelings of others (I know this hurts you but my needs come first) or a willful diminishing of them (you shouldn't be so sensitive). I'm sure a response to my rant would be that if I were a parent I would feel differently. I like to think that if I were faced with the same situation in the future that I would not forget the pain I'm feeling now.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

If the shades don't fit. . .

Yesterday DH and I went on a mission to buy new shades for our bedroom. The blinds we have aren't room darkening and it's been driving DH crazy. He often works nights and sleeps during the day so it is an issue. When he has to sleep during the day he usually ends up sleeping downstairs in our family room where it's pretty cave-like. I dutifully did my measurements before we went. I measured in 3 places, both vertically and horizontally. I checked and rechecked so we wouldn't end up with room darkening shades that don't cover the whole window. We went to our local home store where I had the shades cut with confidence. I was such a smarty that I even remembered to grab the hardware needed to put up the shades. No return trips for me!

Of course, you can guess what happened when we got home. DH went to put up the shades while I folded laundry. When he called my name I knew something was wrong. There he was trying to make the shade fit into the bracket. Now, DH is not the most handy guy so I figured that he probably just put the bracket on backwards or something cutely inept like that. It turns out that there's not enough clearance between the window and the edge of the window frame to fit shades. Apparently that's why the previous owner had blinds and why the blinds stuck out a bit further than usual. It wasn't a huge shock since our house has never been an easy one when it comes to measurements. The previous owner did some funky stuff in an effort to keep costs down and most of it was shit work.

What was a total shock was my reaction to the little snafu. I lost it, completely and totally lost it. I mean total sobbing self-pity: "All I want is shades in my bedroom. Is that to much to ask? I guess I can't have shades like everyone else. I have to have stupid ill-fitting blinds that I hate. I don't want blinds. I want shades. Why can't I just get what I want?" Then I got mad, yelling at DH about our stupid house and how nothing ever works right: "Why can't we have a normal house and go to the home store like normal people and buy things off the shelves without having to special order them and paying a freakin' fortune? Why is it always so much trouble? Why can't I just decide I want shades and get them and put them up like everyone else does G-d damn it?"

I was a wreck for a good part of the evening. I just wanted to walk out of my house, my life, my own skin. I couldn't stand any of it anymore. So I did what anyone would do. . . I cleaned like crazy. Then at one point, I went for a drive to get my drink of choice when I fall off the wagon-Diet Coke. We don't keep it in the house because I'll start mainlining it before too long if I have access to it. On my way to Cumbies, I fantasized about not stopping. I thought maybe I could drive north to where we go camping during the summer. I just so badly wanted to be in a different place and time. I didn't keep driving because I pictured DH at home and worried about me. I do love that man and don't want to hurt him so I headed for home, with my Diet Coke by my side of course. I got my fix and then I went to bed.

When I woke up this morning, the storm had passed. I feel so much better, except for the lingering sense of shame and embarrassment. Obviously my overreaction was was about my infertility and not about a rotten window shade. I've decided that I need to place a call to my clinic's counselor tomorrow. I think it would be wise to talk with someone about my feelings as we stare down the barrel of our last IVF and plan to jump from the IF roller coaster to the adoption roller coaster. I certainly can't hurt. Goodness knows it would be pretty hard for me to get any crazier than I was last night.

I told DH that the window shade, silly as it sounds, is a symbol for my life right now. I'm still longing for normalcy, for fertility, for a child that doesn't involve medication, insurance battles, paperwork, or major debt. I want it to be easy, but that's not my life. It's not going to be easy. It's not going to be like everyone else's life seems to be. Sometimes you can't get what you want, how you want it. Sometimes you have to learn to love blinds.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

We did it.

DH and I sent in our initial application to apply to adopt through the state. There really wasn't that much to it as it's just a screening application, but it feels like a big step. We still need a CORI check, a home visit, 24 hours of parenting classes, a completed homestudy, and so on. I don't expect it to be easy, but then again nothing is easy. And unlike IVF this move comes with a guarantee. If we're flexible and persistent we should be matched with a child within a year or so.

I am so excited. As a matter of fact, I'm feeling more positive about the future than I have in a long time. It feels like I've been under water and I'm finally surfacing. I can actually breathe again. I still plan to do one more IVF in April, but I'm not feeling so upset about it being my last. Part of me doesn't even want to do it at all-I'm so ready to be done with treatments-but I feel like I have to, if even just so I won't ever have any regrets.

I've been thinking about something I read a long time ago when I first realized I was dealing with infertility. It's about infertility island. It was written in the blog Barren Mare and I just found it again: Infertility Island I still like it, but recently I found this one. I like it even better because it feels like it applies more to my situation: Getting to the Mainland
I guess DH and I have reservations on the boat. Woohoo!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

You don't really mean last, do you?

I have to preface this entry by saying that I know I am lucky to even have insurance that covers IVF.  However, I also have to say that I'm no luckier than most Massachusetts residents.  That being said, I hate my new insurance company.  I had to switch in January because the town for which I worked decided to go to a single carrier and it wasn't mine.  My previous insurer had easily authorized 3 IVF cycles.  They have rules, but they bend them to individual circumstances.  They are a nonprofit and are very humane in their treatment of members.

My new insurer sent me a letter yesterday that they will cover IVF#4 for me, but they made it clear that they are making a one-time exemption because I'm a new member.  I don't meet their criteria at all because I've had two canceled IVF cycles due to poor response.  They're basically giving me a pity cycle.  If I get canceled again, they will cut me off.   There will be no more IVFs paid for by them.   Which means there will be no more IVFs because DH and I have decided that we will spend the money on adoption rather than IVF.  

I was due to start lupron on Monday, but after getting the letter from my insurer last night I had a major meltdown.  I had talked about this being my last cycle before moving to adoption, but I had always had in the back of my mind that I could always do a fifth IVF cycle if I wanted to.  I even knew the RE with whom I would work. Why didn't I just plan to do #4 with her? Because she's in major teaching hospital with a kind of rude and disorganized support staff that's really inconvenient for me to get to.  I figured I could deal with all of that if it's my last shot at IVF.  Well now it looks like it's my last shot at IVF. 

So no big deal go ahead and do IVF#4 with your last shot RE, you say.  I thought that too and put my current cycle on hold until I can figure this out.  It turns out that just because I was approved to do a cycle with one clinic, that authorization doesn't carry over to a new clinic.  The new clinic has to start the process over AND (this is why I hate my insurer) there is no guarantee that they will authorize me to cycle with the new clinic.  Same medical review board, same patient, different decision.  Apparently their decision is dependent on what information they received from the clinic and the medical review board will not even take into account that they themselves just authorized me to cycle.  The prior authorization will just be wiped out.  Gone.  So if I go with my last shot RE, I may not even get to do IVF#4 at all.

I asked if I could find out what information my current RE sent in and was told that only the review board has that information.  I asked if I could contact the review board and was told they don't deal with members.  I asked if the member service rep. with whom I was speaking could get that information for me.  She said no.  

So now I need to decide if I'm going to take a chance with the last shot RE or if my current RE is going to need to be my last shot RE.  Either way I'm not taking lupron on Monday because I need time.  I felt hugely relieved when I made the decision to push my cycle back.  Which leads me to whole new set of questions.  Does this relief mean that I don't really want to do the cycle at all and am ready to move on to adoption?