Friday, April 29, 2016

Welcome to Our Journey to Little Bun

Infertility Blog Link Up - April 29thToday I'm linking up with one of my FAVORITE bloggers, Caroline, over at InDueTime for National Infertility Awareness Week and sharing our TTC story.  There are several ladies who are also participating so I encourage you to head on over to her blog HERE and read on.  We are still on this journey and currently awaiting my next cycle to attempt a frozen embryo transfer.

Hey y'all!  Who are we?  How did this happen?  How did we get here?  And what are we doing to change it?

Daddy Bun and I met in 2000 while working in the same shared office space for our two engineering companies.  After two years of dating, we were married in 2002 on the anniversary of our first date.  We took the plunge in Las Vegas with family and friends there to witness the day.

Daddy Bun had two kids when we got married (ages 6 and 9), promoting me immediately to Stepmom.  But he also had a vasectomy after his daughter was born.  When we married, I happily assumed the role of stepmom extraordinaire.  As time went on, I started to desire our own Little Bun.  So in 2007, Daddy Bun agreed to go back under the knife and get a vasovasectomy (reversal).  Unfortunately, halfway through the procedure the Urologist noted that only one side of his man junk was actually producing sperm....and thankfully he offered us a 50% discount on the very expensive surgery!   Our first diagnosis was TTC after VasoV with Left Side Only (LSO) producing sperm.

We actively TTC'd using charting and temping from August 2007 until midyear 2009, when Daddy Bun had his first SA (semen analysis).  With only the left side connected, we were faced with a count of about 7mil total sperm....what's normal??  Well 15mil is the lowest side of normal, up to numbers in the 200mil. range.  So we were operating at about half the LOWEST level of normal.  Based on those results, our only option was IVF.  We didn't have insurance coverage that included infertility treatments and we didn't have $25k lying around for treatments.  Defeated and deflated, we put the dream for a Little Bun on hold....indefinitely.

From 2009 to 2013 we continued to TTC naturally, in fact we tried several things including:

The "BD every day and it will happen"

The "relax and it will just happen"

The "take a vacation and it will happen"

The "look into adoption and it will happen"

The "stop trying and it will happen"

The "pray harder and it will happen"

The "just look at me right and it will happen"

The "stand on your head and it will happen"

At some point in the summer of 2013, I said forget it, this is NOT going to happen!  And within a few months, my best friend announced she was pregnant.  I could have died the night they told us at a dinner out.  I was so happy for her yet so sad for me.  It was like she took my success...and SHE DIDN'T!  Her success did not mean we failed!  But I was blind to reason and I allowed it to consume me.  It was the worst experience of my life, trying to be happy for her coupled with jealousy that it wasn't me.  I started feeling more anger and resentment at my husband for not pushing for more medical intervention.  I spiraled into depression so deep that at times I wanted to die and other times I was so reckless with myself and my family I wondered how we would make it through.  I did things that were not "me".  I behaved poorly toward my friend who was a new mother by that time.  And with every poor decision, my depression dipped further.  I thought I would never get out.

I don't even recognize the woman I was!  I wish I could say, "That wasn't me."  Ahh, but it was me, all of it, and I have to own that.  So before I continue this story I want you to know that WHAT HAS HAPPENED DOES NOT DEFINE YOU!  God allows us the freedom to make a choice.  For so long I chose sadness and resentment and anger.  And I realized that without His grace, I would continue to be the same bitter, angry, resentful woman. And I did not want to be that woman any longer! 

So keep in mind that no matter who you've been, what you've been through or the choices you've can start today fresh and new.  Every day is a chance to start over.  There is a miracle in just waking up.  Don't let that miracle go to waste on anger or negativity!    

Now, back to our Infertility Story!

So there we were, now in the middle of 2015 and I am broken, our marriage is splintering, my hopes of a baby bun are gone.  So what the heck did I do?  Probably what I should have done in 2013 when I started sinking...I turned to God.  I asked for His forgiveness.  I gave him the backpack I'd been carrying loaded down with all the emotions and situations that got me to that day.  I asked him to bring me a sense of understanding to what transpired and to help me stay focused on improving our marriage.  And with a lot of faith and prayers, God's saving grace, and a supportive partner, I did make it out of those dark days.

So in August of 2015, with renewed strength in our marriage we decided it was time to move forward.  Financially we were able to afford the treatments.  Emotionally we were prepared for the trials and possible defeat.  And together we started on this part of the journey.  And I couldn't ask for a better partner, a better friend, a better man to be on this road with me.

We started seeing Dr. Mark Trolice at FertilityCARE in Winter Park, FL.  I've had my lady bits on
parade since September 2015.

By January 2016,  we completed our first IUI.  Yes it took from September to January to complete all of the diagnostic testing and the sperm analyses to move forward.  I've linked up the posts for my HSG, the Saline Songram, and our Sample Experience from the Infertility Section of my blog.  Check them out for an in depth look into diagnostic testing for infertility and how to plan for those tests.

Daddy Bun and I went through three rounds of IUI's in January, February and March of 2016  with medicated cycles and Ovedril triggers.  None of those ended with a successful pregnancy.  I still have not seen a single BFP.  The costs were right about $8,800 by the third IUI with did not work.

As of April 2016 we are moving forward with IVF, a procedure with a higher chance of success coupled with higher costs.  This is a three month endeavor including three weeks of birth control, about 12 days of ovarian hyper-stimulation with shots twice a day, an egg retrieval where hopefully they collect enough eggs to mature and freeze and finally a frozen embryo transfer which will hopefully result in a viable pregnancy.  

We survived stims and I invite you to check out that blog post HERE.  We also did our egg retrieval last week which I haven't posted about yet though that exciting adventure will be appearing on the blog soon!  In short, we collected 14 mature eggs, 13 of them fertilized with ICSI and 6 of those fertilized eggs made it to Day 5 blastocysts and were frozen for our FET in May.  We are PRAYING this is a one time transfer and we will have a viable pregnancy and a health little bun from the FET.

Our current acronym is TTC w/MFI.  We are Hunny Bun and Daddy Bun, and we want a Little Bun in the Oven.  

Please take a moment to check out Caroline at InDueTime for several other ladies who are sharing their TTC story this week!!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

My Skincare Routine

Hey y'all today I wanted to share something a little different and that is my skincare routine.  A lot of people compliment my makeup which has really improved over the years thanks to makeup application videos on YouTube.  But it's not just the makeup, it really starts with your skincare.

I have never been happy with my skin.  I have dark circles and a ruddy complexion and my face was riddled with adult acne.  I tried lots of products including but not limited to...

ProActive, GlamGlow, Neutrogena, Clean and Clear, Clinique, Philosophy, and Peter Thomas Roth.  I've tried drug store brands, high end brands and even brands recommended by my dermatologist.  And don't even get me started on the masks, toners, peels and moisturizers, the cleansing tools and facial wipes...there are just too many to name!  They all had the same result, a temporary fix, and then right back to the same troublesome problems mentioned above.

I was at a loss until one day on Instagram, my friend Melissa mentioned a company I hadn't even heard called Handcrafted Beauty.  She raved that they made a fabulous product which worked wonders on her skin.  I figured, what the heck let's check them out.  So off I went to review their website and skincare line.  I was skeptical because their products are oil based.  I thought, I am fighting oil ON THE DAILY and they want me to put OIL ON MY FACE!?  Isn't that counter-productive to the problems I'm having?  Do I want more oil on top of oil?  I did not think it was such a good idea.  I dismissed the brand and shrugged my shoulders, setting out for another scrub with the useless products in my medicine cabinet.

As I scrubbed my face with the latest trendy face wash at a cost of $60 per jar, I thought back to the Handcrafted Beauty wash which was $12 and wondered...what if it works?  Shouldn't I just give it a try?  What's the worst that could happen?  Another pimple?  Same old complexion?  I decided to give it a shot and purchased a special they were running at the time which included their Almond Honey CleanserRose Water Toner and Moisturizing Oil.

(from HB website)
Almond Honey Cleanser
Handcrafted Beauty’s All-Natural Almond and Honey cleanser takes an oil base and combines it with Organic Castile Soap and Organic Raw Honey to produce a creamy, gentle cleanser that removes makeup and impurities without throwing your skin out of balance. You are going to love how soft, radiant and supple your skin feels after each use.

Rose Water Toner
This gentle floral water, balances the PH of the skin, while delivering intense hydration and antioxidants, to protect from the signs of aging.  Improves the overall tone, texture and reduces the size of pores.

Moisturizing Oil
Rich in hydration and effective to reduce and prevent the signs of aging. Skin is left smooth, fresh and youthful looking.

They came and I was ready to give it a go.  A little leery, I gave the cleaner a sniff...and it was like an almond honey bit of Heaven, right in a bottle.  Shake well to get the ingredients blended and wash.  You splash your face with water, add a quarter size amount to your hands and rub in circular motions on your face.  I use a washcloth with mine.  I scrubbed around wondering if it was really cleaning my face as I felt a little oily after I was done.  But my skin felt clean and really soft.  I thought, hmmm....not so scary after all.  Let's move on to step two!  I patted my skin dry and spritzed on the Rose Water Toner and the smell was AH-MAY-ZING!  It was like a rose garden on my face.  It was cool and not overdrying like many toners can be and I didn't feel like I just sprayed my face with alcohol.  I allowed it to dry before moving on to the last and scariest step....the Moisturizing Oil.

Remember y'all, my skin is OILY.  I live in Florida where the humidity adds to the oiliness.  I did not want to add oil to my face!  But I bit the bullet and I was going full speed ahead, so I added the oil to my fingers and smoothed it around my face, thinking to myself that the next morning I would wake up with a slew of pimples.

But the next morning came and my face showed no new acne.  I breathed a sigh of relief and washed again, following the routine as I had the night before.  As the days became weeks, I continued to see an improvement in the quality of my skin.  The existing acne was fading and no new acne was popping up.  My face was actually LESS OILY during the day.  My makeup didn't slide off before noon.  Could it be that adding oil to my face was just what it needed to clear up?  Did I stumble upon a miracle product that cured the problems I was having with adult acne and ruddiness?  Was this a HOLY GRAIL product?

I used the entire bottle of cleanser and ordered a second as well as their After Glow scrub to give it a try because I was feeling pretty confident in the brand.

After Glow is also an oil based product.  (From HB) After Glow uses the power of activated charcoal and clay powder, to draw impurities to the surface of the skin, while the sugar gently exfoliates it away.

I used a cheese spreader from the kitchen to mix it up and scoop it onto my fingers.  I followed the directions using circular motions to exfoliate and then took a few selfies while I let the activated charcoal absorb the yuckies out of my pores.  After a few minutes, I used my washcloth and washed it away making sure to remove all the product.  Once clean I patted my skin dry and spritzed with my new favorite toner, the Rose Water.

This has peppermint and wintergreen oil which gives your face a clean and tingly feeling as well as removes impurities.  I loved how my face felt after this scrub and decided this would be a staple twice weekly scrub on my skin.

SIDE NOTE: At the time I placed my order, I noticed that HB had a product called Erase Paste which was made in limited batches and was out of stock.  Kind of bummed, I wondered what kind of miracle in a jar it was. 

Thankfully, in March they released the batch of Erase Paste and I ordered mine.  I was so excited to try it I checked the mail every day waiting on its arrival.  When it came, I immediately opened it up and scrambled to the bathroom to try it out.  I was overjoyed!  This product is creamy and gritty and exfoliates differently than the After Glow.  Again I used my cheese spreader to mix it up and add it to my fingers.  I rubbed in circular motions for a minute or two and then washed away.  My skin felt like NEW!  It was soft and the texture felt smoother.  I loved it MORE than the After Glow.  It feels very similar to many of the microdermabrasion cleansers I've tried.  Between receiving it and now I've been using it three times a week and GUESS WHAT!  The scarring from my acne over the years is diminishing.  The ruddiness and rough texture of my skin is literally smoothing out!  This is really ERASING the damage on my skin.

So what's the difference between the Erase Paste and After Glow?  The after glow really absorbs impurities within your pores while it scrubs and exfoliates your skin and the Erase Paste scrubs away fine lines and fades scarring.  I have to say I recommend BOTH products for different reasons.  I also have to say I've been using both products on my skin weekly so is it one more than the other or the combination of both?  I'm not sure and I'm not willing to give one up over the other to see because why harm a great system that is working for my skin for the first time in over 30 years!  

Since using these products, I have noticed a DRAMATIC improvement in my skin.  I get compliments on my face.  People wonder if I'm getting some sort of cosmetic treatments!  Not only that, my makeup applies easier and it stays on longer, even in this hot humid Florida sun!  I really feel like I owe it all to HB!
Handcrafted Beauty was created by two Michigan gals, Lyndsey and Raquel.  Together, they setup shop in their kitchen, YES y'all, in the kitchen and Handcrafted Beauty was born!  The About the Company page described their startup as two women looking for a better way to clean their face and it grew from friends and family to Handcrafted Beauty.  They use REAL PEOPLE as their guinea pigs, namely...their amazing husbands!  I mean, talk about a keeper when you have a man willing to try your face mask before you release it to the general public!  Their skincare plan is Simple, Pure and Effective and it is JUST THAT!  The ingredients are all natural, you won't find any chemicals here and that is the best part.  Skincare that is good for your face!

On top of the fact shopping with Handcrafted Beauty supports a local, women owned business that cares about their products and the people who use them...they don't overcharge you for their amazing skincare line.  Let's review the costs:

Almond Honey Cleanser: $12

Rose Water Toner: $11
Moisturizing Oil: $13
Erase Paste: $15 
After Glow: $16

This is not only an amazing product that has changed my face, I mean LITERALLY changed my face, it's affordable, it's good for your skin and it's supporting local shops!  To say this is a win-win would be an understatement.  This is a WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN!!

GET ON OVER TO Handcrafted Beauty today and try them out.  Your face will thank you!  

(This is my personal review of products I purchased, I'm not a paid advertiser, I'm just a gal who loves sharing products that actually WORK)


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

NIAW Community Post

It's with a joyful heart that I share with you all today Caroline's blog over at InDueTime.  Caroline was one of the first women I started following when I began documenting my own infertility story.  In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, Caroline has put together a wonderful post about "What We Want You to Know About Infertility".

We are all from different walks, are in different parts of our journey but we share the same common ground, and that is the struggle to conceive.  Head on over to Caroline's Blog to check it out!

I invite you to SHARE this post to others to continue to raise awareness on this very real struggle that ONE IN EIGHT Couples is facing!

Monday, April 25, 2016

National Infertility Awareness Week 2016 - Start Asking

This week marks National Infertility Awareness Week and this is a cause that is dear to my heart.  I created this blog to document our journey to Little Bun and the struggles we endure along the way.  This year Resolve has proposed that we #StartAsking to increase awareness for Infertility.

If you're new to NoBunintheOven, I invite you to check out our Infertility Journey HERE.  My husband suffers from male factor infertility which prevents us from making a baby without the aid of science.  We don't have insurance coverage for these treatments and are currently at $25,319 which pales in comparison to other couples struggling to conceive.  Our journey began in 2007 and continues today as we wait for a frozen embryo transfer in May.

I believe that being vocal about our struggle will let other couples to know they are not alone on this journey.  Sometimes using your voice gives others the strength to speak up and to share their own experience.  I quote Sara Bareilles when I ask, HOW BIG IS YOUR BRAVE?

So Let's #StartAsking

Are you struggling to conceive?  Are you feeling alone?  Do you worry your friends will look upon you with pity and unwanted sympathy?  You are not alone!

Start HERE at Resolve's What is Infertility Page

Are you a friend of someone struggling?  Are you worried you've asked the wrong questions?  Do you want to know what you can do to help?
You are not alone!

Start HERE at Resolve's List of 25 Things to Say and NOT Say

Are you seeking medical intervention?  Are you confused on where to turn?  Do you think there is no hope because of lack of funding?
You are not alone!

Start HERE at Resolve's Making Treatment Affordable Page

I invite you to read these prior blog posts to help you #startasking whether it's as a person struggling to conceive or as a friend or family member of someone who is struggling.

What are all those Acronyms?? Get your TTC IVF FET knowledge here.

Do I Shave My Legs for This?  A Candid look at your first IVF Consult.

My HSG Experience See this is why you need the Acronyms!

What NOT To Do During a TWW Ladies, I've violated all of these so you don't have to!

What NOT To Say to Your Infertile Friend If you're a friend, this is a MUST READ!

This week I'm asking you to join me on Instagram (HERE), Pinterest (HERE) and Google+ (HERE) and share your journey.  Share your struggle.  If you're not ready, that's OK!  This is a big step and I leave you today with this thought by Mary Anne Radmacher...

“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

IVF Stims Recap

It's OVER y'all...the stimming part of this IVF cycle is done!  So let's recap how things went!  For those of you who are just joining in you can catch up with the journey so far in THIS blog post I call Meet the Buns (that's us).  And I've created this part of the journey in pictures.  If you're following on Instagram, these are probably familiar!

We started with birth control for about 21 days and then on April 11 we started Ovarian Stimulation (referred to as "stims" or "stimming").

Our first day of stims was pretty easy, I started a z-pack to avoid any infections and Letrozole which is a pill used to get the ovaries growing eggs.  I also had an appointment at Fertility CARE on Stims Day 1 to do blood work and an ultrasound to make sure everything was ready to go.

I met my old friend "wanda" who I call the BFF for the TTC'er and also had a "trial transfer" which is really code for measuring your uterus to find a good place for implantation when it comes time for the transfer.

 Some RE's don't do this step and others do this step at different times in the cycle.  My doctor did it at this point because it was the best time to accurately measure before my hormones went into overdrive and all my lady bits were growing follies!  He got a good measurement the old fashioned way, with a measuring tape!  The measurement took place on the OUTSIDE of my body along my tummy y'all...that was not an inside job!  HA!

 I had 11 little follicles growing on the right and 8 little follies growing on the left.  Now, a growing follies does not equal an egg, but to see on screen those little babies getting cozy in there was a welcome relief!  My hormone levels were great and they were ready to start me on the next part of the stim cycle, which is SHOTS!

Once I got the go ahead to add the Follistim shot to our stimming routine, it was Daddy Bun's turn to help.  He was responsible for administering all shots.  I find it much easier to just look away as he gives me a shot as opposed to giving them myself.  I could do the shots, but I am a big fan of this being a team effort.

Follistim is a FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) used to grow a lot of follies in one cycle.  This is a Follistim Pen.   It stores a vial of the medication and you "dial" the dosage you need for the shot.  A new micro-needle is used each time you administer the shot.  This is an EASY shot to receive.  The needle is so small you barely feel it.  I had little to no side effects from the Follistim so I call this "the easy shot".    

I don't want to bore you with repeat daily doses of the same medication, so Days 2, 3, and 4 were the same.  We took 300u of Follistim, 5mg of Letrozole, the Z-pack and (I forgot to mention) a daily dose of baby aspirin.  I took pictures each day of our journey because some day I'd like to share with Little Bun the amazing journey we took to make him/her and the love we shared while we were on the road.  Here are our memory shots from those days!

On Day 5 I went back to Fertility CARE and met with Christina who took another round of blood and Amy, who did a follicle check on the ultrasound (hey Wanda, nice to see you again!)

CD5 Update had some great news!  Amy was thrilled at the protocol and was confident that it was working well.  I now showed about 15 total follicles, split up pretty evenly between my two ovaries.

For those of you who don't know, warm socks are a great support when you're covered in a paper sheet in a 60° ultrasound room!  I got some amazing socks from my friend Jess with cute lambs on them.  I keep them in my bag for days just like this!

Since she was so thrilled with the growth, we added the second shot, called Ganirelix to the stimming mix.  THis shot is to prevent premature ovulation before the egg retrieval.  Ganirelix is pre-mixed and measured but it is a little more of a pain than the Follistim.   For starters, it comes with a GIANT warning on the box that says, MAY CAUSE HEADACHES!  Oh yuck, I am prone to those and I was not looking forward to a headache!  But I like to go by the old adage No Pain, No Gain.

Day 5 was the last day of the Letrozole and the Z-Pack, so I didn't have to take any more pills.  I was just down to Ganirelix in the morning and Follistim in the evening.  Day 5 is when the hormones really kicked in.  I was moody, I was teary eyed, I was angry.  The headaches came on more frequently.  I started bloating and felt "unpretty".  My cell phone died.  You'd think getting a new cell phone would be cause for celebration but alas, I only found fault with the new phone.  In fact, I found fault with the waitress at dinner, the people who surrounded us at dinner, and even scared my hubby a little with my mood swings.  He knew they would be coming, but he had no idea it would be such a roller coaster so quickly!  I started to feel like a pin cushion.  I was getting shots and not the ones from the LMFAO song.  

Stims Day 8 I was back to Fertility CARE....this was the third time in a week I made the 3 hour round trip alone.  I was in tears the entire way to the doctor.  Even Justin Bieber made me cry..."My mamma don't like you and she likes everyone" I sniffled the lyrics to Love Yourself on the 417 Expressway.  SERIOUSLY?  I knew the hormones had officially taken over!

 I arrived at Fertility CARE and cleaned up my teary mess from the ride over.  I was excited to see my follicle growth over the last few days, it's amazing what science is able to do y'all!

I had 10 follicles that are likely to product mature eggs and 5 follicles slowly behind.  While it's possible they will catch up in the next day or so, it's just not a guarantee.

And here's the thing about egg retrievals, it's really up in the air.  A mature follicle does not always produce an egg.  A mature egg retrieved will not always fertilize.  A fertilized egg will not always make it to day 5 blastocyst.  A day 5 blast will not always make it to freeze.  There are so many variables it is overwhelming when you consider them all.

But we cannot spend our time focusing on the what if's and what could go wrong.  We must stay focused and positive on this journey.  I refuse to accept anything less than a positive attitude.

With this exiting growth Amy was ready for us to trigger.  We used Pregnyl and it's a medication you must mix.  It was our first intramuscular shot and both Daddy Bun and I were nervous about it.  So we went to a PRO.  My friend Brandi is a nurse and giving shots is part of her everyday routine.  She was happy to assist on this part of the journey!  We were so happy to have her help us out!

This was so scary in mind but WOW she was so fast!  I was shocked at how quickly and painless the trigger shot was.  Here we are doing the shot!  Whew!  After that, I told Brandi I wanted her to do all my PIO shots because that was just too easy!  Is there an Infertility "that was Easy" button because I definitely would have pushed it after that shot!

TOMORROW is Egg Retrieval Day!  This is the big moment, the egg hunt will be on!  We arrive at Fertility CARE at 6:00am...which means we must leave the house at 4:30am to get there on time.  I don't even know how I'll be able to function at 4:30am.  I also don't know if I'll sleep a wink with this on my mind!

We've come a long way since 2007 when we thought a simple vasectomy reversal would give us a pregnancy.  We've endured three failed IUI's.  I've been a human pin cushion.  I've logged 15 hours on the road in the span of 10 days.  But this is NOTHING compared to the joy of becoming a mother.  I'd endure all of this ten times over if I needed to!

Come on eggies, let's create our Little Bun!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

What NOT to Say to an Infertile Friend

Y'all, I proudly claim to be an "infertile".  It's just a diagnosis to me, like a diabetic would say, "I'm a diabetic".  It does not define me, it does not define my situation, it just puts a diagnosis to my issue.  It really doesn't bother me and I travel this journey openly to hopefully make other people feel like they're not alone and to bring awareness to those who have NO IDEA what we are up against as an "infertile".

Since I'm a seasoned veteran, I thought I would share some of those things with you as well as how I've learned to respond to them.  I'm going to be honest, some of these responses could be construed as sarcastic and might actually ice the conversation.  These people, as callous and ignorant as they may be, they are really trying to "help" and your response to their help could make or break the conversation.  People who are met with an uncomfortable topic can find themselves trying to compare or offer advice in an effort to relate to your situation.  Remember that they really aren't cruel, they are just ignorant to your journey and often unaware of what to say.

So let's hit on a few of the things I've heard over the years as well as what I say when I hear them.

1) "Why would you want kids, just take mine for a few hours and you'll change your mind."  

This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine.  How can someone be so callous to imply that a person shouldn't want children, especially when you already have one or more?  What is so wrong with your children that having them for an afternoon would make me change my mind?  Are you parenting so poorly that your kids would actually scare someone out of having children?  I get this a lot, especially when I'm in the presence of a child who is misbehaving.  They act out, the parent looks at me and says, "Are you sure you want kids?"  Is life with children so awful that a single moment of conflict would drive someone to give up?  What a quitter!

My Response: I'd LOVE to spend time with your kids, let's go to the zoo.  Oh it's so wonderful to have someone willing to share their kids when we've been struggling so long to have them.  This usually makes them feel pretty small and also gives me a chance to go to the zoo.  WIN-WIN!    

2) "Take a vacation and you'll get pregnant," followed by "that's what happened to Jimmy's cousin's Susie last fall".  

Ahhh, yes a vacation?  Yes that will surely work!  After all nothing says pregnancy is easy like remembering Jimmy's cousin Susie who got pregnant on vacation.  Infertility issues like low sperm count, endometriosis, PCOS and blocked fallopian tubes can't be "fixed" with vacation and while I'm thrilled to bits about Jimmy's cousin Susie, I guarantee she didn't have issues with sperm count and motility!

My Response: Sure, we'd love to go, where are you taking us and I assume you'll be paying?  Guess what didn't help me get pregnant...the two vacations a year I've taken for the past eight years, HA!  This usually leaves them speechless and wondering if I was serious about them paying...and I was.  

3) "Why don't you just adopt?"   

"Just" adopt...the sentence itself implies that adoption is an easy process.  Just run out to Adoption Center in town and pick one out, like a puppy?  Sorry y'all it's just not that easy!   It is a grueling process.  I don't think the President is interrogated more than a couple trying to adopt.  And first you have to get on the list...once you're approved, you still have to wait for a baby.  In addition, you run into issues like pregnant women who change their mind and you "lose" the baby you never had.  Gut punch.  Did you know adoption can take YEARS before you bring a child home?  And you think I should "just adopt".

My Response: Adoption is a long and difficult process leaving some people waiting years to be met with a match.  Also, I already share two kids with biological parents, I'd like to try being the biological parent now.

4) "Just be glad you get to sleep late (or be glad you don't have to do X, Y, or Z.)" 

Please don't minimize my desire to have a child because you can't sleep late...or you have to do X, Y, or Z with your child.  Would you give up your child if you could have sleeping late or if you didn't have to do X, Y, or Z?  Nahhh, I didn't think so, so why would use try to make me feel better with that?

My Response: I can't wait to not sleep, deal with dirty diapers, soothe a crying baby, watch amazing first's like smiling, crawling, walking, first words, first day of school, so many wonderful parts of being a mom, a little lost sleep or X, Y, Z just such a small part of the amazing journey that is being a parent.
5) "Maybe it's just not meant to be."

This is a real kick in the teeth. Is that why people get cancer?  Lose a loved one?  Would you say that to someone who just lost their parent or their child...maybe they weren't meant to live.  Sounds pretty callous right?

My Response: Well THAT hurt!  Ouch!  Jeez, kick a girl while she's down why don't ya?  (I figure if they're gonna have the chutzpah to say that they better be ready to deal with a forward answer that puts them in the hot seat!)    

6) "Just relax and it will happen." Or "Just stop trying and you'll get pregnant"

Can you point me to the medical journal that says relaxing will help my husband's sperm issues?  Anyone?  Do you realize there are MEDICAL reasons we are not getting pregnant?  Stop trying...that's a good one, over the course of nine years, I've spent a few not trying and guess what, I'm still not pregnant.  Evidently "not trying" is not working for us.

My Response: I've relaxed and not tried and ended up not pregnant.  So we are going with a medically sound way of getting pregnant this time, using science.  Sure it's more expensive than relaxing but it has a higher success rate to go with it.

So what they heck should they say?  That's a great question!  I have some ideas and I think they would really be helpful to someone who's left not knowing what to say at a time like THIS!

What I recommend to these people is this: acknowledge you care about them.  Do a little research on infertility.  Nothing says "I care" more than taking five minutes to check out what they might be dealing with.   Tell them while you've never been through the situation, you know how it feels to wait for something you want.  Tell them you're there to listen.  Ask them how treatments are going.  

After all, one in eight women suffer from infertility so the odds are there is a friend in your circle on a silent journey, feeling alone and vulnerable, wishing there was someone they could confide in.  And that someone could be YOU!

Do you have some bad advice you've received?  How about some AMAZING advice or comments from a friend while you were on this journey?  Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

You Paid WHAT for Meds?

Today was med delivery day y'all!  Of course I went home and took a photo of the $5200 worth of medications delivered in a cooler packed in ice.  And here is the meds for my IVF and frozen transfer. 

 I used Avella Pharmacy.  They ship out of Orlando and it was the best price I found overall for my meds.  I considered splitting them between pharmacies to get slightly cheaper price, but in the end I went with paying a few dollars more to get them at the same place.  Should I need refills, it will be a quick call and a quick delivery.  I received them next day, packed in an iced cooler.  I called the cooler NotaYeti as it was definitely not a Yeti cooler!  

We paid out of pocket for these medications so I'm going to post the medication haul so other people paying out of pocket have an idea of what a med cycle can cost.  So let's get started!

The heavy Hitter was Follistim!  But it actually replaced Gonal-F which was much more expensive so I'll take this price.  FOr comparison, the Gonal-F would have been $5,200 on its own!

PRE-Egg Transfer Meds:
Follistim 900iu, Qty. 4.68 (oh hello exact) $3360, 12 day supply
Ganirelix 250mcg, Qty. 3, $792, 6 day supply Lupron 1mg, $445, 14 day supply
Azithromycin (Z-Pack), $12
Letrozole $9

POST-Frozen Transfer Meds:
Estradiol Patches, Qty. 40, $422.50, 28 day supply
Progesterone in Sesame Oil, Qty. 30, $90, 20 day supply
Cephalexin $16

Also included were all the syringes and needles as well as a sharps container.  Thankfully they labeled these items as $0 because I just dropped $5200 on the meds, the least they could do was supply the method to complete the shot!

When I received the first call from Avella, I was informed the cost would be $11,500.   My response was, I'm sorry you're going to have to change that amount some way, how can you make that number go DOWN??  She asked if I was "out of pocket".  I thought to myself, gosh what was the first price you gave me??Was that the if you don't ask for a discount you don't get one kind of thing??  

Her response was okay, it will be $6910.  I'm sorry how did you not offer me that grossly discounted rate from the beginning?!?!  

I pushed a little further and asked if there were any substitutions that I could use to save any additional money.  My IVF nurse mentioned Dr. Trolice used two different medications for a few options. The Gonal F was switched to Follistim and generated $1200 in savings!  Cetratide was replaced with Ganirelix and saved another $500!

After my doctor OK'd the medication changes (no they actually don't let you decide that for yourself) my final price was right about $5200.  I also have a z-pack and cephalexin as antibiotics to prevent infection and the good old Letrozole to help start the process.  Those were minimal costs.  

Y'all...does this look like $5200 in meds?!?  I tell you what, this has been an expensive week.  First $6550 for the transfer and then $5200 for the meds...and we still have $4100 to pay to the lab.  The FET is an additional $1750.  Yes, this child will have to do really well in school that that it can afford to pay for college, as we are spending all our money making it. 

And I pray we make that little bun in this oven!  

Hope this helps you get an idea of what a Letrozole Antagonist Protocol costs out of pocket for this gal!  

I'd love to hear what you thought about the process of obtaining your meds!  Share in the comments below!