This time around, Dr. Jaffe was able to do the insemination, which, not gonna lie, felt more legitimate somehow. While we were waiting in the room with our tiny tube of sperm, I asked Sam how long sperm can live at room temperature so she asked google. I can guarantee that her phone has the most random search history. Apparently, some people never took any sort of Sex Education class.. Peep the top questions asked on the google.. lol
Dr. Jaffe came in and we asked her the sperm question – FYI she said sperm at room temp can last a few days when it’s in a solution. We were joking around (because that’s what you do when there are 4 people in a room and one person isn’t wearing pants.. lol) and Dr. Jaffe said that she was going in with a giant Q-Tip to clean my cervix and then busts out with “You’re going to have the cleanest cervix in the room” as she’s down by my feet with my legs in the air. We laughed and then she told me not to laugh because I wasn’t supposed to be contracting my muscles, which made me laugh more.
Usually, the Doctor usually tells me to scoot down (ladies, amiright?) so I assumed that when she said “put your legs down” that she needed me to adjust, but she was indeed telling me to put my feet down because apparently she has a magic touch and was totally done with the insemination. Aren’t I supposed to feel that??
Baby Journey Cost:
Total baby-making cost to date: $12,333.06
After talking it over with Dr. Jaffe and discussing everything amongst ourselves, we decided to go ahead and try one more time with me(Steph). Who knows if I will be able to try again in the future, but losing the last pregnancy at least showed me that it was possible for me to get pregnant.
We also talked to a financial counselor while we were there about IVF and what it would look like IF we decide to go that route. We learned that it’d be roughly the same price whether they use my eggs or Sam’s if I try to carry. It’s also a little cheaper to do a “mini stim” but then we’re only getting a few eggs as opposed to a bunch (but in my case, no matter what, they’d probably only get a few anyway). IVF is still super expensive regardless. (Roughly $25k with our current insurance plans.)
My bloodwork was back to normal by the time CD 1 came around, so we were able to start my round of Clomid and shots of Gonal-F. This month was super weird. Everything this cycle happened very quickly.
We went in on cycle day 2, everything was good, no cysts! And when we went back on CD 11 I had THREE MATURE FOLLICLES. WHAT?! Our doc typically frowns on inseminating if there are more than 2 because there’s a higher risk for having more than 2 babies, but given the circumstances, she gave the “okay” with our permission. The nurse called and said that she needs our permission with the possibility of 3 babies at once being a thing… At this point we will take whatever comes our way, and definitely said yes!
We did another shot of Gonal-F that night(CD 11), and on the evening of CD 12 we triggered with Novarel (because apparently Pregnyl was on back order) for Insemination on CD 14. If you’ve read our previous blogs, we usually do the inseminate closer to CD 16-18. Apparently my follicles were READY. Here’s hoping.
Baby Journey Cost:
Two blood draw copays: $10
Co-pay for Ovary scan: $5
Gonal-F 350 pen: $170 Sperm: $770
Co-pay for Follicle scan #1 and Doctor Follow up: $5
Total baby-making cost to date: $11,983.06
“Miscarriage is such a common thing for women to experience“
I know many friends and family members who have experienced miscarriages at varying stages in their pregnancy. I don’t want to compare my experience with anyone else’s at all. I also don’t want to invalidate my own experience because it happened so early on. The truth is that I had a miscarriage.
I didn’t “feel” pregnant and I didn’t feel a baby kick. We hadn’t decorated a nursery or announced that we were even pregnant. For 2 days I went through a whirlwind of emotions from 100% excited to 300% terrified. I asked myself if I was prepared to be a mom and caught my breath when I realized we were actually going to become moms. The experience was so surreal. We made a list of the things we needed to do around the house (okay, we’ve had the list for a year.. lol), we talked about our future and how the dogs would react to a baby, we pictured our family. For two days we held onto the hope, joy and excitement of what it felt like to know we would be holding a baby in our arms.
I tried to separate myself, to protect myself from the possibility of bad news, so I didn’t let myself fully celebrate the fact that we did it. We made a baby. Finally, after 6 attempts, something else happened other than a negative test. I can’t help but to feel a little bit guilty, though. We were SO early in our pregnancy. Had we not been doing fertility stuff, we probably wouldn’t have even realized we were pregnant. I feel like I don’t deserve to mourn because it was so early, like I don’t deserve to say the word miscarriage because I didn’t experience the same pain as other women going through it later in their pregnancies. This isn’t a club I want to be a part of, and I feel guilty for sharing that experience with other women, other moms, other humans who have lost something so dear to them.
I don’t want to invalidate the fact that I had a miscarriage, because I did. It sucks. Waiting for my period for days SUCKS. Getting cramps sucks. But at the end of all of this, I’m still here. My wife is by my side and I’m sure she’s sharing some of the same feelings of loss and heartbreak. We totally both acknowledge that other women have experienced miscarriage differently and I think for now, I’m just trying to sort of cope with our experience in our own way. I’m okay. What I really got out of all this, was that we can make a baby. My body did the thing, and that gives me hope that it can happen again. I’ve decided to try IUI again, despite our bank account. I am trusting that whatever happens, happens. Side note: I didn’t do anything special at all this last time except that we were on whole30 and I was working out (lightly) on the weekends. I didn’t carry the crystals or do anything outside of living my life normally.
If you or a loved one is struggling with any aspect of their mental health, whether it’s PPD, miscarriage or just life, please tell someone and reach out to a professional. Don’t want to tell friends? Feel free to contact us! Everyone’s journey is different, but that doesn’t make your pain any less valid.
Week one has been smooth sailing aside from the bit of nausea from the trigger shot. The first day of week 2 I started getting some cramps and throughout the week getting a little nauseous. I was laying in bed 2 days into week 2 and felt so gross. My hunger has been all over the place, one day I’m starving, the next I’ll eat a snack and pick through dinner. I was hardcore craving popcorn, but that could’ve just been me being hungry, lol. I’ve been freezing also, but the weather in Florida has been in the 40’s and 50’s so that may be why. Symptoms into week 2 are mostly nausea that comes and goes, but nothing else out of the ordinary.
In other news: We bought a new mattress (woohoo adulting!) and I slept like a baby on a cloud! We also got new bedroom furniture which is beautiful and sooo much lighter than the 600 lb solid oak dressers we had in there before.
Day 14 came around without too much trouble. I think that means we are getting better at being patient? We got up at 5:30am – Sam couldn’t sleep anyway, but I have my calculus class super early. I used the last pregnancy test we had from last month and set a timer for 3 minutes. When the timer went off, I picked it back up and… it wasn’t positive… but it wasn’t quite negative either… The last few tests we’ve taken have been all different brands. This one was + for positive – for negative. There was the faintest little vertical line accompanying the horizontal.
All the other tests had been very solidly negative, like we could look from all directions and shine a light around it and there was NO indication of a positive result. This one is a bit hazy, and it was our last test, so we scheduled an appointment for a blood test after my class, which was actually cheaper than buying a new pregnancy test so win-win! Now we wait until they call us this afternoon. Still trying not to get our hopes up, but we looked up other people’s pregnancy tests online and there’s a big chance we could be pregnant based on that information. This waiting game is serious.
– – –
The blood test came back pretty much inconclusive, but we MIGHT be pregnant! My HCG level was 22.5 and a 25 is “for sure pregnant because you made it past the 5 days thing” whereas anything less than 5 is a no-go. It’s still early which could be the reason for the low level, but we go back on Thursday for another blood test to see if it’s gone up and doubled like it’s supposed to!
It’s Thursday. I’ve been cramping and I’ve been nauseous to the point where I put a trash bin by the bed just in case. It’s crazy how one day I could go from being an adult to being a mom! It still hasn’t hit me too hard yet. I’ve been super thirsty and bloated, which is normal. Just waiting for the test results is KILLER.
– – –
Blood test results came back and my HCG level is 9. We’re not pregnant. The doctor is qualifying it as a miscarriage since we technically did get pregnant. There’s also a chance that my HCG level could’ve been higher than 22.5 before we took our initial test, but had already started to decline.
Basically what this means was that my egg got fertilized and implanted, but didn’t continue developing. With IVF (we did IUI), after they inject the egg with the sperm, there’s a 5 day waiting period to see which ones turn into viable blastocysts before they transfer the fertilized embryos back into the Uterus. In our case, if we had been doing IVF, this one probably wouldn’t have gotten to that stage. There’s no answer as to why, but this was the first positive pregnancy test we’ve gotten, which means my eggs aren’t broken. It just sucks that it didn’t stick. We were both so excited at the thought of us becoming moms and knowing how close we were. For 2 days we were hardcore preparing to be moms. Today is REALLY rough! Now it’s back to the drawing board.
We have a lot to decide on… Idk if I’m going to try again with me. I really want to sit and think about it and talk to the doctor a bit more.
Baby Journey Cost:
Co-pay for bloodwork: $5
Total baby-making cost to date: $10,868.38
Insemination went smoothly. There were something like 47 MILLION motile sperm, which is apparently a lot. We’ve been working out and have been cooking healthy meals and we’ve been doing Whole30 for 2 weeks at this point (halfway to 30 days!). I’m both excited and hesitant about this one. It’s our last attempt with me, but I can’t get discouraged because we do have options. I’m trying not to get my hopes up but I want to be excited about the possibility of making a baby this time.
The doctors at CRM are constantly reassuring us that the first 3 attempts with me “didn’t count” because of several different factors, mainly that they didn’t prescribe me progesterone. The meds they gave me are known to LOWER progesterone levels, which is why I am being supplemented with progesterone now. On top of that, the Dr. at the first place admitted that they missed my ovulation window the first attempt, and the second attempt was the sperm fiasco where basically all the sperm were dead. It doesn’t necessarily make me feel much better knowing I’m still 0/2 (as opposed to 0/5), and it certainly doesn’t make our bank account feel any better, lol.
The Pregnyl made me nauseous again, so I have been drinking diet ginger ale (no sugar) technically not whole30 but I’d rather not vomit, and I need to listen to my body. Hopefully, that wears off soon. We have a Nightly, The WLDLFE, and Sawyer concert tonight – I told Sam it would be really cool if I can tell our kid that they were conceived at a concert. Music runs through her veins.
Here’s hoping this 2-week wait goes by quickly. There might be a Disney adventure coming up this weekend, which will definitely help get my mind off of everything.
Baby Journey Cost:
Total baby-making cost to date: $10,863.38
It turns out 5 wasn’t our lucky number.
Well, this is it, folks! The final countdown. This will probably be the last attempt for Steph since we don’t have the money to cover IVF, so we will be trying IUI with Sam sometime in the months after this one regardless of the outcome. But boy, is our jar of hope overflowing for this one to work.
It’s 2020 as I write this blog. New year, new month, a new cycle, new insurance plan! And a new insurance plan means lower copays!!! Yay for saving money! We hurried up and purchased sperm before pricing went up for 2020 (smart move, Samantha!) which helped save a few hundred extra dollars.
The meds are the same, Clomid on days 4-9, shots on days 5, 7, 9, then I go in on cycle day (CD) 11 for a follicle check. Honestly, school started this past week and we are still in holiday recovery mode so the days are blurring by, so hopefully, that continues through insemination and the two-week wait (it’s always more fun when trying to do calculus homework).
We Went in for the run-of-the-mill follicle check today. We started with my right ovary which has 2 tiny follicles (ut oh) but then she switched to the left and there were 2 HUGE ones in comparison, and they weren’t even that big, lol. I have a 13.9 and a 14.5 and remember we have to get them around 20. I do another Gonal-F shot (75cc, same as usual) tonight and go back in two days on CD 13 for another follicle check, then hopefully they give me a trigger and insemination date!
Side note: Steph has lost 15 pounds or so since we started this baby journey and this month we have been doing Whole30, which is no added sugar, grains, legumes, or dairy for a whole 30 days. We are blogging about that also, of course, so CLICK HERE to see our meal plans and read more about it.
Went in today and had 2 follicles still! YAY! They’re growing slow but everything is on track. We got directions later in the afternoon (while we were at the vet for our 16-year-old cat – She’s fine) to do another 75cc Gonal-F shot tonight, then do the Pregnyl trigger shot Sunday night for insemination on Tuesday morning, which is luckily on the day that I only have 1 class that morning. We’ve been going to the gym pretty steadily still. Sam is 6 days/week and I’m joining her for 3 since my work/class schedule is so hectic.
Ovary scan: $5 (co-pay)
300 pen of Gonal F: $170
Pregnyl trigger shot: $154.89
Credit for SMP messing up our shipping last cycle: +$20
Sperm from NW Cryobank: $525 for IUI Sperm $245 for shipping.
Follicle check #1 and bloodwork: $5 (copay)
Follicle check #2 and bloodwork: $5 (copay)
Progesterone refill: $1
Total baby-making cost to date: $10,513.38
This is our 5th overall attempt, but our second attempt with CRM. We went to the gym to get one last workout in before the big day. All of the jitters from final exam week were finally gone (I passed both classes!) so this IUI I was actually pretty relaxed. We talked to the nurse a bit about when I could go back to the gym, how annoying it is to leave all of this up to science, and she told us her own struggle with infertility before she got her twins on IUI #6.
It’s not usually a physically painful process at all for me, which is great. She had to reposition a few things because she didn’t like the angle and wanted to get all of the sperm into my uterus so we had the best chance. I definitely appreciated that she took the extra time to make sure everything was perfect. It was nice having someone there who completely understood our struggles and the frustrations firsthand. Before she walked out she said, “maybe number 5 is your lucky number”, and we told her that was actually the name of our last blog… and we all 3 got chills.
Prior to the insemination, I had to do the Pregnyl injection, which made me sick last time, so I was prepared with ginger ale and Tums just in case, but I never threw up! *high fives* That was a huge relief.
After insemination, we were advised to take it easy at the gym. She suggested I do a rest day on insemination day just to be extra cautious. We had a very relaxing weekend and blew off a few Christmas parties (sorry guys!) for the extra rest time. We finally saw Frozen 2 which was amazing!!
It’s kind of a struggle to write about the TWW because it’s pretty similar each time we do this. Hopefully, this one just ends with a positive pregnancy test rather than a negative. Other than mild cramping and being physically exhausted, it’s been pretty similar to all the others. I’m trying not to get worked up about it since the progesterone mimics pregnancy/period symptoms.
2nd weekend of this TWW we saw Star Wars!! Made Cinnamon sugar roasted pecans in a crockpot (soooo easy) which turned out AMAZING!! Recipe here for anyone who needs to try it.
We went to the gym a few more times because it’s the holidays and sweet things and comfort food are everywhere. Samantha made her grandma’s top-secret Taco Salad recipe for a little bit of her grandma’s spirit around this time of year, and we are attempting a Maple Sage roasted pecan recipe while running around like chickens with our heads cut off to get our lives ready for Christmas and New Years. Wish us luck!
Total baby-making cost to date: $9407.70
We figured it was time for more of an update to what our future looks like.
We had to get realistic. We would like to have a big family, and no matter how many high hopes, well wishes, fertility crystals, and prayers that we have, the facts are still the facts; Steph’s egg count is insanely low.
We started discussing me carrying and what all that would entail. And as much as I always said I didn’t want to carry, it all boiled down to how badly did I really want to make our own babies. We knew that we needed to start this process with me soonish, since we know from experience, how long this can all take. We didn’t know what my egg count looked like, if I had hormonal imbalances that would keep me from being able to carry, or who knows what. I have an IUD, and have for 6 years. I haven’t had a cycle since the first 3 months or so that I got the first Mirena (I’m on my second one). I’m overweight and I read soooo many things that scared me about being pregnant and being overweight, so we knew it was time for a professional opinion.
I saw my primary doctor first because my insurance requires me to have a referral in order to see a specialist. She told me that weight doesn’t really play a HUGE factor in Fertility and that it’s based more on health (which is the same thing my gyno said), so she said that if this is something I really want, I need to get serious about losing some weight so that I have an easier pregnancy. She ran a whole bunch of bloodwork and turns out, I’m pretty damn healthy. My Bad Cholesterol was 3 points higher than it should be, and she said that wasn’t anything to really worry about as long as I was sticking to working out and eating the things that I should be eating. Long story short, stay away from white things. She prescribed me Phentermine and explained that it would only help me lose more weight while I was actually trying and putting forth the effort, but that it wasn’t a magical weight loss pill. I needed to be the one putting in the work.
Two weeks later, I had my first consult with our doctor to discuss what she would need from me. Ie. how much weight would I need to lose and what our next steps were going to be. She told me that there wasn’t a specific number that she needed to see, just that she needed to see that I was serious about trying to be healthier. She ran a million more tests (12 vials worth of blood) to check allll the things I was concerned about. And she did an Internal Ultrasound that day, which I was NOT mentally prepared for. (I still don’t actually know what the purpose of that torture was…but whatever lol). The nurse called me about a week later and told me that my hormone levels were all great, my blood type was O+ (the exact opposite of Steph’s 0-), and I am CMV Positive (which broadens our donor search ALOT if we decide to switch donors for whatever reason, because being CMV negative is super rare, which means having to select out of a LOT fewer donors who are negative).
Got the Bill for those things like 3 days before my follow up appointment about what our next steps would be and found out that my insurance didn’t cover a big portion of them. So there was an extra $223.63 I wasn’t prepared to spend.
The follow-up appointment told me what my AMH (egg count) level is. Turns out, I have allll the eggs. My AMH is 2.4, and to give you an idea of how many more eggs that is than Steph’s…Steph’s was 0.52 three months ago. I told the doctor when we wanted to start the IUI process with me and so the doctor and I made a plan. She will see me again in 3 months, to make sure that I am still sticking to everything that we discussed, and from there, I will schedule to have my IUD removed with the Gynecologist. One month after I get the IUD removed (I have to wait because my IUD may have put a dent in my uterus and I have to wait for that the reshape), I will have the HSG test to make sure that both of my fallopian tubes are open and that my uterus isn’t tilted and is the shape it’s supposed to be for optimal baby-making. If I haven’t started my cycle by then, she will do whatever they do to force it to happen, and then we start the IUI process.
So here I am, working out 6 days a week, staying under my calories with healthy whole foods, and still trying to adult.
WHY DOESN’T ANYONE TELL YOU HOW HARD THAT IS??
I work until 5pm Monday-Friday. I get into the gym by like 5:40 once I’ve battled traffic. I get home around 7-7:20ish, I have to cook, clean up, and take care of the dogs. Steph gets home between 7:40 and 8pm (usually starving and ready to chew off someone’s arm #sorrynotsorry), we eat dinner, relax for an hour, go to sleep and then it’s time to do it all over again. We are working on figuring it all out and getting a system in place, but this shit is hard. Despite all this, it still won’t make me quit. Having a family and being around to see our kids grow up thing means too much for me to give up.
So for now, just know that I am probably just busy at the gym and learning how to adult in a new way, and not ignoring you.
We’ll talk more about the journey with me in about 3ish months when I have things to report. Until then, Let’s get a baby in Steph.
TL:DR – Sam started getting tests done, she’s been kicking butt at the gym, she’s super healthy and in good shape for when we’re ready with her. Adulting is hard.
Primary doctor for referral: $30 copay
Bloodwork deductible: $37
Primary followup on bloodwork: $30 copay
Fertility Doctor consult: $55 copay
Fertility Bloodwork: $223.63 out of pocket cost that insurance didn’t cover
Fertility Doctor followup: $55
Total baby-making cost to date: $7753.39
We went in Sunday morning at 10:30am to get inseminated. (Exhibit A)
We were called right back which was amazing. Everything went smoothly and the sample they looked at had RAPID motility and like 34 million sperm, which is fantastic! Plus it was a full hunters moon the night after our insemination so hopefully, we’ll get a little extra baby energy.
Fast forward to Sunday night. I had been feeling super nauseous all day and it pretty much felt like a bout of food poisoning throughout the day (with slightly more control). We finally got into bed and I felt something weird so I asked Sam to hand me some Tums to help my stomach. Not 10 seconds after I asked her, I was RUNNING to the bathroom (thank goodness our dog Hailey moved out of my way fast enough) where I spent the next 12 minutes throwing up. To be fair, I felt much better after that was all over. We called the doctor (because we googled stuff and got nervous) and they said that I’m totally fine and it’s just a side effect of the trigger shot. The next morning I got some ginger ale and more Tums.. just in case. The nausea is a little better but still present at this point and this was only 3 days post trigger shot. It can take 7-10 days to exit your system, so hopefully, the side effects go away.
One of the main differences between our other IUI attempts was that with this cycle, they prescribed me progesterone “insertables” for me to start taking 2 days after insemination.
10 Days Post Insemination:
I’ve still been feeling nausea off and on. It’s worse in the afternoons. I’ve been starving, which I’m not sure is a side effect from the progesterone.. I’ve been eating Tums to help at night and also drinking ginger ale during the day.
Tomorrow is the date that I am supposed to get my period according to one of the tracking apps I use. The other one says Saturday, so this is pretty much the worst time of the whole 2 week wait. I’ve been feeling some cramps, but at this point that could mean anything. Each day sans period is a good day so we are just taking it day by day. But there’s also this:
If your physician has recommended progesterone support, it will begin 2–4 days after ovulation. You will be given clear instructions on the type, dosage, and schedule of when to administer the progesterone. You should continue to take the progesterone until your pregnancy test, which is done two weeks after ovulation. Progesterone can delay your period, so a pregnancy test must be performed. If pregnancy occurs, the medications will continue until around the 10th week of pregnancy. If the pregnancy test is negative, the medication is stopped, and a period will occur in 2–7 days.
Total baby-making cost to date: $7257.39