Our decision

Making Baby Mettler

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
Clomid: $14.79
Novarel: $139.89
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

Making a baby, IUI 2 – Part 4

Making Baby Mettler

We got another negative test.

I was sort of holding onto hope because my period was a day late. It can get very emotionally draining and disheartening to watch so many people all around us announcing their pregnancies or the birth of their babies when we can’t seem to make even One. I know the timing is not up to me, and I have to trust that when it happens, it happens, but GOODNESS it can be a hard pill to swallow some days.

We also knew that this cycle had a much less chance of success because of the motility of the sperm (which we got a full refund for on top of free sperm for this next cycle- they were super understanding and apologetic, especially after Sam told them our story). If you didn’t hear about that, our sperm was only showing a 20-30% motility rate so only about 3 million of the 10 million were alive, and those were not in the best shape.

We go in tomorrow for the start of round 3.

Some extra thoughts: At the beginning of all this, my initial feeling was that this was going to be a super easy experience since I’m super regular, I’m only 30, and haven’t had any medical issues at all. Go in, get inseminated, get pregnant, BOOM. It hasn’t worked out that way so far. If you’re planning on starting your family and you have a timeline set up, perhaps start a few months earlier just in case. I hate “wasting” all of this time. Initially, I said I wanted to be married for a year before trying to have a baby, but we just hit 1.5 years and those 6 months are weighing heavy on me. Because it’s been so difficult so far (really I keep counting this second one as a failure, but we DID have the sperm against us), we’ve been talking about IVF after this, but we may try one more time with IUI if this next time doesn’t work. I’m just trying to keep my head up and give the control to God and the Universe and whatever other entities control when we get pregnant. I’ve also been super cautious because I don’t want to change my habits, but I’m going to start running again (not far.. or super fast..) to get myself back into some sort of shape. Hopefully, that will help with everything. 

Cost:

$787 credit for the sperm
Total baby-making cost to date: $4007.10

Making a baby, IUI 2 – Part 3

Making Baby Mettler

We went in Friday for our final ultrasound For this round.  I had a 17mm and a 14mm follicle and the Doctor decided to have us come back on Monday (today) with the hopes that I would have two mature follicles. We were stressing about having to have the sperm delivered to our house because we would’ve had to pay an extra $100 between weekend + home delivery since this fertility office is closed on the weekends. Our nurse, who we LOVE, suggested that we could choose another sperm bank that’s actually only 20 min from our house (and also one of the largest in the country..) and we would pick it up before our appt Monday. (Come to find out, Sperm is cheaper, and we don’t have to pay the $280 for shipping, or the extra $100 for weekend delivery. YAY!)

After the appt on Friday, I had to race to my physics class and Sam was sending me screenshots of some of the donors. I fell in love with the second one she showed me and while we were sort of attached to our other donor, we’re more interested in making a baby and being able to afford it. Ordering from this sperm bank was actually a few hundred cheaper, so that was a huge upside.


This morning, Monday, insemination day, we went to the sperm bank, picked up our giant yellow box of sperm, buckled it into the seatbelt, and headed to the fertility clinic. Once we got there, we had to wait for the sample to thaw (20 min) and got called back into the procedure room. Our nurse came in and let us know that the sample we got wasn’t as motile as it should’ve been (basically less than 30% of them were swimming) So we got on the phone with the company. They said that this refund process can take a couple of days to be approved…. We decided that since everything is super time-sensitive, we would go ahead with the insemination anyways and not waste the cycle. It only takes 1 good swimmer to make this thing work, after all….

So we are dealing with that this morning. I really hope this time works – I think my excitement has faded into impatience, which I’m working on.

Fingers crossed!

Cost:
$250 for Ultrasound number 3 this go-round!
$787 for sperm plus $50 pickup fee through Cryos International
$500 Insemination

Total baby-making cost to date: $4794.10

Making a baby, IUI 2 – Part 2

Making Baby Mettler

Okay, so we made it through our second ultrasound. They measured my follicles and I have 3 that are looking decent after all the pills. They’re measuring 11, 12, 13 respectively.

The hardest part of this is all the guesswork and scheduling. The Dr. Prescribed the Gonal F shots again, but this time 3 doses of 75mL (instead of 2). I don’t know if it’s mL or not. That seems like a lot, but I know I set the dial to 75! lol. I gave myself a shot this morning right after we got home from the fertility office (Sam had to go to work). It hurts more when you watch it, lol. They’re having me come back Friday for another ultrasound ($250 we hadn’t planned for) to see if I need to go to the Jacksonville office this weekend to get inseminated, or if they’re still not big enough, we come back Monday and do the insemination then!

Everything seems to be going much faster this time around. Probably because now I know what to expect more so. We briefly hit on the fact that my egg reserve is low (this could explain why they’re slowly growing). Normal AMH range for my age is over 1ng/ml and mine is 0.80ng/ml, so I’m in the low normal range. We also talked about the “what ifs” in case this time doesn’t work. Of course, we are both crossing our fingers and saying our prayers and throwing all the good vibes out, but there’s still only a 20% chance of it working.

We discussed the possibility of IVF regardless if this one sticks or not. IVF is a procedure where they give me a TON more meds to make way more follicles mature, then they go get them, fertilize them, let them grow into embryos, then freeze them until we are ready to have babies. When you’re ready, they pop a few frozen ones into your uterus and because they’re already fertilized, it increases your odds of becoming pregnant (and you have leftover frozen ones stored for later!). Overall IVF is way more expensive ($12-20k), our insurance doesn’t cover it, so that’s not our first plan of action. Because of my age, my egg reserve, and the fact that we want to have a big family, that might be a solid option to look into eventually. That also presents the opportunity for Sam to carry if she wants to, although I don’t know all the testing she’d have to go through for that. We also have the option of Sam carrying or using Sam’s eggs if it ends up working that way!

Overall lots to think about, but we are taking it one step at a time.

I have 2 more days of shots, then we go back in on Friday (it’s Tuesday today) and see if we get inseminated Saturday or Monday!

Cost:
$250 for Ultrasound number 2 this go round!
Total baby-making cost to date: $3207.10

Remembering Pulse, 3 years later

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Today has been difficult to say the least.

As I logged onto facebook this morning, and I knew that I would see al the reminders of what happened, reminders of 49 lives taken too soon. I won’t ever forget laying in bed next to my wife (then fiance) getting up at 5am to both of our phones buzzing uncontrollably. “Where are you?? Are you okay?!” At 5am, I woke up confused – what had happened? “There’s been a shooting” – Sam told me – “No that was yesterday.. Christina Grimmie was shot” I said, reliving the events of the previous day. “No, at Pulse – There was a shooting last night at Pulse”.

Not another shooting..

I worked at our other gay club for about a year and knew the majority of the bartenders who would swap back and forth between clubs depending on what night it was.

At 5am my heart sunk. I’m okay, but what about all of my friends and my Orlando community and all the people I have come to call my family? Of course, the guilt and anger came followed by panic over the people we couldn’t get ahold of by noon. Sam’s cousin was out all night for a friends birthday and Pulse was on the normal list of stops for a party. They decided last minute not to go. A friend of mine was trapped in the dressing room while he huddled with strangers and barricaded the doorway to try to keep out the sounds of gunshots. Another few friends were bartenders who escaped while bullets flew over their heads. Another friend was hit in the leg. My friend Ray was the DJ that night. While working the light booth at Southern Nights, I got to know him as a DJ, a father, and a nice guy. I got to know his son as well. Ray saved so many people that night by turning off the music and helping people escape. Several of the victims were students at Valencia and UCF, and a few worked at Universal and Disney, all strong communities that were shattered in a single night, the latin community, most of all.

I can’t help but to feel so overwhelmed with emotions.

Today my friend Danielle was out in the community touching up the paint on one of our many Pulse tribute murals and I sat at work helpless and full of so many feelings.

Sam and I went to the memorials and stood in the rain several times after it happened. We visited pulse while the bullet holes were still visible on the sides of the building where so many lost their lives and suddenly I felt so heavy and helpless. We got pulse tattoos as a reminder (as if we needed it) permanently on our bodies. We cried, not due to pain, but due to immense gratitude that we were all able to be together when so many had that option taken away.

So many people have been affected by Pulse. Our entire gay community was targeted and we lost brothers and sisters and friends. Even if we didn’t know anyone personally, it felt like a personal attack on our family. We have all been to Pulse and to Southern. They are our safe havens and our home away from home. A place where we could go to have a good time and not feel threatened when we hold hands with our partners in public. It is here where we feel most at peace and the most accepted, when we are surrounded by the family we chose, and the friends who we can openly and honestly be ourselves around. We’ve grown up with people from this community and we are here for each other now more than ever, no matter our differences.

I want you to know, whoever you are reading this, that you are not alone in your feelings. Your emotions are valid. It’s okay to feel today. I think a lot of us are still healing and that’s okay. I felt like I needed to share a part of my story today because I can’t seem to hold back my tears anymore. I’ve never seen a community come together like this before and Orlando will forever hold a piece of my heart.

6.12.16

Orlando United Assistance Center offers support and resources specifically for those impacted by the Pulse tragedy.
Call 407-500-HOPE
Orlando United Day about Pulse events happening in the community as well as additional resources and information.

Our quick trip to Birmingham, Alabama!

Bands and Concerts, Traveling

This year, we are attempting to take fewer vacations.
(insert huge eye roll here) If you know us, you know that this is next to impossible for us. We love anyyyyy excuse for an adventure. 

 

We need to save money, and we can’t do that if we keep traveling for concerts. HOWEVER, we bought Mumford & Son’s tickets back in November for their concert in March. So obviously we couldn’t NOT do that, which meant a trip to Birmingham for the weekend. It’s only an 8.5-hour drive for us, so… why not? Birmingham is one of our favorite cities!

We drove up on a Friday afternoon and made a pitstop in Valdosta, GA to surprise my little sister and her family. She had noooo clue we were coming, so it felt great to just spend a few hours with her. I painted my niece’s nails (and my niece painted Steph’s nails, which she proudly wore to the concert), played with her makeup and turned her into Harley Quinn, and had a tea party in her hot pink room. Then, I watched my nephew kick some Spider-Man video game ass. It was a great halfway-ish break! 

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Our one full day in Birmingham we spent exploring. We started our day out at Urban Standard which is the BEST coffee/breakfast place that we found when we were there the first time a few years back (for a City and Colour concert). Steph still raves about their Balsamic jam to this day. (she’s a balsamic JUNKIE, to say the least). This time all Steph wanted was Avocado toast, and I got a coffee gravy biscuits and gravy. IT WAS TO DIE FOR!! I got a chai tea latte and Steph got a soy latte with vanilla – honestly, everything they make is incredible so you can’t lose. (And the presentation of their drinks are so perfect!!!)

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We decided to spend the day exploring and seeing things we hadn’t seen the last time we were here. We went to check out a vintage Vinyl store, Seasick Records and next door there was a really neat antique mall called Urban Suburban. After wandering up and down every booth I scored 2 old fashioned makeup train cases that I have been obsessed with for years for just $10! (Steph’s mom has a blue one and I’ve needed one ever since I first saw it!)

 

We left the vintage mall and headed to this video game coffee shop called Saturn! We walked in and Steph was in heaven. There was a rocket hanging from the ceiling and all of the space gear decorating the whole place. Steph ordered an Iced latte and I ordered a  Kombucha because they told me that it didn’t taste like vinegar, and that is the ONE thing I despise about Kombucha. I fell in love and then found out that I cannot get said Kombucha in Orlando since it’s locally made and apparently Florida has something against good kombucha. (sorry to all of you Kombucha lovers, but I am NOT one of them). We sat down to play old school Mario Kart on their Nintendo 64. And Steph, of course, kicked my ass. (I wasn’t sour about it in the leasssst- insert eye roll here-) 


When we were leaving, we were going past the Sloss Furnaces, which we had read about before. Apparently, they are super haunted and a creepy place to be after the sun goes down. We had decided prior to this that we would NOT be stopping there.. but after seeing them up close (and it being the middle of the day), we decided what the “hell, why not!?” and we were sooooo glad that we decided to stop. Despite feeling lotsssss of cold chills and quite a few eerie heavy feelings, they were sooo gorgeous! They were full of all the history that we both love so much. They started operating in 1882 if that tells you anything at all. In typical “us” fashion, we turned it into a photo session and had a ton of fun. Not to mention ended up with some awesome photos!

While we were at Sloss, someone suggested a place where they serve edible cookie dough like ice cream called Cookie Dough Magic and Obviously, we had to check that out. We tried a ladyfinger cookie dough, birthday cake, and chocolate chip. Seriously, it was sinful and we probably should have been rolled out of there!

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By this time, we were EXHAUSTED! And still had a concert that we had to stay awake all night for! We went back to the hotel and laid around for an hour or so. Luckily the venue was literally attached to the hotel. All we had to do was go down an elevator and walk down a hallway and TA-DA! And on our way to the concert, Steph was handed a Mumford & Son’s Delta Tour t-shirt! Scoooore!! We finally got to our ALMOST nose bleed seats and the concert started! They were INCREDIBLE. Mumford & Son’s are breathtaking Live. For their Encore performance, they brought out this husband and wife duo who blew us all away the second they opened their mouths! If you haven’t heard of The War and Treaty, YOU NEED TO LOOK THEM UP RIGHT NOW!!!

We had a GREAT weekend! Stopped at my sister’s again for an awesome dinner. I taught her how to roast asparagus! It’s the little things. By the time we got home, it was around midnight Sunday. And unfortunately, we had to get back to reality Monday morning. Totes worth it though!! 

Here are some gems from the Mumford and Sons concert:

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