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IVF Grants or Financial Advice Please

When Josh and I had our IVF Consultation our Doctor had mentioned a Financial consultant that we could talk to as well. I finally decided to call her after we got the news of only being able to do IVF. I called she I got off work at 3:30 and was told that she left a 3pm everyday. Of course, her working hours where the same as mine which meant I had to find time at work to have this conversation. I called the next day at 9AM to verify she got my message and that I would be receiving a call from her today. The receptionist said they would relay that message as well as letting her know about my voicemail from the day before. I called again at 1pm and did not leave a message. I called again at 240pm , thinking this will probably be at least a 20 minute conversation. They stated she was not in her office and they would relay the message. I let the receptionist know that I wanted a call back today and this was the 4th time I had called. She assured me I would get a call. I waited and then called back at 2:59 asking if she had left for the day and then I was finally transferred to the Financial consultant, Regina.

Regina stated she was on vacation and that she had 100 messages to go through so she apologized for not getting to mine yet. I said it was fine and I understood but in all honesty I was rather annoyed I called that many times with no response from her. But at that point I was just relieved to finally have her on the phone. When I told Regina I was given her info from my Doctor to talk to her about our financial options, she seemed slightly confused. Regina then went over the pricing of IVF with me, which I already knew but I did not say that. She went over my insurance with me as well. She stated that my insurance didn’t cover anything for IVF and some portion of the medications(I left that paper at work with the numbers). From there she told me we had to walk in with that $9,800 to get IVF done. She also said that since we were paying for it that there was the ARC program; which is like a package deal. Or the program through the hospital that can potentially pay for our 2nd round if the first doesn’t work. Regina quickly went over how they store the embryos if we don’t/can’t use all that develop. Which is $400 a year. After that Regina told me that we should look into grants if we need any further assistance with paying for IVF procedure.  Then ended the conversation. She rushed the information and rushed me off the phone. She didn’t give me any new information that I didn’t already know. I don’t know if that was the intent or not but I feel like she should have offered me more information. Now it is in my hand and I am very overwhelmed.

To explain better as to why we don’t want to use some other options that have been told to us by others to use. We do not want to sign up for another credit card because we are doing a very good job at paying off our debit. We have 4 more cards to pay off…We had too many credit cards and are trying to consolidate. We also do not want to dip into our 401k’s because we have not been at our jobs long enough for that to help a lot and we don’t want to use 401K funds at all. We are saving money right now but that is going towards a roof that we desperately need so we don’t want to use that either. We do not want to crowd fund yet either. I say yet because my husband and I discussed that IF IVF doesn’t work and adoption is the only option we would consider crowd funding at that point. From my understanding, that leaves us with grants.

Can anyone give us advise on Grants that are good in Ohio? Or any state? Or for veterans?  Do they all cost money to get? I am struggling looking through these mass amounts of sites.I am just so overwhelmed with the amount of them that are offered and I don’t know where to start or which ones are legitimate. Any advice is more then welcomed.

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Well, so much for options

It has been a little longer then expected.Josh had been traveling a lot which delayed him setting up his appointment to get tested again.

We finally discussed it and decided to start our testing so we could do IUI or IVF in October. Josh went to do his testing to check his count. Per out last discussion the doctor said she wanted a minimum of 1 million for us to do IUI. If the numbers didn’t look promising then we would have to do IVF.

The doctor finally called to give us the results. She told me that his total count was 3.6 million before wash. She said that is too low. The doctor said that they may be able to get 1 million from that but she doesn’t think that we should waste our time and money with IUI. The doctor suggested that we go straight to IVF. I was hopeful before the call that we would be given the go ahead to do IUI. Not that I didn’t think about the possibility of being told IVF was the only option but it was a tiny thought, behind IUI.

The call was quiet for a moment because I didn’t know what to say. I was stunned silent. This is the only option? Oh my goodness, the cost. I finally found my word to ask her to about the financial assistance that is offered to us. I remember there was a woman that we could contact to walk us through our financial options. The Doctor gave me her name and number. She said to contact this woman and that she knew of a few other options for us. The Doctor obviously said that we could look into foundations but to be careful with those. She knows there is one that offers a “bundle package deal” type option. The doctor also said that the facility also offers a program that if our 1st IVF round doesn’t work, it will allow us to get the 2nd IVF round free (if we qualify). That was something promising. The Doctor stated to look into our options and that obviously if we qualify for the 2nd program not to buy multiple rounds from the first. The Doctor stated to talk it over with Josh, look into all your options. If we decide to do IVF to contact her.

I could barely make it through the rest of work. I was dreading talking to Josh. I finally got the courage to call Josh to tell him the news. He said he was sorry, which I didn’t want to hear. I just wanted to know what he was thinking about what we should do. On a side note, Josh and I have been eating better and working out. We have both lost weight. Josh said we need to stick with that. If we are spending $15,000 on this then we need to put ourselves in the best position for it to work. We will be waiting, yet again, to do IVF. We are going to do more research on what financial options we have, continue to lose weight and be healthy, and go from there. I am really hoping we can get all the info and be in a good spot to do our first IVF cycle in October or November. We will see. We will figure out something to get our miracle baby either way.

 

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IUI/IVF Appointment

We had out IUI/IVF Appointment. It was just supposed to be an IVF appointment but we high-jacked it into a mixture of the two.

It started like a normal appointment where the nurse took us back to take my blood pressure, temperature, weight, and ask why we were there. I said that, ” we are here for our IVF Consultation” and the mood slightly changed with the nurse. She took Josh and I into a room and told us the doctor would be with us shortly. We didn’t have to wait long at all before the Doctor came in and took us to her office to chat, in her words. We sat down and the doctor made us a little picture to describe the process of IVF: Medications to increase eggs production and assist in ovulation, blood test and ultrasounds, egg retrieval, combining eggs and sperm to make embryo, waiting to see which ones take, insemination of embryos, waiting to see what takes, and baby!

The Doctor then explained the difference between IUI and IVF because Josh mixes them up sometimes when we talk. From there a lot of our discussion was about Josh’s count. She was saying that all Doctor’s agree that they want no lower then 1 million sperm count after the wash to do IUI or IVF. But there is that gray area that not all doctors agree on. She said that she knows that Josh’s count is low. “I think that we should try IUI first. If after the wash Josh has 2 million or more I feel very good about IUI, if its 1-2 Million I would still want to try IUI, if it is lower then 1 million then I would suggest IVF for the next cycle if IUI did not work. If that first round did not work as long as the 2nd round was 1 million or more I would want to try IUI again. We would only do IUI 2-3 times and if those did not work then I would suggest IVF going forward.” The doctor had high hopes for IUI with us. You could tell that she did not want to jump right into IVF without at least trying a IUI cycle.

We then started to vaguely talk about cost. She stated that there was a woman we should contact if we decide to go to IVF because this woman could give us options to help pay for it if we needed. As I have stated before: IUI is a “flat rate” (as the doctors describe it) of $420.00 for the Insemination and Sperm Wash. This does not include any medications, ultrasounds, blood work, or doctor appointments which we believe will average the IUI to about $550.00. The IVF package is $9,800.00 which includes the egg retrieval with ultrasound, sperm prep, fertilization(with ICSI, if needed), transfer, recovery room, preservation of remaining eggs or embryos, anesthesia, and cycle management. From there you have to pay for the medication which starts at $3,000.00 and go up from there.   You also have to add in the cost of the blood work, ultrasounds, or doctor appointments which we believe will average the IVF to about $15,000.00. She said that the finance lady has options for us and she understands the hesitation. That was refreshing to hear. The doctor also suggested ICSI because it would put the sperm right into the egg instead of allowing them to come together themselves. This is suggested to men suffering from infertility and as stated above, is included with IVF package. The doctor went over the risk with us as well as testing that we can get done to test for certain diseases that would be passed on to the embryo that we could remove. So crazy! From there we touched on my weight. She showed me statistics(which I don’t remember) about how likely it is for us to get pregnant. We had pretty good odds for our ages and diagnosis. BUT those odds drop with my weight being what it is. The doctor stated that the odds aren’t bad but the weight doesn’t help them either. This is something that Josh and I have discussed since the appointment.

The Appointment was an hour. The doctor answered all the questions we had and cleared up the process of both IUI and IVF for Josh. At the end of the appointment she gave us a folder full of IVF information and she put a paper about IUI in the folder for us to look over. I felt great after the appointment. Josh said that he felt the same and that it was nice to get all the information that we did.

We did win a trip to Hawaii and it was amazing. This picture was taken out first morning in Oahu. We woke up at 4AM(accidentally) and watched the sunrise over Diamond head. It was beautiful.

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We took this time to relax and not talk about any baby stuff. Unfortunately, when we got home I got very sick. We have been home a little over a week and I am just starting to feel better. I did start my period and I am on CD 5 which mean I am too late for this cycle to do IUI. I am actually OK with that. This cycle has been miserable, long, and painful. I was thinking that we might wait a month or two so I can get some gym time in. Since I have been sick that has not happened. Josh and I haven’t talked about when we are going to start the IUI process but as of right now I am thinking July. I know that I wont be able to work out this week because I still don’t feel well which means I will be giving myself 2 full months to change my/our diets and exercise more. Josh and I will go over this information again very soon to verify that we are on the same page. I may read this over again to add things that I may have forgot about the appointment but right now this is all I can remember. Thats what I get for waiting so long to type this blog. I will be back soon with our decision on when we will start IUI. I will make sure when that blog of the IUI appointment is very detailed and shortly after the actual procedure….unlike this one. My bad =].

 

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Is February Over Yet?

This month has been very rough. It’s a short month but it didn’t hold back at all. Work has been pretty stressful, my husband has been traveling a lot, the weather has been insane, and I started my period today. Ehh! Needless to say I am glad its almost done. I have also been very nervous and stressed waiting for Josh to do his test along with waiting for the results.  We finally got them back

Blood Test- Testosterone: 488 ng/dl (Low, Improved), Luteinizing: 10 mU/mL (Improved), FSH: 10.6 mU/mL(High)

Sperm Test- Semen PH: 7.2 (Low, Same), Concentration(After Removing “Bad Sperm): 2.4 (Million, Low, Decreased), Total Count: 8.78 (Million, Low, Decreased), Total Motile Sperm(What Doctors can use): 4.74 (Low, Decreased), Motility: 54% (Good, Same), Sperm Morphology: 6% (Low), AmOrphology Sperm: 79% (High, Improved by decreasing)

Josh’s Doctor also said to continue taking these vitamins for another 4-6 weeks, retest, and then discuss options such as IUI, Freezing Sperm, and IVF.

So, Thats where we are at. I had Josh’s urologist send this information to my RE. I got the call from her today. She asked if the Urologist made any suggestions and I told her the above. She said, ” first of all this is a normal change in sperm. Sometimes numbers can fluctuate that much…but…this is still low.” I became a little tense when she said that. I asked the minimum that we would need to be able to do IUI. I have heard numerous different numbers but the lowest was 8 Million, is that true? She said that they do prefer that people walk in, before the wash, with 15 million. BUT all they really need is 1 Million after the wash. WOW! That is not what I expected to hear. Then she said what I expected to hear, “You should both start talking and thinking about IVF.” THERE IT IS. I knew it was coming but it still hit me like a ton of bricks. I told the doctor that I know that IVF is expensive and IUI is only about $700 after all is said and done. But is it smart for us to even try IUI and waste that $700 that we could put toward IVF? I know it isn’t much but its still $700 toward the $15,000.00 that we need to do IVF. She responded the best way. “I won’t have you do IUI if I don’t think it has a chance of working.” I felt like she had our back when she said that. She said that she believes that there is 1 Million available out of Josh’s count. I then said,” Not to be a pessimist but if that doesn’t work what do we need to walk in to do the IVF?” She told me that she requires the couple to come in and meet with her to go over everything IVF. The appointment will take about 45 minutes to go over everything and that we could talk about IUI as well. We can get all the information about both procedures. Perfect and intimidating. This is a lot of information to take in but not as much as we will get at this appointment coming up. Something I don’t think I have mentioned is that: we won a trip to Hawaii!!!  We will be gone in April right after we get Josh tested and hopefully after we get his results. That way we can really think things over and do which ever we decide in May because I will be in Hawaii if my cycle doesn’t completely screw up. Those were the orders from the Doctor as well. She said to take this time to get ready for our trip, get Josh Tested again, hopefully get the results before we leave and enjoy the trip. She also said that we could do the IVF appointment ahead of time. To have all the information for when we come back. Josh has to look at his schedule for us to schedule the appointment to reify he will be in town. We will do that as soon as possible.

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I feel better about the situation. Obviously, I am nervous to do IUI because of Josh’s count. But if the doctor says it might work…thats HUGE! On the same hand IVF is so expensive. It isn’t even a guarantee. There is so much to think about and I’m excited to get this appointment set up. I am so sick of waiting.

 

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More Results Are In

We got the Semen Analysis back and the results where not as planned.

On Thursday I called the doctor, behind Josh’s back, to see if the results were in yet. The Nurse said they were and she would have the doctor call Josh. I told Josh that and he text me shortly before he got off work to tell me he heard from the doctor. I asked, ” Good or Bad News?” He responded with, “Both”. I had been freaking out most of the day and was feeling a little better once I saw the word both. Josh was asking where I wanted to go to dinner because we were going out. I was curious by this because either things are good or bad. He finally got off work and called me. He then said, ” Well, the results…” I was confused, ” Oh, we are doing this now? OK…what did he say?” So He told me that he count dropped again to 2 Million now. He said his motility went up and the doctor wants a blood test to see where his testosterone is at. If that went down or remained the same that isn’t good. If it went up its a good sign. We have to wait for those results. He said that the doctor said that we may be able to do IUI which I know is not true. The 2 doctors I have dealt with at 2 different facilities require a minimum of 8-15 Million. Both a lot higher than what we are working with. The doctor also said to continue taking the vitamins in the mean time. I asked what the next steps could be? Josh said he kind of stopped listening after he heard his count went down again but, “from the sounds of it, there isn’t much more after this. Something about freezing them that might help if it gets too low.” I started crying in the car while driving to the restaurant. We obviously decided not to go after that. I finally got Josh off the phone so I could have a melt down. All I was thinking was that we aren’t going to be able to have children. It scared the Hell out of me. We talked it over a little over a few days. We said that we will get all the results and send them to the RE to tell us out options. I am hoping we can do this over the phone and they don’t make us wait for an appointment to go to the office to sit with her. If we aren’t sure of what options we are given we will seek a second option. From there we were also talking a lot about adoption. We are both very open to it. I told Josh that I would need to grieve if we can’t have children together but I am very open to adoption.

I am still processing the information. Honestly, I am a bit of a mess. Every time I think about it I get emotional. Whether its crying, becoming silent, shutting down, not talking, avoiding people….or all of it. I try to joke and laugh it off but every once in a while I can’t. I am a very positive person but with this. It hurts me and I can’t be myself. I don’t have an answer to focus my energy on. The WHAT IF is killing me and I will feel so much better once we know our options. Until then I just have to work on feeling like myself again. Josh has also been amazing. When I try to ask how he is feeling he goes SPOCK on me and asked about me instead. He keeps saying, ” I am worried about you because I want this but I know you REALLY want this.” He feels bad about the situation. I try to remind him that this isn’t his fault, he didn’t do this on purpose and it isn’t HIS FAULT. We are in this together. But He’s not really hearing me. I am hoping, sometime soon, I can get some emotion out of him to know how he is really feeling about this whole thing.

To sum things up: We don’t have any official numbers yet but we know Josh’s Count dropped from 4.5 Million to 2 Million and his motility went up.  Waiting for results to talk to the RE.

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The Results Are In…Again

I know I keep taking breaks from the blog but I realized that I need it for my sanity. If I engross myself into this baby stuff when there is nothing that we can do I will get crazy. I told myself that I would not update the blog until it was closer to a time when something significant can happen. Finally, it is that time.

The results from Josh’s Blood and Sperm Analysis came back a while ago:

Blood Test- Testosterone: 356 ng/dl (Low), Luteinizing: 6.6 mU/mL (Good), FSH: 7.6 mU/mL(Good)

Sperm Test- DNA: 12.1% (Good), Reactive O2 Species: 2,242.9 RLU/sec (High), Semen PH: 7.2 (Low), Motility: 55% (Improved, Good), Sperm Morphology: 5% (Low), AmOrphology Sperm: 84% (High), Concentration(After Removing “Bad Sperm): 4.6 (Million, Low), Total Count: 16.56 (Million, Low), Total Motile Sperm: 9.11 (Million, Low)

We were told that the low sperm count and the high oxidative stress can be fixed by the Vitamin C and E that he is currently taking in the vitamin regimen that he has been on since November. It is not guaranteed that it will be fixed by those vitamins but we will see with the next test. He also has abnormal morphology. This is not uncommon for men and it also is not an easy fix. We were told that if his numbers do not improve and if this continues to be the problem that IVF with ICSI is our best bet to get pregnant. “Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). ICSI only requires one sperm, which is injected directly into the egg. The fertilised egg (embryo) is then transferred to your uterus (womb).”(http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a4097/fertility-treatment-intracytoplasmic-sperm-injection-icsi#ixzz3zFSBNU74) Josh was also told to continue taking the vitamin regimen, some others meds, then we will retest in a 3 months.

Guess what kids….Its been three months. I know, I can’t believe it either how time as flied by. As of February 11th Josh can go get re-tested. He calls in the day before to set up the appointment then we go from there. Josh travels a lot now for work and we are not sure if he will be in town that day so he had not set up the appointment yet. If he can’t go the 11th then we just try each thursday after that(18th, 25th, etc.) He believes that he will be traveling that week so it might have to wait until the 18th. I am hoping not but he doesn’t have much control of when he travels so we will see what happens. Best Case Scenario, Josh gets his test done in a week. This makes me very excited because even though I have been trying to avoid the baby talking, it hasn’t been going very well.

I introduced my friend to my doctor and she started Clomid and testing and everything right away. But before I knew it she was doing IUI and I was in a daze. She took her OPK at work and when she came back from the bathroom with a BFP, she was ecstatic. She instantly left to call the doctor to set up the appointment for their IUI. I literally ran to the bathroom and burst into tears. I was so mad at her and jealous and devastated and heartbroken. She has been trying for a long time and deserves this. But I have too. I have been dealing with doctors and so has my husband. Going through this pain of nothing for months on end just for my friend to get to do this so quickly. After literally vocalizing all of this to another friend I realized, ” I just need to feel bad for myself first so I can then be happy for her.” I needed to be frustrated and deal with my emotions. I used to be a very instant person. If I felt something everyone knew and I didn’t care about the repercussions or how it would effect others. If I was mad at you, you knew it, no matter how childish the situation. I never took the time to think about the situation before erupting with emotions. I am much better at expressing my emotions in a healthy way. Obviously we all have our moments but, no matter what the emotion is, I figure it out and go on with my day. I didn’t want her to think that she couldn’t talk to me about it or that i wasn’t happy for her because I was. I felt awful when my best friend thought she couldn’t tell me she was pregnant because of our situation. I wanted to make sure I never let one of my friends think that ever again. After I grieved that day I was able to be happy for her and wanted to know every detail about it. Unfortunately, it did not take and either did the 2 other times. She is taking a break now because you can tell it has taken an emotional toll on her. I don’t blame her and she needs this break. Physically and Emotionally. I hope that she gets her family soon because she has been through a lot, especially these last few months. It seems to be a pretty exhausting process where time is not your friend and you have run to the doctors at the drop of a hat on numerous occasions. I can’t say that I am looking forward to not having control over this situation. But I am so overwhelmed with the glimmer of hope over these next few weeks with Josh’s tests. This might be our time. Instead of all the waiting we might be able to finally start the process of getting pour baby.

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My Cycle Insight

I believe that I am about to start my period. Which is fine because I know that I am not pregnant. But I am only on CD22. My back is really starting to hurt which is my sign that it’s about to go down. My regular cycles were around 26 days but they have been very sporadic lately. I use an app to keep track of my periods and when I took OPKs I tracked those as well. Here are the results of how many days my last few cycles have been:

18, 26, 28, 25, 24, 26

I don’t get it. As I stated before, they are also much more painful. I always put that the pain is on the right side, fatigue, cramping, back pain, diarrhea, and bloating. The pain is awful and hard to handle but would be much easier to deal with if my cycles where a little more consistent. Once we get all of Josh’s test results back I am going to talk to my doctor about all my issues.

We are also trying to plan a vacation. For once, we are taking time to ourselves to have a vacation. Not worrying about “IF” I am going to be pregnant or anything like that. Just planning and going with the flow. I am hoping that we find out Josh’s results this week. So we can talk with the doctors for our next steps.