PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are currently trying to conceive and you DON'T want to read about my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at the beginning of the blog (March 2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so there is a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny, helpful or relatable. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lord of the NuvaRing: Fellowship of the Infertiles

Last week, I emailed the clinic we’ve been working with about IVF #3. For the record, I never thought I’d ever need one invitro let alone three. My reproductive saga appears to have become a trilogy: Lord of the NuvaRing.

The subject line of my email was “IVF Financial Breakdown” and it was to inquire how much a third invito would cost since this time, we would be completely financially responsible for it all. Oy, I say. Oy.

I received a response that said sonograms, doctor visits, retrieval and transfer would roughly be around $11,000. If we did ICSY, which the doctor already told us we’d have to, that would add on a little over $2000. Then, there’s the cost of all the medications and anesthesia. The more I read, the more I realized that what I wrote in the subject related more to my impending emotional state. I was on the verge of having an actual IVF Financial Breakdown.

We have been putting money aside for awhile now but we estimate that we’re still $5000 short. The more I thought about that, the more I wished I could have given up infertility for Lent.

Just a quick related side note: A girlfriend of mine said to me recently that they like when celebrities who have had fertility issues end up having kids because it makes her more hopeful. To be clear, I deeply respect when any celebrity is open about their struggles to conceive. It lets the ignorant fertile world know that this is a real issue that many people struggle with. So, of course any time anyone who has struggled with infertility is able to have a happy ending, I’m happy for them. However, saying that their success story provides me hope isn’t necessarily accurate as let’s face it -- they can AFFORD hope. They can pay any price to see the best doctors in a timely manner. They have the money to do seven invitros in between record albums. They can pay for the best lawyers to do a quick adoption from the country of their choice. They can hire a woman to carry their twins all while they walk the red carpet. Me? I currently can’t even afford the super nice digital ovulation predication kits.

Anyway, I emailed the clinic back and included my doctor, his assistant and the billings manager. I thanked all of them for giving me the financial information and I explained that we simply couldn’t afford it at this time but I’d be in touch as soon as we got the money. After I hit send, I made a list of all the relatives I have that may have money and who seemed sick the last time I saw them. I made a note to call the select few to tell them how much I’ve always loved them. Hey – don’t judge.

One good thing that came out of my IVF Financial Breakdown was it prompted me to schedule what will now be our third opinion. Sam and I figured that if we’re going to spend our entire savings on something that hasn’t worked for us so far, getting yet another opinion couldn’t hurt. Luckily, the doctor we’re seeing not only came highly recommended but she takes our insurance for the consultation part. We’re seeing her tomorrow morning.

This past weekend, I had a lot of time to think about all of this; the money, getting a third opinion, the last two years, etc. I was on the road and there isn’t much else to do but listen to some music, stare out at the highway ahead of you and wonder what the f*ck is wrong with your uterus.

As some of you know, I perform stand-up comedy from time to time. I haven’t performed for several months now to focus on my reproductive pursuits but when I knew that our last IVF failed, I though some comedy was in order. What better way to get over a recent disappointment then to complain about it to total strangers while they enjoy a two drink minimum?

So I booked a whole bunch of shows and my husband and I drove from one town to another. As I zoned out and looked out the window, images flashed through my head. I saw me on the side of a road looking homeless with a cardboard sign that read, “Will work for hormone shots”.

I remembered the warning label on my progesterone cream that said, “Keep out of reach of children”. Umm, if I HAD children, I wouldn’t need the effen progesterone cream.

I wondered if they’ll ever come out with coupons for fertility. “Clip this coupon for a free HCG shot!

And strangely enough, I thought about one of Jim Carrey’s costumes in the movie, BATMAN FOREVER. It’s a green body suit with question marks all over it. That’s exactly how I feel these days: One big ol’ question mark (although in reality, I’m shaped more like the number ‘8’.).

I don’t know why I can’t get pregnant. I don’t know where I’m going to get $5000 from. I don’t know what went wrong with my most recent IVF and I don’t know if I’m ever going to have kids. My whole existence feels so unclear that I’d actually wear this “question mark body suit” except for the fact that I’d look more like an infertile pickle then The Riddler.

Here’s the thing: I think we all go through periods of denial when dealing with infertility. We think ‘This can’t go on forever! I mean, this is going to work out, right? This is me and I’m fabulous! Of course this is going to end wonderfully!’ And we keep hope alive because we have to. Well, I guess we don’t have to but we do it because we should but if my blog seems a bit more whinier lately (is ‘whinier’ a word?), it’s because I think my denial is wearing off. It’s finally hitting me that this whole ‘getting pregnant thing’ isn’t going well (in case you haven’t noticed). Lord knows I’ve complained about it enough and I’ve certainly had times where I’ve considered what life would be like if I never became a mother but this past weekend while in the car, I found myself thinking, “Jay – You genuinely may not be capable of having children. This may never happen for you.

Now, as depressing and heavy as that thought is (true or not) and as much as my quest to get pregnant has become like the actual LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy (too long and utterly confusing), I do want to end today’s blog entry on a positive note.

Yes, things are not great right now. Yes, my hope has taken a huge mother f*cking hit and yes, I’m on the verge of losing a butt load of money on something that comes with no guarantees. I admit all this but here are two things I realized this weekend that DON’T suck:

1. One of the best things that hit me this weekend (when I wasn’t thinking of Jim Carrey or that I may forever be barren) is that I may be a pessimist, but I’m at least a pessimist with a great attitude.

And 2. This weekend was the first time I discussed things related to fertility on stage and it was fantastic. I don’t come out and get into all our issues because I’m not sure how much people want to hear about sperm morphology while eating nachos, but I got into it enough where it made me feel free. It was like saying to the world, “This is who I am. This is what I’ve been struggling with and god dammit, we’re all going to laugh at it together.”

And you know what? Everyone did.


cgd said...

I am so hoping that you can do the study at the other clinic with this new RE. I would also ask them about the grant too (not sure if they would have a different answer than the first clinic but could not hurt to ask right.
I am here for you and am just a phone call/subway ride away.
sending love to you.

Alex said...

I'm so impressed - you got on stage and made jokes about infertility? You're my new hero... Very impressed!!!

Brooke said...

Wishing you all the best. If kids went to the deserving, you'd have a shitload of them.

Secret Sloper said...

I'm amazed and beyond impressed that you joked about this in front of a crowd. Serious balls (and ovaries) required for that. I can hear in your tone how freeing it was.

Is your 3rd opinion by any chance my (and Lady P's) Dr. W? If so--you will love her. She is extremely kind and calm but also ridiculously smart and straight-forward.

Sandy said...

I love your sense of humor. I can totally realte with you on the finances. We are going on our second IVF with still no results. Can you say sinking farther into debt. I know if it doesnt work this time we will be done. No pressure right? Good luck on your third opinion, maybe the cost of IVF will also be lower with your new doctor.

Baby Steps said...

Jay, I sent you some info to you that I hope will be helpful.

This road is a hard road to walk, no doubt one filled with many pot-holes, snags and re-routing... if only we could all have your sense of humor, albeit pessimism or the elusive hope, you are not alone... ever!

Onward and Upwards - it's what my mom always says. Don't know what it means, but it always makes me feel like tomorrow could be better than today.


Willow said...

I would love to have seen your IF standup routine! That's so cool that you just went for it. Good luck with the third opinion (my third clinic is the one that finally knocked me up, albeit with donor eggs), and with raising the cash--I hate that this stuff is so crazy expensive! I feel like they're exploiting us poor infertiles!

ADSchill said...

Gosh, we all have similar worries and I am sure you have crap ton. I am only facing my first IVF (uninsured) and I am terrified. I can imagine how you would feel with #3.

Thanks for the humor you bring to the subject and thank you for helping us all press on.

Good luck!


missohkay said...

I can really relate to it (belatedly?) hitting that the pregnancy thing isn't going well - my moment was when I explained to the nurse what my doctor's preference was for post-miscarriage appointments. Good luck with the consultation - hope she gives you hope!

Jess said...

I've come face to face with that reality that I may never have a child too. It's hard and scary, but once I swallow it (miserably)I often feel like I'm going to be ok anyway. Those are the good days.

And I agree with you about celebrities. They not only have unlimited funds, but I think they often have donors- which is wonderful- but since they don't always tell people that part, fertile friends seem to think that IVF should work just fine for us too.

One more note- have you thought about having your own Infertility Comedy show to raise funds? I know if I lived in NYC I'd love to go to something like this. You could pioneer a "vagina monologue" type event.

Wishing you your happy ending, Jay.

Articia said...

I'm sure this has been requested before, but if you ever write a book I'd be 1st in line :)

Damita said...

I am so sorry you are going through this, you are my hero, I am just about to hit a year of trying and am heading to my doctors, I wish I could talk to my friends like you have done *hugs*

Agree if you write a book, I would buy it and then buy it for my fertile friends who get pregnant by someone looking at them!

Baby Craving said...

I think having a laugh at your own fertility issues is a healthy thing to do- my husband and I do it often!

Wow, i can't believe how expensive it is in the US - i thought Australia was expensive enough!

Anonymous said...

Jay, I have an idea! Create a donate button on your blog. You make me laugh and I'd pay a few bucks each time and a they could add up. This is not begging and it is not obligatory but it is worth a shot!

Moon said...

So sorry you're having a financial breakdown hun, I wish I could wave a magic wand for you, I really do. I'd love to see one of your comedy shows about infertility, you should film it and put it on youtube :)
Good luck with the 3rd opinion
Moon xx

MyTTCstory said...

I still can't admit to myself that I might neve have children... I'm determined to get there one way or another. Have you thought of having treatment in Europe? It's not as expensive as the US.

Lots of luck with your second opinion xx

kkasun said...

I really hope that the third time is the charm for you!
As for the comedy, I love that you can at least look to the bright side to laugh about it. There are some funny things and situations that come out of IF.
I will never forget your waxing saga, or another blogger's story of how she was inseminated to teh song, Felis Navidad!

Dead Cow Girl said...

omfg, I would LOVE to see you perform stand up about infertility.

Seriously. Infertility is hilarious. Everyone should know how hilarious it is! Plus? Then? All the fertile would be jealous of how much Mr Wand loves us and not them!

Emily W. said...

Another brilliant post. Made me laugh...and also cry a little bit. I hurt for you. I hurt for me. I hurt for all of us who feel the same things. Why me? Could this really go on forever? WTF is wrong with my ute? Why did I try so hard to NOT get pregnant for 30 years? Questions, questions, questions and a big fat nothing. If you're ever in Ohio, I'll be paying for a ticket.

Diahann said...

Have you looked into the ARC financial program for IVF? It is a finance plan and offers a refund program if your treatment does not result in a live birth. Just Google "ARC fertility".

Anonymous said...

@ Diahann, I just got a quote from ARC. The ARC fertility programs are horrible and make zero financial sense. They're a bad joke.

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