Friday, June 28, 2013

Finally. A shipping update!

I quickly heard back from the embryologist after I left my voicemail for her yesterday. She said she was glad to hear from me because she had emailed me earlier in the week with no response. But I never got an email.

It turns out that their office switched email systems earlier in the week and they just recently learned that emails from their clinic weren't being delivered to Gmail accounts, which is what I have. I learned that even my RE had emailed me about the insurance appeal, but I never got that one either. I swear I have the worst luck ever right now.

The email the embryologist had unsuccessfully sent me was to notify me that there was a problem with coordinating shipping with Libby's clinic. Argh.

When the embryologist contacted Libby's lab, they said they had no record of having spoken to Libby since 2010!  WHAT?! And her lab also claimed they never received the required signed/notarized "consent to ship" form. That's flat out not true. The truth is that Libby has been in contact with them multiple times over the past few months, and in fact they are they ones that supplied her with the shipping consent form that she DID send in.

I am so irritated with Libby's clinic I could scream.

I unfortunately had to ask Libby to get involved to straighten it out because her lab won't talk to me since I am not their patient. I wish I could do it for her, I really do. She's already done so much, let alone having gone the extra mile when these kind of silly, incompetent people make it difficult for not apparent reason. You'll remember the recent nonsense with her blood sample. And now this.

Libby is working on getting this ironed out and hopefully will get confirmation they received the form early next week. She has even volunteered to drive there in person if she has to.There's not an adjective that is adequate in describing Libby here. Hero comes close, but not quite. She's much, much more. :)

So there's the shipping update. I wish it was a good one instead of this.

Oh, and I got the confirmation yesterday from the vet that Nadia does have kitty diabetes. Thank you to everyone who had chimed in with their support and knowledge on this subject! It's very daunting, but we will do what we need to do. Our consultation class is on Tuesday afternoon to learn what this means to us and start giving insulin shots. Maybe it's a good thing my cycle is slightly delayed so I can get the hang of being a caretaker to a diabetic cat instead of doing all of this at once.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Standing Still

I feel like I'm standing still. And there are times that standing still makes me want to scream.

If you've been my follower, you know I have spent countless days busting my butt to get everything in order for this cycle to get started. I had no idea I'd be stalled out at the very last step due to bureaucratic nonsense. The latest is that I found out yesterday that my evil insurance company will not allow a physician review for our FET preauthorization denial. Instead it has to go through the formal appeal process.

This process takes THIRTY DAYS!

I am so frustrated. I'm not trying to be a baby here. I know that thirty days will come and go, and it will be what is meant to be in the end. However, there's still no guarantee they will approve it even after we've waited. And then I'll really lose my marbles!

I've also left a message for the embryologist for a status update on the embryo shipping because I still haven't heard anything there.

Trust me - I'll be overjoyed when our embryos make it here. But I had fantasized that the notice of their shipping would be the day that the culmination of all of this hard work and coordination would be the green light to get my calendar. Nope. We are waiting on this stupid insurance stuff.

And if I may continue my gripe for a moment, the following J&J commercial seems to be on the TV every time I turn it on. It's 60 seconds of tear-jerking, rip-your-heart-out-and-stomp-on-it images/sounds/words to an infertile or a woman who has experienced loss. Or even to a person who has lost their own mother.

Especially that very last line: "All the things in life that make life worth living."

I'm not usually overly sensitive to this kind of stuff, but this one is really getting to me. (If you're having a hard infertile day, don't watch it....)

All in all, as disappointed as I am for standing still, I'm trying to look at a bright side here. More time waiting around to cycle means more time to continue to get my body healthy again. I've lost 11 pounds since my miscarriage, even though it's been grueling. I will pat myself on the back there and try to focus on the positives. It's just hard when you want something so bad that is so crazy hard, yet seemingly so easy for most everyone else.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Kitty Diabetes

As mentioned in yesterday's post, I have been waiting for the vet to call confirming our beloved cat Nadia's diagnosis of hyperthyroidism. I fully expected to get the call, then to go get her medication and start her treatment today. And that would be that.


Instead, the vet called saying Nadia's thyroid looked great. However, her blood glucose was at 440. Normal blood glucose for a cat should be below 170. Also, glucose was spilling into her urine. What does all of that mean? Very likely it's kitty diabetes.

Great. I hate curve-balls like this. You know, when you're expecting one thing and something completely different happens. I had hoped for closure and an answer today. I know our pets can't live forever, but I hate thinking about her mortality. And I hate that this has to be happening RIGHT NOW.  Right as we are very stressed waiting for our FET cycle to finally get underway.

Out next step is to run another test on her blood to check for her sustained levels of glucose to make sure the previous reading wasn't just a spike due to the stress of being shoved in a crate and dragged to the vet. It's similar to an A1C test in humans, in case anyone is familiar. If this comes back high, we can confidently diagnose her with diabetes and put her on a special diet and start the treatment with insulin shots twice a day. Luckily they can use her existing blood sample from Saturday so I don't have to take her there again. That was a relief!

Realistically, this means shots. Shots twice a day for the rest of her life. But you know what? I've got this. I know shots all too well. Welcome to the pin-cushion club, miss Nadia. It's not fun, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. And Kevin has given me more shots than I can remember, so I know he can do this too, even though he's nervous at the thought of poking our poor kitty.

We should have the results of this latest blood test confirming diagnosis on Thursday. We love her so much and I just want a definitive answer and to get her on some kind of treatment as soon as possible.

Man, it's looking like our house is going to have needles galore in the next couple of months! We should start buying stock in the needle industry. I think we might be keeping them in business.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Brain Dump

Today’s post is going to be a giant brain dump. Get ready. I’ll give you a cupcake if you make it to the end.

I’m still waiting for the call about the embryos shipping. Argh.

Last Wednesday, the embryologist at my lab said that she was working on coordinating shipping and it should take a week or so to get them shipped to Texas. They like to initiate the shipping in the earlier part of a week as opposed to latter just in case there’s some kind of unforeseen shipping delay. They don’t want to chance them sitting somewhere over the weekend even though they are packed with ice to last quite a few days. Yeah, me neither! But in 99.99999999% of situations, they end up at their destination overnight just as intended. But as always, I’m praying there are no hiccups and I can’t wait to get them on their plane already! I’ll follow up with the embryologist after Wednesday if I don’t get an update by then.

I’m also waiting for a call about cat blood work. Oh the stress of having an aging pet.

Saturday, Kevin and I took all three of our pets (one dog, two cats) in for their annual check-ups and vaccines. Our cats were not due for their annuals until the end of September. However our 10 year old cat, Nadia, had seemed to have lost quite a bit of weight lately, which had concerned me quite a bit. So I opted to take her in a little early.  Nadia has always been a tubby 15 pound calico cat her entire life. In fact, I've had her since before Kevin and I even started dating. She was my precious rescued kitten who was poisoned and left for dead while pregnant with kittens herself.

Well, out of the blue about two months ago, her personality changed. Instead of being timid, scared, and lazy, she starting showing confidence, started running around the house like a mad woman, and even started begging for food at the dinner table! I didn't think it was anything that concerning until we started noticing the weight loss. I thought maybe she had lost a pound or so, but I was absolutely floored when they weighed her at the vet on Saturday. She weight just over 10 pounds. She had lost almost five pounds – that’s a third of her body weight in just a few months. And I was braced for the news that no loving pet parent wanted to hear - cancer, organ failure, etc. But I still couldn't explain the ferocious appetite and crazy energetic behavior.

Well, here’s the good news: The vet is confident that she has hyperthyroidism! And It's treatable!

Apparently this is very common in older cats and Nadia fits the diagnosis to the T. They drew a metabolic blood panel and I am waiting for the vet to call me with the results to confirm this diagnosis so we can put Nadia on anti-thyroid medication ASAP. It’s never fun to hear that your beloved pet has a disease of any kind, but it was a welcome relief to hear it’s something treatable.

And my final update for the day…

After Friday’s blog post, I just about blew a gasket and wrote my RE an email letting her know how frustrated I was with the billing person at her clinic. My RE promptly responded saying she would make sure that the preauthorization appeal would be handled timely and she was confident we’d be back on track quickly. She also said that their office manager would be calling me to straighten things out. Sure enough, I got a call from the office manager this afternoon.  She agreed that neither I nor my insurance should have to pay the ultrasound claim from the horrible pregnancy ultrasound from March 8th (see previous blog post.) I was glad we agreed on that! But apparently, the reason it got billed was accidental and due to technical issues they've been having with claims going through. Somehow it got lumped in with some recent appointments that had to be resubmitted. I felt better when I heard this. She also gathered the details surrounding the delays that the clinic’s billing person had apparently caused and assured me that they would be addressed. They will be resubmitting the preauthorization to insurance as a high priority first thing tomorrow.

I just want my calendar already. I want these snowflakes to be here already. I want to get out of limbo. I’m starting to feel emotionally like this is never going to happen, even though I know it will. I’ll feel better when I have a FET date.

Congratulations, I’m handing you a cupcake through the screen right now. :)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fire coming out of my ears

I was checking my insurance claims this morning online and noticed that my RE's office submitted a claim yesterday for my ultrasound appointment from March 8th.

This was the infamous appointment where we were told there was no baby. That there was no hope. That it was over. But they were wrong. An OB found it just two hours later.

I have no idea why they waited so long to submit this claim. 

I just wrote a frustrated email to their billing person to cancel the claim ASAP and I'm going to make sure that neither I nor my insurance will be paying them for that day. Can you tell this is a bit of a sensitive topic for me?

And in other news....

We were so blessed earlier this year to learn that we have a $10k lifetime infertility benefit  after never having any coverage in the past. I definitely do not take that for granted. But to add insult to injury, I just learned that our insurance pre-authorization for our upcoming embryo transfer has been denied!!! I could cry. Their rationale is that I am not eligible because I haven't proven that I'm unable to achieve pregnancy after one year of unprotected sex. What in the world do they want as proof of that?!

And the other reason is that I am supposed to attempt three IUIs prior to attempting our FET.

We already tried IUI, and we all knew it wouldn't work even when we did it. I'm asking my RE to appeal immediately with whatever proof they can supply. More stress to add to my already maxed out self. And to add to my current emotional condition, I just learned that my sister in law is pregnant and my cousin gave birth yesterday. It's not like they do it to hurt us. I'm happy for them. But it hurts. I just want to crawl into a hole right now. Why does this have to be so hard for us and seemingly so easy for everyone else?

Cue tears of frustration.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bumps in the road

I finally heard back from an embryologist at my lab. Whew! She apologized and said she was out of the office and can get started on the shipping process today. It sounds like she was out of the office but now they are able to get started on it. Thank goodness! I'm going to focus on the positive - they are working on it today.

I'm praying there are no hiccups but I am braced for some bumps.

Long story short, these embryos are currently stored at Libby's lab but they do not have an in-house embryo donation process. Therefore, even though these embryos do belong to us in the eyes of the law, her clinic has no record of this. And from Libby's initial dealings with them on it, they are not supportive of her donating them to another party. In fact, they even said she couldn't do it and told her she could only donate to an agency.

Totally not true. And really freakin' irritating. They have absolutely no say in it. This is confirmed by our attorney.

So you can imagine I'm braced for a headache here because they are still in Libby's lab's possession. The hopes are that we can have them shipped in Libby's name because they do have an in-house shipping process to get them to another clinic. And once they are in Texas, there is nothing the donor clinic can do to cause trouble. If it becomes too much trouble, I guess they are going to have to hear from our attorney but I really don't want it to come to that. I've been saying little prayers for smooth sailin' on this step. I have no idea what could unfold here.

And in other headachey news, you might recall last month that Libby and her husband went to have their infectious disease panel blood work done less than a week after their new baby girl was born. They are troopers. Can you imagine?! The infectious disease panel is an extremely simple blood draw that Kevin and I have done multiple times. It's not complicated. And everything turned out fine for her husband from that draw.

But it turns out that the lab did not collect a complete sample for Libby. What....the.....?!?!? *scream*

So poor Libby returned to the Lab a second time this past Monday while juggling the responsibilities of three small children AND a newborn baby in tow (her husband is back at work) only to find out they wouldn't draw it! So trip number two was a bust! They said they wouldn't draw it while she had her newborn with her AND they need some special instructions from my RE or some other bologna that made no sense for this simple draw. My nurse is frantically ironing that out as we speak so Libby can make trip number three to get it done. Can you believe this has happened? Libby deserves an award for sticking it out though! Round of applause!

Oh I just can't wait to post an update that they've shipped. It's coming soon, I can feel it. I hope! I pray!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

No news is...well, no news.

Still no news on the embryo shipping. I haven't even received an update with any kind of news, actually. I'm getting antsy! I'd love to get a call today surprising me letting me know they've just shipped and are on their way. This would be awesome for obvious reasons, but especially because today is my Mom's birthday! I think that would be extra cool to know they shipped on such a special day. I'm not holding my breath, but hey, I've been surprised before!

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Mom. I hope the angels are throwing you an amazing party in heaven. That's probably why we have massive thunderstorms here this morning. :)

This weekend was pretty nice and relaxing. I made a trip to the outlet stores on Sunday morning and learned that a bag store had an incredible sale on purses - 30% off the lowest marked clearance price then 50% off of that! I narrowed it down to two bags....

While I was deliberating which one to buy, a word popped into my head:


The fact my brain decided to choose that word at that exact moment made me laugh out loud. I guess it's subconsciously part of my real vocabulary now. Thanks, Drake.

So I bought both. Yolo!

As you can imagine, I dread Mother's day and Father's day due to our current situation in life, but I'm so blessed to have my amazing dad still on this earth with us. And not only that, he lives just up the street. We invited him over for dinner Sunday night and had a great time, as always. Sadly, Kevin lost his Dad to cancer in 2005, just a few months after we started dating. I know Kevin is my soul-mate for a billion reasons, but I think it's crazy that he lost his dad in such an insanely similar way to how I ended up losing my mom. Because of this he was such a support to me when my mom was sick and dying because he knew exactly what I was going through. He's the ying to my yang.

Fingers crossed for a call telling me these snowflakes have shipped!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Prayers for a friend dealing with a terrible loss

I received some incredibly sad news today from a friend.

I met this friend through church over a year ago. She confided in me when we first met that she and her husband also suffered from IF. When she told me about their struggle, it was an immediate realization that God had placed her in my life. We both felt a bond and special friendship over this terrible path we both were on that many others couldn't possibly understand. Since meeting her, she has been an amazing cheerleader through our cycles, and a wonderful support after the loss of our baby. She is always full of cheer and laughter, even though I know the immense pain behind her smile.

A few months ago, I was overjoyed when I learned that she and her husband had made the decision to pursue traditional adoption via the foster to adopt system. And I was even more elated to learn that she was matched within weeks of completing her foster training. I remember the overwhelming joy in her voice when she described the three beautiful boys coming to her for adoption, ages 1, 2, and 4.

They were recently placed in her home so I figured she was adjusting to the new family and I emailed her the other day checking in on her, hoping everyone was settling in well.

She responded today with "All is not well. The children are being moved out today."

My heart just crumbled into a million pieces. My eyes filled with tears. This is so incredibly unfair. Why does creating (and keeping) a family have to be so hard for some of the most amazing people? What an incredible loss this is and I hurt for her and her husband with every ounce of my being.

Loss hurts, no matter how the loss manifests itself. Please say a special prayer for my friend today and for any other mothers and fathers who have endured, or are currently dealing with adoption loss.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


It may be confusing, but I should clarify something. I am actually in the care of two REs at my current clinic. My main RE, Dr B, coordinates all of my care remotely. She is in charge of third party reproduction at my clinic. I adore her more than any other doctor I've had in my life. She works excluseively at the San Antonio location which is 1.5 hours away so we correspond over the phone and email. But for in-person visits, I see Dr A. He is wonderful, full of personality, and has awesome bedside manner! So if you have ever seen me refer to my RE as a "he" yet other times a "she" that's why! I have two. I wanted to clear that one up.

I saw Dr A today for my saline ultrasound (SIS) and mock transfer since he comes to the Austin location every Thursday to see patients. Other days of the week it is two part time nurses at this satellite office.

First, the ultrasound.

While I was waiting for Dr A to come into the exam room, I glanced at the ultrasound machine and noticed this button. A snowflake! I took that as a good omen.

And I have great news! He says everything looks perfect in my uterus! No abnormalities. This is just the news I wanted to hear today!

If you recall, I had a serious issue when I was told with my March pregnancy that it was ectopic and there was no hope. Kevin and I lost our minds. I have never been in such a dark place. Well, turns out they were wrong. It wasn't an ectopic pregnancy. Obviously the story still ended in tragedy a month later, but it doesn't change the fact that she was dead wrong that day. It royally sucked.

Because of that traumatizing experience AND the fact I have to drive 1.5 hours round trip for monitoring at this satellite location, I had hoped to have my monitoring done at my previous clinic this time around. It's literally on my way to work and incredibly convenient. But unfortunately, my clinic won't let me do that. Oh well, I have to suck it up and do what I have to do. I'm trying to look on the bright side because everything we did last cycle did work to get me pregnant. So here we are.

Seeing everyone again did feel a little awkward because of what had happened. And of course it becomes even more awkward because I'm forced to be in such a vulnerable physical position. You never want to piss off the lady with the vaginal ultrasound wand, right?

Well the good news is that both of the nurses said they were sorry for what had happened to my pregnancy in general. And they seemed caring and empathetic. However, unlike my last cycle, there wasn't much small talk. No one brought up that crazy ultrasound day, but all of this was for the best. I just want to move forward. Forgive and forget.

And one last little update.

I heard back from Dr B over email yesterday and she said the lab was already busy at work trying to get the embryos shipped, although she didn't have details beyond that. This was great to hear because I emailed the embryologist last week, yet I hadn't heard back. I was starting to get a little worried, but I'm happy Dr B reassured me. I suppose I'll try to be patient. That really is not a virtue of mine.

This is the last step we are all waiting for prior to receiving my calendar! Hopefully my next post will be to declare they have been shipped. That is a day I'm so incredibly excited for!

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Weekend Getaway to the Countryside

Kevin and I just returned from a weekend getaway to a small town east of Austin called Fredericksburg. We had been to Fredericksburg one time before, but this time took Oscar and stayed on a sprawling horse ranch. It was exactly the relaxing weekend that we had hoped it would be and more.

We stayed at this rustic cabin located on 37 acres of private land.

We spent the evenings in the rocking chairs on the porch watching the sunset, followed by hundreds of dancing fireflies. There was even a tree swing hung from a giant oak tree out front.

We spent the morning with a cup of local coffee in hand watching the horses in the pasture just feet from our cabin. All of the horses were incredibly friendly and loved for us to show them attention.

Kevin and I both love animals. Not only did we adore the horses, there was a tiny little tortie ranch cat who stayed on our porch of our cabin pretty much the entire time we stayed there. She was so sweet that she'd hop right on Kevin's lap, curl into a ball, and fall asleep.

Oscar enjoyed the countryside, but wasn't sure what to make of the horses since he had never seen one before. He was intrigued and loved staring at them.

There were quite a few wineries and vineyards nearby so we visited a few and enjoyed some local food. We couldn't have asked for better weather.

We can't wait to go back. I'd even like to go when the weather is chilly because there's a big fire pit out back and I can imagine roasting marshmallows bundled up and cozy. The location and ambiance was exactly what the doctor ordered after such a stressful past couple of weeks. I hope to one day return with our future children and make this our forever go-to Fredericksburg spot. It was absolutely perfect.

I hope the rest of you had a wonderful weekend as well!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Today is the big day!

Today is the day Libby and her husband sign the contract and these precious snowflakes finally become ours!

I shipped the contract last week and I've been anxiously counting down the days until it made it to it's destination. And it finally arrived yesterday. In addition to sending the contract, we also sent a few gifts. I didn't want to spoil the surprise by posting anything about them on my blog earlier since Libby may have read it. They are quite a pale "thank you" compared to the incredible gift she is giving us, but we wanted something special from our family to hers.

I got her a snowflake necklace to always remind her of these precious snowflake babies. We also got her family a Southern Barbecue cookbook and some special Austin, Texas Barbecue sauces and rub (Salt Lick and Stubb's.) Texas is known for it's barbecue! And luckily, none of it exploded in transit which was always in the back of my mind.

Once we get the contract back, the embryologist at my lab is going to initiate the shipping process. It's all so exciting!

I also made an appointment for a saline ultrasound to be done next Thursday. I'm hoping all checks out a-ok with no hysteroscopy needed or any other delay. No one has taken a look in there since my D&C so fingers crossed it's all good.

The first saline ultrasound I had in July 2012 hurt so incredibly bad. It was with my previous RE and I had only taken IB profen. The second saline ultrasound was done in December 2012 with my new RE. I took a Valium and it didn't hurt whatsoever. But having been on Valium meant I needed a driver and I couldn't really go back to work, so it was a hassle. This time, I'm going to try to suck it up and just do it without a Valium so I don't need a driver and can go into work right afterwords. I honestly think the trick was the second doctor's technique and not the Valium. We will see. :)