It has been a little while since I last wrote, and a TON has transpired in that period of time – for the purposes of keeping this journey documented I probably should have posted at least three times to incorporate all of the detail of what has changed, but I didn’t so I’ll do my best to summarize it now.
Shortly after I last wrote, I actually did pen a long entry. After I finished it, I deleted it from here and saved it someplace else. Long story short: my wife and I are now getting the runaround from the insurance company after we – at the suggestion of our clinic – made one final call to verify our benefits and ensure that there are no exclusions to same sex couples. She has EXTENSIVE fertility benefits (which were verified by both clinics we met with), but after calling just to make one final check before starting any of our procedures, we called and they said that we are not covered AT ALL for fertility benefits because we are a same-sex couple (and unable to naturally try to conceive via less expensive channels before attempting fertility treatments). Now, they did tell us when we first called to verify coverage back in February, that we had nothing to worry about and that even as a same-sex couple we were fully covered, so we are in the process of going back to them to better understand the discrepancies and whether or not there is an appeal process which we can attempt. There is a little more to the story than that, but that’s all I feel comfortable documenting here until we finish hashing things out with them.
So we had been super excited to attempt reciprocal IVF, and now we are wondering how much a basic round of IUI will cost and whether or not we have enough set aside to pay for it out of pocket. In the interim, we are forging ahead with our tests and – so far – none of the testing has been rejected by the insurance company so we are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be as fortunate with the actual IVF or IUI procedures.
While that was going on, my boss advised me that for the next four months, I’ll be traveling just about every other week for a majority of the week (Sun-Thurs), so I’m now getting myself used to a life lived out of suitcases, and packing up and leaving my wife and puppy every other Sunday. My boss’ long term plan is for me to move to the city in which our corporate office is located, and while my wife and I currently have that conversation on the table as well, I simply cannot envision packing up and moving while going through the fertility process and eventually with a baby. We still haven’t told our family and close friends about this journey (well – we told one friend each as we each felt as though we needed someone to bounce thoughts off of during this process), but their presence alone is enough to calm us at times. I don’t know how I’d manage without the option of being able to randomly stop over to my mom’s house on a Tuesday night to eat and chat. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to physically schedule visits with my best friend and catch a 2 hour flight to get to her. So in a few months, we’ll have to choose between a move and the career I’ve built with my current organization, and either way I think it’s going to be a tough choice and perhaps a life-changing one.
Since I’ve been traveling so much, I missed my window for an internal ultrasound and bloodwork which has to be done on the 3rd day of my period (on which I was out of town) so my doctor – strongly inclined to press forward – had me do things a bit out of order and get my HSG test first (since I’d be back in town for the days of my cycle during which that could be effectively completed). So earlier this week (which feels like YEARS ago now!) I went in for my HSG test. I’d heard rumors of cramping and was advised to take advil ahead of the visit, but I think that my current work situation combined with all of this fertility upheaval made me particularly emotional, and I ended up crying on the table during the procedure.
Ok – let’s dial that back a second: so I had to have this done at a hospital (standard procedure as I understand it) and I had to leave in the middle of the work day to make the appointment. I didn’t know that they generally run about an hour and a half behind, so my 2:30 appointment ended up actually taking place at 3:50 – about 10 minutes before a conference call on which my presence was requested. So I hastily undressed and was sending messages to my boss to let her know I’d be late dialing into the call, when a nurse brought me into the x-ray room. My doctor was the one who performed the procedure, which was nice. I just didn’t feel ready to spread my legs on the table when it happened, though. Typically when I go for my annual OBGYN visits, I shave and shower beforehand and this time I’d just returned from a work trip and a weekend visiting my brand new niece (more on that, later) so I hadn’t even CONSIDERED a shower (and just wrapped up my period) so I felt pretty gross. Unlike at the OBGYN, there were no stirrups – just a flat table (with a tinted window behind it where the radiologists? x-ray techs? nurses? work.) He started out by inserting the speculum (which – if you are unfamiliar, God bless you – looks like a metal bird’s beak and feels like it is made out of the bottom-most layer of a glacier, and once inserted is cranked open so wide that the doctor can almost definitely see your heart beating from your inside of your body), and then he inserted some sort of catheter into my cervix. At that point, I felt the slight cramping and was uncomfortable but figured we were done with the painful stuff. (If tou guess that I am setting you up for the opposite of that, you are right. No, the pain was not done).
He then pulled the X-ray monitor around so that I could see my tubes on the screen and asked if I’d like to watch. Before I had a chance to respond, they must have injected the dye that was to be traveling through my tubes to for the x-ray machine, as my entire abdomen felt like I’d gone from relative peacefulness and normalcy to the most intense period cramp I’ve ever felt. Ladies, you know the ones I’m talking about: the ones that make you sweat, you feel like you have to go to the bathroom immediately, and all you want to do is put a heating pad on your belly while hugging the softest pillow you can find.
At that point, I was in intense pain and wondering how I’d recover quickly enough to not only peel myself off of the table and get dressed, but also jump on my conference call in about 3 minutes, when he told me we were done. I sat up and the pain seemed to dissipate just as quickly as it started. I suppose the fact that it was so short lived made the pain much more bearable. The doctor is probably still wondering how in the world I ever expect to live through childbirth when I can’t handle a tiny catheter and fluid in my fallopian tubes (which – not to be gross – continued to leak out for the next few hours).
Long story short: it’s been a whirlwind few weeks, and I sometimes wonder if putting the breaks on the babymaking process might be a good idea with all of the other chaos in my life. Then I remember: straight, or gay; young or old; rich or poor – there really is never a convenient time to have a kid (and I AM over 30 as is my wife so it’s not like we have forever to try) so we are going to continue on and PRAY for good work news both on the work and insurance company fronts. We’ll take any good vibes that anyone has to offer, and and stress relieving techniques you may have to share 🙂
Until next time!