Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Inching out of the closet

I am awful about keeping this blog updated, especially when nothing is going on on the fertility front. So by way of update, I am currently taking BCPs and will continue taking them until the end of the month. I return to Ginormous for a baseline ultrasound and bloodwork on the first of June. At that time, we will, hopefully, be given the go ahead to begin stimming on June 4th for IVF cycle #2. Fingers crossed . . .

On a separate but related note, the topic of infertility hit me where I work today. I work in a small U.S. office of a multi-national company. There are seven people in my office and about 70 or so shattered throughout the U.S. Our current U.S. support/administrative/legal staff consists of 3 people; so our little team wears many different hats. I, for example, manage legal matters, along with some HR and immigration tasks. Our finance manager, Bill, handles payroll, benefits, orientation, etc. You get the idea. So I was sitting in my office earlier today and I overheared Bill (great guy with a 5 year old son and a second child due in September), who sits two doors down, telling an employee, who has called with a few questions, that our company does not cover fertility treatment. Um, buddy, that would be the wrong answer.

So I sat at my desk for a few minutes knowing that I must correct Bill but not wanting to expose myself as the infertile that I am. I honestly felt a strong obligation to provide this employee with the correct information, particularly on this very difficult issue with which I am intimately familiar; but on the other hand, I felt the need to preserve my privacy. You see, I am not one of those people, who grapples with the decision whether to share my infertility treatments with a few select colleagues (not that it isn't appropriate in most cases, given the appointments, days off required, etc.) It’s just not something I am willing to share. Some family and friends know what we are going through and I rely very heavily on David and one really good friend (and of course, you all) to keep me going when the rollercoaster gets me down but otherwise, I have no desire to share. What to do . . .

Like any good infertile (and busybody), I wandered to Bill’s office and pried into his conversation. This wasn't unusual since Bill and I spend, at least, a few minutes a day complaining about some negative experience we’ve had here at the office. He confirmed that a male employee has called asking about fertility coverage and he has told said employee that our company's health insurance plan doesn’t cover these treatments. He said, after a child has been conceived prenatal is, of course, covered but not extraordinary intervention for infertility. Hmmpph! Bill has dropped a few notches in my eyes for having the audacity to assume that prenatal care would be covered but not infertility! I get that he has not had the misfortune of experiencing infertility, so he has no way of knowing firsthand but he could have, at least, called our benefits' provider to confirm! I promptly corrected Bill, telling him that not only is infertility covered but coverage is mandatory here in our State and no, it doesn’t matter that the employee doesn’t work in this State, since the company’s U.S. offices are based here, coverage is mandatory for all employees nationwide. My heart sped up, as I spoke, but Bill now stands corrected.

He then went on to tell me that the guy (and his wife) aren’t being treated for infertility but have been trying, unsuccessfully, for sometime and that she will be getting “some test to see if there is a blockage somewhere.” The employee also wanted to know if this test was covered. Bill advised him that he didn’t know but that the doctor’s office should submit the appropriate paperwork to the insurance company and the insurance company would either pay or reject the claim. I knew the answer to this one too; of course diagnostic testing like the HSG is covered, but I didn't feel comfortable displaying too much knowledge of this particular topic and I felt fairly comfortable with the answer he has given the employee, so I feigned ignorance and we joked about his inability to know whether every single possible malady is covered by our health insurance.

I feel like I could have done or said a lot more. I could have contacted the employee directly (I guess I still can). I could have informed Bill that diagnostics are covered or advised him that if he isn't sure of an answer, he should suggest that employees contact our benefits' provider themselves, that company has been very helpful. Instead, I took the coward's way out, anonymity intact, for now . . .

Friday, May 05, 2006


With respect to medical treatment, isn't negative supposed to have positive connotations? I guess, it simply means the absence of, the absence of cancer, the absence of HIV, the absence of baby. It doesn't seem to fit, does it?

The RE's office called David about an hour or so ago (we've decided that he will be the contact person for all results.) He then called and gave me the bad news. I can't say that I'm surprised that the IUI didn't work. With one partially blocked tube, our chances were slight. Also, I'd begun feeling the onset of AF symptoms earlier this week. So no surprises, just disappointment.

It would have been nice to leave the needles, the monitoring and just the whole damn rollercoaster behind us. You know, to just settle in and look forward to a sweet little baby. . . This time around, it just wasn't to be.

Supernurse called last Tuesday (Apr. 25th) and gave me the details of our "Plan B" protocol. She followed up shortly thereafter with an email. (I guess my RE figured we were a long shot for a successful IUI too. ) So I now wait for day 1 (anytime now) and begin my three week course of BCPs on day 4. Then we are back to Follistim and Menopur (higher doses of both) with Ganirelix (Antagon) thrown in for good measure. Our tentative retrieval date is June 16th. Let's hope we make it there this time around.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Six Weird Things About Me

As our two week wait drags on, I have nothing interesting to report. So instead of informing you of my random boob soreness and pelvic twitches (I know, they could be anything) I've decided to take up this meme and share some factoids about moi -

1) I am addicted to crafts and shopping for anything craft related. I quilt, I scrapbook, I love it! (See one of my creations above.) Crafting feeds my creative side in a way that my career feeds, well, I guess my job just allows me to eat. I can spend hours on the weekends strolling down the aisles of my local craft or fabric stores, hungry for interesting new items that will inspire me.

2) My parents are from, and have retired to, the Caribbean. I am fortunate enough to spend the holidays basking in the warm sun and lying on the beach, rather than freezing up here.

3) As a follow-up to #2, I hate being cold. A college buddy of mine, who is a medical doctor, recently diagnosed me with a condition called Raynaud's Phenomenon, whereby the blood flow to my fingers diminishes in the cold, resulting in the loss of feeling and color in my finger tips. Strangely enough, this can last for nearly an hour and has begun happening even during the Spring (like, eh, yesterday) when my house is chilly (60-65 degrees).

4) When I was a little girl, I used to get nauseated in the mornings, after getting dressed for school. I believe this went on for months. I would eat breakfast, get sick, throw up and go on to school. I was fine for the rest of the day. No one figured out why this happened, I suppose it was just nerves.

5) I nearly, accidentally, blew up the apartment in which we lived when I was a kid. My mom and I were baking (we usually baked cakes or pies on the weekends) and I turned on the gas stove b/c the recipe we were preparing called for a preheated oven. What I didn't know was that the pilot light wasn't lit, so when my mom opened the lower oven door and struck a match to light it, the force of the blast knocked my mom through the room. Fortunately, the gas hadn't been on for very long and she hadn't opened the main door to the oven. Otherwise, who knows what might have happened.

6) Both my mom and I worked in the World Trade Center and were present for the first bombing in 1993. She worked on the 96th floor of one of the towers and I worked on the 59th floor of the other. We both had to walk all the way down the stairs to exit the building. A group of colleagues and I were forced by Port Authority officials to stop at a cafeteria halfway down the stairs due to congestion in the stairway. Back then, the stairways were poorly lit and there was no functioning speaker system throughout the buildings.

In so many ways we were fortunate, while we were delayed we had no idea the buildings had been bombed, we thought they'd simply been struck by a small aircraft or that there had been a minor earthquake b/c the building actually shook. (In the early nineties, we had no cell phones and no way of communicating with the outside world). As we stared out the windows of the cafeteria and helicopters and emergency vehicles raced around, we actually believed that those buildings were indestructible.

By 9-11 my mom had retired and I'd moved on to another job in different city, but I will never forget the feelings of terror and outrage that I felt as those buildings went down. Sadly, my mom lost many former colleagues, but my old office suffered no deaths or major injuries. And even though I had been in my early twenties when I worked in the WTC, I felt like a part of my youth had been lost.

Gosh, this post turned out to be a downer. Here's hoping for good news on Friday.