Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pieces Falling Into Place... And a BIG Box of Medicine

This month marks the four year anniversary of Patrick and I starting down the road of trying to have a baby. In the past, February has been a month of mixed emotions for me. Valentine's Day, my brother's birthday, and Patrick's birthday fall in February and those are good days, but it has gotten to be harder and harder for me as it marks another year of trying, and failing, to get pregnant. This year, February holds a new, bright promise-- starting IVF.
Everything is falling into place so perfectly that I really feel like we are finally on the right path.
But let me catch you guys up first...
After my appointment in Dallas last week, I started birth control pills immediately. Patrick was pretty shocked at how fast this was all happening and a little anxious, but he got over his nerves very quickly and now he's just as excited as I am. (He doesn't handle quick changes or too many things happening at once too well)
Even though I didn't have my protocol or calendar yet, the planner and obsesser in me immediately started researching to find the best price on medicine, what side effects I can expect from whatever they put me on, success rates on different protocols, etc. Despite knowing that my insurance does not cover infertility or infertility medicines, I went to their website to see if the meds that aren't categorized specifically under infertility would be covered. We have Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, and on their website I found a specialty pharmacy BCBS works with to provide coverage for things not normally covered, or at least discount those meds slightly. I didn't have high hopes, but called the pharmacy (Triessent) anyways to see what they could do for me. They told me they would call the clinic and get the prescription and that they would get back to me in a few days. Two days later they called back and gave me my prescription:
Follistim 600IU cartridge x1
Follistim 900IU cartridge x1
Repronex 75 unit vials x10
Novarel 10000unit syringe x1
Progesterone in oil vial x2
Lupron 2 week kit x1
I listened and wrote down what I needed, thinking that all this was going to cost around $3000, but at least I still had a Follistim 900IU cartridge left from my last cycle that had been cancelled and an Ovidrel syringe.
"We still need an authorization from your doctor for the Lupron," they girl on the phone was saying, "but right now, for everything else, your total comes to $1329.66"
Hold on, WHAT?!
"I'm sorry, the total comes to how much?"
"One thousand, three hundred, and twenty-nine dollars and sixty-six cents."
I looked over the list of medicines again. "Can you tell me the prices individually?"
She broke all the prices down, and I scribbled them down, shocked at how cheap (if you can call spending over a thousand dollars on medicine cheap) it was going to be. She asked me if I wanted them to go ahead and ship right away, and I told her I would wait for the authorization on the Lupron and have everything shipped at once.
I hung up the phone still in shock.
The next week, the pharmacy called me back to tell me they got the authorization for the Lupron. The girl on the phone went back over the prices with me... the Lupron was going to cost about $77. Then she says... "Oh wait, there are some notes here on the bottom that I didn't see." She's quiet for a moment then, "Oooooooooh. Hmmmm." This does not sound promising. After another quiet moment she says, "It looks like you might not have met all of your deductible yet."
Well, duh, it is only February. The only way I would have met my $3000 deductible by now is if I'd had surgery. <-That's what I thought. What I said was, "No, I don't think I have."
"Okay, well the way we work is we bill your insurance on the medical side, as opposed to the pharmacy side, if that makes sense," (Strangely, yes, I understood that) "so your cost is going to vary depending on how much of your deductible has been met." (Oh crap) "Now, like I said, we bill your insurance, so they may cover more than we think," (Unlikely) "but it looks like, on the high end, you're looking at about $1800." (Not too bad, but a bit more than the $1300 I'd been told, and that was after taking off one of the Follistim cartridges)
I'd had a feeling it was too good to be true... but this is much better than $3000! "Okay, that sounds good, let's ship it."
She told me that, while they take my payment information right away, nothing would be charged on my account until they received payment from the insurance, they sent me a bill for the difference, and I called and authorized the charge. I'm considering that a positive... I might reconsider once I see the bill.
Patrick and I were going to New Orleans the next day for his birthday celebration weekend, so I had the meds shipped to my mom's house. Friday night, we're sitting at dinner, eating crawfish fettuccine, jambalaya, gumbo, and spicy fried chicken, drinking a beer, and waiting for the Mardi Gras parade to start, when I get a text message from my mom: Your medicine came. We opened the one with the cold pack and put it in the fridge.
Attached was this picture:
Two boxes?! Wow, that bottom one is big! I'm immediately excited and overwhelmed all at once. And I haven't even seen it in person. I suddenly can't wait to get home and go through that box.

I just nodded.

Our trip to New Orleans was AMAZING! It was so nice to get away with Patrick without family or friends with us. We did Better  Than Ezra's Krewe of Rocckus event because Patrick is a huge fan so it was a perfect birthday surprise. It was so much fun and we needed that time to reconnect and regroup before starting all the stress and pressure of daily shots, frequent blood draws and ultrasounds, trips to Dallas, days apart, bloating, hormones, scheduled(withheld) sex, and uncertainty every step of the way.
Once we got home, things slowed down a bit as we waited to get our calender and get started on the meds. That box of meds was WAY more intimidating in person! What got to me the most was the amount of needles and syringes. I'm not afraid of needles and I've gotten pretty use to injecting myself, but pack after pack of what looked like huge needles totally overwhelmed me. I stood, staring, for a few minutes, then started sorting them to go with their respective meds, which actually made it much easier to take.
Now, I would not be a respectable blog without a picture of all my supplies, so, without further ado... my medicines!
All the needles are next to the meds they go with. There is a pack of needle/syringe combos that are for mixing, and a pack of just the needles I'll then switch onto the syringe for injecting. The mixing needles are BIG... they really freaked me out.
The cartridge out of the box is the 900iu Follistim that I didn't use from my last cycle, and "pill bottles" above the Follistim is the progesterone in oil that I will be injecting intramuscularly for (hopefully) 10 weeks into pregnancy, starting the day after my egg retrieval.
We also got our calendar! As of right now, I'll be starting Lupron on March 4, stopping birth control on March 12, and starting stims on March 18. My projected ER is March 29... exactly one month from today!!!! Eeeeep!
We are shooting for a 5-day transfer, which would be April 2. If we follow this timeline, and it takes (it will take, it will take) my due date would be my dad's birthday! I'm excited. Beyond excited! I'm actually getting giddy writing all this!
Okay, this has been a long post so I'll wrap it up. Monday can't get here soon enough!

Thank You, God, for all Your gifts. Give us strength as we continue on this path Your grace has put us on.


  1. Congrats!!! You are exactly a month behind me! I started stims Feb 18th! But I stimmed until yesterday, so we are closer in dates actually! So cool! Can't wait to follow the rest of your journey! Best of Luck!!

  2. Thank you! I can't wait to be as far as you!
    How was your cycle? Have you had your beta yet?