Friday, October 2, 2009

An Adventure on the Black Market

Oh what a depressing week this has been. I'm very sorry for hubby and the kids - I can hardly function at all! I was already feeling awful over my brother's recent death, and then I got (surprise!) a negative pregnancy test on Monday. That was try #4 of Clomid and I know this time the IUIs were well-timed. We did two this time just to make sure, so that's several hundred dollars extra down the drain. Our lifetime limit of insurance coverage for infertility treatment is disappearing rapidly, with nothing to show for it.

My RE (that's reproductive endocrinologist, for the uninitiated) has OK'd continued Clomid cycles, but I am extremely pessimistic about my chances despite the positive pregnancy test I got on the first Clomid cycle. Clomid does seem to be making my endometriosis flare up, and what has me especially worried is the timing of it. I get a painful endo flare-up five to seven days BEFORE my period. For the 2-3 days before my period and during the period itself I have almost no pain at all. Besides being strange (endo pain is typically during and maybe just before the period, due to bleeding endo lesions) I am very concerned that this will prevent implantation even if I do manage to conceive.

Yesterday was cycle day one, and since I can't have a consult with my RE until the end of October (grrrr!) I am forced to choose from four unattractive options with, as usual, absolutely no sound medical advice or inspiration to help me:

1) Do nothing and risk getting a functional cyst. This has happened quite routinely over the last couple of years whenever I try to have a "natural" (meaning drug-free) cycle. These cysts are painful and can take a long time to go away. Also if they get really big I run the risk of more surgery and even loss of my sole ovary. Not attractive.

2) Go on the Pill. Again! Sit around in Waiting Mode. Again! Makes me want to scream. Not again.

3) Do another Clomid cycle. This would deplete our funds by $1000-$1500 and I have little expectation that it would work. But there's always that little glimmer of hope that's hard to turn my back on, especially since I'm turning 34(!!) next month and the clock is ticking REALLY LOUD. If only I could talk to the RE about any possibility of dealing with the endo flare-up. Maybe there's some way short of surgery that my odds can be improved on Clomid, but until I find out if that's possible, it's hard to burn through that much money.

4) Do an almost natural cycle, meaning no Clomid, no ultrasounds, and no IUI. Just Ovidrel to hopefully prevent my one hopefully normal follicle from becoming a cyst. I think this will work because on "natural" cycles I get no LH surge but often get a cyst. I'm hoping Ovidrel = LH surge and normal ovulation = no cyst. We'll see if a Clomid-free cycle could also mean a less dramatic endo flare-up. Or maybe no flare-up at all. Maybe we could even get pregnant by taking a step back on infertility drugs! Maybe we could get pregnant by [gasp] having sex! Maybe I'm delusional and have lost my mind at last!

You'll probably think so after you hear the rest of the plan. So ...the infertility clinic is willing to have me do just the Ovidrel, but only if I go in for cycle monitoring as usual. We'd still be spending $800 or more but with virtually no chance of getting pregnant. Doesn't strike me as an attractive option. Things were looking pretty bleak, but then I peeked into the dark underworld of fertility meds, the Black Market, and found someone very nearby willing to sell me a leftover Ovidrel syringe for $30! I met up with her today and now I have Ovidrel in my fridge. Here's hoping that she and I both get lucky by stepping back on the infertility treatment.


That's the plan for passing the time between now and the end of October when we can talk with the RE about our options. In the meantime, we figure we may as well start the adoption paperwork. Hubby's in charge of it because the whole thing is just too damned depressing. Our hopes of ever having an even partly biological child seem very dim indeed at this point.

I'm betting that when we finally get to talk to the RE, she'll suggest IVF. It could help get around some of the endo issues, the POSSIBLE genetic issue (donor?), and of course there would be Lovenox shots daily to get around a possible but probably imaginary clotting issue. An end run around three of the possible baby killers could be a tempting prospect, financial and physical costs notwithstanding.

After looking at the adoption information again, I must admit that stabbing myself with dozens and dozens of needles does begin to look attractive in comparison to the drawn-out and brutally invasive torture that is the adoption process. Yes, IVF is also brutally invasive torture, but I've grown accustomed to needles, surgery, spending a good deal of time in stirrups, and having foreign objects shoved up me. With IVF, it's the financial risk and the risk of another crushing loss that scares me.

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