Monthly Archives: July 2008

It’s “call the RE’s office day”!

First, our new swimmers arrived at the RE’s lab.  I confirmed delivery with the lab and I told them I’m going to call them again tomorrow for the tracking number for the return of the tank.  We will not be repeating the disaster of last time.

Yesterday, while checking the online claims processing system for my insurance, I noticed a $100 charge with the date of service matching our June IUI.  Insurance paid it in full.  However, on that day I self paid for my IUI so I had no idea what that charge was for.  Also, there was no corresponding claim for the July IUI even though the claim for my progesterone test (1 week after the July IUI) was in the system.  I was kind hoping this meant insurance was going to cover some stuff and the RE would owe me money.  Besides, there was still the issue with the $85 price difference between my June and July IUI’s. Certainly worth a phone call.

I got a fairly competent billing person on the phone and have learned the following:

1.  I was charged a “consult fee” for the June IUI.  That’s what went thru insurance.  Billing lady has no idea why there wasn’t a similar fee for the July IUI.  The only thing I can think of is that in June when we arrived at the office our RE, Dr. A was with another patient, so Dr. B did the IUI. Five minutes later Dr. A popped in and talked to us for 2 min and apologized for missing us.  In July, Dr. A did our IUI herself.  So perhaps she thinks that those 2 minutes back in June warrant a “consult fee”.  That’s totally crazy though and if they’d tried to charge me for it, instead of insurance, you can bet I’d refuse to pay it.

2.  After calling down to the lab it was confirmed that yes indeed, I was over-charged for the sperm prep fees in June.  A credit of $85 has been applied to my account.

So, all in all, a successful day of letting my fingers do the walking. Oh, and for those of you keeping track at home we now have 1 vial of Eagle Scout and 3 vials of Big Wheel in storage at the RE. Who wants to bet there might be some confusion at the RE over my August IUI?

Big wheels keep on turnin’

Last night we went out to dinner with the girls from Baby Steps and Two Hot Mamas. For those of you who watched this season of Top Chef, we ate at one of Spike’s restaurants and even though I didn’t like him very much on the show, it was pretty cool to see him in person, trademark fedora included (although I would’ve preferred it to be Jennifer Beasty). We ate much yummy, greasy, comfort food.

But before Nutella and I left home, we called up our trusty sperm bank and ordered new swimmers. We received the long profile for another possible donor yesterday afternoon and he sounded good. However, we still wanted to use a donor that was in our first set of profiles, but who is CMV+. We’ve recently read lots of information saying that if you’re CMV-, it’s really not that big a risk to use CMV+ sperm. The chance of catching it from positive sperm is minimal, and then the chance of passing it on to the fetus is also low.

So I called the bank and asked them how many vials they had of each donor (enough) and if any pregnancies had been reported for each (both!) and then what information about the specimens do they send to our fertility clinic. Our doctor does not want us using CMV+ sperm, so there’s a chance if we bought CMV+ and our doctor found out, the insemination would not happen with that specimen. The bank told me yes, they do give the clinic CMV status so I had to go with our second choice of those two donors. Oh well! Better safe than sorry…

Upon reading the new donor’s profile, the thing that stuck out as the most memorable was that his first memory was of riding his Big Wheel throughout the neighborhood. Henceforth, the new donor will be known as “Big Wheel.” But I hope we bought his swimmers in vain….Eagle Scout, you have one more chance to get that merit badge!

– Strawberry

I never thought I’d be glad to have cramps

The last few days have been really annoying, confusing, and angry making.  TTC has messed up my body.  Let me explain.

Today is CD1.  Yeah, you read that correctly.  Remember how I started spotting 5 days ago and was expecting CD1 to immediately follow?  Well, it didn’t.  I had 1 day of light spotting, 1 day of bright red spotting, then 1 day of light spotting again.  Then I had a whole day with no spotting or bleeding.  And my temps were way high.  Pregnancy pee sticks were negative.  But everything was very confusing so I went ahead and had the blood test done at the RE yesterday morning.  And the hope crept back in.  Not a lot of hope, but enough so that when they called with the expected negative we were disappointed for the 2nd time in 5 days.  Finally, this morning my temp dropped, I’m bleeding for real, and I have my typical CD1 cramps.

That makes the last cycle 28 days, my longest ever in over 2 years of keeping track.  And the symptoms have been new, too.  The TWW symptoms I’ve had are NOTHING like my PMS symptoms.  On the one hand, it gives me a bit of hope that SOMETHING is happening in there.  But on the other hand, if this happens for a few more cycles i’m going to begin to think that something is happening, just not necessarily a good something.

Right now, we are resolved to begin OPK’s early because I have a feeling that I may O earlier, since this CD1 is so late.  And we don’t want to miss it.  Also, I have a business trip which will take me out of town CD14-16.  I really don’t want to have to skip this cycle because of it.  Do you hear that body?  Cooperate, ok?  Also, this is Eagle Scout’s last shot.   The long profile for his replacement should be in the mail and if we like it we’re ordering his swimmers tomorrow.

Things I did not expect

I did not expect for things to go so slowly and quickly at the same time. I am surprised we’re already looking at our third try next month, while at the same time feeling like we’ve been doing this for a loooong time.

I did not expect for Nutella to get such strong pregnancy symptoms after each IUI and then…not be pregnant. She’s had symptoms she’s never had before that clearly point to “pregnant” but then BFN. It’s strange and confusing, but recently I’ve come to find out she is not alone. Some women have said they had pregnancy symptoms with many failed cycles, and for the one that worked they hardly had any symptoms. So now I’m writing off symptoms- screw you, symptoms, I don’t trust you anymore!

I didn’t expect to become so obessive, excited to see what each new BBT is every morning and practically memorizing charts from Fertility Friend. I didn’t expect to become quite so invested either. Oh sure, I knew I was going to be involved, but not to the Nth degree. It’s surprised me for sure.

We are still hopeful, but my naivetivity has given way to cynicism…or is it realism? Whatever it is, it’s been eye-opening- and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

– Strawberry

At least we had fun at the beach

So, not pregnant.  Spotting started early Sunday morning and period has started for real today. Disappointed but not surprised.  Will pretend that we never heard the request for a pregnancy blood test from the nurse and just call when I’m ready for my next IUI.

We camped at the beach this weekend and the weather was perfect.  Watched a full blood red moon rise over the ocean.  Made pancakes from scratch in the cool of early morning.  Basked in the salty breeze and listened to the waves.  Ate s’mores cooked over an open flame.  Spent time with friends.  Enjoyed a silly movie with popcorn and candy. Overall, it was a wonderful weekend.

At least they called

Well, a nurse from the RE’s office called my cell at 6pm yesterday.

Progesterone was 8.7 which she proclaimed “beautiful” and told me to keep doing whatever I’m doing.  Then she told me to come in a week later for my pregnancy test.  Um, excuse me?  I asked if I had to come in if I had my period and she said yes, if I want to insem next cycle they have to prove I’m not pregnant because didn’t you know people can still bleed if they’re pregnant.

Well, excuse me for having an opinion, but that’s just stupid.  Get up way early, schlep at least 45 min each way in traffic for a 2 minute blood test to tell me something that I already know?  Oh yeah, and pay for it.  I’m going to write the RE to protest and I’m hoping that she’ll be reasonable.  I’ll even volunteer to POAS before my next IUI.  The inconsistency is really starting to get to me.  Last month they didn’t want to test progesterone nor did they require a pregnancy test.

In other news, my temp took a huge plunge today which is 8 or 9 DPO.  Seriously, it’s dropped almost a whole degree to just below coverline.  It’s never done THAT at this point in my cycle.  I know, I know, you’re all thinking “implantation dip”, which would certainly be nice.  However, it looks exactly like the pattern I get the day before my period starts.  Except if that were the case I’d be getting my period 5 days early.  The shortest cycle I’ve had since charting has been 23 days, which would mean my period on Saturday.  Seriously, it’s just a mind f*ck.  But I guess I ought to pack some supplies for our camping trip this weekend.

Butterfly kisses?

We’re both back at work from our early morning trip to the RE for my progesterone check.  LOVE the nurse that took my blood, she was sweet, calm, efficient, and fast.  She assured me that they only ever use a butterfly needle and it felt far less invasive.  Also, for the first time ever I volunteered my right arm for the draw.  See, I’m right handed but the inner elbow veins on my left arm are tiny and invisible.  I’ve got a really visible one right near the surface in the center of my right inner elbow.  Made a big difference, I think.  I was a big girl, didn’t cry, didn’t hyperventilate, didn’t get light headed or woozy.  I was in and out in 3 minutes. 

This is HUGE, people.  It makes me really hopeful for all the blood tests that are down the road, be they for TTC or pregnancy.  And honestly, for me, that’s a bigger relief and accomplishment than any results from the actual test.

A little ditty about progesterone

Nutella has decided to get her progesterone levels tested tomorrow. That means we’re waking up super-early to get to the RE before they send out their morning blood draws to the lab and then trying to make it to work by a decent hour.

I found I didn’t know terribly much about progesterone levels, so here’s some info I grabbed from the all-knowing internet:

Progesterone is a steroid hormone synthesized from cholesterol and is important as an intermediate in the pathway to cortisol via pregnenolone, estrogens and testosterone. Progesterone induces the cyclic changes in the endometrium that allow implantation of the fertilized ovum. Progesterone is also responsible for maintenance of the uterus during pregnancy, suppression of uterine contractions until just prior to parturition and preparation of the breasts for lactation.

During the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, low levels of progesterone are found in serum and saliva. During the luteal phase, the corpus luteum produces progesterone and levels increase sharply for a maximum of 5 to 10 days. If implantation of a fertilized ovum does not occur, a steep decline in these levels is seen at about 4 days prior to the menstrual period.

What are normal progesterone levels?
Progesterone during menstrual cycle
Day 1-14 >1 to 1.5 ng/ml
Day 15-28 2-28 ng/ml
Progesterone during pregnancy
First Trimester 9-47 ng/ml
Second Trimester 17-147 ng/ml
Third Trimester 55-200 ng/ml

Sadly, they want her blood, not her saliva. What’s wrong with doing it the easier way??

Tomorrow marks 7DPO. We’re not terribly hopeful about this try, but you never know.

– Strawberry

TIME among other things

Well, since everyone else seems to be doing the fun Wordle thing, we’re joining in, too:

We noticed that the biggest word is “time” which pretty much sums up what we’ve been focusing so much on and have found so frustrating. Also interesting how “Nutella”, “call”, “Dr.” are all closely situated. Indeed!

The Scouts are at it again

Back at work after IUI try #2. This time it was at our normal office which took a half hour to get to even with traffic, which put us there a half hour early. So we walked around a shopping center for a little bit first, and I’m glad we did because we were waiting another half hour before they called us in. Our own doctor did the procedure this time. There was a little speculum pain, but otherwise it went smoothly.

Sperm stats: 20 million in the sample. 55% motility. 3 out of 4 on progression. Not as good as the first vial, but our doctor said it was great so we’ll trust her.

Before leaving the room, the doc suggested Nutella come in for a blood test next week to measure her progesterone levels. I asked if this was standard and she said yes. I asked how much blood was needed and she said ‘a little bit.’ Nutella’s arm is still not 100% over the horrible-no-good-very-bad last blood draw, so she might wait on the progesterone test, which the doc said was fine. We waited in the room for about 15-20 minutes and then left. Nutella had very mild cramping afterwards, but not enough to warrant any medicine.

Nutella and I were re-assessing our plan yesterday and decided that for try #3, we’re going to inseminate on the surge day. We’ve been doing it 24 hours later and feel that it’s *possible* that’s a little too late. The sperm can live up to 12 hours after being thawed, so it wouldn’t be a bad thing if they were already swimming around at the time the egg was released. If it comes down to it, we’ll switch to another donor for further tries (since we only bought 3 vials of the current donor) and do two IUI’s per cycle.

So that’s it. The TWW has begun. Oh, and we found it amusing how there was a copy of Seventeen magazine in the waiting room. Nice touch.