June 19 – Realization

This week my hubby’s best friend got engaged. A year and half ago his best friend had come out for his little sister’s wedding. He was a mess. His second marriage was falling apart. He was medicated with Xanax. I felt for the guy. He was a train wreck. We were still grieving our baby. We kind of connected over our grief.

Fast forward to this month. He is doing well, he is happy. He is getting remarried. And I feel like we are still stuck in the grief cycle. I have been trying desperately to get out of it. I have a good day, then backslide for a few. Some days it feels like I am stuck in molasses. Doing any chores is a drain. Other days it feels like I could do a million things. So that is progress. It used to be more bad days than good. Now it is about half and half. I suppose some day it will be more good than bad.

It just kind of struck me that two years and some ago I was completely changed as a person. You always hear people say it but I never really thought it was true. I always thought it was a cliché. I looked in the mirror and I was so different. I have tattoos, blue hair, my heart has changed. I am never going to be the happy carefree person I once was. It is an adjustment. I am just glad my husband and I didn’t grow apart during this change.

I am still getting used to this new me. A very different person than I was. Infertility will change you. Don’t let anyone every tell you otherwise.

shedding-skin

 

 

June 13 – Topsy Turvy World

Last week we went from having a bundle of joy to losing hope on affording IVF. We had applied for a grant and we got the rejection email on Thursday.

Right now I am an emotional mess. Fostering has it ups and downs. Every time a placement leaves, it hurts my heart. Especially when they imply you might be able to keep one. It is hard when you lose hope of ever having a child.

We can’t afford adoption. Fostering breaks my heart. IVF is just so expensive. What if we don’t end up with kids? Do I need to start grieving the fact that we may end up childless?

I have been trying everything. So many different different avenues. I have tried to get coverage at work (4 times in 2 years). We have tried fostering with hopes of adopting and never even got close to having a kid long enough to even really having that a possibility. The cheapest place we found for adoption was sixteen thousand and they went under! We have done 2 IVF rounds with a miscarriage. Tried to win a grant for another try at IVF. When does the heart ache stop? When will we actually get our turn?

Sorry for the really depressing post, I am just really struggling this week. I’ve been exhausted, sleep- deprived and just going through a lot. Hoping you are doing better than me.

topsy turvy

June 4th – New Placement

getty_rf_photo_of_baby_bottle_and_diapers

Well I think I jinxed myself LOL. I told my boss we were back on the list Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, and my week long staycation, and I jokingly said “watch we will get a placement Friday and it will change all my vacation plans.” That is exactly what happened. Not that I had anything special planned: gym, video games, painting my nails, going to see Wonder Woman. Nothing fancy. Well Friday morning we got a call for the kiddo we have now.

So my week has been spent changing diapers, midnight feedings and endless meetings. One of the things they never tell you about fostering is how many fucking pointless meetings you have, every single month. The first two weeks are the worst. You get seen by your licensing worker, pediatrician, the behavioral health people initial meeting and then the referral to actual behavioral health people, the kid’s lawyer, and then visits if the parents have rights. That is a lot of meetings when you are still trying to get into the swing of the new kiddo and their routine, personality and such.

Our kiddo was not named by the parent before being taken into custody so we had a unique situation with us. The case manager told us we could pick something out to call the kiddo instead of what the state puts on the paperwork, which is “baby girl” or “baby boy” when they don’t have a name. Saddest thing ever. I went through the baby name book, picked out about 20 names I liked and then ran them past my hubby when he got home from work. We landed on one and are using it now. We haven’t been able to name a kiddo before so that was new.

We are still adjusting to having a baby again. Since I was on vacation last week I did all the overnight stuff too. Hubbs helped out on the weekend so I could finally get more than 3 hours in a row.

Our licensing worker (the person we work with through our agency) brought some people with them for our meeting this week, and it was uncomfortable having three people asking me questions. One of them was of course, pregnant. Now it is strange, I can be standing there with a baby in my arms and still feel the dread of having to talk with a pregnant woman. She stood there asking questions, rubbing her belly and I just wanted to slink away. Fostering is hard because people don’t view us as “real parents.”

I had read another blog article that described it perfectly. We are completely unseen by other parents. People even ignore me when I give advice on their Facebook posts. It makes us feel even more isolated. We are struggling through parenting issues, foster care related issues and suffering from infertility, all while being shunned by other parents. Trying to figure out whether a newborn is suffering from withdrawal symptoms or regular baby issues. My hubby said that we might even have it harder than most parents (not including those poor souls with colicky babies) and yet completely ignored.

Anyway, enough with that. This week was also the week of our 16 year anniversary. I can’t believe we have been married that long! Doesn’t feel like it. We managed to get our neighbor to babysit so we could go out for a couple of hours just the two of us. That was nice.

Tomorrow is back to reality. Sleep deprivation and working. Going to be loads of fun! Still waiting to hear back from HR, the possible new job, and the grant application for IVF. Have a great week!

May 26 – Infertility Benefits at Work

16798583820_83052578ff_b

So today was the self-imposed deadline on my coworkers and myself to email the HR partner in charge in health care and benefits at my work. I wrote another 2 page letter, and had 5 associates at my work who also wrote 1-2 page letters. I am hoping this gets more of a response than the last three times I submitted information.

I know it is a long shot and they will continue to try to silence us but I think maybe by the time I retire I might have affected some change. All I can do is continue to try and gain support from my fellow associates who have gone through the same process. Here is a copy of the letter (minus the company name):

May 12, 2017

To Whom It May Concern,

It is the time of year where I once again put forth my request for the ******** Medical Review Committee to consider adding infertility coverage, including treatments.

As you may remember from my previous letters, one in eight (12.5%) suffers from infertility. About one-third is due to men issues, one-third women issues, twenty percent unexplained and the remaining is a combination of both male and female issues. This disease reaches across both genders (1). That is a tremendous number of associates here at ******* that suffer – almost silently – from this emotionally difficult disease.

This year during National Infertility Awareness Week (April 23-29, 2017) Resolve’s theme was “Listen Up” (Resolve is a non-profit infertility advocacy organization). As a firm we need to listen up! Listen to what our employees are asking for. Listen to the competitors offering coverage to attract a more diverse workforce. Listen to the mandates as each year more and more states are requiring coverage.  There are now 15 states that mandate infertility coverage and the recently passed Federal mandate requiring IVF to be covered by the Veteran’s Affairs (12).

Other firms that offer infertility treatment coverage (5, 6, 7, 8, 9):

Investment/Advisor Firms Travel
Bank of America Accenture Southwest Airlines Uber
Morgan Stanley JP Morgan Chase Online Retailers
BlackRock Fidelity Wayfair Amazon
Goldman Sachs Deutsche Bank Credit Cards
M&T Bank TD American Express Mastercard
Broadridge Financial Citi Retailers
Boston Consulting Group   Godiva Nike
Insurance/Audit/Accounting Firms Dick’s Sporting Goods Chanel
MetLife Ernst & Young Starbucks Ralph Lauren
Barclays Deloitte PepsiCo  
Bloomberg Bain & Company Entertainment
Technology Disney NBC
Intel IBM Discovery Fox
Apple Microsoft Pharmaceuticals
Google Spotify Merck Pfizer
Cisco Systems Facebook Bayer Johnson and Johnson

That is a pretty long list, albeit only a partial list. But if you notice there are competitors offering the coverages that we do not (Fidelity, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Boston Consulting Group, JP Morgan Chase, Broadridge Financial Services, TD, Accenture and Citi, M&T Bank). There are also firms that closely align to our industry offering coverages (MetLife, Ernst &Young, Deloitte, Bloomberg, Barclays and Bain & Company).

Why do these firms offer coverage when it is not mandated? Cisco says “fertility benefits — $15,000 lifetime maximum for medical treatment and $10,000 for drugs — are offered simply because it’s ‘the right thing to do,’” (8). Intel states “offering the benefit is part of the company’s commitment to being diverse, inclusive and supportive of the employees” (8). Southwest Airlines shares “‘If we have happy employees, we will have happy customers and, subsequently, happy shareholders,’… ‘Fertility benefits have value to employees. While fertility benefits aren’t something all employees need, the impact this benefit can have on an employee’s life is immeasurable'” (8). These companies are ahead of the curve. These companies feel it is the right thing to do. These companies want happy employees. Don’t we want the same things for our employees?

As a firm we support other noble causes, such as Autism, Alzheimer’s, and Juvenile Diabetes.  Autism affects one in sixty-eight children or 1.47% (2). Alzheimer’s affects one in ten adults over the age of 65, or 10% of people over 65 (3). For Juvenile Diabetes, if both parents have type 1 the odds are on one in ten to one in four, 10% to 25% (4). These are all terrible conditions, but if we look strictly at numbers they impact less people than infertility does. And yet, it is not being mentioned. It is not being talked about. Why?

We need to stop sweeping the taboo of infertility under the rug. With such a large percentage of people experiencing the emotional rollercoaster of this disease, we need to stand up and face it head on. We need to help out our fellow associates. According to Harvard “for patients who do not have insurance coverage or the means to pay for treatment, not being able to obtain treatment may contribute to feeling helpless and hopeless” (10). Just having infertility is stressful enough. Per Psychology Today “the stress levels of women with infertility are equivalent to women with cancer, AIDS or heart disease” (11) and that is before trying to figure out how to pay for it! Let’s relieve some of that burden; take some of that stress and heartache away from our associates.

You may recall receiving several SUGGs requesting infertility coverage all within a week’s time frame last year. That was in response to a request in my department asking people to stand with me. In a department of 45 people, 14 submitted requests. That is a 30 percent response from my one appeal. Imagine how many people would support it if it went firm wide? We are underestimating how many people would support adding this coverage.

I appreciate you taking the time to consider this important request.

Thank you,

****** **********

Sources

1 – https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/infertility.html

2 – http://autismsciencefoundation.org/what-is-autism/how-common-is-autism/

3 – http://www.alz.org/facts/

4 – http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/genetics-of-diabetes.html?loc=db-slabnav

5 – http://fortune.com/2016/11/15/fertilityiq-rankings/

6- http://www.whattoexpect.com/forums/fertility-treatments/topic/jobs-with-infertility-coverage-51.html

7 – https://www.inciid.org/companies-that-may-offer-infertility-benefits

8 – http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20160117/NEWS03/160119856/Fertility-treatment-costs-scare-off-employers,-but-those-who-offer-coverage-to-e

9 – https://www.fertilityiq.com/cost/2016-best-companies-to-work-for-as-a-fertility-patient-corporate-fertility-benefits-rankings

10- http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/The-psychological-impact-of-infertility-and-its-treatment

11- https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/when-youre-not-expecting/201008/new-research-stress-and-infertility

12- http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/09/prweb13724262.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 21 – Vitamins Galore

vitamins1I spent a lot of time doing research in the last week or so. I read the book “It Starts with the Egg” which gets rave reviews in my IVF Support group on Facebook. I can’t say I thought it was groundbreaking or anything. I have spent a lot of time researching vitamins and stuff so that information wasn’t exactly new. Also she mentioned vitamins to take but didn’t always say what dosage (I’m guessing to avoid being sued since she wasn’t a doctor per say). But what it did do was inspire me to start my own research.

Our main problem is male factor, which there seems to be little research on. That is kind of surprising since it accounts for a third of infertility. We are scheduled to see a urologist in July to see what, if anything, we can do to improve on that front. My hubby had surgery when he was a baby down there and we are pretty certain it is due to that. Probably scar tissue or something. We are hoping maybe they can do surgery to clear some of that out and maybe get better function. In the meantime I found some medical studies regarding vitamin impact on sperm count and mobility.

There is a study for this currently at select schools. The closest one to us is near San Francisco California at University of California. We asked if we could participate with monitoring here in Arizona. They said no. Oh well! Here is the information if anyone is interested to see if it is near them or if they qualify:

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02421887

I read quite a few medical journal synopsizes this week and hunny agreed to take a lot of vitamins to see if between now and the appointment in July if the vitamin increases his count. It will be interesting to see. I am also taking a bunch of vitamins on the slim chance we win the grant we applied for (super long shot but can’t hurt).

Also we went back on the foster care list. It might be a while before we get a call but that’s ok. At least we are out there.

Yesterday was the hunny’s work’s company picnic. We went to a lake nearby and they rented jet skis and barbequed. It was pretty fun. The only down side was the fact that we are one of two couples without kids. And the other couple is 8 months pregnant right now. By the next company event we will be the only couple without kids. Another painful obvious reminder of how isolating infertility can be. It is such a family oriented event and the only upside to being kid free was that we could go out on the jet ski together and not worry about who was going to keep an eye on the kids. So that is the silver lining I suppose.

Lot of balls up in the air at the moment. Just waiting to see where everything lands. I also interviewed for a new job within my company so we shall see where that lands us also. They are not as flexible schedule wise so fostering might need to change (at least our age group). I think we are getting better at managing the unknowns in life, which I suppose is a good thing.

So here is to seeing where the chips fall!

May 16 – It’s that Time of Year Again

It’s that time of year again. We celebrate mother’s and everything they represent. Unconditional love, supportive, caring, etc. It is one of the hardest times of year for infertiles. The pain in our hearts as we watch and celebrate others who have the one thing we want. The other hard part is being a foster parent. It can be so hard to watch a kiddo mourn the fact that they are not with their biological mother on this holiday. Everyone is making their moms’ cards in class, sharing stories and they are wondering why they cannot see their mom. They may act out or withdraw. It can be hard to be a mother figure for a kiddo who is hurting.

This is also the time of year where I become a fly in the boss’s stew as I drum up another letter pleading for my company to add infertility coverage to their insurance. The HR person in charge of benefits knows me by name. This will be my fourth request in 2 years.

My strategy this time is to speak to the competitors who offer this coverage, while we do not. I am also asking people who supported me last year with this to write up something to submit with mine. I know they will continue to ignore me and try to sweep this under the rug, but I will not give up. All I can do is continue to ask right? I mean what’s the harm?

We all mourn this holiday in our own way. I mourn by advocating. I have to do something to not feel useless. If I can try to get coverage I feel like I am impacting lives of people at my firm that I have never met. I am hoping that I can help them and me!

In addition I applied for the Baby Quest Foundation grant this month. I am open to any avenue possible to try and have a baby. They do the grant twice a year.  A lot of people apply, but it has better odds than the lottery right?

We are still on a break from fostering. We did get a call for a kid, even though we were not on the list, but the kid was accepted by someone else faster. It is funny how fast you can feel attached to a little one that you have not yet met. In both pregnancy and fostering.

I hope you all made it through the weekend with your heads held high. Mother’s Day can be tough. But we are tougher! Infertility can’t keep us down!

strength

May 7 – Been a long week

This week has been a weird one. I had taken us off the open bed list for fostering a couple weeks ago as you’ll recall. We got a call mid-week about a foster kiddo and they were really, really pushing us to take them. We said yes, but I guess DCS (department of child safety) chose another family. They were really pushing us because there was a high probability that the kid was going to go up for adoption. I felt really bad that we did not end up with the kid.

My hubby’s best friend’s little sister (did you follow that?) had her baby and then needed her appendix out (rough week for her) sooooo we were morally obligated to go visit her and meet her baby. We brought lasagna and a leftover box of diapers (from fostering). It was an awkward visit. Her mom was there. They are incredibly religious and fertile people. The mom had 10 kids. They asked all sorts of questions about fostering, making inappropriate comments on the bio parents (which was not great). Then we mentioned our IVF and miscarriage. That is when it happened, the “maybe if you just relax, because we know this family that…” I looked over at hubby and tried not to roll my eyes. I thanked her for saying that. It took everything in me to not say “gee, my doctor says we have less than a one percent chance on our own” or “yeah after two rounds of IVF maybe we didn’t actually need it and should just relax.”

It’ll be a long time before we go visit them again. My oh-so-charming mother-in-law called and insisted we do something for Mother’s day for her. Now we are stuck taking her out to brunch. Ugh. She doesn’t know about the IVF and miscarriage so maybe if she did she wouldn’t ask these things but I am too afraid to tell her. She isn’t the most supportive person. In fact, she is quite insulting. I didn’t want to hear her say something about it being my fault or maybe it is God’s will.

We decided last minute to apply for the IVF grant again. Nine pages of bearing your soul to complete strangers in the hopes that they will give you one more shot at IVF. Trying your best to stand out against other poor couples who are in the same situation as you. I really hate the process, yet I still put us through it.

Next week is the dreaded Mother’s Day. I wish I could just bury my head in the sand. This year has been easier by far emotionally to deal with. I wish the constant commercials, Facebook ads, promotional emails, store signage and everything else would stop already though. I hope that with each year it will be easier. Or maybe hopefully someday we will have or get our baby.

My mother’s birthday was this week. I sent her a gift and a card and a Facebook post, but that wasn’t good enough. She wanted me to call her. I hate calling her. All she does is talk about my brother. My horrible example of a human being. And his baby. And his baby mama. And their drama. I have asked numerous times to not talk about it. No boundaries are listened to or respected. I actually haven’t spoken to her in a while. Per my previous posts I have been trying to cut back on speaking to my family for exactly this reason. After this month I won’t have to speak to her until … maybe my birthday? Wouldn’t that be nice? HAHA.

Well to all you not-yet mamas stay inside, hunker down, get some chocolate and wine, cry, laugh, snuggle your significant others and furbabes. Don’t let this “holiday” beat you down. Some day, we will be at peace. Either with our baby, rainbow baby, adopted baby, or being at peace with childlessness.

For you lucky mamas who got your miracle, enjoy the day. Snuggle that little miracle and your significant other. Enjoy the breakfast in bed, the homemade card, the gifts, the fuss. You’ve earned it.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!

bunch-of-pink-roses-wallpaper-gxpqtumo

April 29 – Interesting News

As of a couple of weeks ago we turned our open bed off (came off the list as they say) for fostering. We were very close to just saying we are done and closing our license permanently. My neighbor asked me to come over and chit-chat. We usually catch up once a month or so.

We are sitting there talking about she can barely contain herself. She knows someone who might be able to get us placed with a foster kiddo that will most likely end up in severance. Basically what that means is we would be placed with a kid who has a greater likelihood of us being able to adopt.

Of course I have mixed feelings about that. Of course we would love to bring into our home a kiddo that we could possibly adopt. I just feel guilty feeling excited about that because of course the parents have to not being doing what is right by the kiddo. Apparently in this specific case the siblings are already severed and going up for adoption with their foster parents.

I reached out to the person who can possibly make this happen and waiting to hear any news.

In the mean time we keep hoping and wishing that we can afford more infertility treatments. We are more closely decided on embryo adoption I think. I mean if we somehow win a grant or something very lucky we would love (I use that term loosely, LOL because all know IVF is no picnic) to do another IVF round. But finances being what they are, embryo adoption would be more affordable. Plus we have no problems loving a child that is not biologically ours.

For now, we play the waiting game. Waiting on a foster baby or waiting on funds for more infertility treatment.

clock_collection

April 16 – Easter

We have taken ourselves off the foster care list. It was a hard decision but easy at the same time. We were on the list for almost ten weeks without a placement. With my needing to be in the office for training this month I thought it wise to come off the list.

This month we had a wishful moment. My period was late. We have all been there right? Period’s late. We hold out hope that by some miracle we got pregnant. Take a test, it’s negative. Ok well maybe it is too early (knowing full well that by the time you are late it should be positive). Wait a couple days, take another one. Still negative, still no period. Then I start feeling really sick. Smells make me gag. Seriously I was cooking with fresh lime juice and it was awful to me. Normally I love it.

So I make a doctor appointment. Still negative they tell me my stomach issues are probably nothing (even though I mention I had an ulcer last year).  They said doing a blood test would not be more effective than a urine test for pregnancy.

Still nothing. I secretly hope that all of it is wrong and I am pregnant. Foolish dreams. Then I get my period. Day 41 of my cycle.

So despite being foolish and tortured all week, what does this tell me? Well I guess it showed me that I was being foolish. Not for having hope, but for thinking I was ready to give up on having kids.

I think my transformation will be getting focused on how we can accomplish that. There is another grant deadline coming up in May. I wasn’t planning on applying again until December because I was trying to lower my BMI. Since I haven’t lost a single pound, even though I have lost 8 inches and it is noticeable, my BMI remains the same. I know there are a lot of ways I could hurry my weight loss along but I am trying to work on my eating habits instead of dieting. No pills, no powders, no special drinks. Just eating better and working out. It’s harder than I want it to be, but I think it is the right way for me to lose weight.

Other than some miracle grant giving us another shot, we talked about doing other stuff too. Maybe getting a second job or working more overtime. I am trying to sell some crafty items I made on Etsy. I think we will not do another crowd-funding. Our friends and families have their own money issues. Since we only raised 350 bucks on our last one, I don’t think it is going to explode up if we try again.

I guess I will be holding out hope that some miracle will help us along.

Happy Easter everyone.78431723_XS

 

 

March 8 – Feeling Down

blue-images-7This week has been exceptionally difficult, emotionally. My family has been going off the deep end with the drama. We still don’t have a foster baby. There are about 5 pregnant ladies in my Facebook feed.

It took everything in me today to not comment rudely on one of the Facebook posts. She said “My legs hurt so badly, I can’t wait until this pregnancy is over” a day after posting how pregnancy is the hardest thing she has ever done. She is 20. Twenty years old. Married barely a year. About eight months pregnant. I really wanted to say that I would do anything to be able to complain about pregnancy leg pain. But it isn’t her problem, it’s mine. People are pregnant every day. People has aches and pains they want to get sympathy for. I am the one upset by it. It’s “normal” to have kids. It isn’t normal to be infertile.

One of the bosses in my department announced her pregnancy this week also. I was trying to talk to her about quitting a committee she is the leader of, because I am feeling overwhelmed and I need to cut back. I casually ask how her kid is, and she answers with I’m pregnant. It was so sudden I don’t think I fully recovered.

I wish I could feel less hurt by the happiness of others. This week I haven’t been sleeping well. Ok, ok you caught me. It has been much longer than a week. No joke I started groaning in my sleep. Been waking myself up. I looked it up and it is a real sleep condition called catathrenia. It is a general condition where one makes noises in their sleep (other than snoring and talking). Last year it was a pew- pew noise. Now it is just a groaning/sigh thing. Apparently stress induced.

I’ve been trying lots of things to reduce my stress and help me feel less depressed and anxious. Working out three times a week, eating better, doing things, hanging out with friends, etc. Not much help. Unfortunately.

Oh and the family drama. My brother and his girlfriend moved out of my dad’s house. They have an almost two year daughter. He has a drinking problem and she has a drug problem. They have been fighting. A few nights ago, my brother was telling everyone he wanted to kill himself (apparently a desperate attempt to gain attention from his girlfriend so she would come home from her mother’s). She came home drunk/high today to fight with my brother and my mother (who was there trying to help). Cops were called and my brother was asked to spend the night elsewhere.

They are going to end up losing their daughter at some point. It is the saddest thing I have ever heard.

I am going to try to cut back on the amount of time I keep in touch with the family. They are incredibly dramatic and toxic and despite my asking to not talk about my brother (we haven’t spoken in almost two years because of what he said to me after my miscarriage) I hear about him EVERY time I call, as you can tell from my in-depth knowledge of what happened this week. I moved across the country for a reason. I never come home to visit my friends for this reason. I don’t want to cut them out of my life, but I feel like I need to. My youngest brother is now 16.  I don’t need to be there providing his school supplies, parenting advice to my mother and making sure she isn’t dying (she is a hypochondriac and is dying of a new condition every year). As far as I can remember my mother has always had some condition that was going to kill her.

On a positive note, I had my hair redone with the blue highlights. The last salon didn’t do a great job so I was glad to get it redone. People keep telling me how awesome it looks. I am pretty happy with it this time. Hopefully I will feel less sad next week. That’s all we can do right. Make it through one day at a time. Hopefully you all are having a better week than I.