Monthly Archives: September 2010
Sorry, that title sounds a little New Age-ish doesn’t it? After our big $$$ shocker on Tuesday at the clinic, Rhea asked me to call the clinic and take down all upcoming fees and any possible fees the staff could think of that might pop up during the process.
I was able to talk to A. She was my nurse on Tuesday and she was wonderful on my appointment day and on the phone yesterday. We went through all procedures that are upcoming. The main thing is that we need to wait a week for all my autoimmune tests to come back. Since I have had 4 losses in less than 2 years, Dr. M suspects an autoimmune response is going on in my body when I am pregnant.
A, (my nurse) explained that if my RIP,NKA, or my ETA tests came back positive/high, I would need IVIg treatments. Uh, 5 to be exact at $2,500 a pop! Uh, well, choke, gasp, uh, excuse me? Would you mind repeating that?
Rhea and I both agree that these tests, the ones mentioned above, and the others that are being run, are important. I, unlike a lot of EA ladies, am very fertile. I was told originally, over a year ago, that I just had “mature” eggs and that is why I m/c. This was reasonable, I am after all,
forty-two, a bit older than most EA ladies. So, EA seemed perfect for us as I have uneventful pregnancies and L&D has always gone smoothly.
We are blessed that we have Dr. M. His experience says, it may not be just “mature” eggs. Think about this though: If we had found Dr. M at the time I was Dx w/ just mature eggs, we would have done the testing we are doing and proceeded to enlarge our family through natural (not really the word I am looking for here, but I hope you understand) means. We would never have gone with EA. Seeing these other doctors in the past was no mistake. It was foreordained by God. Of course, we know this, but it is an unexpected and undeserved blessing when the Lord reveals even a glimpse of His plan in our lives this way. God chose us to adopt these 5 special little ones and He used doctors with hasty diagnoses to guide us to this type of adoption. AND to bless us even more, led us to a doctor who is focused on determining why I have repeated miscarriages to ensure the best possible situation for these embryos to grow and any future pregnancies!
So, Rhea and I are humbled by His tender mercies and care for His sheep. We are so glad we were patient and allowed His plan to unfold. This, as those who know me, is against my nature. A fallen sinner, yet obedient this time, is humbled as God allowed us to see a speck of the plan.
Good thing I am practicing all this patience, because with experienced doctors comes a hefty price tag sometimes. This is one of those times. When we were at the clinic in Houston we knew we had $3500 left going to the agency and approximately $2500 going to the clinic. Our new clinic in Dallas is going to be a lot more.
Returning to the conversation yesterday on the phone with our nurse, she gave me all the fees I needed to know. I placed these fees side by side (actually I made a very organized chart on iPages for Rhea) with the Houston clinic’s fees and what our new reality Dallas FET will be in the future.
Houston clinic fees (tests, meds, FET) total: approx. $3,000
Dallas clinic fees (same+more tests, same+more meds, FET) total: approx. $ 6,000
If/when any autoimmune issues show up we are looking at another $1,000-$12,500 in meds/treatments.
See, it is shocking isn’t it?? We had planned to pay a total of $6,500 to get us through the FET stage and now we are looking at $9,500 -$21,500 + travel/meals. Are we discouraged? Maybe a bit deflated/disappointed, but we never wanted this to happen in our timing or under our terms. These are huge numbers, but we have a great and mighty God. He knows our bank account balance and we will do all we can to raise the funds. We know He will provide. We will just need to be patient a bit, or maybe a lot longer than expected!
Thank you for your encouraging comments and the continued prayers. They are all appreciated!
I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them. Psalm 34: 4-7
I had pictures to post, but our Dallas trip became more expensive as I dropped my Canon SLR and now it won’t turn on. : ( My mind is swimming full of new information, a new to-do list, and at the same time, the urging from the Holy Spirit to slow down, stop, pray and spend some extra time in His Word. So, this I did and this is why I did not post an update after we returned from Dallas.
Rhea and I had a nice trip. The weather has been fabulous here in Houston and equally gorgeous in Dallas. We stayed in the Sher*ton Downtown and that put us 5 minutes away from the clinic. We ate at El Fen*x downtown for some yummy tex-mex Monday night and were up bright and early for our 9:00 a.m. appt. with Dr. M.
The consultation time was relaxed, informative, and Dr. M truly had a focused, but positive approach to our situation. Though I never asked if he was a Christian or not, he made several statements to let us know that he believed that embryos are human beings. He also told us how important the embryo donation/adoption programs are needed in our country right now.
After reviewing the situation with our 5 little ones, he did say that we have received the correct information that our 4 who are in the morula stage are not likely to survive the thawing process. He quickly added though that he is hopeful because he has seen time and time again in his practice where what the lab charts consider a non-vaible embryo, the result is actually a live birth. Dr. M also reminded us that we have our 1 blast that was of a group of 4. Of the group of 4, 3 were thawed, one survived the thaw and the one that was transferred resulted in a live birth. (this was from the 1st adoptive family of the 8 embryos). So, Dr. M feels good about moving forward.
I had a great check-up. Dr. M did the trial transfer, sono-hysterogram, and then I gave the clinic 8 large vials of blood. So much so, that she could only draw 6 vials from my left arm and then had to switch to my right arm for the final two vials!–fun!
So, answered prayer #1, we have a GREAT doctor and clinic. This is where we need to be. I am at peace. Rhea liked him better than Dr. S in Houston. Though I loved the Houston clinic, I now know, that it was surface “kindness” they showed at the Houston clinic while I was there. They still have not returned my calls or sent my records to Dallas. Dr. M is more experienced, more educated, and told us he finds the RE specialty “fascinating” after all these years. We are excited we are with Dr. M.
The prayer for us to be able to have the FET soon? The answer is “not yet”. Dr. M says I am ready to go and that there is not one auto-immune issue that will hinder us having the FET. However, he had to run many tests to determine why I have had 6 miscarriages with 4 of those being in the last 21 months. I have an auto-immune history as well. These tests are expensive and we left his office yesterday having to pay $2250 for all office appts/procedures & blood work.
This payment was a curve ball to both Rhea and I. Dr. M will not start the next round of meds until the embryos are in his clinic. We cannot have them transported until we pay our last payment to the agency of $3500. The $2250 yesterday, pulled into the $3500 we had ready to send to the agency. We were preparing for the next 2 Dallas trips plus the FET fee. Now, we are backing up a bit and will need to slow down.
If we are to start this next month on meds to prepare for a November transfer as originally planned, the embryos need to be in Dallas by next week. If not, we are looking at everything getting pushed back. We have always known it is all in God’s timing and it is very important to make sure my body is not attacking a pregnancy, but our hearts did drop a bit. We are gearing up for a BIG garage sale in mid-October and we will pray that the grant we applied for comes through. Please pray for financial provision & my RIP/ETA/NKA tests to be negative. We are so close to the end, though, we will be patient and wait on the Lord’s timing. We wouldn’t want this to play out any other way!
We leave in a little while for our road trip. We have a dear friend coming to stay with the kiddos while we are away. Our appt with Dr. M is Tuesday at 9 a.m. We will head back to the Houston area after lunch. I will post a report late tomorrow. I look forward to seeing some BFPs when I return!
|above: We all pray for this!|
There is a great group of EA FET gals who are now PUPO, in the 2WW, still on PIO, waiting to POAS with an HPT or get BW with their RE to see their hCG levels. (did you read my last post everyone?)
So, all of you gals, please answer the following questions:
1. What Scripture are you holding close to these days?
2. What is your biggest challenge right now?
3. What is DH like in the 2WW?
4. Now that you have gone through your FET, what one piece of advice can you share that you wish you knew/did?
5. How can we pray for you specifically?
I was e-mailed a request to post the acronyms used in the EA world. Rhea & I began to struggle with infertility only a few years ago and I started learning the acronyms for infertility (IF) then. I also had to learn an entirely new set of acronyms once we started the embryo adoption (EA) process. There are so many more acronyms that are not listed below, but these are the ones you will see most frequently:
EA – embryo adoption
HS – homestudy
IF – infertile, infertility
RE – reproductive endocrinologist (the ob/gyn who oversees EA mom)
PA – physician’s assistant
DE – donor embryo
GP, GF – genetic parent(s), genetic family
IVF – in-vitro fertilization (frozen embryos are created from this process)
STD – sexually transmitted disease (testing done by genetic parents of embryos)
CD – cycle day
BBT – basal body temperature (used to chart cycle)
AF – Aunt Flo ( YNWIM – you know what I mean)
BCP – birth control pills (sometimes used by RE to regulate cycle to prepare for FET)
AWOL – a woman on Lupron
EZ – Estradiol
PIO – progesterone in oil shots (think OUCH!)
IM – intramuscular injections
US, u/s – ultrasound
FET – frozen embryo transfer
AH, AZH – assisted hatching (I will explain this in a future post)
PUPO – pregnant until proven otherwise (used after the FET takes place-the start of the 2WW)
2WW – 2 week wait (the 2 weeks after the FET while you wait for pregnancy testing)
DP3DT – days past 3day transfer
DP5DT – days past 5 day transfer
DPT – days past transfer
HPT – home pregnancy test
POAS – pee on a stick (taking an HPT)
BW, b/w – blood work
hCG, HCG – Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (pregnancy hormone, if you have any you are pregnant)
BFP – big fat positive
BFN – I don’t want to type what this one means (think opposite of positive)
MC, m/c – miscarriage (another hard one to type)
EDD – estimated due date
DOB – date of birth… what we all pray to see!
So did I miss any? I hope that helps my followers, those researching, and any other curious peeps!
D-man had some yard work to do after we returned home from our trip. When he came in to tell me he found a baby squirrel that fell out of its nest, I wasn’t too hopeful for its fate. We have 4 cats and I was surprised that this tiny furry squirrel baby had not been hunted down yet.
He seemed to be healthy and was quite relaxed. We have a neighbor who rehabilitates wildlife who promptly came to the rescue. Now one of God’s littlest creatures is being cared for until it is old enough to go back into the wild. The girls were full of “Ooos & Ahhs”. It was the cutest little baby squirrel (and that is coming from someone who does not care for that particular rodent at all). It was sweet to see my eldest who is an avid hunter, stop to care for one of God’s littlest creatures.
Well, we are starting over in the doctor department as you know, but we are excited to be moving forward. Rhea decided that since our appt is at 9 a.m. next Tuesday and Dallas is a little over 3 hours away, we will need to leave on Monday and spend the night. We have hotel points saved and will have a free stay at a Sher*ton less than 5 minutes from the clinic. Now we need to find a restaurant or two for while we are there. We will be in the downtown area. Any ideas?
We are back from our trip and we had a great time with our friends. Besides Rhea having to take an unexpected business day trip to Miami (from Houston), all went quite smoothly.
As you know, our clinic here in Houston told us the day before we left for our trip that they would not be able to work with us. There were no exceptions to their policy that all “donated” embryos must have STD testing by the parents before or soon after retrieval. This was not the case with our 5 embies (from 1999 & 2000 IVF cycles). So, last week, while the older kiddos were out on the boat and I was at the condo while PookieBear napped, I talked to the clinic in Maryland where our little ones are currently residing. This is a MAJOR fertility clinic in that area. They have policies in place that will not allow us to have our transfer at their clinic either.
So, at this point, I contacted our agency and let our coordinator know that I needed her help in finding us a clinic that would take our embryos. She did just that and we don’t have to go far either. We are going to see Dr. M. in Dallas and I have talked on the phone several times already with the embryologist about our little ones special circumstances (4 of the 5 are at the morula stage).
Dr. M wants me to continue my mock cycle. We will extend it a few days allowing me to get to Dallas and have a full check, u/s, b/w, etc. while still on the meds this cycle. Next month will be a medicated cycle and then November will be the transfer cycle–probably the Friday before Thanksgiving week. I will have an exact date when I go for my appt.
So, the line for the roller coaster is moving and we are thrilled to be heading forward once again! Thank you for your encouraging comments on my last post. It was wonderful to come back in town and see my inbox full of “love”!
As I was about to take my final Estrace for the day, I received a phone call from my RE telling me that she was very sorry, but after reviewing the paperwork sent from the lab for shipping coordination, she saw that the genetic parents were not tested for STDs. Our clinic will not accept embryos who do not have parents cleared for STDs.
I was in shock and hung up, but after speaking with my husband, who was so wonderful, he asked me to call back and ask a couple of questions. I left my RE a voice mail and we will await her return call. Next week was our mock transfer.
Rhea said on the phone that these are our children and we will pray through where God wants us to go to have our FET. In the meantime, I need to find out if I should stop Estrace or wean off it?
I loved our clinic, the staff, our embryologist, our RE. This is not where God wanted us though. He is sovereign and it is not time for our FET yet. We leave for a family vacation tomorrow for a week and I am going to focus on fun with our family and we will pray for our little ones and for discernment on our next steps.
**EDITED: I ran across this article from 7/2010 reporting on the NEDC. According to the article, there have never been any STDs contracted through donated/adopted embryos.
**EDITED (again) – The embryos were conceived/frozen 3/1999 & 2/2000. The first adoptive family has one beautiful & healthy child from the 2/2000 group.
There have been questions asked by some of you recently I thought I’d take a minute to answer those.
What is the cost for this type of adoption? Costs vary. You can choose to work directly through a clinic or through a website like Miracles Waiting and this usually saves money, but we chose to work through an agency which requires a home study to adopt. The agency also has fees for their services. We also have to pay my RE and the clinic for tests, exams, medications, and the actual FET procedure. With all that said, our personal total out-of-pocket cost is looking to be $13,000 to get us through the end of the first trimester.
How long does the process take? This varies too. For us, we just needed to update our homestudy, so there was less paperwork involved to complete. We updated our homestudy in April-May, were matched this summer and we are tentatively scheduled for our FET the third week of October.
How successful is EA/FET? There is no way to answer this question with any certainty. There are so many variables that come into play. We trust God that He has led us down the chosen path for adoption for our family, that He has led us to our agency, clinic, and doctor. We also trust Him as He has chosen 5 precious tiny ones into our care. We are prayerful we will raise one or more of these 5 to love and serve our awesome God.
What happens if your 5 little ones do not make it? This is a good question. I am working on a post to share the special situation of our tiny ones. It will also be a petition for prayer for our sweet little ones. For now though, I will say that if none of our wee ones survive the thawing procedure or I do not test positive for a pregnancy, or I were to miscarry, our agency will match us with another family.
Finally, Will we thaw all 5? Possibly? You will understand more after my next post.
Thank you for caring and wanting to learn more about our journey. We serve a merciful God and praise His name daily for all that He has done in our lives!
**EA friends, feel free to comment any “answers/thoughts” you may have!