Jan 6, 2016

IVF Consultation

Happy Hump day readers!
I hope everyone had a fun, yet relaxing end to 2015.

Mark and stayed in for the long weekend. We had a fondue party for two New Year's Eve and bounced back and forth between watching Miami's and New York's countdowns...ending with Chicago's and passing out by 1am.
Off the subject....pretty proud of Chicago for stepping it up this year! Getting Mario Lopez to host AND our star looked pretty fab...almost better than New York's big ole' ball....amiright?

Anyways, we had friends over New Year's day for a little lasagna dinner party, then capped off the weekend with an impromptu sledding romp after dinner Sunday night.

Mark let the dogs outside and was having a smoke...then abruptly whipped his head towards the door where I was standing...a mischievous grin across his face...."I'm going to skate down the front hill....turn the spot light on!"
I complied but promptly got 911 ready to dial as I was SURE he was going to fall and crack his head open, either on the ice or one of the 26 oak trees he needed to dodge.

Neither happened, of course....so he coaxed me outside.

Five minutes later we're both perched at the top of the ice hill in front of our house.
That led out onto the main street.
Sitting on flattened beer cases.
Mark sped down first and then tried to "catch" me at the bottom, which turned into me b-lining in the wrong direction and landing flat out on our driveway.

It was a blast!
I laughed so hard I gave myself an asthma attack (nerd!), and I think I peed a little.

And this week, it's back to reality.

We had our first IVF consultation with Dr. Jacobs early Tuesday morning.
I had a rough timeline in my head as to how the first half of the year would pan out...but the second we started talking with the doctor...I realized plans don't exist in this world.

Because we have to get PGD testing completed prior any embryo transfers, we also agreed to get PGS testing completed as well. He also suggested we only transfer one embryo in at a time...and then, of course, there was the line about how "this should only take 1-2 times before it works"....of course I'm pessimistic, but that would be pretty sweet!
Lastly, he calmed my nerves about the transfer itself. I had issues with the catheter during the HSG test, causing me to be put under for the procedure, so obviously I have nerves about the transfer for babies!

We will be doing a saline ultrasound prior to transfer, and if need be, he will stretch my cervix while I'm under during the retrieval.

(I have no idea if what I'm saying is correct...I kind of blanked out while he was saying all this)

PGD will test for our specific mutation match (MCAD) and PGS will test the overall structure and composition of the embryo and to rule out things like Down Syndrome.

If we're in...we're ALL in, I suppose.

I knew a lot of this going into the meeting, so I glanced often at Mark's face as Dr. Jacobs showed him the cell division stages, and how they use a needle to puncture the vaginal wall to suck out the embryos....ha.
Mark kept asking if I would be sedated while they did that...btw....and yes...I will be.

Are you still with me?

I thought I would be starting on birth control pills right away, or at least for my next cycle, which would be in less than a week. But....fun fact, if you are diving into genetic biopsies and lab testing and all that, you gotta pump the brakes for a hot minute while they get everything set up for you.

It takes then 5-6 weeks to get you a custom probe.
That's right...I said probe (twss).

I kept asking what the fuck a probe was...like, is it a timeline, or protocol...what is it and why does it take so long?!
My questions were met with a general answer that we get a customized test at the genetics lab, all ready to go, so that when my biopsied cells make their way to the lab, they know EXACTLY what they are testing for and all the checks and balances are in place and yada yada ya.

The Good Doctor seems to think if everything gets set-up smoothly we are looking at early to mid-February to start our "prep cycle."

The Prep Cycle, or PC, is when I take birth control pills to simmer down my hormones and they do some preliminary testing/paperwork/whatever is needed prior to the start of the stimulation period.

During this time, I will be headed to Highland Park to meet with a nurse for about an hour so she can show me how to jab myself the correct way with a million and one needles.
Looking forward to it.

So we get our "Your Miracle. Our Mission" packet of paperwork, Mark gets another lecture about how he needs to stop smoking, and we are on our way.

And then the calls and emails start coming in.
Like...almost immediately.
And I start tearing up because I guess I forgot how emotional all of this is...AND WE HAVEN'T EVEN DONE ANYTHING YET....and I just need to calm the F down already.

So the lab shoots me an email to tell me the cost for everything and that they don't coordinate with insurance.
And of course I immediately took that as insurance wasn't even an option.
Even though I spent many painstaking hours searching insurance for 2016 that would, indeed, cover our genetic PGD testing.

Turns out I need to take a chill pill because although it WILL be out of pocket....up front, I should be able to submit claims to the insurance and get (somewhat) reimbursed.

Anyways...for those of you that are wondering, I plan on being REEEEAAALLL honest about all of this.

And for those of you that are nosy....we are paired up with aParent IVF laboratory in Highland Park.

The cost for one PGD/PGS cycle is $4,500.
Testing each embryo is an additional $550 per embryo.
There is a fee to transport bloodwork (if needed) $200.
Plus the biopsy of any day-5 blasts: $2,000

Now...my insurance should cover most of that. Whether or not it actually happens is a whole other story.

I called Mark to vent because I'm a financial, organized person...and this is all already throwing me off track.

In the end..I made a pact with him that I don't necessary need answers and solutions from him...I will just need to vent my worries from time to time as this whole process is going to be super frustrating, yet joyful, yet stressful...but it'll all be worth it...and it would be awesome if he could just listen and hold my hand and tell me I'm not crazy.

It's only Day 2. We still have like two million to go.

Our next step includes hearing back from the genetics lab about whether or not I need blood-work sent to them, or if our Counsyl testing from last year will work.
After that we should have a timeline for when our probe (hehe) will be ready.

And then we're off like a herd of turtles.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Thinking of you as you continue this journey! If anyone can handle it, it's you. And I mean that.

  2. Congrats on taking the first real steps....it's going to be such a journey. Sending positive thoughts your way. In the meantime, keep living your life, and it sounds like you are! What a blast you had sledding! I haven't gone for a few years now, shame on me!

  3. when you become a baby momma we need to create a joint blog and call it Babies and Bulldogs :P

  4. I kinda got stuck picturing myself sitting on a flattened beer case perched on an ice hill with you guys... I would so do that! Yay!!! So glad the process is beginning for you to get your tiny human. Can't wait to follow along every step of the way and cheer you on!

  5. I love that you had this fun moment with Mark that you can remember while undergoing everything else. I have to agree, insurance and working with them sucks at times and really screws with the budget and the best laid plans we all have.

  6. So glad to read the update.

    Yeah for first important awesome scary steps! I know this path is not the easiest thing to go down, but you and Mark are SO strong.

    I'm right down the road if you need anything - seriously - even just to vent! Here for you!

  7. So complicated! So much stress! But-you are going through it for a good reason and that should keep you going when it gets tough. It's quite amazing that they can do any of this at all. Best of luck as you begin. I actually was wondering how much it costs, because I tend to think in dollar signs in general + I am nosy so thanks for sharing.

  8. I wish you all the best throughout the whole process. I'll keep you in my prayers. I went to a friend's house for New Year's. Had a good time.

  9. My love, you weren't kidding when you said 2016 is bringing us both a lot of changes. I'm so happy for you and Mark that you have this option, and I truly mean that. I can't imagine how stressful/scary this is for the both of you. I wish you nothing but the best, and though I'm not really back into the blogging thing as much as I'd like, I'm always thinking of you and sending positive fertility vibes your way!
    Mark def. needs to stop smoking, lol, which I'm sure is not breaking news to him! My sister's husband did that vaping thing, and had success. He hasn't bought a pack of cigs since 2014. Brie totaled up how much they saved in 2015 by Pete not buying cigs, and the amount was insane.
    Love you <3

  10. IVF is used for fertility to give infertile couple, a chance to have child. PGD is used with IVF and requested by couples to save their child from genetic disorder. PGD is a preimplantation embryo diagnosis.