We had our follow up appointment yesterday. I promised myself I wouldn't cry as I entered the lobby. I signed in at the front desk and asked to use the restroom. The receptionist buzzed me back. As the door opened, so did the floodgates. I passed the open rooms, missing the days I was there for those cold, sticky, vaginal sonograms. The days I would walk down that hallway filled with excitement and hope. I was nervous I would run into my nurse and then have to temper my anger about last week’s disaster. Thankfully there wasn't a single soul back there. The office was oddly empty, which was exactly how I felt.
I made it to the bathroom and spent the next three minutes telling myself NOT to cry. Which, in turn, made me cry harder. After finally pulling it together, I washed my hands and joined my husband in the lobby. It was at that point that my bladder reminded me that I had forgotten to pee, but there was no way was I going back down that hallway. Instead, we sat alone in the huge waiting room, holding hands and watching some house-flipping show on HGTV.
I began to wonder if they have a special time slot for the people like me - the people who didn't get pregnant. It felt as though we were quarantined. I had never been alone in the waiting room before. Trust me, if I had, I most certainly would have set up my camera and taken some photos to document the experience. This visit, however, I left the camera at home. I didn't want to take a picture of this part. I don't want to remember or document this feeling.
The office door opened and Shanise, one of my favorite nurses from my first IVF cycle, popped her head out. I hadn't seen her in years. I love Shanise. It was a happy surprise. She called us back and as we walked down the opposite hallways towards Dr. Boostenfar's office, I began to cry while trying to make casual conversation, peppered with my usual inappropriate humor. It wasn't pretty. But I didn't care.
This was it. This was the moment. We were about to have the meeting that would basically determine if there is any chance in hell of us having another baby. We knew that we couldn't afford another cycle. We have ZERO money left, and our health insurance covers nothing for fertility. Our only hope is that Dan gets hired on to teach at a great school district and that we magically have an awesome insurance plan that would cover another round. But he is just now entering the one-year credential program, so best case scenario, we would get this imaginary coverage in the fall of 2017 at the very soonest. I'll be 39 that May.
Timing is everything with this baby-making business. The longer we wait, the less chance we have. As we entered his office, I was nervous and, you guessed it, CRYING. He gave Dan a quick hug and then held me tightly for a while, rubbing my back, as I just kept repeating "I'm sorry, I just though I'd be pregnant," over and over.
We sat down in front of his desk and as I went for a tissue, I noticed his Dr. B bobble head. I know the whole story of this bobble head. It was given to him by a couple who had tried IVF 5 times with no success and then sought him out. In their first meeting with Dr. B they asked, "What makes you think you can get us pregnant when none of the other doctors have been able to?" He responded, "There are a lot of quarterbacks in the NFL, but there is only one Tom Brady."
I remembered back to when he told us this story months ago and I, of course, inserted a joke about how good he is at deflating my husband's balls. We happened to be in his office that day to discuss my husbands TESE surgery. But I digress…
Dr. Boostenfar, of course, got that couple pregnant with a healthy baby boy and as a thank you, they sent him an incredibly hilarious bobble head of him dressed in a football jersey, on the 40 yard line, holding a baby in his right hand looking like he's about to throw a touchdown. It's awesome and hilarious. Seeing that made me stop crying and again, I wished I'd brought my camera. I looked up and saw Dr. B reviewing our chart. He told us everything I expected to hear. He agreed, it should have worked. He, too, is surprised I'm not pregnant. He suggested a test we could run on my uterine lining. I would take drugs again for a few weeks; estrogen, progesterone, etc., and then he would biopsy a little tissue from the lining and send it out for testing. They would report back whether it was "hostile" or not. If my uterus wasn't receptive, they would tell him what hormones are off and what could be adjusted. The whole thing only costs $800 and take less than a month. Then, he said, we could move on to another round of IVF. I blurted through the tears "We can't afford another round. We don't have insurance."
Explaining that we had insurance but it didn't cover fertility treatments was too much to get out through the tears. "Oh" he said. He looked up from our chart to us both, and then again to the chart.
Then he said, "Okay, follow me." On the walk down the hallway, he began explaining about a brand new clinical trial. I explained that I had searched high and low for clinical trials but all the ones I'd found required you to be 36 or under. I just turned 37 in May.
He escorted us in to a room with a round table and 3 chairs and said "Sit down, we are going to find a way to figure this out for you."
Dan gripped my hand a little harder. We exchanged desperate and excited glances. Dr. Boostenfar ducked in to the hall and came back in with my favorite nurse, Shanise, in tow. It turns out I haven't seen her recently because she is now heading up the clinical research trials. And guess what - there is one that just visited their office on Tuesday - 48 hours prior to our meeting – FOR WHICH WE ARE PERFECT!
What does this mean? It means that they will pay a large portion of this IVF cycle in exchange for me participating in this trial. It means we may be able to afford to try this again. It means we may be able to help science and possibly grow our family at the same time. On top of it all, Dr. B even offered to help me with the cost of drugs, which was over $5k in the last run.
Thankfully, this study isn't experimenting a new drug. I get to keep my exact same cycle. They simply want to study the fluid inside my follicles that surround my eggs. They can have all my lady juice if it means they will help me afford another round of IVF.
Sign. Me. Up!
And they did. We are officially the first couple submitted for this clinical study. Dr. B sounded confident that we would be accepted. When they say it takes a village, they aren't kidding. And my HRC village kicks ass!
We've got an awesome team on the field. This is our Hail Mary pass. Let's hope for a touchdown!