Sunday, October 26, 2014

Larry's MESA surgery

As I type this I am in the waiting room while Larry is in surgery. We drove to Houston last night and stayed in room since we had to be at the hospital at 6 am this morning. We got here right on time and got him all checked in. They took him to pre-op around 6:40, and I got to be back there with him. We met with his nurse who went over all his medications, allergies, past surgeries, etc. With the Ebola scare going on, the first questions she was required to ask was if he'd traveled to Liberia in the past month, if he'd been to Dallas, and if he'd been in contact with the nurse with Ebola. Thank God we are able to answer no to those questions! We also met with the anesthesiologist and the nurse anesthetist. The whole time Larry seemed nervous, so I just sat in the chair next to him comforting him. He's a man so of course every time I asked him if anything was wrong he said no. Finally it was time for the IV... The part he was most nervous about. He wasn't nervous about the surgery at all, just the IV! Haha. The nurse did a numbing shot first, so he ended up not even feeling the IV ago in! The toughest part was over! (Or so he thinks lol) I switched out with his mom for a few minutes so she could see him before surgery, then I went back with him. It's so surreal that this is the first step in our IVF process. In just a few months it'll be me in the gown in the hospital bed for the egg retrieval and then for the embryo transfer.... And then not too much longer I'll be in the gown and bed again to welcome our sweet baby into this world.

Larry and I just hung out for a little bit waiting on the doc to come and get him for surgery. We took these silly pictures that I fully intend on showing to our children one day. :P (They will know that not only did their mommy go through a lot of pain to have them, but so did daddy!!)

Not long after that the doc came in, and then the nurse anesthetist gave him his "chill out medicine" (that's what she called it). Then I kissed him and they wheeled him away.

The doctor said that the surgery would take about 2 hours and recovery an hour and then he would call us tonight with results. Larry's mom (Mrs. Amy) and I went to get some breakfast at the cafeteria of the hospital next door, then we came back to the hospital and waited for Larry to be done. Dr. Lipshultz came out after surgery just to say that the surgery went fine and Larry was fine, and then he hurried away (he's a busy man).

When it was finally time to go to post op to see Larry he was in a lot of pain. They gave him some more pain killers through his IV, and then would move him to the recliner before we would leave. He ended up staying in the recliner a little longer because he was still in a lot of pain and needed more meds. Then, we went back to the hotel and the 3 of us napped.

By 8:30 we thought it was weird that the doc didn't call us with the results yet, so Larry decided to go ahead and call his office. They told him that they'd have the on-call doc call us back. He called us back not long after and said that the samples they got were great! They were able to get sperm from the epididymitus so they were somewhat mature and mobile! This will make our chances of IVF success much higher!! Dr. Liphultz did end up calling about an hour later with the same results and said that they got 4 tubes from the epididymitus and 4 tubes from the testes.


We are so happy to be done with this first step and to have good news about the sample! We are back home today and Larry is still in some pain, but is feeling much better! We are so thankful and are praying that the next few months fly by so that we can start my part next! :D

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

and the waiting game continues

I've procrastinated writing this post for far too long....

On July 7th, we woke up super early to go to Houston. Our consult with Larry's urologist wasn't schudeled until 3 pm that day, so Larry went ahead and scheduled a CF appointment for that morning since we'd already be in town. The drive was good and went by smooth (aka no crazy traffic). We got Larry's CF appointment time wrong (we were over an hour early), so we had to wait well over an hour to see his doctor. We told his doctors and nurses that we'd be going to the urologist for Larry's MESA procedure the next day, and everyone was so excited for us. It's so great to have support from so many people!

Since we planned on having Larry's surgery the next day, we rented a hotel room so we didn't have to drive back and forth. So, in between appointments we had lunch with Larry's sister and granny, and then we hung out at the hotel. I took a short and sweet nap! We got to the urologist's office right at 3 and there was a "45 minute wait." Well that 45 minutes turned into an hour and a half. Once we finally went to the back we saw the nurse first, and he had no idea that we would need Larry's surgery to be the next day.... ummm what? He said that they could check the schedule and see, but there were no guarantees. The doctor comes in... is in there for literally FIVE MINUTES and sends us to the financial lady.

We were in the finace lady's office for a grand total of 2 hours. It was the most annoying thing ever. Pretty much, we sat there while she calls Larry's insurance to make sure that they cover this procedure (something we already made sure of multiple times). They confirmed with her that they cover it, but they needed a "pre-cert." Once this pre-cert would be requested by the doctor, it could take up to a week to be approved. So, needless to say, this surgery wasn't happening the next day like we planned. Plus, the soonest the doctor had open for the surgery was the end of the month. We didn't schedule it that day because you get charged if you cancel, and we didn't want to chance the insurance company changing their mind and not sending a pre-cert. Also because Larry has to request off of work over a month in advance.

Bummed as can be, we headed back home. It just felt like yet again just when we thought we'd be starting the process to have a baby, it's pushed back. We were definitely sad, but we didn't let it take over us for too long. We know that God has a plan for us, and that even though we thought that starting an IVF cycle in October was a great plan, God's plan is even better. His timing is perfect.

(This picture has nothing to do with this blog post, but I like when posts have pictures, so here is a picture of us on our 1 year wedding anniversary, July 20th!  See, shouldn't these two good lookin' people bring a good lookin' baby into the world? ;)

Another curve ball we got that week- I was reading in my IVF packet from my doctor one night and came across something that said we had to have a consult with a financial coordinator before starting anything. I called the office to schedule one and she told me that she would just put together a packet for me that listed everything covered/not covered by insurance and what exactly we'd owe out of pocket. She asked if we'd need any information on financial assistance like a loan, and I told her, no because my insurance covers 80% of IVF. She seemed shocked when I told her, but said she'd call and verify with them and then put my packet together and email it to me.

Less than an hour later she calls me back. My insurance doesn't cover 80% of IVF, only IUI.... wow. just wow. The representative I spoke with back in January gave me the wrong information! It's a good thing we didn't proceed with anything yet! So yet ANOTHER set back. I cried. Again. I'm so awful at this whole waiting thing. Once I figure out that I want something, I want it asap. That's what's crazy about this whole situation. All this time, I thought we'd be able to plan when we have our kids, but I was way wrong. I guess I needed to be reminded that God's got this. It's His plan and not ours.

Anyways, Larry called his insurance and confirmed with them MULTIPLE times that they do indeed cover IVF at 80%. So, the plan is when we renew our health insurance at the end of the year, I will be on Larry's insurance so that it'll be covered. Now, we're looking forward to January to hopefully, actually get the ball rolling, so that we can have our own little one! Praying for patience....

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

our 2nd consult

We decided to see a different fertility doctor because we researched the success rates for both docs and this one had a better male factor infertility success rate. Plus, this one has an office in town and an office only an hour away. The other was 2.5 hours away in Baton Rouge. So, it turned out to be a win-win  situation.

We had our consult with Dr. Storment on May 14th. I was much better prepared for this appointment. I had a much longer, detailed list of questions this time. Plus, I had done a lot more research by then.  Larry and I already had a good understanding of everything from our first consult with the other doctor, so this time we were able to get into a little more detail of things. We also took my mother in law with us since she is a nurse and she always had good questions to ask.

Our next steps after the consult were to make Larry's appointment with the urologist for his consult and MESA/TESE procedure and make the geneticist appointment.

I called the day after our consult to make the appointment with the urologist and the soonest we could get was July 7th. At first I was bummed that we would have to wait so long for the appointment and it would push everything back 2 months longer, but I just had to remind myself that I can't be such a control freak with all of this. I just have to sit back and let God take control and allow His plan to play out.

I also found out when I scheduled the urologist appointment that what they usually do is have the consult appointment and then the doctor will schedule the MESA/TESE surgery for the next day. So we are just a week away from the process beginning! I am so excited yet so nervous at the same time. We are praying hard that everything goes well, and we are asking for your prayers too! :D

Thursday, June 19, 2014

the carrier screening & a big misunderstanding

When it came to the CF carrier screening, we had a couple of choices to make. Larry's CF doctor recommended the carrier test that screened for like 1900 genetic mutations of CF, and she said that generally insurance will not cover it so it would cost us a big chunk of money. Another choice we had was to take a general test that would only find if I carried the most common genetic mutations of CF. This test would probably be covered by insurance. There is no one in my family with CF, so I thought that it would be highly unlikely for me to be a carrier. Then again, there's also no one in Larry's family (other than him) with it either, but obviously both his parents are carriers, hence how he has it.

I kept leaning towards the 2nd one, but Larry and his mom thought that I should do the first one just to be sure. We decided to do the first. Larry had an appointment with his CF doctor in Houston, and he brought back the blood test supplies for his mom to draw my blood for me (she is a nurse). We had to do the test during the day, so that she could bring my sample to fedex it to California. She met me at work, and she drew my blood in my car. We don't have a private bathroom at work or anything, so I decided it'd be best to just go ahead and do it in my car lol. I'll let you know that I have passed out a few times from shots and having my blood taken before. I'm not scared of the needle at all, it just get woosey I guess! Well, I definitely started feeling nauseated while she started! Thank GOD I did not pass out on her. After I sat there a few minutes I was fine, and I was able to go back in to work. My mother in law took the blood to fedex and off it went. Two days later I received a call confirming that it made it to Cali and I authorized them to go ahead with the test. I also found out that my insurance was going to cover 80% of the test- yay!

The blood test would take up to 6-8 weeks for the results. They would first run it for the most common CF genes and then so on. So, if it came back that I was a carrier for one of the most common, we'd know within a week or so. We made an appointment with a different fertility doctor (closer to us and better success rates) and we were really hoping to have the results before then so we wouldn't be playing another "IF you're a carrier game" like we did with the last doctor

A few weeks went by, and to be honest, I kind of forgot about the test. Time seemed to be going by very quickly and I was very at ease with everything. Finally, my mom and mother in law were asking about the test, so I thought maybe I should call and check to see how much longer until we get the results. I didn't have the phone number to the center we sent by blood to, so I called Larry's CF doc to get the phone number. When I called, I had to leave a message, and they said that she'd call me back. 

Our appointment with our fertility doctor, Dr. Storment, was on Wednesday May 15th, and Larry's doc called me on Monday the 13th, just 2 days before. I thought she was calling me back about the phone number, but she actually had my results. I was at work and I saw a Houston number calling me, so I walked out of the office to answer it. She started talking about my results using all these medical terms that I did not understand, and all I heard was something about our children having CF symptoms and possible CAVD (like Larry). I guess it's because I was a business major in college and I don't like anything to do with the medical field, but I swear I had no idea what she was saying. I stopped her in her tracks and asked, "wait... so AM I a carrier or not?" She said yes. I really have no idea how the rest of the conversation went other than her mentioning something about us seeing a genetic counselor. I was able to hold back the tears until I called Larry and told him the news. It was SO hard. 

It was a busy day at work so I had to get back to my desk. The hardest part was trying not to cry and still sounding happy on the phone to my customers. Larry and I decided to meet up for lunch at Quizno's. Both of us red and teary eyed with so much confusion as to why this was. We both knew that we wanted to have children, but with me being a carrier, we'd have a 50% chance of a child with CF. We sat in Larry's car and even started drawing out the punnett square (surprisingly these 2 business majors remember something from biology) to make sure we were right.

(CF is a recessive gene. RR= not a carrier Rr= carrier of CF  rr= CF)

There were so many emotions going through us both. Are we still supposed to go through with IVF? CAN we go through with it? People with CF aren't really supposed to be around each other because they carry bacteria that they can pass to one another and make each other sick. So how would that work with father and baby with CF?

I called my mom and told her the news when I got home from work. It hurt worse to say it out loud again. I won't go into anymore details of the cry fest I pretty much had the rest of the night. Something about me has just become such an emotional person lately! I prayed all evening and all night for answers and guidance from God. After all, it's ALL about Him.

The next day, I called Larry's doctor's office to get them to email me which mutation I had so that we could tell our fertility doctor the next day. I talked to the nurse and when asked which mutation I carrier, and she told me some pretty shocking news...

Turns out I AM NOT a carrier of a CF gene. I guess it was a bigggg misunderstanding when I talked to Larry's doctor. I am only a carrier of a variant of CF. It's really confusing to explain. Pretty much, it could cause our children to possibly have CF symptoms (stuff like asthma-like symptoms and CAVD), but they couldn't actually have CF! Ohhhhh the relief to hear that! We still plan to see a geneticist to learn more about it, but to know that our kids could not actually have CF was the best news.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

the beginning of our ivf journey

After long contemplation whether or not to start a blog and after reading and being inspired by others' blogs, I decided that I wanted to document and share our journey to have a baby to be able to remember everything, for our children to read, and to inspire others who may be going through the same thing. It's a big deal for us to put ourselves out there on the internet like this, but if it means being able to share and inspire others, we are willing to do it! So here goes....

So why in vitro fertilization?

If you aren't close with Larry and I you are probably thinking, "they're young and healthy and haven't been trying to conceive for long, so why IVF??" Well, I've known that I wouldn't be able to conceive naturally with Larry pretty much since I met him. Larry has cystic fibrosis (CF). 99% of males with CF have CAVD (congenital absence of the vas deferens). To put it in simple terms (like I need- hellooo business major), he is missing the tube that lets the fertile sperm out. Or you could say that he was born with a natural vasectomy.

We've both know that we didn't want to wait too long for a baby, so we started to pray for one as soon as we were married. We want God's hand and His plan to be in all of this. We prayed that God would give us His child to raise and dedicate back to Him.

The start: 

Larry found out that his insurance with Cigna covered 80% of infertility treatment... 80%!! We're both on our own health insurance policies with our jobs since it's cheaper that way so a question that we didn't know was, does this go on his insurance or mine? He is the infertile one, not me, so wouldn't that go on his? Nope, turns out because I am the fertility patient, it goes on my insurance.  His procedure will go on his. Luckily, I called my insurance company and they also cover 80% of fertility treatments! Most insurances don't cover fertility AT ALL, and BOTH of ours cover almost all of it! If that wasn't a blessing, I don't know what is! God is so good.

So for a while, we didn't think that we would have to actually undergo the entire IVF process. We thought why couldn't they just do his procedure to get his sperm out and then stick it into me?? We found out the answer at our first fertility consultation.

Larry's mom recommended the fertility doctor in Baton Rouge, so we made an appointment with him. It seemed like it took forever to get here too. I was SO anxious to find out the process we would need to take to bring a baby into the world. I thought that the appointment would be an overwhelming amount of information that I wouldn't understand, so I did a little bit of research, and I brought a binder and had a few questions written down in it. 

Our 1st fertility consult:

When the day was finally here for our appointment, we were sooo excited. The appointment wasn't at all overwhelming like I thought. We learned that we would have to do a process of IVF called ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection). ICSI is where they inject a single sperm into each egg. The process we were hoping for is called IUI (intrauterine insemination). Pretty much a procedure where they'd place Larry's sperm into my uterus to fertilize on it's own. We learned that we couldn't do the IUI because the sperm where they get them out at aren't mature enough so they aren't good swimmers. So, they might would never make it all the way through on their own. The procedure that Larry will have to do is called MESA/TESE. 

One of the biggest questions I had was how long was this going to take. The doctor said the process only took 2 months. 1 month of me being on birth control, 10 days of injections, the egg retrieval, then the 5 day embryo transfer. The doctor recommended that I get tested to see if I am a carrier of the CF gene and we sit down with a geneticist before we start anything yet.