Saturday, May 30, 2009

Are you stupid, or just an @sshole?

When we first started TTC, we were told that our insurance covered fertility services.  Then, in the time between the clinic required testing (STD screening, HSG, psych eval.) and our first IUI, our insurance company stopped covering our fertility services.  We were not told about the change until I was leaving the clinic after my first IUI.  Our insurance company had decided that I did not meet the criteria for infertility, so we would have to pay for everything out of pocket.  

The eligibility requirements  for infertility, as stated by the insurance company are as follows:

Infertility services are covered for any abnormal function of the reproductive systems such that you are not able to:

*Impregnate another person
*Conceive after 2 years if the female partner is under 35 years old, or one year if the female partner is 35 years or older, or if one partner is considered medically sterile.
*Carry a pregnancy to live birth

Excellent, we thought.  We'll just write to the insurance company and appeal their decision not to cover us.  After all, their policy seems to indicate that infertility is based on whether or not a COUPLE can conceive together.  If I were with a man, I would automatically be covered if my husband was sterile.  Since Elizabeth can't produce sperm, these eligibility requirements should apply to us.  
We wrote to the insurance company, and about a week later they said that our case would be reviewed by the board, and we could make our case via phone during the meeting if we wanted to.  So we did the teleconferenced meeting, and made a good case.  Unfortunately the insurance company upheld their decision not to cover our IUIs, but told us we could do a second level appeal.  We did a second level appeal to the insurance company, and a few weeks later got a letter back stating that our request to have coverage for IVF was denied.  

Ummm, IVF?  Where the hell did that come from?  We were only asking for coverage for IUI, which costs a fraction of IVF.  Of course we wouldn't expect IVF coverage at this stage of the game.  So we did a third level of appeal, which required us to write to the State Department of Pensions and Benefits. We re-stated our original argument, but added the fact that the insurance company didn't even know what procedure we were going for, indicating that they weren't taking our claim seriously.  The state wrote back a few days later, and told us that they were making the insurance company complete an expedited final review of our case.  Apparently, expedited means tremendously slow, because it took 3 1/2 months for the insurance company to give their final decision.  And guess what they said...


The insurance company should know that IVF and IUI are NOT interchangeable terms.  So I've come to the conclusion that they're either really stupid, or else they're very intelligent, calculating @ssholes.  It wouldn't surprise me to find out that somewhere along the line, an insurance company employee had "accidentally" changed IUI to IVF just so that the insurance company could deny our appeal.  Why else would they continue to write about IVF, even after we'd made a point of correcting them on that?  Maybe I've just seen one too many M.ichael M.oore movies, but I'm convinced that they're doing everything in their power to waste our time, string us along, and make us give up on the appeal.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Page 118

Today is cycle day 1.  Once I finished pouting, I did what I do every cycle day 1.  I pulled out my copy of The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians, and flipped to page 118- the due date calculator chart.  It's my way of getting back on the horse after a failed cycle.  As sad as I am about another BFN, thinking about a new due date gets me excited about the next attempt.  If this cycle works, my due date would be on my mother's birthday.  I wonder if a grandchild counts as a birthday present?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Help Wanted

As my 30th birthday draws closer and closer, I am coming to the realization that I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up.  
When I went to college, I didn't focus on my studies as much as I should have.  I chose the college primarily because it was a women's college.  At 17 years old, all I was thinking about was getting out of my tiny hometown and meeting girls, and finding the love of my life.  I did well enough in all my classes, but I wasn't really focused on what I would do with my degree.  And I did meet Elizabeth at college, so my real goal of going to school was met.  Shortly after graduation, a job opened up in the library of a nearby college.  It seemed perfect, as it would allow me to stay in the area and wait for Elizabeth to graduate.  As an undergraduate, my work-study job was in the library so it seemed like a logical choice.
I worked at that job for a few years, and then Elizabeth got accepted to a PhD program.  We had to move a few states away, and I needed to get a job quickly.  The university that Elizabeth had just been accepted to had some open library jobs, so I applied and was offered a position a few weeks later.  Since the university offers tuition remission, I was able to go to school part time and get a masters degree in library science.  Unfortunately, I realized about a semester into the program that I really have no passion for library work (academic libraries at the very least).  
I've been feeling a sense of urgency lately to find a career that I'm passionate about.  I think a large part of it has to do with the upcoming milestone birthday, and some of it is just good old fashioned burnout.  But I think the most important driving factor is that we're trying to start a family.  Whenever I do go back to work after having a child, I want it to be to a job that I care about.  I think it's inevitable that the place you spend the better part of your waking hours will have a huge impact on your state of mind.  My current job leaves me feeling drained, bored and uninspired.  That's not the kind of person I want to be for my children.  So now, in this terrible economy, I am trying to explore the job market and other possible career options.  I'm a little nervous about being unqualified for anything new since all of my experience is in libraries.  If there's anyone out there who has a job they love, I'd love to hear about it.  I need some ideas and inspiration!  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I'm spending the second half of the TWW visiting family. Elizabeth, the dog and I are staying at my family's beach cottage in CT. It's good to be in a relaxing environment like this, and take my mind off the wait as much as possible. The first half of the wait is exciting and full of optimism. The second week is always the hardest. I am starting to get depressed because it's 9dpo and I still don't feel any different than my last insemination attempts. But at least we're away, and I'm not at work. There is lots of good food, and time to relax by the fire with a book. It's still too cold here for the beaches to be full so the dog can run and chase seagulls to her heart's content. It's a bit disappointing that we had to keep the vacation low-key this year, but the IUI nonsense has eaten up all our travel funds.

In other news, my co-worker Colleen- (the one who suspected that her 17 year old daughter was pregnant, but the daughter denied it or avoided the topic) became a grandmother last week. So now the daughter is finally admitting that she was pregnant. I guess it's hard to deny when your water breaks. She's keeping the baby, and Colleen may quit her job to help take care of it. It's hard to not be jealous of someone who gets a baby without trying, even though I know this girl didn't want to be a teenage mother.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The mother of all IUI dates

I just had my first IUI with the new doctor today.  On Mother's Day.  I'm trying very hard not to read too much into that one, but finding it nearly impossible.  On one hand, it would be crazy and wonderful to know that we had conceived on Mother's Day.  On the other hand, if this cycle fails I'll feel like my luck is cursed.  One year ago, I naively assumed that I'd be celebrating Mother's Day as a hugely pregnant woman this year.  It's a mindfuck, no mater what.  But if I remove all of the crazy Mother's Day related emotions, it's been a pretty good day.  

  • My new doctor at the little clinic is without a doubt the most wonderful doctor I've ever used. The clinic isn't normally open on Sunday, but he and a nurse opened the place just to do my IUI.  He also let me look at the sperm under the microscope, which is the first time I've been allowed to do that.  It was cool to see so many swimmers wriggling like crazy on the slide.  The nurse kept a supportive, reassuring hand on my knee throughout the procedure.  She also gave Elizabeth a genuine excited smile as the doctor was doing the IUI, which made Elizabeth happy since it made her feel as though her role in this was being acknowledged.  All in all, it felt great to be in a warm, supportive environment-  so unlike the big fancy fertility clinic we had been using.
  • After the IUI, we got Sri Lankan food for lunch.  And we're going to meet up with some friends and do Vietnamese food for dinner.  Yay for relaxing and not worrying about cooking or cleaning the kitchen!
  • The stray cat that hangs out on our fire escape just had kittens.  She brought the kittens up to the fire escape for the first time yesterday and they're adorable.  I am enjoying their cuteness without being jealous of the stray cat's ability to reliably pop out a new litter each spring.  I'll save being jealous of homeless animals for my REALLY crazy days.
Let's hope I can maintain this positive attitude through 2ww #8.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

You know you've been TTC too long when...

Yesterday Elizabeth and I were at the gym and an ad for one of those new birth control pills came on the TV. The spokeswoman went on about how great the pill was, and that it was 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly. I almost fell off the elliptical machine laughing. You know what I've found to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy?

Trying to get pregnant.

Ok, so I had a bit of a bitter, snarky moment. You know you've been trying to conceive for too long when you forget that there is a huge segment of the population out there trying as hard as they can NOT to get pregnant.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Knight in shining armor

Today we had a consultation appointment at a clinic that was supposedly willing to perform an IUI with our sperm bank of choice.  We had been using one of those fancy fertility clinics, and the place we went to today is an OBGYN / women's health clinic. 

 The two places could not possibly be more different.  The fertility clinic can feel like, as Elizabeth put it "a well of despair".  It's full of frustrated, depressed people, many of whom are well-off and can afford fertility treatment...or are willing to spend their life savings.  Anyone who dares to bring a child into the waiting room will be glared at by all the other patients.  

The OBGYN is tiny, and has pictures of the patients' babies tacked to cork boards rather than a plasma TV like the fertility factory.  The clinic provides a range of services, including resources and support for low-income women and families.  There are children and new moms and women in all stages of pregnancy in the office.  When Elizabeth and I were waiting in the exam room, there was a woman in the next room who was in the very early stages of labor and would probably give birth the next day.  They had her on a monitor for a while, and through the thin walls we could actually hear her baby's heartbeat.  It was beyond cool.

And then there was the doctor.  Dr. H is my new hero.  He was not at all phased to see two women in his exam room.  He greeted us warmly and addressed both of us when he spoke.  Unlike the doctors at the fertility factory,  he stressed that he puts a great deal of focus on having excellent timing for IUIs.  (The fancy fertility factory tells you to do an OPK at night and they do the insemination at the ass-crack of dawn the next day).  And get this-  to be sure that we get the timing right and come in when I am actually ovulating, and not just at a time that is convenient for him, he gave me HIS CELL PHONE NUMBER.  He was also very understanding about our financial situation.  He told us that he would do what he could to help us keep the costs down since our insurance company won't cover our infertility costs.  So right now I am on a bit of a post appointment high.  I hope that things continue to go this smoothly for the rest of my visits.  

Sunday, May 3, 2009

casting call

Reason number 437 why I want kids-  some of the stuff they say will have you laughing for days.

This weekend, we had a few friends over for game night.  Our friend Angela brought her two boys, who are 8 and 11.  We played one game which involved going around the room and asking everyone a question off a card.  One of the questions was "If you were making a movie, who would you cast as the male and the female leads?"  The 8 year old's answer-  

T.yler Pe.rry's Madea and W.olverine.  (I wonder if that would be an action movie or a romantic comedy?)

And for the question "What is the most beautiful place you've ever been?" he answered "My mommy's tummy".