First “Cycle”

I started having what seemed to be my period on August 26th, so I assumed this was my first cycle following the miscarriage.  I was very happy that my body was finding its rhythm again.  It seemed quite different than any period I had ever had before – no cramps, lighter than usual, but I thought that was probably ok.  Following the recommendation of my acupuncturist, I started religiously temping each morning. I had never done this before so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  My temps were not especially consistent and Fertility Friend said there was a possible ovulation around Cycle Day 20.  My other body signs, along with lack of a positive OPK, made me not very convinced about this but I went along with it and started progesterone on 2DPO. Once I started the progesterone my temps went up dramatically.  My acupuncturist thought it meant I was surely deficient. I was optimistic that we had finally found the cause for my repeat losses. YES!

On CD35 I woke up in the wee morning hours to TERRIBLE cramps and knew what was happening. I wasn’t even upset that this hadn’t been “THE CYCLE” and that day I looked back at all of my charting for that month and came to the conclusion that I don’t think I even ovulated.  I didn’t have any of the normal signs and symptoms that I usually do each month. Combine that with the lack of a positive OPK and my odd BBTs and it all lined up.  I think my body just needs more time to get back on track and I am perfectly ok with that.

On to October!

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Sticker Shock

One of the prescriptions the fertility doctor gave me was for progesterone. The week following my visit with him I excitedly went to fill the prescription since my luteal phase wouldn’t be too far away. The first Walgreens I tried to fill it at didn’t stock it and sent the prescription to another location. I had other errands to run and didn’t make it to the second Walgreens until about 9:00 at night. I was surprised when I gave them my name and they said they had no prescriptions for me to pick up. Surely I had given them plenty of time to fill the script. At least I sure hoped 6+ hours was long enough!

A pharmacist came to talk to me and said they needed additional authorization from my provider before insurance would cover it. I ask how much the prescription would be to pay for out of pocket, thinking that if it was like $20 I would just pay for it and deal with the insurance later. Um, no. One refill of it is $900. I do not have a good poker face to begin with, but I am sure my eyes were the size of serving platters when they told me that. $900? I wanted to say, “No, no. I don’t want the 24K gold applicators, just the regular ones. Those MUST be cheaper, right?”  It was Friday, of course, so I would have to wait until Monday. Monday rolls around and I call the clinic. They are a little confused by what additional info they need, but will look for the fax that my insurance company apparently sent them.  This goes on for a few days, back and forth. I am now getting a little nervous because I need to start taking the progesterone soon. At last it gets squared away — and by squared away I mean I find out that my insurance won’t cover progesterone unless I have a positive pregnancy test. Otherwise they consider it a “fertility med”.  I was irate. I hope whoever is in charge of their benefits has a close family member who needs progesterone in their luteal phase and is slapped with the outlandish bill so they can realize that progesterone is not an infertility med. Nut jobs.

When I conceived in June 2013 I had been taking progesterone I bought from my acupuncturist and was planning to go that route again, but she informed me the FDA is cracking down on progesterone that you can buy that isn’t prescribed by a doctor and she wasn’t able to get it from her supplier anymore. Fantastic! Gaahhh. I really think it is all just about big business.

I called the fertility clinic back and asked if there was ANYTHING else I could do. I told the nurse how much one refill of the med was and she audibly gasped on the phone.  She had no idea it would cost that much.  They offered me some free samples – 10 of them!- to use for this cycle, which is like liquid gold. She also said that I could order the progesterone directly through the fertility pharmacy they order from so that the price wouldn’t be so high.  I told her I was going to follow-up with my acupuncturist and let her know. I really appreciate them doing whatever they can to help!

I then talked to my acupuncturist and she thought there might be a topical progesterone that I could still take orally because the ingredients all looked digestable. She was going to follow-up with the doctor who makes it and let me know.  The next day she had the BEST news – that she was able to get an oil-based progesterone that I could take orally AND it is only $30 per bottle. One bottle should last at least 3 months. Woo woo!! Made my (and my wallet’s) day!

Karyotyping Results

The day after the meeting with my fertility doctor I received the call from my OB’s office about my Karyotyping (choromsome) testing. I was at my best friend’s house enjoying a cup of coffee when I got the call.  We had just been talking about the testing that I was doing and how I was waiting fo rthis one last result to know for sure when my phone rang.  I got excited and nervous all at one time.  Excited to know the result, nervous to hear the potential bad news, and nervous for my friend who could be put in a very uncomfortable situation if it was bad news.

The result was… NORMAL!! I have no chromosome alignment issues, which is a HUGE relief. After hearing some chromosome issues can be “hopeless” when trying to conceive, this is a major stress reliever.

Huge sigh of relief for me.. huge sigh of relief for my friend too.  Back to coffee. 🙂

Interpretation of Results

Before I met with the fertility doctor I was a little unsure of what helpful information he was going to be able to tell me since the results all came back NORMAL. But I’m hungry for any and all information I can get. Plus, any chance I can get to talk to a provider about it I will take!

My husband wasn’t able to attend the appointment, as he had just started the firefighter academy for our city and there was no way he could take a day off. Totally understandable, so off I went!  For the appointment we sat at a round table in his office and he talked through all of the results.  He first asked me what I knew about the results and I told him that when my OB’s office had called about them they told me that everything was normal.  He corrected me by saying that one result was actually a little off – Protein C. He said that, depending on which lab’s reference range you go by, my level could be lower than what is considered normal.  My level was 64 and some labs consider 60-150 normal and others consider 70-150 normal so I fall into this “gray area”.  Low Protein C can cause blood clots, so as a precaution he said that we should address it with… baby aspirin! Hooray, a cheap and easy fix!

We talked through the rest of the results and he agreed that everything else looked normal. He said that it is possible I have a progesterone deficiency, but that testing for it as actually pretty difficult and since the “fix” is easy and not harmful that I will always take progesterone during my luteal phase and would continue through 12 weeks when I do get pregnant. Sounded great! Last, but not least, he also wrote me a prescription for prednisone. None of the tests I had done showed any autoimmune issues; however, he said it is always possible that I may have an unrecognized autoimmune disease that could  be fighting a fetus and the prednisone would help calm my system down.  I would only take this once I have a positive pregnancy test and it was completely up to me if I wanted to take it. I’m completely OK with taking it when the time comes.

At my appointment I did not have the test results for my Chromosome testing, so he said that once those come back we may need to have another appointment.  I asked what would happen if they came back abnormal and he said it is way too difficult to know until we see the results.  it could range from “no big deal” to “completely hopeless”, depending on how my chromosomes align. That was worrisome. So now I wait for the results…