I am joining in with several other bloggers to bring awareness to November being Infertility Awareness Month and the cost of infertility to individuals.

I do not have an infertility diagnosis per say, but I did require medical intervention to get pregnant. I say this because I am aware that while my struggle was painful, I know many more people have been through much much worse to achieve pregnancy, and some never do.

When A and I decided we were ready to build our family we found a midwife we wanted to work with and met with her to go over our options. I’d been charting for several months and we’d recently purchased our anonymous frozen sperm. We were optimistic and wanted the process to be as normal as possible. She told us I’d most likely be pregnant in 3-6 months and supported our desire to try at home for the first three months and reevaluate then if I was not pregnant.

The three months passed and I did not become pregnant. Trying at home was incredibly stressful. The entire experience was stressful, so much so that after the third attempt my cycles went annovulatory for months. We decided to take a big long break to reevaluate while I focused on bringing balance to my life in effort to get my body back to ovulating.

We were ready to try eight months later with a new plan – in office IUIs. We stocked up on sperm from a different sperm bank this time. The first cycle try fell during a very difficult time and while the sperm sat in the tank in our living room waiting for me to peak on my monitor, it became clear I was having another stress induced annovulatory cycle. This was devastating after having just taken eight months off to regulate my body. The swimmers went back into storage for another cycle and against medical advise, I only waited out one more cycle before starting to try again.

After all this time we’d come to a pretty clear conclusion that there was a correlation between stress and my ability to ovulate (and anyone who’s done any charting, or had any medical assistance in ttc, knows there is always an element of stress involved in the timing). In an effort to combat this stress we decided we’d try every other month in order to give my body a break between months. In November 2006 – one year and one month since we’d originally started trying – we began trying again with IUI.

Starting down the IUI path brought us hope, as was the case each time we did something different. At this point we just thought, well frozen sperm does not live as long so maybe we need to do IUI just to get it into my uterus and not waste it’s lifespan on swim time. You can make yourself believe anything when ttc.

IUI alone did not work. In February of this year I asked my midwife to do a complete fertility work up. She encouraged me to call my insurance to learn what they would cover. I live in a state with mandated infertility coverage. She told me not to reveal that I didn’t have a sperm source at home. I was delighted to find out that all my testing would be 100% covered: blood work, HSG, ultrasounds. That same cycle I began taking Clomid and was monitored with ultrasounds. The timing made it so we had to wait one more cycle for the HSG, and of course I hoped so much that I’d just get pregnant and not have to have the HSG. No such luck. My first IUI/Clomid cycle did not work and I moved on to have the HSG, which showed healthy tubes.

All my tests cam back normal. There was no reason that I could not get pregnant. Unexplained Infertility is how I’ve heard it referred as. In my world this meant insurance would not cover me. Let me back up and say, my first cycle with Clomid was emotionally exhauting. I did not know if I could do it a second time. So I asked my midwife to prescribe Fermara. I’d learned about it from all the online research I’d done and heard it was easier on the body than Clomid. Well apparently it’s not really an infertility drug and the people in her medical circle were not using it so she was not comfortable using. I begrudgingly agreed to another round of Clomid. At the same time she indicated that if it turned out I needed any higher dosage of Clomid or to move on to injectable medications, I’d have to go under the care of an RE because she could not provide the level of monitoring I would need. The thought of leaving my midwife was so very sad.

IUI number five, Clomid cycle number two, first try after HSG was our magic combination. I got pregnant, and am now seven months pregnant, anxiously awaiting the birth of our child. It was a long, at times painful journey. We’d gone so far as to start the adoption process, and even had our first safety home visit while in the tww that turned out to be a nine month wait. I was starting to believe I could not get pregnant and I had mapped out a plan to document enough in office attempts so that I would be eligible for IVF coverage through my insurance by January 2008.

The pain of trying and not achieving pregnancy, having so many bumps in the road, and having to rely on so many outside people to get pregnant was horrible. I am thankful for the assistance, but it was one of the most difficult things I’ve been through. And forced us to really figure out what we wanted. There were times when we discussed not having kids – thinking maybe it was not meant to be and envisioning what life would be like as just us. We had to explore all options. I could not have made it through this process with out the all the love and support of A and my family.

So what did it cost us? I did not keep track of it all precisely, but I estimate in the end we spent about $10,000 on sperm, medication, OPKs, and Fertility Monitor sticks. We were fortunate enough to work with a midwifery practice that did not charge us for IUIs. Not one dime. And some how all my ultrasounds (I believe 13 over the year and a half – I had some prior to Clomid for various reasons) were covered. All my IF testing was covered. $10,000 isn’t all that bad when I consider that many people do pay for the IUIs and the ultrasounds, or the more expensive IF medications (Clomid is pretty cheap). But it’s still a lot of money for us. I don’t know how far we would have gone, or how much we would have spent.

We’re so happy to be pregnant and we really want two children. We will try for our second child when the time is right, but I am not sure we’ll go to the same extremes. By this I mean, we’ll use the protocol that got me pregnant, but I am not sure we’ll be so open to venturing down the entire path that lead us to this pregnancy. I think we’ll be quicker to count this blessing and call ourselves a family of three. It was hell, and I am not willing to relive it.

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