Well, it has been a while since I put myself out there and posted about our struggles to get pregnant. At the end of that post I made a promise to take the next step and make an appointment at the Fertility Centers of Illinois… so I figured it was probably time for an update on here.
But before I do that – I just want to say how completely overwhelmed I was by the response to my first post back in August. I mean… I had no idea how many people could relate to what we are going through, and even those who couldn’t – were so sweet to send us messages of love and support. Aside from the over 60 comments on the blog, I received over 50 private emails from people sharing their stories with me, and showing support. It was just really unbelievable to hear everybody’s experiences, and it was quite the emotional day over here – to say the least. So thank you – thank you – thank you for being amazing – all of you!
Because of all those that reached out, I plan to continue to share this process with you guys (as much as we are comfortable sharing, I suppose) because I hope to open more people’s eyes to fertility issues, and also to let those who are going through it as well continue to remember they are not alone.
That being said – I feel kind of silly writing an “update” since there isn’t really anything to update since I last posted – but I thought I’d share what’s been going on anyway. (Mostly because I had a bit of a crying meltdown on the phone yesterday – so why not share my hysterics with the world?! Right?!)
Anyway – since my first post here is what happened:
1. I submitted a request for a preliminary appointment on FCI’s website that day.
2. A few days later I received a phone call from a number I did not recognize & let it go to voicemail (as I do because I get a lot of solicitors who try to sell me stuff for my business). I realized it was FCI’s main calling center calling to make an appointment, and immediately returned the call. It went to their voicemail so I left a message with my information, saying I wanted to make a preliminary appointment – yada yada yada. I didn’t get a call back after leaving that voicemail, so I gave up on calling for a few days.
3. In the meantime, I texted with a friend who asked me how things were going and asked about costs/health insurance/etc. I said we were in a bit of a limbo because James currently doesn’t have health insurance, so we were trying to add him to my plan again (after an unsuccessful attempt months ago where the insurance company apparently “accidentally” shredded 15 pages of medical information we mailed them in order to add James to my individual plan. YEAH – tell me about it). She then pointed out that we probably shouldn’t go in for the initial fertility appointment until he is insured because we didn’t want the insurance companies to consider this a “pre-existing condition” or something if we tried to get insurance after the fact, and I also realized I don’t know how the fertility place charges you for it. I guess I assumed it would just be mostly me needing the appointments, so I figured I’d get charged and the fact that I had insurance would be enough, but that was naive of me I suppose. (This is the part where I chime in about what a pain in the a** health insurance is in our country for people who don’t have government or corporate jobs where it is provided. When we first went full-time we could barely afford to cover my premiums with maternity coverage (which you have to pay for a full year before you even are actually covered for maternity!), so we only got insurance for me at the time. For James we pay out of pocket/cash for anytime he needs to go to the doctor and pray that nothing serious happens until we can get him on a plan with me. As it turns out when we decided to add him because we could finally (barely) afford it was the same time that you can no longer add new people to policies because companies are in a holding pattern because of the new healthcare laws going into effect soon (thankthelord). All this is to say that we are super stoked about the new options available to us soon – if the government ever gets back to work, that is – and I’m especially excited I won’t have to pay an arm & a leg extra for maternity coverage, and we won’t be denied for ‘pre-existing conditions’ either. Whew.)
4. After all that health insurance bologna above, I chatted with James and realized I could probably go in and get checked individually (James already did his initial check a couple months ago – which was just a flat cash fee) and we could just hold off on our “official consultation” with the fertility doctor until we get the insurance stuff ironed out (since it sounds like that will be where the expensive stuff starts coming in). So I finally called 3 or so weeks ago to request an appointment for the physical exam, at which point the lady on the phone let me know I have to be at a particular day in my monthly cycle in order to make the appointment. Awesome. I finally got up the courage to call and get this appointment made and she basically told me I have to call back the first day of a new cycle to make an appointment then. (Another thing I knew nothing of until starting this process… ugh.) I was obviously deflated but thanked her for her time and said I’d call back then.
5. Weeks go by and my normally totally on-time, regularly scheduled programming is 7 days late. A little part of me thought – that’s so weird… maybe I’m pregnant? That would be how it works – the month I finally call to get the appointment I don’t need to make one! Yippee!! While the other majority of my brain didn’t even let me think for a minute this might actually happen naturally, and was convinced something is just really messed up with my cycle because I was sick that month and on a bunch of meds, or because we’re busy with wedding season and traveling a lot (all factors which can mess with things). Well, the majority of my brain was right, as usual – I was in fact NOT pregnant and had the most painful day ever at the end of last week to remind me of it. The good news was that I could finally make this stupid appointment though!
6. I didn’t realize the urgency to call on the FIRST DAY of the cycle at the time, so I spent last Thursday doped up on pain meds, complaining to James about being a woman, taking hot baths, and laying my lower back on this back massager pillow thing I have – while attempting to stay on top of work & prepare for our double-header wedding weekend. (Sorry if this is TMI – then please just don’t read these fertility updates – because they are bound to be TMI.) For some reason this month was particularly painful and I don’t know why. Maybe it had something to do with being late, maybe my body just hates me, or maybe something is actually wrong – which I guess I’ll find out if I ever get an appointment.
Anyway, we had a wedding Friday so I didn’t have a chance to call, but set a reminder on my phone to call first thing Saturday morning before our next wedding, which I did. But as it turns out – the office hours they list on their website are not true – and you can only actually call Monday through Friday. They have a voicemail system where you can leave a message and they’ll call you back first thing Monday – but that felt pointless, given I could just call back myself on Monday.
So I called back yesterday (Monday) to get this appointment set up finally, and the lady asks me what day of my cycle I’m on. I tell her day 5. She says… “Ohhhhh… yeah… You need to have the tests done between days 2 to 4 of your cycle.” (Which would have been impossible for me because we were shooting weddings on days 2 and 3, and they apparently are not open on weekends anyway so day 4 (Sunday) would have been a wash too – unless they accept appointments on weekends, but just don’t answer their phones?? I have no idea at this point.) So I say, “So Day 5 is too late? I couldn’t come in later today or tomorrow?” And she replies, “No, unfortunately you have to have them done between day 2 and 4, so you’ll have to wait another cycle – and make sure then to call us on day 1.”
Cue my heart dropping to my stomach and tears starting to roll down my face.
“Oh… okay. Sure. Alright then… I’ll call back next cycle.” I say, while swallowing hard – trying not to let her know I was officially about to lose it.
“Sorry about that,” she said, trying to sound chipper – like she didn’t notice me crying on the other end.
I was so frustrated I wanted to slam the phone down on the receiver like I used to be able to do when I was a kid and we had landlines and what not. But instead I just pressed “end call” as hard as possible on my iPhone (way less satisfying) and let myself cry for the first time in months.
You see, I had actually been feeling good about all of this recently. Sure, James and I went through a tough time of it last spring and early this summer – but by July we were back on track with each other and I was no longer crying at the drop of a hat. I felt good… we had options… I had gotten this weight off my chest by sharing it with all of you on the blog… and I was looking forward to taking steps forward with all of it.
But with all the bogus insurance craziness, the difficulty getting through to anyone at FCI to actually answer the phone on the main calling number they give you online (I finally realized they have a local number where someone actually answers & now only call there), the waiting for my cycle to do this or that, and then realizing I’m one day late making the appointment and have to wait another entire month — just pushed me over the edge.
So …. yeah.
That’s where we’re at. I wish I had some other exciting or wonderful news – but this is it for now. The story of our lives lately … waiting and more waiting.
And so I’m going to go back to immersing myself in finishing off the tail-end of our wedding season – shooting the heck out of these weddings, giving it my all, and hoping that the next time our 3-day window to make an appointment doesn’t fall on days when we are totally unavailable. haha.
And most importantly, after this little blip in the radar/momentary cry-fest, I’m going back to focusing on US again like I have been the past few months – which makes everything in life better. Counting my blessings and being grateful I have this guy to hold me tight.
(Photo by Caroline Ghetes.)