We are in mid-summer, almost eight months since our efforts began to start a family, and a month since my last update here. The evolution continues.
Hormones, Injections, and Thyroid Levels…oh my!
My FSH appears to be dropping significantly as we had hoped due to getting my thyroid medication levels (TSH) down closer to what they should be…but it doesn’t matter as my body only produced just a few almost-full-sized follicles after hormones were injected into me (that was supposed to make a whole bunch of ’em) and I went through a freaky mess of a month. A combo of Bravelle, HCG, Progesterone all poked and prodded at me mentally and physically, with pregnancy-mimicking symptoms as side effects from the nausea to the overwhelming sleepiness to the emotional drama.
Homemade to Hybrid
This week we had our initial consultation with our fertility doctor about using an egg donor to get pregnant, and selected our top two “candidates”. Whoa, things are happening!
The first donor, our top choice, has brown hair and hazel eyes and is 5’8″ like me with a similar Euro-mutt background. The second one has brown hair and blue eyes (like my hubby) and is the same height/background as me. We had a third choice of an egg coming from a multi-ethnic donor, but unlike the other two, she has never done it before and we wanted a proven donor. It was very odd looking at a spreadsheet with just the basic info, but our doc is a smart dude and we trust him in how he screens prospective donors. Unlike the university, there were only about 15 to choose from, and he could tell me right away their success and who he thought would be the best bets and the best fit for us based on the ones we inquired about.
Along with that, he went through everything again and let me ask all kinds of silly questions from “can we have a picture of the fertilized eggs that you transfer?” (yes!) to “can we see the eggs being inseminated?” (no! giggle…) to “will I know if I’m pregnant before we go to Paris in October?” (yes!).
One vs Two
The nice part is that the donor egg transfer package fee includes freezing the rest of the good embryos, and that while, yes, we are paying a whopper fee of around $17K (our insurance doesn’t cover it – fortunately it will go on our medical expense deductions when we file our taxes in early 2016…but it’s a huge initial investment and still incomprehensible to me that a much rarer procedure like gender reassignment surgery is covered, yet fertility treatments are not), if the first embryo transfer doesn’t work, the second one is a relatively small $2K to try again two months later.
We breathed a sigh of relief, because we do NOT want twins! There’s about a 40% chance of twins when you transfer two over, and along with that just seeming beyond capacity for me and already committed to our TBD little girl in Ethiopia, I just can’t imagine how I’d keep my business going with two infants at the same time (being the primary breadwinner, that’s what you think about and when you’ve worked your ass off to be successful, there are a couple of non-negotiables in a future promised to be filled with creative solutions as it is 🙂
The percentages go down from 80% to 60% when you choose to only transfer a “singleton”
He also loaded me up with prescriptions – an antibiotic for both of us to ensure we’re totally in the clear before stuff begins, birth control pills (ironic eh…and dammit for throwing those final two packs away this spring!) which I’ll begin next month at the onset of my cycle, and estrogen. He cracked up when I said “hey, at least a couple of these might be covered on insurance!” as of course it’s only an iota of the total cost. But hey, every bit counts !!
Hopeful Mama Turns Standup Comedian
My husband was just a spectator, really, during much of our appointment as my decision to have a rare coffee earlier in the day appeared to kick in within minutes of seeing the doc.
Maybe it’s the recruiter in me who tries to make people feel comfortable or maybe it’s my burning desire to take the piss out of any serious person til they crack a smile or maybe it’s just my own nerves, but I was definitely on a roll. The doc looked wiped out and we were his last patients of the day so I kicked off with the silly questions pronto and it seemed to work.
It’s funny how acting like a goof will often give others ‘permission’ to let down their guard a little. I’ve always had this thing where when I meet Really Important People that my first goal is to treat them like anyone else and not put them on a crazy pedestal, keeping in mind the quote from Bull Durham that I love:“hey, he’s your old man – he’s just as full of shit as anyone else”. A few excerpts from my routine included:
* Going down the list of donors and spotting the 4’10” Latina and shouting out ” that’s our gal! she’ll look just like me” or spotting the 5’11”, 110 lb Swedish donor and muttering “bitch”.
* The doc mentioning if I got pregnant that I could be dealing with morning sickness while we’re in Paris and my deadpan response being, “well we’re going to be drinking a LOT of wine so I’m sure I’ll be fine.”
* As he’s writing up my prescriptions, he asked if I was menstruating and I said “oh my god! no! I forgot to tell you I’m pregnant! Should we still go through with the IVF?”
I will say that the doc had a few funny little comments of his own, about making sure the donors (wh he interviews personally) are all reliable, “reasonably attractive”, and intelligent, with the last part referred to as “yeah some I’ve talked to say they have a college degree but I don’t know how they coulda gotten it”. And our back and forth banter about why there were a couple women on the list who he said were kinda flaky the last time they donated, now that was a riot…
Let the Drinking Commence! Well, kinda.
So, we have approximately 2.5 weeks until my next cycle begins where I have to get on the pill, so after 7 1/2 months and maybe 3 glasses of wine and 2 sips of cider, I now have full permission during this “intermission” to enjoy the cocktails. No, not turn into a lush, haha, just get a taste of a few of my favorites before I hopefully get knocked up. And anyhow, with this time off from alcohol, one drink is all I need to feel warm in the cheeks! So, a mint julep alongside my seafood gumbo last night it was as we toasted the next chapter of our babymaking book.
International Adoption – full speed ahead!
We are thrilled that Adoption Avenues has been so quick on the turnaround time. Suits me to a tee. We completed our home study visit with the social worker, showing her our home and where the kiddo’s room would be, along with our interviews at their office. We just adore our social worker, by the way. She’s whip-smart, highly intuitive, and already has been an amazing resource for when we officially become parents. Brought tears to my eyes when she told us she thought we’d make great parents. Let’s just say by the end of the interview I had to hug her when she said “I think you’ll make very good parents.”
Now that the home study has been completed, we’re waiting for the signed and notarized copies to arrive this week, and will then mail it off to USCIS with our I-600A, the Orphan Petition. Basically this is getting preapproval from US immigration to adopt *before* an agency referral is made. Once we get this back, later in the fall, then the dossier will finally get sent over to Ethiopia for review so that a little girl can be referred our way 🙂 There’s a long time to go, but each step deserves a cheer.