30 December 2005

Funding your fertility

Oh, you guys are all so awesome (and this is why we blog!). Your suggestions are all spot on, let me address them (I'm putting this into a post, because there are all sorts of wonderful suggestions for financing a cycle here, and hopefully it will be helpful to someone):

1. I have contacted Bonei Olam (http://boneiolam.org, 718.252.1212). Actually, in Canada, they have a branch called Small Wonders (http://www.smallwonders.ca, 416.742.0090). They were extremely helpful for our first cycle, and have told us we qualify for funding for our second cycle as well. However, we don't have the funds to cover the balance of another cycle.

2. I was on atime (http://www.atime.org, in Canada: http://www.atime.ca) a lot in the beginning. They are very helpful, but don't have any other suggestions for us (although we will be calling them again to see if any new financial resources have appeared).

3. We have a large family, we have contacted family members but no one is forthcoming. In fact, one relative was somewhat offended that we asked for help. Our parents initially were extremely excited and supportive, but then when it came to helping financially, they suddenly were not so excited. One of our relatives has equally as suddenly forgotten that when we first talked about IVF, they offered to get a second mortgage on their home to help us.

4. Our shul community was fantastic, and members of our community actually pitched in and raised some money for us. We were hugely touched by that, and it was a lot of work, so we feel uncomfortable asking them to do that again (there were also shul members who felt it was inappropriate of us to ask our community for help, so that adds to the discomfort).

5. We took out a loan from Hebrew Free Loan for our first cycle. Our branch was actually quite excited, because no one had asked them for a loan for fertility before. Our branch's maximum loan amount is fairly low, and since we already have one loan, we can't take out another. We are trying to convince them to raise the loan amount for any future fertility requests from other couples suffering (apparently, some HFLs in the US give extremely high amounts for fertility-specific loans; I've heard up to $15,000. They are a great resource!).

6. Unfortunately, there are no baby-or-your-money-back programs here. In fact, I only know of one in Canada, and it's a partial refund.

7. Nobody mentioned this, so fyi: there are some clinics who have arrangements with local bank branches to give low-interest loans to people pursuing fertility treatment at that clinic. Ask if your clinic has an arrangement like this, and if not, ask them to set something up with their bank, or a local bank branch.

8. Please, please, feel free to problem solve! To be honest, I'm tired of sympathy (okay, I'm not actually tired of it - sympathy is great, but I don't know how many more original responses I can come up with to, "oh, that's too bad."). I'm frustrated and disappointed and don't know where else to turn. Paying for two surgeries and a cycle has put us in a hole, used up all our resources, including all our savings, so I feel like we're spinning in a circle.

9. Thank you for the welcome and hugs (I love hugs), and Lut, thanks for the link - there's a group on a mission to get IVF covered by healthcare in Canada and this abstract might be very helpful for them.

10. Why is it, when someone asks how our fertility stuff is going, when I say we can't continue because we can't come up with the funds, they always (always!) respond with, "have you considered adoption?" Because adoption is, you know, free.

Thank you all so much for your support and suggestions. It means a lot to me that I've got people out there rooting for me and Hubby. If anyone has any other suggestions that are missing from this list, please let me know and I'll include them here.

The lady needs a proper introduction

I realized with my many ramblings here that I haven't really properly introduced myself. A little hint in my profile, a bit of a preview in my first post, but that's about it. So here goes.

My hubby (hmmm. What should I call him? Can I just always say "Hubby" or is that weird? I've always liked "Tad" but is that an appropriate name for an older Jewish man? Let me think on this awhile.) and I married in our young 30's. We always talked about having children, but Hubby had er, um, a blockage. So he had surgery, Urologist #1 pronounced it a huge success, "it couldn't have been more technically perfect!" We should see results in about 6 months, so we should be patient.

So we wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And have a test.

"0/0" Family Doctor says. 0 sperm, 0 motility. That doesn't sound so technically perfect. Because we're no longer young 30's at this point (this is a good place to point out that it takes Hubby a while to actually take care of things, so the surgery wasn't immediately after we got married. And it also had to be rescheduled, which added another 3 months to the already long delay), FD rushes us off to Urologist #2, who insists that because I'm now old, we have to move fast. Perhaps FD should have told U#2 why we were visiting and then U#2 wouldn't have kept us waiting 4 months to see him in the first place, thereby removing a little bit of the rush.

So off we go to schedule a MESA, which takes another 3 months (I'm not sure what constitutes "fast" in this man's world). Success! The U#2 retrieved 6 (or 8, I can't remember now) straws and said Hubby's little guys were healthy and strong.

So off we go to the fertility clinic, where I'm told that in addition to being old, I'm also fat. I need to lose weight. Alrighty, no problem. I can be very dedicated when I need to be, and I started exercising like a fiend (food's never been my problem; I eat very well. I have a metabolism like molasses and unless I am extremely active every day, I will remain stable, but not lose) and voila! I lose the weight. Clinic Doctor says go ahead and we start. Since we're using extracted sperm, we automatically have to do ICSI. I'll get into the details in my "history repeats" entries, but suffice it to say, Cycle #1 did not work.

This was a few months ago, Clinic Doctor sends a letter saying I have good eggs in spite of my advanced age and should try again.

Big whoop. We haven't won the lottery yet, Surgeries #1 and #2 and Cycle #1 ate up all our savings, in the meantime, Hubby hasn't had a lot of work, so there is no way in hell we can afford to do another cycle (no, health insurance does not cover any - any - of the costs). By the time we've recovered financially, I'll really be too old, and probably won't be able to convince any clinics to take us, assuming my eggs are still good. All this, of course, is assuming we can somehow recover enough to have a spare 10 grand lying around.

So now I've gone and gotten myself all upset again. I haven't cried over this in a while, but putting it all down on "paper" sorta slaps you in the face with it. Sorry, I've got to go stick my head in the sand now.

Oh. And it was very nice to meet you.

29 December 2005

My blog list just gets longer

Many thanks to Persephone for a wonderful promo. If you are here visiting from her site, thank you, and welcome! I realize a proper introduction is in order, and I'm working on that.

The upside/downside of starting a blog and getting such an introduction is I get a whole new bunch of blogs to check out (Things get IF'fy, Ovaries on Strike today) and add to my blogroll! Lucky me, so many new friends to read! But that's okay, the hubby won't notice that the bathroom hasn't been cleaned in, um, days. Maybe I can teach the dog to do the laundry...

28 December 2005

Meal planning

Inspired by Shanna's post about ruining Chanukah dinner with chocolate, I realized that Chanukah requires the most amazing 3-course meals:

Appetizer: chocolate gelt
recommended beverage: brandy; the brandy enhances the chocolately-ness
Main course: latkes
recommended beverage: white wine; the crisp white complements the fried potato beautifully
Dessert: sufganiyot
recommended beverage: vanilla tea; the vanilla and strawberry jam are a dazzling combination

If you drink enough wine, exercise caution when spinning dreidels afterward.

bah humbug

Oh, fooey on this whole "war on christmas." I've always wished my non-Jewish friends a "Merry Christmas" and if they wished me the same, I would usually say I'd be celebrating Chanukah, but "thank you for the wishes."

I didn't mind that the television stations would wish their viewers "Happy Holidays." In fact, I think it was nice to be so inclusive. This year, it seems there's been a backlash against the backlash against the "war" and most tv stations I noticed had switched to "Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah." That's fine, too.

Except... ON the 25th, me-n-hubby were watching the news, and the newscaster ended with, "we'd like to wish all our viewers a very Merry Christmas."


So on the one year that christmas and Chanukah are actually ON THE SAME DAY, they decide to just stick with the christmas message.

Thanks a bunch. Just for that, I'm not sharing my latkes with you.

Chag Urim Sameach!

25 December 2005

Bloody hell

A History repeats entry

Step one is done. Went for the day 3 FSH test. And proceeded to lose 10, count 'em, 10 vials of blood. I actually ran out. While the last vial was being filled, you could see my previously vigorous - squirting, even - blood flow diminish to a sad drip-drip-drip. Thank G-d it was the last vial. Thank G-d the tech got juuust enough into said vial.

I hate needles and I would have been right royally ticked off if I had to have another vein poked just to get that last vial topped off. Especially since the tech used my one good vein (omigosh, a tech who actually listened to me when I said, "this is my good vein.") and finding oil from another well just was not going to be easy.

Hey, I hear you snickering. Those of you who know I'm in for weeks of jabbing myself with needles on a daily basis can just back off. I'm gonna make my hubby do it. That's my revenge for his taking up two-thirds of the bed for all these years. Yes, my revenge is to make my husband hurt me.

I know, that sounds sick. But in my world, it works.

[note: I actually managed to stick myself. I did it. I was proud. I know I lost my revenge op, but it was worth it.]

21 December 2005

The Clash

No, London is not calling. This is about the clash of the holidays. Really. Forget the war on xmas, there's a war going on in my datebook. For the first time that I can remember (I'm sure it's happened before, I just don't remember), Chanukah starts the evening of xmas day. And since where I live, everybody gets the week between xmas and New Year's off, everybody is throwing Chanukah parties! Sounds like great fun, no?

Well, yes and no. Uh, anyone remember that Chanukah is eight days? Eight days of parties. Which means eight days of latkes (potato pancakes). And eight days of sufganiyot (jelly donuts). Sugar and oil. Oil and sugar. Fried.

Don't get me wrong, I love latkes! I'm sure most of you out there enjoy chocolate cake, too. But just imagine eating chocolate cake every. single. day. for. eight. days. straight.

Now, my friends are in competition. They are double-booking. There are 3 separate parties on one day alone. How do I choose? Who do I insult? I rescheduled with one set of friends so I'd be able to go to another friend's party. And now there's another conflict with the first set of friends; I'm not rescheduling first set of friends again.

And I haven't even mentioned eight days of playing dreidel.

Thank Gd I'm blessed with such problems. But maybe, I could be a little less blessed?

20 December 2005

The computer thinks I’m dumb

A History repeats entry

So here I am, I'm trying to register on an infertility site, so I can read and post in the forum with my questions. Except, it's not accepting my long-held moniker. I've been using this same user ID for 20 years. Yep, used it back in the ol' mainframe days. But it won't accept it and it won't tell me why (someone else has it? it's some vile curse word in Hebrew or Yiddish? Not enough characters? WHAT IS IT?).

Now I'm completely frustrated, I lose my cool and I grumble at the computer: "This is..." and I type, "Stupid." And I hit the Enter key with all my frustration.

And the damn program accepts it.


Now my ID on this site is


As if my ego weren't battered enough.

17 December 2005

History repeats

I started writing "blog" entries many, many moons ago before we even started the IVF process. I thought I might want to start my own blog, for cathartic reasons. But then I got too caught up in the IVF ride, and I honestly thought I had nothing special to add to everyone else's stories, so I forgot about it.

For therapy my own amusement, I will be posting those entries here. I didn't make note of the original dates, but it's not really important. I will, however, note when I am posting an historical entry rather than something current. I'm easily confused and don't want to beffudle myself into thinking I'm in the midst of another cycle.

Go forth and read.

16 December 2005

What's her story?

Really. Who do I think I am starting a blog? What do I have to contribute that's new and different? Count me in the infertility crowd - well, I could blog about that, right? Yep, like I could blog smarter and funnier than Tertia, Julie and Getupgrrl. Well, okay, but we're dealing with male infertility. Yup, so's Amanda. Fine, then. What about infertility from an Orthodox Jewish perspective. Oh, that would be Persephone and Wessel - been there, done that. Then how about I blog about my ever-growing collection of dusbunnies?? ::sigh:: Yes. Even that's been done.

I don't even think I'm that interesting a writer. But what the heck, I've read some pretty snooze-inducing blogs (not any blogs in my links, though!) that still manage to elicit reader feedback (er, comments), so why shouldn't I dive into the pool, too? Although being a religious Jew, I'd have to wait until women's-only swim time. But of course, with my hormone-induced abnormally bloated belly, I'm too self-conscious to wear a swimsuit in the privacy of my bedroom, never mind a public pool.

But I digress.

Anyway, hello and welcome. Thanks for giving me a read. I hope I can be interesting, or at least entertaining, to someone. If you like me and stick around, I'll let you be my new best friend!

(like my use of gratuitous links right in my very first post?! I'm shameless.)