Sunday, December 4, 2016

A new month and a new start


Thanks for all the support and encouragement on my last post where I spoke about some of my thoughts going into my third round of IVF. I'm already a few days into it now and despite a stressful start, everything is going pretty well so far. I've been feeling some occasional twinges in my stomach so hopefully that means something is happening and that I'm responding to the meds.

Why was the start so stressful? So usually I am meant to wait for my period to begin and then go in for my initial appointment at the fertility clinic within the first three days. On Thursday before leaving for work I phoned them to say I'd like to come in early the following day. First they had me on hold for ages and then they told me that Friday they are too busy and that I should go there immediately! I made my way to the clinic as quickly as possible while phoning my manager to explain that I had a doctor's appointment and I wasn't sure how long it would take but probably awhile. It wasn't ideal timing wise since Wednesday morning I'd had my second intralipid infusion and hadn't gotten into work until late morning. However I'd had a doctor's note and that was no problem with HR.

After waiting to see the doctor he gave me a scan then told me my ovaries looked great (you're too kind!), as did my lining and he wanted me to already start injections that same day! He also commented that he really doesn't know why I don't end up with more eggs at the retrieval. You and me both! If you've been following my journey you'll know I only had two eggs at the first IVF and just one at the second. This time I'm doing the antagonist protocol which I haven't tried before. He also gave me lots of forms for us to fill out including one where you choose how many embryos to transfer, either one two or three. He started being really pushy saying we should choose the maximum this time! He's said that before. Hubby and I both think the idea of putting three embryos in, if we even end up with that many, seems a little scary! Anyway I said we would think about it as I wanted to go home and do some more research.

After I'd seen the doctor the nurse explained the treatment plan to me, showing me how to prepare the meds and then gave me the prescriptions. There was a problem with my health insurance as it turned out the clinic were missing the document which confirms it would cover 50% of the costs. The nurse said that technically they aren't meant to prescribe me anything and I shouldn't start before I have the confirmation. The previous approval document had expired you see. However I had already gone to my health insurance back in September and gotten the approval, I just didn't know where the document had ended up so I was still allowed to begin with IVF luckily. She told me to get things sorted asap though!

Following that I went to the pharmacy to buy all the meds. I'd brought two cool bags with me which is just as well as they were both full afterwards, plus a third bag. The total came to over one thousand euro, yikes! I don't want to complain about the cost of things too much as I know we are very lucky to live in a country where there is such good health insurance coverage. From what I have seen on blogs and other IVF groups infertility treatments are a lot more expensive in other places. I definitely feel grateful that we are in the position of being able to afford three cycles where we live. The costs do still add up though. Last year we spent over three thousand on IVF and related medical costs and this year we're predicting it will probably be around twice that.

While I was waiting for my tram home I phoned my health insurance to try to get that sorted. They insisted they had given me the document already. (Later that evening I said a prayer to Saint Anthony, the patron saint of finding things who everyone prays to in Ireland, and after searching for awhile the missing document turned up. So that was a relief!) Once I got home I put the meds in the fridge, gave myself the first two shots which went fine and hurried to work. I gave HR my doctor's note, worked a bit and went to lunch with a colleague.

Once I got back my manager called me into his office. I thought he was going to ask me about how I was. When I had told him about IVF a few days earlier he had seemed understanding. However he basically told me that I shouldn't have gone to lunch and that the company was doing something very nice letting me go to these doctor's appointments and I should be working through my lunch and that's what I should do next time. The whole thing caught me off guard and I just said ok and then felt bad afterwards. I had considered skipping lunch but since I had also given lots of blood earlier (they give you a HIV test before starting IVF) and had had two injections I thought it would be best to eat a proper meal. I also had planned to stay till around 7pm that evening. I am not the sort of person to not take my job seriously. I've often done overtime and I always make sure to work my hours, I rarely take sick days and even when I do I tend to feel guilty! So I felt a bit annoyed that none of that seemed to count for anything.

I've two work colleagues who I'm good friends with who know that I'm doing IVF and I asked them what they thought about it when we were on our own later on and they both said that my manager was out of line giving me a hard time. When you have a doctor's appointment here in Germany during work hours, you usually give the note to HR to explain your absence and then work a normal day, you're not required to skip lunch or eat at your desk. The whole thing just made me feel like my manager isn't as supportive as I initially thought. Maybe he doesn't think infertility counts as proper illness. He also told me about friends of his who stopped trying to get pregnant and then it happened and maybe I should try not thinking about it all so much, which was just a ridiculous thing to say! Anyway my next doctor's appointment won't be until Wednesday and it's very early so I don't think I'll need to miss work for it and I've decided I'm not going to talk to my manager about it all again. The main thing is HR are supporting me.

The last few days I've done the injections, one of Menogon, one Gonal-f and then from tomorrow I add a third injection, Orgalutran. So far I've been feeling fine. Some light cramping now and then and a bit bloated and tired but that's it at the moment. I've also been feeling generally happy and optimistic, which is nice. At my scan on Wednesday I'll find out how many follicles are growing so I hope that goes well. The egg retrieval could be as early as next Friday! The antagonist protocol is a lot faster which is great actually. I'm excited to get to the transfer sooner. One day at a time though. I've also been trying to look after myself while I go through this whole process again. The other evening I had a relaxing bubble bath and read one of the many new books I bought myself recently. The GerMann is also being supportive, giving me cuddles and doing the brunt of the housework. I'm posting a picture of the Christmas markets with this post as it's prettier to look at than injections and I'm trying to get into the Christmas spirit! Hope you are all having a nice December.

12 comments:

  1. I am a great believer of the antagonist protocol, it works wonders with poor responders and it's much shorter which is a blessing for anyone sanity.
    I am sorry about your boss, definitely out of line!

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    1. Thanks. I'm loving that the antagonist protocol is so much shorter! And definitely hopeful it might help in my case.

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  2. Oh, good luck! I was a fan of the antagonist protocol, and I hope it works for you. Um, your boss, for lack of a better term, is being a big doodoohead. From the unsolicited "just stop thinking about it" comments to insinuating that you didn't make up your time from your appointment, that is the opposite of supportive. I'm glad you've got HR in your corner. He needs a smack with the empathy stick. I hope retrieval comes with great results, thinking of you!

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    1. Yeah I don't know what was up with my boss, how he could have so little empathy! Definitely acting like a doodoohead, haha. At least HR are supportive. I've heard good things about the antagonist protocol so fingers crossed it work well for me.

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  3. Umm, I'm pretty sure skipping lunch is actually illegal in Germany? If you work an 8 hour day (which I assume you still would be if you planned to stay until 7?) you are required by law to take a 30 minute break! For 6 hours, the law says you have to take a break of at least 15 minutes. I know this because my previous boss threatened to start making people take a break at a set time because too many people were eating at their desks and working through lunch every day. If for some reason anyone found out, the boss would be liable even though it was my colleagues' own choice to not take their break and go home earlier instead.

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    1. Yea you are meant to take your lunch breaks, though I didn't know what the exact rules are. There were also some people in my company who wanted to skip lunch and go home early but they were told they had to take at least 30 minutes. I didn't get to work till 12 that day so with a lunch break it was six hours working in the end but the hr manager told me before that if u have a doctor's appointment that eats into work time you bring your note and work the normal day. Plus I'd done some overtime earlier in the week anyway and we have flexi time

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  4. So sorry you had a little rocky start at the beginning of this IVF cycle. Just now got a chance to catch up with your journey. So what time of injections are you taking? I am planning on IVF in February if we don't succeed by then. The cost of IVF is ridiculous here. I am glad your cost is more reasonable.

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    1. Yea it wasn't a great start. I do the injections every morning before work; Gonal-f & Menogon. Best of luck, hoping for you that you won't need IVF.

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  5. Yes I wouldn't have thought it was in any way normal to work through lunch if your appointment is covered by the note. Your boss sounds like an asshat. His advice for conceiving sucks as well...I'm sorry he's not as supportive as he seemed to be.
    Yeah the good thing about Ireland is the cap they put on drugs - I think we did spend about a thousand euro anyway though.
    I recall that the antagonist protocol was the one I was fighting to do but my clinic had other ideas. It's definitely better than the standard long protocol I remember. Sending you good vibes for the retrieval!

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    1. Thank you. My doctor had told me that I'd be doing the antagonist protocol for my second cycle actually but then I guess he changed his mind. From what I've heard some women just respond better to it. My boss has been a bit better since but clearly he hasn't got a clue!

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  6. I stumbled upon your blog (I am a fellow infertile and lived in Germany from 2011-2016). I just wanted to wish you luck with your cycle!

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