A week later Carol and I were once again driving to the infertility clinic in Columbia, SC. This time though Carol was clearly concerned. As I have said in the past. She hid any of her fears or worries from me. However not on this day. The thing was she knew from what the doctor had said at our last visit (that if we didn’t get pregnant on the Clomid) then we’d take the next step (which were to do the injectables). Well, Carol had already checked with our insurance company and found out the injectables were not covered like the Clomid was. Here was the thing. Our insurance coverage had changed. If this had been when we were getting pregnant with Judah, it would have been covered. So on top of all of the usual infertility worries we were also frustrated that if we had possibly tried this earlier we would have had better coverage (or simply gotten pregnant without all of the problems we were having). But, easy to say..what do they say, “Hind sight is always 20/20?
OK, so Carol knew there was no way we could afford taking the injectable route. It bothered her too. She knew I wanted another baby more than anything, however we had agreed (before even starting with having another kid) we were not going to allow ourselves to get in debt over it. BUT, that didn’t matter to me anymore. When I had agreed to that I had hopes I’d get pregnant on the first try like we did with Judah. I never imagined we’d be in that predicament of trying multiple times. And so when Carol told me we couldn’t afford it, it upset me in the most frustrating way. Dammit! I wanted this. It wasn’t unfair! And plus, still reeling with the Clomid in my system that wasn’t helpful either in regards to my emotional state. I wanted to get pregnant and all I wanted was for it to happen. I suppose I got sucked in and at that point I was willing to do what ever necessary to get pregnant. Listen, it wasn’t Carol’s fault. I agreed with her. BUT, there was just that other maternal side of me that just wasn’t ready to hear the truth and to give up.
When we arrived at the infertility clinic it was close to lunch time, so the waiting room only had two other couples. One was a lesbian couple and the other was a bi-racial couple who had the most adorable child with them. I laughed and whispered to Carol, “Hey, if they have triplets, you think they’d mind at least giving one to us?” Carol knows I have always wanted to adopt a minority baby. Oh who am I kidding? I’ve always wanted a black baby. Even when I was a kid! In fact I used to have this baby doll that had been chewed by the dog (no more arms), I had cut her hair and drawn on her face with permanent marker. My parents were so embarrassed for me to take it anywhere so they took me to buy another doll. It was 1974 and I’ll never forget that trip to the store. My momma took me. Now at that time all dolls were typically white. And even at that age I noticed. Meanwhile, I never really liked any of them. I thought they all looked the same and none of them seemed pretty to me. Well, during this trip to the store I remember walking down the doll isle. My mom was certain I’d never be able to choose as there were SO many choices. However as I walked down that isle I saw no choices. Well, I didn’t want any of them until I walked by this one lonely doll. I was drawn to her. Her name was Zuri and she had the most beautiful black skin. Without even looking at my mom I rant to the doll and yelled, “Momma, I want her!” Now, let me tell you just a little bit about my momma. She was raised in Birmingham, AL in the 40’s and 50’s. She grew up in a wealthy Jewish family where black (or as my Momma referred to them as “Colored”) nannies raised you. And now her little red headed white child has chosen a clearly “colored” baby doll. WOW! I can’t imagine what went through her head. However, I want y’all to know my mom NEVER said one word to me. Instead she said, “If that is the doll you want, then we’ll buy it.” Now folks, my mom did try to show me other dolls. I won’t lie. But, I was a very persistent kid and aside from that Momma could see there was NO changing my mind. I do laugh because my parents where not the most open minded to those of a different color. I LOVE the fact that they wanted a new doll for me and that was what I chose. Awesome, yes? And if you don’t believe me, my sister can attest to it. I loved my Zuri doll! Here has been the best part too. When Judah was around 3 he wanted a doll. And so Carol and I took him to the store to pick one out. I couldn’t believe how many choices there were. I also hated the fact how the isle was sexist towards girls. Come on folks. My son will probably be a dad one day and he has to know how to be one. What not a better way than for him to have a doll and learn? Anyway, Judah went up and down the isle unable to decide. It was clear none of them tickled his fancy. Well, none of them until one seemed to have jumped out at him. Judah pointed and said, “I want the brown one.” Carol knowing about my Zuri doll smiled at me as I did to her. It was neat that our son had followed in my footsteps. And so we got that doll for Judah without any hesitation or reservations. We asked Judah what he wanted to call his new baby (as it was unclear to us if it was a he or she). Judah told us it was a boy and he was calling him “Toby”. Now, I thought that was neat because Carol loved that name and considered it as one of our choices if we had another baby. Pretty damn cool our kid was.
Anyway, back to my story. After the remaining people in the waiting room were called back, it was finally our turn. I was nervous and still upset about not getting pregnant from our first insemination. When the nurse called us back and placed us in an examining room, she clearly was sensitive to our plight. The kindness in her eyes said it all. About 10 minutes later the doctor came into the room. She sat down in front of us and told us she was so sorry that our first insemination didn’t work. However, she was positive. She told us she had a good plan for our next try and we needed to stay positive. Folks, those little moments were so incredibly special and appreciated. I just can’t stress that enough especially for those of you who may have not gone through any infertility. Now, I won’t lie that during those moments I couldn’t hear what the doctor was saying. I just wanted her to make me pregnant so all of the extra stuff what hard to hear. But, now looking back I could see where those kind touches actually did help tremendously.
As the doctor was talking to us she told us her new plan. Well, just as Carol surmised, the doctor suggested that we do the injectables for two cycles (to allow enough time to really produce more eggs). Then, we’d do our last insemination. As the doctor was explaining this to us Carol was shaking her head; no. The doctor stopped to ask her what was wrong. Carol explained to her that we were in a difficult position that wasn’t her problem. Carol explained she understood the doctor was creating the best plan for us which we appreciated but there was the reality involved of having to pay for it.
The doctor listened to Carol and then said,” We are here to help the two of you to get pregnant. And any problems or concerns you have we need to discuss them. We are a team.” OMG folks! Did we just hear her correctly? First, did she say she was there to help US get pregnant? Listen, I know I was on infertility medicine which made me more emotional but damn, all I wanted to do was to cry and give that doctor a BIG FAT hug. And then the next thing was we were astounded to hear her say how she was there to help us. Amazing! Sadly, we weren’t used to that kind of treatment. This doctor and her staff were clearly understanding and sensitive to the stress emotionally AND financially. AND they were there to make both as easy as possible. The reality was the cost but they were going to do whatever possible to help. To me that placed this doctor and her facility on a tremendously tall pedestal. I know I keep repeating myself but truly this was an amazing facility in our eyes. Dr. Gail Whitman-Elia was special.
The doctor asked Carol what her concerns were. Carol told her that unfortunately our insurance wouldn’t pay for the injectables and so there just wasn’t anyway we could afford it. Carol felt bad and starting rambling, “When we went into this whole thing, we had agreed we would not go into debt over it. We promised to not take away from the son/child we had.” I started to cry as Carol was talking. It was hard not to hear the reality of it all. When you want to get pregnant, you want to try whatever you can. It was so easy to go overboard financially. Infertility gets expensive and often one doesn’t realize it because you are going from one goal to another feeling as if you are so close to getting the baby. I suppose it can be compared to gambling. It’s when you look back that you realize how much money has been spent. BUT knowing that could happen Carol and I went into it with our eyes wide open.
It was at that point the the doctor stopped Carol. For one I was getting upset and this facility always seemed in tune to keeping the patient as stress free as possible. I must tell you the doctor never made us feel guilty for not being able to afford doing any procedure she suggested. She understood. In fact she agreed with Carol and complimented us for not taking away from Judah. She even said, “That’s commendable and smart.” However, the doctor felt there may be some options that had not been exhausted. She recommended letting her nurse (who was in the room with us) contact our insurance company to see if she could get them to pay for the injectable. The doctor explained that sometimes explaining to them that it is medically necessary then possibly they would do it. Carol and I were shocked. The doctor told us that it was worth a shot and she even said that if anyone could convince them it was her nurse. So, of course we agreed. It couldn’t hurt that was for sure.
The doctor asked that we stay put in the examining room for a little bit while they called. She told us it could be a good 30 or 40 minutes but to hang tight. Before the doctor left the room she asked us, “If you are able to get the injectable would this be the direction you’d be willing to take? We just want to make sure if we take the time to do this that you would want to take this route.” We didn’t hesitate to tell her that yes we would want to take this route. But Carol (with memories still very embedded in our brains from the last infertility clinic) said, “Yes, but only if the insurance will pay for the injectables.” The doctor repeated what Carol said and she and the nurse left the room.
It was a good 30 minutes before the nurse came back to our room. She didn’t have any news yet but told us they had not forgotten about us. She told us the person they needed to speak with at the insurance company was out to lunch and they were just waiting for her to call back. Folks, I thought I was going to go crazy sitting there. Waiting was not an easy task for me at all! Carol, during this time started preparing me for the worse case scenario (if they could not get the insurance company to pay for the injectable). Carol did not want me to be hopeful and then devastated if it didn’t happen. She knew me well and knew that nothing she said to try to prepare me was going to work (even though it was worth a shot on her part). I would be devastated no matter what.
Another 30 minutes went by and Carol looked at me and said, “I just don’t feel so positive about this.” UGH! I hated her negativity! But, I knew that too was her way of trying to prepare me. After waiting a total of over an hour the doctor and nurse returned. I tried to read their faces to see if they had good or bad news for us but I couldn’t tell. My brain started going crazy with thoughts. OK, if it was good news they would be smiling and the fact they weren’t then it wasn’t going to be good.
The doctor immediately started telling us the update. She told us the insurance company would not cover the injectables. She began explaining why which of course I tuned her out. In my head I began thinking how our dream was over. But before I could get too deep into thought the doctor touched my leg (to get my attention) and told us they had another option for us. Option? What did she mean? The look on Carol’s face was total skepticism. I know she was thinking, “Yea, right.” The doctor explained she needed to leave to do an insemination but that her nurse had some good news. As soon as the doctor left the room the nurse began explaining to us how they had another couple (who had been trying to get pregnant-obviously) who had donated their injectables back to the clinic. That couple understood how expensive it can all get and they wanted to give back to another couple (who maybe couldn’t have afforded it). And so they would like to give those injectable’s to us. Folks, Carol and I were speechless. Did we just hear correctly? They wanted to give it to us? How did we deserve that? REALLY? I thought I was going to fall to the floor I was so overwhelmed and SO HAPPY. This place was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! They really did care about their patients and created an environment where other patients also wanted to help. We had not expected that in a million years. If our insurance wasn’t going to pay for it then that would have meant we’d have to do the next insemination (with out the help of increasing my egg production) and hope for the best. But to have been offered such a gift was beyond words. We were very very touched and appreciative to say the least. I laughed because all Carol could say was, “WOW!” Over and over and over again.
Since we had promised the doctor that if we could get the injectables we’d proceed, the nurse told us she needed to give us a tutorial on how to use the injectable before leaving that day. And the reason was because we would be going home with it and would start the process at our next cycle (I mean my next cycle). Before the nurse was to begin with her instructions Carol and I really needed to know if that couple (who had donated the injectables to us) had gotten pregnant. We needed to know they had gotten their gift. The nurse told us that not only were they pregnant but they were already 15 weeks along and just found out they were having twins. Folks, I thought I would have been jealous hearing that but you know what? I was actually thrilled for them. Nothing more calming and reassuring than to know they were celebrating and not grieving. It made us feel relieved when using the medicine they had donated.
OK, here was the other thing. When the nurse started explaining how to use the injectables, the reality of what they were set in. OMG! I would have to give myself shots?! And they would have to be done in my stomach? OY! I wasn’t so sure about that but I knew I couldn’t back out then. The nurse explained when we were to give the shots. I had to take my temperature and at a certain point the injectable had to be given in my tummy area. It has to be given about a half a finger away from the belly button to be exact. Yeah, that made me cringe too. A SHOT IN MY STOMACH! HOLY SHIT! Yea, that was what I was thinking in my head. The nurse kept reassuring me that it wouldn’t be bad because the needle was very small and thin. She told me one thing that would help would be to ice the area before injecting and then I definitely wouldn’t feel a thing. Well, she was right. I honestly never felt it. BUT, if you thought I gave myself the shot, you are crazy. At first we had a friend who was a nurse do it and then Carol took over. And every time Carol injected me I’d say to myself, “Come on little eggy’s! Work your magic and produce many!”
Listen, even though this infertility clinic was amazing it still was an emotional ride. Each new procedure was difficult to accept. We’d always ask why us and why wasn’t it working? AND all of the waiting was even harder. Knowing this was our last and final insemination there was a multitude of emotions attached to it. For one there was a sense of relief. No more options to think about, no more thinking about the cost and most of all no more waiting. Living our lives with out having to pee on a stick, take my temperature, count down the days was a wonderful and relieving thought. BUT then there was the other side (if it wasn’t going to work). The sadness of never having another child. I have to tell y’all that was an EXTREMELY difficult one for me to think about because I wanted another kid so badly. So as the countdown began to our last and final insemination, it was hard to not have all of these thoughts rushing into my head. However, just as my partner, Carol, had done from the beginning (and through out every aspect of our lives together) she tried to keep me focused with living in the moment. Needless to say that was an uphill battle for her. In my heart I could feel something wasn’t right and somehow we were fighting against our life’s bashert. Only time would reveal the truth.