Anyone who’s ever been involved in reproduction will tell you that the process involves a lot–A LOT–of waiting.
Even in an unassisted cycle, you do a lot of waiting. There’s the Two Week Wait–the week between when you hopefully ovulated and when most pregnancy tests would be able to detect HCG in your system. There’s the wait for the first doctor’s visit, the wait for the first ultrasound, the wait to hear the heartbeat, the wait for the anatomy scan, the wait during gestational diabetes testing, the wait for breakfast after GD testing, the wait for your body to go into labor on its own, the wait for your doctor to recognize that your body isn’t going into labor on its own, the hours and hours of waiting that we call “labor.” You hurry up. You wait. It’s the month before Christmas times a thousand.
(Linda Belcher understands me)
When you bring assisted reproductive technology (ART) into the picture, there’s even more waiting. You wait to get results back from the battery of tests (blood work, semenalysis, hysterosalpingogram, hysteroscopy, sonohysterogram, karyotype screening, etc.). You wait for the doctor to determine which line of treatment works best for you. You wait for insurance approval. If you don’t get insurance approval, you wait to have enough money. You wait to get your blood drawn again and again and again. You wait for an ultrasound and another and another. You wait with IVs in your arm to be taken back for your egg retrieval. And then you do the normal pregnancy waiting, only this time, with less optimism and more medication.
(everyone around you is getting pregnant and you’re just like :|)
Kyle and I are moving into our next FET cycle straight after the most recent one ended in a miscarriage. I was, frankly, tired of waiting. So much of infertility is putting your life on hold because you’re actively doing all of this stuff and putting all of this effort into getting knocked up but you never know if it’s going to work. Should you go on that vacation? Should you dive into an intense fitness plan? Should you work towards that promotion? Should you buy that car? Who knows?
At this point, I’ve been putting a lot of my life on hold for two years in the interest of getting pregnant. I’ve been hesitant to really jump in at work because I don’t know if I’ll need to leave for maternity. I’ve been holding back on trying to really lose weight because I don’t know if I’m going to be pregnant sooner rather than later. I’ve been planning everything for the short term because I don’t know if I’m going to have to plan for a baby in the long term.
And, I mean, nobody does, but I think it feels different when you’re putting this much time, money, and effort into the process. You want to make sure that you’re going to be available, and you don’t want to overextend yourself to the detriment of your body and your potential baby’s health.
So you wait. I wait.
This time around, I was waiting for my period to start, and it did yesterday. I think the entire neighborhood heard me yesterday morning when I exclaimed, “Finally! Thank GOD!” right next to the open window in my master bathroom (I have a master bathroom, I’m super posh, it’s in desperate need of a good cleaning). I figured that aspect of waiting was over, but I still went for the testing I had scheduled for yesterday morning, just to make sure nothing was super chaotic.
And nothing was. The nurse called me right before the lunchtime meeting I had scheduled for one of about half a dozen projects I have coming up in the next several weeks. She started to give me my calendar (basically, with a FET cycle, you have to switch your medication dosages on specific days; when the nurse tells you what days you’ll be switching things, it’s called “giving you your calendar”) but then noticed that the system wasn’t showing that we had insurance approval yet.
A bit of insurance backstory. When Kyle and I were trying to get pregnant with Sam, Kyle worked through a staffing agency that didn’t offer insurance benefits (this was before the ACA passed and such things were mandatory). We live in Massachusetts, so we were able to purchase coverage through MassHealth, and it was ridiculously expensive–half the reason we were so broke for that year he worked through the staffing company was because of the insurance payments we had to make.
(exactly like this)
The insurance we got was bare bones, too. We could go to the doctor again, and that was nice. We could pay for medication without going broke, though our copays were much higher than those of many people we knew. We could not get an ambulance if we needed it (during the first month of my pregnancy with Sam, I had to take an ambulance to the hospital because I fainted at a Renaissance Faire–long story–and we ended up paying for it for the two years). We could not get any infertility medication unless we were willing to pay out of pocket (clomid, the medication I was on, costs about $6 a pill, making me very happy you only get five pills at a time).
When Kyle started his current job, they gave him fantastic insurance, some of the best I’ve ever seen. I love this insurance; it’s covered all but probably a tenth of the cost of our IVF cycles. It doesn’t cover PGS, but not many carriers do. Ambulance rides and medications are all taken care of, and I am ridiculously grateful.
But. In order to start a fertility treatment cycle, you need insurance approval. They want to make sure you’re not gaming the system, which is fair. Usually, our insurance carrier approves treatment cycles within about 24 hours; we’ll go in for a meeting with our RE, we’ll settle on a treatment plan, and then they’ll call our insurance carrier and get us approved.
Apparently, though, this speedy approval process has vanished into the ether. Lately, our insurance carrier has been taking three weeks to process approvals rather than 24 hours.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful; I’m not. I know that a lot of insurance carriers don’t cover infertility treatments at all (I was on one of them for a while). I know that we’re lucky to have insurance that isn’t causing us to go completely broke on a monthly basis. I know that we’re lucky to have insurance at all.
But the wait.
We went in to figure out this cycle on March 30. If I’m counting correctly, three weeks for insurance approval should take us to about April 20, another week from today. It’s not the end of the world, not by a long shot.
But it’s another wait in the process that, while objectively a short amount of time, feels like an eternity.
I’m trying to pass the time as best I can. I have a lot of distractions. Work has picked back up after a month or so of being slow as molasses (the nature of the field I’m in is such that you’re either drowning in projects or spending every work hour reorganizing your desk to make yourself look busy). Sam has a doctor’s appointment next Wednesday, and Easter is this weekend. I’m going to bake a cake (a butter cake, from scratch, and I’m going to fill it with candy).
And I wait.