Brake – Go – Screech! – Green Light – Brake!!

A while ago my hubby Troy and my brother Chris and Chris’s friends Mark and Mike decided to teach my girl friend Melissa how to drive a stick.  Of course, I was the only one with a standard, and I couldn’t help but giggle as I watched my poor old Ford lurch back and forth across the empty high school parking lot.  She’d get confident, make it up to second or even third gear, then inevitably she’d reach the end of the lot and have to turn or slow down, and I’d watch the Ford heave and die again.

That’s sort of what life’s been like lately.  We’ll get going, get some momentum, then errrrrt! we pop the clutch and heave to a stop again. 

I contacted our insurance company, United, last April about starting IVF again this year.  That’s when I found out I had to give up breast feeding to start IVF, so we ended up postponing until my boobies ran out of milk and I gave up breastfeeding.  Then this past month I contacted United again and told them I was ready to go.  I spoke to my IVF nurse Amanda, who gave me pills to start my period, then when it started she put me on birth control pills.  And then she left the company, and I was re-assigned to IVF nurse Mandy.

When we did IVF last year, we had to pay the andrology/embryology lab Austin IVF up front, then United reimbursed us fully.  The United rep assigned to my case, Kathy, told me that this year things are different.  We are required to pre-register for infertility benefits, and if we qualified for “Gap” reimbursement, we could use Austin IVF and they would be fulyl reimbursed.  Those who don’t qualify for Gap can still use Austin IVF, but they don’t get full coverage.  Or, they can use another fertility company based out of San Antonio that is actually in-network for United.  Fortunately, we live far enough north of Austin that we don’t have to use the San Antonio doctor and we DO qualify for the Gap reimbursement level.  I asked Kathy if we needed to save enough to pay Austin IVF up front and be re-imbursed later.  She assured me first in April and again this month that no, Austin IVF files straight with United and we DO NOT pay up front.

I reached the end of my birth control pills and started bleeding like someone had turned on a faucet up there.  I called Mandy, who scheduled me for a pre-Lupron scan yesterday and put in the order for all my IVF drugs.  I got some great news – the pharmaceutical company that makes Gonal F is giving a $250 off voucher to every prescription for Gonal F until the end of the year.  I knew we spent about $300 on our drugs last year, so that sounds like a great deal!  At first it’s all a go, then Freedom Pharmacy calls back and says our insurance won’t cover all the oral meds from Freedom, but will cover them if we have them filled locally.  Freedom is great and I got their shipment a day later.  It took CVS four days and repeated daily calls to get their end of the deal done.  Argh.  But – altogether we spent $129 for all the drugs.  Amazing.

At the pre-Lupron scan yesterday my follicles look great with no signs of cysts.  Then I asked Dr. Silverberg if it’s ok that I’m suddenly bleeding buckets, and he turns to me and asks, “What?  You ran out of birth control pills?  That’s something I should’ve been told!”  WTF??  Why didn’t anyone tell ME I was supposed to say something???  I’ve only been done with the pills for 3 days, so they decide I’m still on track and give me enough pills for another 7 days and tell me to start Lupron shots that night.  Unfortunately my lining is a measly 3.5.  Hopefully it will recover.

I meet with Mandy to go over my IVF drug protocol and to sign all the legal documents for IVF.  At the meeting she tells me it’s her last day!  I’m now assigned to Susan.  Who I’m pretty sure was a scheduler or janitor or file clerk last year when I was there.  How did she make it to IVF RN already?

At the check-out counter, the girl hands me today’s reciept, then hands me another bill and says, “Here’s what you owe at the next appointment for Austin IVF.”  A bill for $4150.  Oh no, I say, we pre-registered.  They don’t do it that way any more.  They bill insurance directly.  The girl just stares at me for a minute, then hands me a card for Diana, the Texas Fertility financial counselor, and tells me to give her a call.

So on the way out, I called Diana and left her a message, then I called the financial counselor at Austin IVF, Michelle, then I called Kathy, my rep at United.  Kathy didn’t answer, so I took it to Helen, her supervisor.  They all told me they were going to conference call about it, then would call me back and let me know.  I needed to know by the end of the day, before I broke into the Lupron, ’cause dontchaknow it, I just spent my last $4200 I had lying around the house.  OMG!!  I asked that EXACT question in April and again in August!!  If we had known we needed the money up front, we would’ve worked on saving it!  I definitely wouldn’t have ordered all of the drugs and started the birth control pills without saving the money first!  Or given up breastfeeding (although it was going away on it’s own whether I wanted it to or not).  OMG!!!  I dropped my head on the steering wheel and prayed that God would work a miracle.

Of course, no one bothered to call me back until almost 6pm.  I was sitting at the kitchen table staring at the box of Lupron trying to decide if I should just go forward with it.  I figured we could qualify for a $4200 loan – we’d only need it until United re-imbursed us, three months at the most.  Then my phone rang, and it was Michelle from Austin IVF.  She called to tell me that United was wrong, and that they had been instructed to NEVER tell a patient that they don’t have to pre-pay at Austin IVF again.  However, since we’d been through so much at this point, and I had obviously been doing the right things and asking the right questions since April (but getting the wrong answers), they wanted to work with me.  Dr. Silverberg went to the Austin IVF board personally to ask them to file directly with United on our behalf – just this once, and just for us.  And they agreed!  I still can’t believe it!  We’re officially a go for IVF!  I still can’t believe a medical facility was willing to wait on an insurance company for payment.  It blows my mind.  And that a doctor took time out to stand up for us personally. 

God worked a miracle for us – in ONE day!  I popped the top on that Lupron vial and injected my belly.  It all came back, just like riding a bike.  If all goes perfectly and I’m a model IVF patient <snort>, I’ll have another baseline scan next Thursday (the 1st), then I’ll start Gonal F.  I’m tentatively scheduled for egg retrieval on the 13th and embryo transfer the 16th.  I’m a slow stimulator, though, so most likely it’ll take longer than that.  But just think, just dream … theoretically, I could be pregnant by the end of September.  What an awesome dream.  O Lord, please let it be true!

I have so many good things to report, aside from the IVF drama!

  • Davie just sat up for the first time EVER yesterday!  She sat up, looked around, then cried.  I think it scared her and she just didn’t know what to do with herself!  She did it twice yesterday.  Mom said that today she sat up once, and for the first time, noticed her foot in front of her.  She just sat there, completely mezmerized, watching it wiggle.  We don’t think she realizes it’s part of her yet!  I’ll post pics this weekend.
  • I got the promotion I went out for!  Another amazing answered prayer!  I don’t “officially” start in that capacity until the 6th, but I’m already assigned there all this week and next week.  The office is moving to a brand-spankin’ new office building next weekend on the same street.  The new lab is so nice and has big bay windows!  I’ll be going from 32 to 40 hours.  I’ll miss having Fridays off to spend with Davie, but I’ll be cutting back drastically on my weekend hours.  The extra day of income will help off-set that, and I’ll also accrue paid time off faster – more paid maternity leave time!
  • We have a new foster kitten!  We’ve started fostering again with Austin Pets Alive! (APA!), only we’re only going to foster ONE cat or kitten at a time this time around.  It helps keep me busy, keeps my mind off missing Davie when she’s with my parents.  It doesn’t make me miss Lila any less, but it does feel good to be giving back.  Our foster is a 4 month old kitten, Twinkie.  She has a congenital eye problem that causes her eyelashes to grow into her eye – ouch!  They’ve done two surgeries and she’s doing great.  She’s such a sweet, happy little kitten!  She and Moo have a blast playing together!  You’ve never seen two such un-coordinated cats play!  I’m praying we find her the perfect forever family.
  • Troy has also applied for a promotion!  I’m so proud of him!  He’d be moving from Commercial Technical Support at Time Warner to Fiber.  He’d be learning a whole new skill and it involves less time on the phones, which is nice.  Also, most of his close friends that he started at Time Warner with have moved on to Fiber, and they really want him there, so he’d be working with good friends again.  The only draw-back is, he will be the “new” guy in the new department, and Time Warner is a 24/7 service company, so he could end up with a really odd shift.  If he has to work weekends, that means I will have to give up my part time job completely.  Troy has already interviewed and he said it went well.  He overheard his boss saying that all the interviews are done now, so hopefully they’ll be making a decision soon!  I’ve been holding off talking to my part-time job boss until we know what the whole picture will be.
  • Lastly, I still miss Lila.  Every day.  There’s a moment in every day when I think of her and I forget to breathe.  I love her and miss her so much.  It’s better when Davie is here, I’m so full of Davie-love it’s easier to remember Lila with happy memories.  I miss you, my first baby, my furry Princess.

It’s a lot to catch up on, I know, and I don’t blame you if you checked out 20 paragraphs ago!  I wanted to write more, but I’ve been so tired.  When Davie is here, I want to spend every free minute with her, and when she’s not, I clean house, do laundry, and sleep!  I do NOT live an exciting life.  Just a dramatic one!  Hopefully it’s smooth sailing from here on out;  no more IVF drama!

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. katery
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 09:38:36

    so glad you qualified, how exciting!! that’s so weird about united, that’s the insurance we had when we conceived louise and while i know all policies are different, we HAD to get our meds through freedom

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Aug 27, 2011 @ 00:42:34

      I wish I could’ve gotten the whole order thru Freedom! It’s so nice to have it all show up in a nice package on the doorstep. CVS is great for monthly scripts, but they suck at fertility stuff! I had to go to three different pharmacies last time before I could find one that stocked Crinone. Fortunately, it seems like United will let me get it from Freedom this time.

      Reply

      • katery
        Aug 30, 2011 @ 13:30:27

        dang, if we don’t have a med in stock we always offer to order it for the next day (i work in a pharmacy). sometimes with fertility meds, you need it THAT day though.

        Reply

  2. Ashley
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 12:01:16

    I’m so glad all of this has worked out, especially the job and the go on your IVF cycle! I am also so incredibly jealous of you, I can’t believe your insurance! We paid $1500 to the pharmacy, $8700 to the fertility clinic, $650 for pre-testing, $1,000 to use the OR and then $400 for anesthesia for retrieval. You are a LUCKY duck girlfriend!! I think I’d have more kids if I had your insurance. 🙂

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Aug 27, 2011 @ 00:44:42

      OMG!! I KNOW how lucky we are! Insurance might not provide an easy ride, but we wouldn’t get to take the ride at all without it! We owe them for Davie, she wouldn’t be here without them. But man, they DO make me sweat it!

      Reply

  3. MrsB
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 12:57:53

    So glad they were willing to fix the mistake they made in telling you that you didn’t have to pay up front. Sending lots of BFP vibes your way!!!

    Reply

  4. Jenny
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 23:04:27

    Congrats on the new job! That’s awesome. And congrats on getting the IVF insurance issues taken care of. Thats amazing that Dr. Silverberg went to bat for you like that! Insurance is so infurtiating – I swear you could call 3 different times with the same question and get 3 different answers. It drives me nuts all the time. 🙂

    But so glad that is all a go for you – I’m sure its been an emotional roller coaster, but hang in there – you could have some exciting changes coming your way very soon!

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a BFP for you!

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Aug 27, 2011 @ 00:47:10

      Thanks, Jenny! It seems so weird to be on the roller coaster again. It’s definitely different this time, but still so easy to get caught up in the drama along the way! I’m praying we’re successful on the first try! And thanks for the congrats – I’m so excited about the new position! And so relieved I got the job!

      Reply

  5. linds
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 10:32:33

    Oh my goodness, that sounds kind of stressful! so glad it all worked out in the end and that you got the green light to go ahead. Exciting! Wonderful news about the new job and what good timing!!

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Aug 27, 2011 @ 00:50:51

      Thanks! I’m feeling so revitalized at work, it’s wonderful to be looking forward to my job again! And now that all the insurance drama is settled, I’m excited to start the IVF ride again, too!

      Reply

  6. Aisha
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 23:09:02

    What a rollercoaster!!! Hang in there- your attitude has always inspired me. And thinking of you as you remember Lila 😦

    Reply

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