Sunday, July 15, 2012

The fear of the lord

My mom, irreligiously, says sometimes that a situation will "put the fear of the lord in you."  There's a reasonable amount of panic mixed into baby-making, but sometimes even the heathens among us feel it's reached epic proportions.

Thursday, realizing we were low on Follistim cartridges, we spoke to Nurse Jordan in Nashville about ordering more and how much.  She said we should have enough to get through Saturday morning, but we couldn’t be sure till Friday morning’s lab work-up.  Anxious after Jordan’s casual mention of cancelling the cycle, Heather leaned on the tech to tell her what her follicle stats were; I took the numbers, called Nashville and spoke to yet another nurse—although likewise a very pleasant one—to get advice about the Follistim.  She said that they hadn’t gotten the lab results to be sure, but sounded very optimistic about the follicle information I offered.  She said would let me know by 2PM how much to order.  I, of course, had Heather staring at me through all of lunch, so I called at 2:15.  I left a message.  They called back to say that the results had just gotten in and were in the hands of doctors, but we should get enough Follistim to get through Tuesday morning.  Okay.
I knew from previous calls that the pharmacy charged an additional $30 for overnight delivery, and, after all the other fees, that was a laughable drop in the bucket.  Heather and I were optimistic, thinking that it had only cost $3,000 for the whole drug kit in the first place, and Follistim was only one drug that we needed.  This is a super heavy-handed preface, but I don’t know that even the most cynical among my readers will anticipate that it cost us $1,686.  That’s three cartridges.  Three days.  I had to review the math with the pharmacy rep to be sure I understood that a single cartridge—one f-ing day’s worth—cost $552.  With 600iu per cartridge, that came to $0.92 per unit.  Like, the bubble that might come to the top when I prime the needle is three bucks.  Heather, watching me scribble notes, made a grotesque face.

Still, there’s nothing to be done.  You give them the money, they send you a box, and then you bruise your girlfriend’s pincushion/stomach.  It’s too close to the end for us to fuck this up by cutting corners. 

And they really don’t give you an opportunity to cut corners—or even follow the corners you were given.  Later, Heather had a phone call, saying that the doctors weren’t as comfortable looking at the faxed ultrasound results from Memphis, so they wanted her to travel to Nashville so they could examine her in person.  Would Saturday work?  It was short notice and we both work on Saturdays; what about Monday?  The nurse put Heather on hold to consult the doctor, and reported that Monday might be too late.  She could lose the eggs.  So Heather stopped for a small cooler on the way home for the Lupron she'd need and some Sprite, took ibuprofen PM, went to bed at nine, and I roused her at 4:15.  Bereft of caffeine, she hit the road and I went back to sleep.  
(Note: right after Heather went to bed, I was forced to make an emergency Walgreens run when we learned we were out of alcohol wipes.  I got her some extra snacks for the road, none of which she ate.)

Around 9:30 Saturday morning, she called to say that the appointment was over (seriously, she drove three hours each way for an hour-long appointment: madness) and had gone very well.  The doctor said—independently of the previous technicians—that she had beautiful uterine lining, and that she might be ready for retrieval on Wednesday, with the Ovidrel trigger shot on Monday night.  Maybe.  What the message also mentioned was some random-ass other drug, telling Heather to keep taking it.  WTF?  We promptly panicked—I panicked in part because I had to talk to Heather about it and I knew she was going to be fucking pissed about it—because we didn’t know what the drug was and Heather definitely hadn’t been taking it.  Nor can you talk to a nurse on a Saturday for quick information.

After several extremely tense and unpleasant phone conversations with Heather about what drug it might be and whether it was a super-big deal that she wasn’t taking it, I called the special voicemail belonging to the on-call doctor.  The message clearly specified that, if it wasn’t a truly urgent issue, you would be charged $25.  I felt it was worth the risk.  $25 is nothing in IVF generally, and also nothing when it comes to calming Heather.  Like, if I could magically soothe her for $25 at any time, I would be broke.  I want my lady happy.  So, as far as the clinic goes, I will give them anything they want.  Of course, when I called to update Heather and warn that, as often happens, they might call her number instead of mine, she was...  displeased.

The doctor called me back (thank you, jesus).  He was the same guy who admired Heather’s uterine lining, and he was just the nicest.  I told him I was sorry to freak out, but that we didn’t want to screw anything up.  He was pretty patient with me and said, no, there might have been some confusion because some patients need an extra medication, but Heather isn’t one of them.  Follistim and Lupron are all that are in the mix for her; the other ones—methylprednisolone and tetracycline—are for later.  I know I asked him three or four times: “So she should just be taking those TWO?  There’s no third medication she’s missing?” 

The best part was calling Heather back.  She had called twice while I was on the phone with the doctor, and I felt completely triumphant when I was able to say that we were okay.  Nothing is missing.  The drugs are fine as they are.  We haven’t fucked up.  (At least, this time.)

“I love you so much, baby,” she said.  Yeah.  I love me for that, too.

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