Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hi Lynnette! Thanks for posting!

There are two parts to today's post. One is that the donation is a GO! Yay for me and for the IPs. I received the official contracts a while ago, signed them and sent it on its way. I also got a call regarding my meds which should be arriving in the not so distant future. My monitoring appointments won't be for awhile yet so I won't have much to report on that front. I don't start my injectable for some time too, so posts about the previously mentioned "sweet spots" and burning and whatnot won't be happening for a few weeks (yeah, something for you, dear readers, to look forward to, I am sure.) But I did want to update and let you all know that I am moving forward for this third donation! I am pretty excited and happy about it all. I haven't drank but maybe 3 times in these couple of months leading up to the donation (speculation of a match and the official match to present) which is hard to explain to peers when they all want to go for cocktail hour and I have to decline. Speculation that I was pregnant was starting to spread since I have not had any caffeine since the end of January in anticipation of growing some nice and healthy eggies. I have been religiously taking vitamins and folic acid as well. All and all, I have been doing very well on the regimen that I have set for myself. Not that I can say that I am not looking forward to that glass of celebratory wine when this is all said and done ;).

Now the second part is that I have been thinking about what Summer had said about posting about my experiences. I am sure when the day comes and I out myself, anonymously, I am sure, there will be some raised eyebrows. As a few of the agencies that I have worked with these last two years have all been very reputable. However, they all have their quirks some are just severely worse than others. And as a donor I think they just treat us differently, possibly believing that our side will never be shared. However, my belief is that what goes around, comes around. And if you treat one person poorly, they will tell ten people about their experience. I hope that the agencies and agency's employees that are reading this, which I know there are a few, realize that this is the reality in this day and age. We all have a common goal, no one should be treated any differently than any one else. Let's not forget you cannot have an Donor agency without the donors OR the IPs. I know this is lucrative industry but lets not forget that we are all people trying to accomplish at least one common goal, one among a few, I am sure. That goal is help someone bring joy into their lives. I am not holier than thou, but I do believe that the policies in this industry do need to be regulated and changed. There is one agency that I should have never left and thus far, they have been the best of all the ones I have worked with. Sure, they had their problems too but at least they were small and just pesky not anything major. If the rest of the agencies I have worked with after them have been like them, I feel like this whole process would be easier and less of a PITA. If only everyone was in the same league...

But enough with that. Looking ahead, I just want to be optimistic and hopeful, if not for myself than for the IPs, someone else is counting on me! That's it for me. Write soon!

Monday, March 17, 2008

To address Summer's comment, yes, 2 months is a really long time. My last cycle's reimbursement check for my expenses took over 60 days to get to me. I even had to send via email, fax, and snail mail and call multiple times before I finally got any kind of acknowledgment that they had even received my receipts. It's the biggest pain in the butt in my opinion. It would be alot easier if there was just a set expense amount that was sent prior to travel to the donor and they just use that. I know that the agencies are basically just doing this so they don't over pay. But at the same time, the IPs already put up a trust, why does it take so long? I don't know the answer to that question but now, I am out $250 until whenever my contract is signed so then I can file a form to wait another few weeks to get my money back. Yup, super efficient. I do wonder why, if the money is there the agencies sit on it and don't pay us.

I still have yet to get any kind of phone call or anything from the agency or the clinic regarding the progress of the cycle. It would be helpful if someone kept me in the loop. So far, I am disappointed by this agency. Emails and phone calls are definitely not returned promptly unless its something they need. I have had to call and email multiple times before a question is answered. It's really frustrating. But nothing I can do about it at this point. I just hate how bureaucratic this donation seems to be, so much red tape and hoops to jump through.

Let's just hope I get word that we are moving forward soon. Then that would mean there is an end to dealing with the lack of communication that I find so prevalent from the agencies to the donors. It's things like delayed reimbursement checks and lack of communication that really take a toll on me as a donor. I don't mind the early appointments or having to travel to meet the doctors. I don't mind getting poked and prodded and having surgery to retrieve the eggs. I do mind being treated as a item of convenience that is an inconvenience to the agencies unless they have something they need/want from me. It's weird to be a second class citizen when you are the core of the agencies business and their business depends on the donors. To quote Jerry McGuire, "Help me, help you." Agencies should really try and live by this motto. But what do I know?

I am extremely agitated today, sorry for the cranky post.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I have had a long day today. I almost forgot to blog about the initial appointment to meet the IP's doctor and get my initial screening done. Things have been crazy the last few days. Anyways, everything looked good. Ultrasound looked good, sound ovaries and sound uterus. No cysts, deformity or anything to note, actually. Looks just like what it always does, some black and white shadowing here and there. The people at the clinic were very warm and friendly. I liked them instantly. Now, as for the doctor, I am not sure but I get a really arrogant air about him. He seemed to not know that I had donated before so I had to tell him about all that. Odd, I thought they requested the records?

Anyways, he seemed really surprised that I had done two previous donations with much success. I was told to that I should be taking prenatal vitamins and baby aspirin. As mentioned before, I was taking Women's One-A-Day multivitamins and an extra dose of folic acid, seems like this was almost equal to prenatal vitamins I saw at the drugstore in terms of Vitamin content. But as soon as I get closer to the actual donation, I will probably just switch over. The Dr. mentioned that the baby aspirin was to help increase blood flow to my ovaries and uterus. Never knew that. So I guess I will be stopping in at the drugstore in the next few days to pick up these two items. I don't think they were going to send them in my meds package... I believe I can expense it though, so if they are not in the package with the rest of the meds, I will just have to get them on my own. One thing I will say is that this Dr. seemed to be really "no-nonsense" and after the ultrasound and blood draw he told me that the only hold up was to make sure the tests come back clear and then we will proceed--as long as we get the blessing from the agency. He poked around and just told me that he was on board, as long as everyone else was and he was here to make sure it went as smoothly and quickly as possible. Sounds good to me!

One thing is that he is changing up my meds, so besides the prenatal vitamins and the baby aspirin, he was going to change my usual Lupron dosage. Apparently, now I am going to get something completely different in the middle of my stim meds, not before. Right now, I am just waiting for the go ahead from the agency as well as the all clear on the blood work that was done at the appointment. I am thinking the blood work is going to come back normal, at least normal for me. Meaning that my FSH maybe elevated a bit. Which I warned them about and they are aware. Seems like once the Dr. knew about my previous donations and the outcome, he is really comfortable with an elevated FSH, I am hoping that he is more about results than stats, like my second donation doctor. Lastly, I haven't gotten the official contract yet, seems like they want the all clear from the clinic before we sign. Which is fine. However, I was told that my expenses from the initial appointment would have to be "filed" but seems like that only happens after I get a that's...interesting. I don't know what it is about agencies and reimbursement checks...seems like it always takes 2 months. It's really not fair to ask that the donor foot the bill for that long with no repayment. But that is my $0.02.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Before I start my post, let me just say a big "hi" to Summer! I am so happy you found your donor! And good luck to you and Mr. W.

I actually got some news the other day that I forgot to post about. But seeing how I know a few IPs visit on here, I thought it would be helpful, since what I know to be true is not necessary what they know to be true (for example the profiles, we have no access, some IPs may think we do, etc.) My last donation, the one that canceled days before the retrieval, well, it shouldn't have been--this I know now as a FACT. Apparently the monitoring information that was given to the clinic clearly showed 13-17 eggs in the desired size range. With a few additional ones that would have been ready on the day of the retrieval. So it would have been around the same performance I had previously. However, the doctor decided to cancel. Now, the only reason I know I had the quality and quantity of eggs was because apparently the IPs went to the agency and complained that I under performed and wanted compensation or a refund of some sort. Which cause the coordinator to request my records and see for themselves that I did not "under-perform" as speculated by the doctor. Unfortunately, my initial assumption of the doctor may have been right---she kept refusing donors and canceling donations, probably to make more money on this poor couple.

I hate to put this negative underbelly side of the process out there. However, Donors and IPs should be aware that just because your doctor recommends that you cancel you need to use your best judgment on whether its right for you or not. Had they gone through with it, they probably would be pregnant now, as were my first two IPs. Even if it was on the smaller quantity side, say there were only 13 that fertilized, they still would have gotten something. Instead of spending all that money to walk away empty handed. I do believe that medical advice should be heeded, however, if you see the stats and know the previous results you should have a little bit of faith for your donor as well. Just my opinion. It is not going to be true for 100% of the cases, however, in just this one instance, it was. Unfortunately, the couple wanted to know if they changed clinics if I would be willing to work with them again. At this time, I have already promised my 3rd with a 4th in the works. So that's not even a possibility. I do feel they got cheated. My heart goes out to them. I do hope that they move on and find another donor and actually go through a retrieval and hopefully get the results they were looking for.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I added a counter at the bottom of the page, which I may try to move up towards the top and I am amazed at how many hits I had since I put it on there...which I think was yesterday. If any of the readers would like to just post a "hi" or a link to their own page, feel free! I would love to get to know the people my blog reaches.

As for this week, I am just trying to prepare for the consultation and hoping for the best. I am still taking the multivitamin (Women's One-A-Day) and the extra folic acid pills. I figured prenatal vitamins were recommended and the only difference between that and my multivitamin was the amount of folic acid. So I am using the supplement to boost my folic acid. Hopefully that will help with the eggies and my response. I didn't do this the first two times, and I figured it couldn't hurt. I did take the multivitamins while on the meds because of the doctor's recommendations. I am just ahead of the game this time. Not to mention, from all that I've read about the benefits for folic acid, it can't be bad. In fact, it is recommended for all women of child bearing age, especially one year prior to pregnancy. Granted, I am not planning on getting pregnant next year, but I like to be prepared ;). Some day, I will have my own children and I want to try and guarantee them the best quality of life I can.

On a side note, I am also thinking about buying one of those mini-fridges for my room for my meds. I have a roommate and it's inconvenient for me to keep the meds in the communal fridge. Not to mention, he's just plain nosy so I could just do without the added questions. With my luck he will try to drink the Follistim...let's just say he's a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Love him. But it's true. Besides, how do I explain a bunch of little vials in the fridge? Yeah, you can't really say that I just needed some vitamin shots. No one would buy that! So I have been thinking about those small personal fridges, not the kind you get for a college dorm but one even smaller. I wonder how much those cost? Besides, if I get one that can be plugged into the car, I could use it in the car for long trips.

As for the fourth and last donation looks like things are underway. I hadn't heard anything for a few weeks so I was a bit nervous that this couple had up and disappeared on me. Come to find out, they were getting the clinic set up for their consults, setting up the trust and getting ready to pay the agency fees. So, it looks like this one might actually work out and become official. I am still waiting for match paperwork, once that happens, I will notify my agencies that I may not be doing another one. But I probably won't pull my profiles just yet because I am still a bit jolted by the previous cancellation and the disappearing acts.

Well, that's all for me now. Updates to come!

Monday, March 03, 2008

I am getting ready for my initial consult. I fly out soon, getting a bit nervous about it too. I am hoping that everything goes well. From previous experience, I have a slightly elevated FSH level, always have and probably always will. I hope this doctor looks past the numbers and see what I have done before. I don't really want someone to advise the IPs to not use me when I have performed before just because a number is slightly off. Apparently that number has never affected me, at least in the number of eggies retrieved. I am ready and excited but super nervous. I want to do well for the IPs and for myself. It's important that I don't disappoint them because they are counting on me.

I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket (no pun intended), but I feel like I am because if this all goes through, I could really use the money. The bills are catching up with me....I am working as much as I can but it still a slippery slope. I know most donors don't talk about the compensation. But in reality, most of us could put the money to good use. Be it paying off student loans, car loans, housing, whatever. I know that we do it to help the IPs. I know, at least, that I do it for that reason but I can't deny that it helps me too.