Category: Past

Health-Insurance Update

I feel I need to give a little rant and rave lately about our insurance situation. If you’ve been keeping in touch with my blog you might be familiar with our ongoing battle with our insurance company to pay for all the procedure and tests done to me in this medical condition I find myself. If you are not familiar here is a quick (I hope) recap:

Upon my regular visit to my lady doctor to get the yearly lady physical, I had a number of concerns that I shared with my doctor. She ran a blood test that tested a long list of things including hormone levels, thyroid function, and any possible infections or abnormalities that could cause my many concerns. A few hormone levels (I can never remember what they are called) came back higher than normal, similar to a women going through menopause, so she ordered to have me come in and repeat those few tests. Again, they came back higher than normal. So, I was referred to a specialist Fertility Clinic to help decipher the next step. At no point did any doctor warn me that this might cause concern for my insurance company or that I should check for authorization before seeing a specialist.

As deeply afraid, concerned, FREAKED OUT(see past blog posts from this time period) as I was at that time, I didn’t give it a second thought and went to the specialist to see what exactly was going wrong with my body. They confirmed that POF (Premature Ovarian Failure) was the cause for my non-existant periods and my other symptoms. The doctor ordered another blood test, again without authorization, to find out if the condition was caused by molecular level. Thankfully, the results were negative.

It was shortly after this that I got the complete bills from my first tests at the OBGYN. My insurance claims that the POF diagnosis was a “pre-existing condition” and would not cover it. Of course, it was more than we can afford. Of course, it is not a pre-existing condition, so of course, we fought it. They reviewed the matter and found that I had not been to see the doctor for anything relating to this condition for 6 months prior to the hire date, and they opted to pay 70%, still leaving us to pay approx $208 for the lab fees.

Recently, and what you may not know about, they sent us a bill for the complete lab and doctor’s visit to the Fertility Clinic. The total came to somewhere in the $700+ range. I called the insurance company to have them explain why none of this was covered, since I was referred to see them for the same condition that I was seeing the OBGYN. They explained that tests were considered “major” and therefore needed authorization from them before proceeding. I had the option to send the matter to get authorization. “Yes, send it! I should not have to pay for this when a good 20% of what we make goes to your insurance company every month!” I yelled to the representative on the phone.

Yesterday, I received notice from dear old Altuis Health Insurance, my good friend (sarcasm). They informed me that they declined authorization and that the “molecular labs take at the Fertility Clinic were not a necessary treatment, and therefore not covered under our insurance”. I have the option at this point to appeal that decision. Of course, I will.

It is not a wonder to me anymore how many Americans are now going the route of not getting health insurance. Why pay so much a month to a company that doesn’t do it’s part when you need them most? Had we saved the money ourselves and told the doctor that we don’t have insurance, they would have billed me for a lot less and I could have paid it myself. Health-care reform needed? Yes, but who is going to really know what it will take to fix it? If I had it to do all over again: I still would have gotten the diagnosis and treatment recommended by my doctor, because not knowing what was going on with my body was surely killing me. At the same time, how heartless are these insurance companies that they can undermine the disaster that this whole process has been for me personally?

Happy Mother’s/Women’s Day

I have been taking a break from blogging due to “distracting yourself from sadness” plan. I have been in a community play, working on art projects for friends, and seeking employment which has worked wonderfully at distracting my mind from any thoughts of self-pity.  My current situation personally, financially, and professionally has caused me to reflect on why I can’t shake the constant feelings of despair. This is what I have come up with:

To explain in-depth I must take you back to the beginning of my marriage, 5.5 years ago. My husband and I were young, some might say too young, to be married but we had been dating for 5.5 years previously and knew we were right for each other. We were unsure of our future plans but a few things were certain. We both agreed that we wanted to have children eventually, but we both agreed it was not to be any time soon. We both agreed we did not want to continue to reside in our home state for any longer than necessary to finish school for several reasons. When we do have children, we both agreed that I would be a stay-at-home mom to raise the children and he would work (in what, I’m still not sure) to support us. I knew what I wanted to do professionally, and he did not, so we also agreed that I would be going to school first while he would work full-time to support us both. At that time in our lives we were both saying “not yet, not yet, we just aren’t ready to have any children” because I wanted to finish school to be a teacher. Also, at 21 he was not yet a fully matured male and the word “babies” sent him into coughing and choking fits.

Four years later, I graduated school to become and elementary school teacher. At that time I was thinking, Okay, it’s Matt’s turn to go to school and figure out his professional ambitions so that he can  support a family the way we always agreed. If I were to get pregnant now, at least I have finished school. But I would not be able to stay at home, so I am certainly not going to try to make that happen yet.  I had the implant birth control put into my arm (which was to last up to 3 years or less) and off we went, out-of-state, to persue his dreams as he went to a vocational school. I taught Kindergarten for a year while he finished school.

Again, we were faced with another cross roads in our marriage. We made the mistake of going back (yes back) to the state, no city, NO HOUSE, we came from. The very place we both agreed we didn’t want to live. The reasoning then was that we would live in my parents new house, save a ton of money by both working full-time for the first time in our marriage, and save to buy a house and move anywhere in the country we wished. I’m sure you can already see flaws in our plan. One, we are living in my parent’s house and two, I would be working full-time. Both are good reasons why we still could not possibly be “ready” to think about having any babies.

The plan flopped. In all of the years of planning, working, struggling, saving, inching our way forward step-by-step, we have ended up in a place far in the opposite direction of our ultimate goal. Neither my husband, nor I, could find decent full-time work to save any kind of money. Financially, professionally, and personally, we are worse off. Imagine, then, the disappointment I felt when finding out that I have a condition that limits my chances and abilities to conceive. All those years of saying, “Not yet, not yet, just one more step forward and I’ll be ready!” only to find out that I’m only ready when Heavenly Father and Mother Earth deem me worthy. It crushes my soul to think that I couldn’t have a baby, and I’m still “not ready”. To conclude my story: I have never experienced a time of despair as I have these last months for so many reasons. For the life of rewards I thought I’d earned. For the loneliness and uselessness I feel for not being able to contribute to my family the way I felt I was born to.

People keep telling me, “God has a plan for you.” As if I blame God. I am versed enough in the spiritual world to not shake my fist at God at a time like this. I know, for whatever reason, my Heavenly Father and Mother will give me trials and I just have faith that they come with rewards. All I can hope for is to keep living.

I realized just the other day that I am not “baby hungry” as most women have described their own need to have children. I got choked up when watching a pair of proud parents watch their high school age daughter in a play because I longed for that too. I don’t just long for a baby to give birth to, carry, feed, and coo at. I long for the chance to raise children, watch them grow, take pride in their accomplishments, empathize with their trials, and need me as I have always needed my mother. 

If you are a mother, go home and hug your children one long time just for me. Happy Mother’s Day

Good news in a sea of worries.

Why does it seem when money is tight, work is scarce, things are at their worse, everything seems to fall apart at once? That is what it has been like these last few months. My husband is making the bare minimum in monthly income at his job anyway, but then the insurance kicked in and his paychecks where almost cut in half. We have been living with my parents to get our feet on the ground, but the outlook has been bleak. On top of everything, the insurance is claiming they won’t cover all the doctor’s visits and lab tests done on me recently due to  a “pre-existing condition”. That leaves us with a $1000+ bill that we couldn’t possibly pay. We will be fighting with the insurance company for sure, but it is definitely added stress we don’t need.

Needless to say, both my husband and I have been bad company during these depressing times. With all of these worries going on, it was a bright shining ray of hope when I got the test results back from the blood work taken at the Fertility Clinic. My premature ovarian failure is NOT a chromosomal condition, which is amazingly good news! It means that my condition was not caused by fragile X syndrome or other genetic abnormalities. So, if I was to ever try to get pregnant, I could use my own eggs. There is still a smaller chance of getting pregnant on my own, but if I stick to the hormone therapy that was prescribed to me by my doctor, I at least have a plan of action.

Now,the next obstacle is getting all those other problems turned around. Finding work, a place to live, and hopefully the rest will follow.

My kids

Yesterday was an unusually warm day for mid-March. I took the kindergarteners outside for a break. It is a shame that our days are usually so rushed and busy that we don’t get time to enjoy the outdoors and each other’s company for 15 minutes. I took so much pleasure in running around with them, chasing them, sliding down slides, and climbing on the rock wall. They gave me strange looks at first, but it made them laugh to see me playing like a kid. They are my kids.

Several years ago I started working for a company and met Amanda, my supervisor, who was 8 mos pregnant at the time. She relayed to me how many months it took her and her husband to conceive and how the pressure and disappointment was taking a toll on her. She hated to go to church because seeing all the young families and their new babies made her heart ache too much. I have often heard other women tell of the moment when “baby fever” hits them like a ton of bricks and they can think of nothing else.  It was actually frightening to think of it, and I vowed it would never happen to me. (Yeah, like being ‘twitterpated’ never happened to Bambi).

I have always consistently kept in the back of my mind the possibility that I may never have children of my own. I have always been careful in talking to people to say, “If I ever have children” rather than, “When I have children.” I do this as a protection for myself against failure and disappointment. I don’t want to put my husband through the pain and stress that some marriages go through as a result of infertility.  My husband and I would dream of a life without responsibility or dependency, a dual income family with the freedom to spend their lives traveling, saving money, and never know what it’s like to struggle financially or have to ‘find a babysitter’ so we can go out.

Still, I could not help but hurt inside this morning when I was driving to work and saw a school bus stopped to pick up a group of waiting children. I thought of how I would miss out on taking my child by the hand on their first day of Kindergarten and kissing them goodbye.

In the Beginning

I’ve started this blog to document my journey to becoming (or possibly accepting never becoming) a mother. No doubt my journey is different but parallel to my husband’s, but this blog will document my own thoughts and feelings along the way.Beginning of March: I went to see an OBGYN that was recommended by my mom. When I first showed up it seemed like a very nice facility, but it was also very busy. As I waited for my name to be called I was getting anxious. The room seemed like an assembly line for pregnant women. The front desk is set up to look like a row of bank tellers and there is a line of women with all sizes of bumps. The waiting room had not an empty seat as expecting couples buzzed around me. I was alone with my thoughts. I had taken a pregnancy test a few months earlier just to rule out the possibility for the cause of my non-existent periods. No such luck. But, as I sat there I couldn’t help but wonder if that day I would find out some wonderfully surprising news.

The nurse practitioner I saw that day ordered me to have blood drawn at the lab on Monday to test for several different hormonal imbalances that may be causing my problems. No periods, severe skin irritations on my face, mood swings, and nausea are just a few things on my list of complaints. They tested for Thyroid problems and a few other levels. I was to wait a week before the test results came in.
On that Friday, my father-in-law went in for emergency surgery. I was in the hospital for 11 hours that day waiting with my husband and mother-in-law and giving my support. THAT was the day I got the call from my test results. I stepped into the hall to take the call from Jessica, the nurse practitioner I had seen. She first asked me, “Do you have any kids?” and I quickly answered, “No.” uh oh.
“I’ve got your test results, and they are rather shocking.” I froze.
“It seems that your ??? levels are rather high, and that is normally something we see with a woman going through menopause.”
“Oh God.” I took in a breath. “What does this mean?”
She replied, “Well, I want to have you tested again, but if this is the case, you may not be able to get pregnant on your own.”
I started to cry right there in the hall, on the phone. I told her that I wanted to get the tests redone, but that if it IS what she thinks, I want to get it resolved and move foreword as soon as possible.

It is now St. Patrick’s Day. I teach Kindergarten and every day has been a struggle to get through. I rely on my husband to cheer me up and he has been an absolute shining beacon for me. I have an appointment with a fertility clinic at the end of March to discuss what my options are. When I started all of this, I wasn’t ready for children. Now, if I have the chance I will do everything I can to get the process going. For, now I’m keeping busy and trying not to think about it.
Even now, the mention of babies or children gets me teary eyed. I may have to accept living my life without raising children. I haven’t lost hope yet.

A little history: I was told several years ago by my OBGYN that because of my irregular menstrual cycles (no I will not be discussing this in great detail), I would have a harder time getting pregnant should I want to. My husband and I were far from thinking about that at the time since I was finishing school and he had yet to begin any secondary education. After I graduated college I chose to go on implant contraception (Implanon) because I was going to be working to support my husband through his schooling for the next 2 years.
My husband and I have always known children would be in our future, but we both agreed that it was best to wait until we had made a stable, established household first. I am an avid listener of Dr. Laura and my personal beliefs about child rearing is that I wanted to be home raising them during their formative years. So that meant my husband needed to be making enough income to support a family.
Well, to wrap it up: My husband finished school 1 year early and I was not happy with the hormonal changes happening to me during the year I had the implanon in my arm. I made the choice then to take it out in July 2009 and use other forms of birth control when necessary (also, not going into detail. Sorry). It has been 9 mos. since I have had even a hint of a menstrual cycle. This is where my story begins.