Thursday, August 4, 2016

It's Really Happening!

(I promise the last post will be the only "Czech" themed post title!)

In my last post I said we were going to wait until the meds made it in the mail before we started our cycle, but it turns out that is completely unnecessary.  One of the few upsides of my short TWW is that I didn't have to take the Progesterone or Estrogen for very long and it turns out that I have a ton of the stuff all still in my medicine cabinet. They of course don't have expiration dates listed on the bottles, but I was able to tell the issue dates based on which pharmacy we used for each cycle and checked with Dr. M who said they're good to use.  This means, we won't need to wait for meds to ship!

I received our tentative dates from our clinic rep yesterday:

ER 9/29
ET 10/4

We would like to be there the day before ER so we have time to settle in, and we decided to add a few extra days on the end just in case ER is pushed back a day or 2.

Flights are booked and they cost a pretty penny - certainly more than we budgeted for, but that's because Mr R isn't super keen on flying into Istanbul and hanging around in the airport for 12 hours given all that's going on there right now.  So instead we're going through Germany which is almost double the price. We leave Texas 7/27 and we leave Prague on 10/7.

This will cramp our style a little as far as spending money and accommodation, but luckily we found an awesome little studio apartment a little outside of the city center, but close enough to get there in under 5 minutes, while still just a short trip away from the clinic.  On AirBnB it looks really bright and clean and homey and we're planning on trying to save a bit of spending money by taking care of most of our meals at home (there's a grocery store right next to the apartment).  The apartment is costing us less than $300 for our whole stay which is better than the hotel prices we were seeing - even our rep was impressed that we found this great little place.

So that's flights and accommodation paid for and added to the calendar, in pen.  We're actually doing this people!!  This will be my first time flying with my USA passport, and it's actually a weird feeling.  When flying with my original passport we couldn't go anywhere without first applying for a visa, and having chest x-rays and blood tests and providing bank statements and letters from employers, etc before we could even book a flight.  This makes me uneasy though.  I feel like they'll have some extra thing I need to do that I haven't taken care of.  (My sweet Texas in laws wanted to know if we needed shots and malaria pills before we go. haha  Trying to explain that Prague is not in the Amazon jungle, or the Congo. We're going to Europe!)

The downside of the length of our stay is that with his new job, Mr R isn't due paid vacation until June 2017 but his boss has been forewarned about our plans from his very first day and has always said, "That's family man.  You go take care of your family." So when Mr R gave him dates this morning and he replied the same way we felt a bit of relief, until we realized that this means 2 weeks without pay.  Two weeks of medical insurance and child support payments that will come out of pocket, in addition to the monthly bills which will be due during that time.  So the plan for now is to seriously pull some overtime and really kick into saving overdrive over the next 6 weeks so that we are able to try and get ahead of our bills before we leave.

Mr R is still very keen to have some insurance cover for our trip.  In all my years backpacking in Europe I never had insurance, but I can see that it's the smart thing to do.  When I booked our tickets there was an optional insurance upgrade offered and I added it to the order.  Unfortunately for some reason there was an error with the order, and I had to call support and have them manually push it through, but they were not able to do anything about the insurance and recommended that I call Allianz directly.

Here's a tip to anyone reading this who may be planning a similar trip... when calling a travel insurance company, and they ask you the purpose of your trip do NOT say IVF, or in fact mention "medical" at all, unless you know for a fact that this is not an exemption in your state.

The agent asked sweetly, "Where are you going sweetie (ugh)? Prague? Wow!  What are your plans? IVF? Uh-huh.  What state did you say you were in? Texas? Okay give me one second to pull this up..."  Nothing sounded wrong, I patiently waited.

"Sweetie are you there?  Uh-huh, okay I'm sorry honey but we cannot extend you cover for this trip.  In Texas we have exemptions for any medical or fertility travel".

And that was that.

She didn't even know my name!  (Yes, I know I can call back and this time say I am going for a sightseeing trip, and I've thought about doing that, but it feels like I'd be tempting fate.  What if we really do need to use it and we're excluded because they find out what we were doing there? We're still thinking about what to do here.)

Another thing I didn't factor in is care of our animals.  We have 3 dogs, 3 cats, 4 goats, and 6 chickens and they're a lot of work.  Too many animals to board (even in Texas goat boarding is not a "thing") so we need to find a niece/nephew/cousin/uncle who might be willing to stay in our home while we're gone.   We're thinking about selling the goats though - they are a LOT of work to ask someone to handle, even just for 10 days.

Today's little drama was the one thing I thought I had handled.  (Despite the forewarning of Aramis in her Czech experience). My rep simply advised me to get single-phase contraception pills (the kind where all the pills are the same color and you don't take any placebos) but didn't mention Noresthiserone, so I figured that they had learned about issues getting that specific pill in the US and Canada and were prescribing something different.  I've seen these before back at home.  My mom said "Oh, the mini-pill.  I took those on my honeymoon".  The rep even gave me some Czech brand names for compsrison.  This would be a piece of cake - or so I thought.

My Old RE said, "No way. You're not our patient.  We will not prescribe anything for you."

My OB has been stripped of his license, and I only meet the new one on the 17th, but need to start these on the 13th. That won't work.

My GP's nurse said she didn't think it would be a problem, but I'd need an updated pap first.  They squeezed me in for an appointment this morning and I arrived armed with all my IVF records showing my last pap in 2014.  No pap needed.  Yay!  But there was still an issue...

My (older) GP has never heard of this pill.  He doesn't know what single-phase even means.  He looked up the Czech brand names and came in declaring that those brands weren't available in the USA - no shit!  Just as I was about to walk out in defeat I remembered that my old RE clinic used to put me on Kurvelo BCPs, but advised me to skip the placebos and go straight into the new pack on day 22.  I asked for a Kurvelo script and came home to email my clinic rep to see if these will work.  I am waiting to hear back on that after she speaks with Dr M.  Hopefully I will have an email waiting for me in the morning. *fingers crossed!*

So that brings us up to date!  I am still spinning more from excitement and fear than anything at this point.  In 54 days we will be boarding our flight to Prague and it all still feels unreal!

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