Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Ministerial response

I received a call back from the Minister for Health's office this afternoon about our situation with the public IVF clinic. The clinic repeated their claim that they sent a letter to my doctor, which I wasn't impressed with. However the ministers office have arranged it so that, both Murray and I need to get new referrals from our GP, but rather than going to the back of the waiting list, we will be guaranteed to be seen within the next six months! We need to ensure that we reference the ministers office and this arrangement on the referral, but this is great news!

So by July, we will be on the fertility treatment bandwagon again. To be honest we have tried nearly all the options available to us. We have done ovarian drilling, IVM, IVF, Donor IVF, Donor IUI, FET, Donor FET, the works. The only thing we haven't really tried is PGD which is prohibitively expensive and I'm doubtful is covered at the public clinic. Admittedly I am in much better health now than I was during many of these attempts which is encouraging.

We are unsure what we will do in terms of the donor situation. We still have our known donor friend who I'm sure would be happy to assist us, but I believe all of the samples have been used so we would need new samples, more waiting periods, and it all starts getting too much again. We may go back to the donor sperm we planned to use initially from the sperm bank at our fertility clinic, but who knows if that is still available. I'm also open to doing more donor embryo transfers if they become available, however considering we have the option of doing full IVF again, I feel the need to give that a try.

I would also like the clinic to do a full rundown on Murray's sperm before we go down the donor path again. I know the odds are against us, but things may have changed since the last SCSA test, and perhaps his motility and DNA fragmentation issues have improved. I can't help but think that the only time we have been properly pregnant, not chemical pregnancies, but really pregnant, it used his sperm. We've had 2 Donor IUI's and 2 donor embryo transfers, none of which worked (0/4=0%) compared to 1/6 = 17% with Murray's sample. I don't know. I know we likely still need donor, but if the tests are at our disposal, I'd really like to check it first anyway.

So good news all round right now. Trying not to get too used to it, you never know when the next bomb will drop. But so far the adoption and IVF processes are on track. We've just got to keep plodding on.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Security checks submitted

We have completed two out of our three adoption tasks in this past week. Firstly we needed to provide a traffic infringement check from the police showing our driving record for the past five years. I have a clean sheet (yay!) while Murray had a couple of minor speeding fines from speed cameras (less than 9 km each time). I can't see either of those being an issue.

Today we went past our local DCP office and had all of our identification certified and our security check request witnessed. Basically it's like getting a police clearance, but it goes into much greater detail. They were both submitted this afternoon, so hopefully they should come back to the Adoption office in the next month or so.

The last thing on our to-do list is to complete our medical reports. Murray and I have both been in for our initial appointments and I am just waiting for my blood test results for my cholesterol. Murray's cholesterol has come back in the borderline high category (5.7, 5.2 apparently is normal). Considering our history with medical reports causing us to be rejected in the past, the doctor has recommended that he go away for 6 weeks and try his best to eat very healthy and stay away from animal fats, to try and reduce the levels. Then he will repeat the blood test again to hopefully get a better result. I get my results back on Saturday, and have had high cholesterol in the past as well, so I'm thinking that I will need to do the same thing too. In saying that, I had my cholesterol tested in November as part of a free check up at work, and it had dropped from being in the 6+ range to 5.7, so we shall see what I end up with!

Once the medical reports are submitted, we just need to wait for an assessor (social worker) to be assigned to us to start the interview process!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Opening our hearts

Finding out that we had been taken off of the public IVF waiting list squashed the life out of me last week. I barely got through each day at work, and each night I felt hopeless. More than a few tears were shed in the shower and in the dark of night.

The saying goes that as one door closes, a window opens. Well we had to find that window, that ray of hope that would keep us going. So after much prayer and talking, we have decided to reapply for local adoption.

It's a big step for us. The last time we went down this path, we were messed around so much - medical reports that weren't sent through to the panel, a rogue doctor who wouldn't recommend Murray as a suitable parent, and then the kicker - my weight being over their BMI limit, which ultimately caused the panel to reject our application before we even had our final assessment.

This time I think we are in a different place. While we will still likely pursue fertility treatments in the future, my experiences with my nieces and nephews leave me with no doubt that I could parent a child that was not born from me. We are also in a break from treatment, whereas before we were still doing IVF throughout the process. And of course the ultimate factor, my weight loss has enabled us to become eligible again, with my BMI currently around 32 and dropping every day.

So what does this mean for us? I spoke to DCP who look after adoptions in WA, and as we have already attending all of the workshops and training, we do not have to repeat that, and they also have our references on file so it looks like we wont have to repeat those either. We went to our GP yesterday to start the medical report process again, and now just need some blood tests to finish that off. Also we need to get a special police clearance which the department do, which goes over and above a normal police clearance. And finally a traffic infringement check from the police to make sure we aren't serially drink-drivers or speed or anything else naughty like that! We both got our traffic infringement checks done today so that is one thing to tick off the list!

We are sending through all of our documentation as we go along so that things can be done in the quickest way possible. I want to be alerted at the earliest possible opportunity for any issues that may crop up. I'm so used to disaster in everything we do, that I'd rather just know about it straight away, than get my hopes up about everything running smoothly, if that makes sense.

Once all of those documents have been submitted, the medical reports will go to an Adoption Medical Panel for review and they make the decision as to whether we are 'fit to adopt' from a physical point of view. The next panel meets in mid-February so hopefully by the end of February we will have a decision. After that decision, we will be assigned an assessor and begin a minimum of 6 interviews in our house to go over everything - how we were brought up, our family tree, how we intend on parenting, if our house is up to scratch etc. I'm not thinking too far ahead to this just yet - I just want to focus on what we are doing right now.

So yes. Certainly a change of pace for us, but we really feel God's hand in this. I read a bible verse which I hadn't come across before, and I felt like a promise that I couldn't ignore.
He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the LORD! - Psalms 113:9
I don't care how our child comes into our lives. I just know that they will come, one day.

PS - I spoke to a health liaison officer in Dr Kim Hames (WA Deputy Premier/Minister for Health) office today about the situation with the IVF waiting list. They are going to contact the hospital and try and get us reinstated. I don't know if it will happen, but I am glad to at least have someone fighting for us. Regardless of whether we get reinstated or not, we are very happy to be back on the adoption track.

Friday, 11 January 2013

The clinics response

I'm utterly miserable today. I got a call this morning from the public IVF clinic who told me that the reason my referral was cancelled was that at the time of the referral my BMI was 40. Apparently their rules dictate that just to get ON the waiting list, you need to have a BMI of less than 35. So you can't be on the waiting list and lose weight so that you meet the weight limit while you wait the 18 month or so until your first appointment. No, you have to meet an arbitrary weight limit before you get even close to a first doctor's appointment.
I asked how they advised people of this, and supposedly the referring GP would have received a letter back with that information – which of course we have never received or been told about by our doctor. I have booked an appointment for tomorrow morning to see my GP. The clinic said that the only way we could be reinstated on the waiting list (and reinstated to our second referral date of July 2012- thank goodness my fertility doctor insisted on writing a second referral), is if my GP writes a letter to say that I met the BMI limit at that point, because they never re-checked my weight on receiving the second referral (they just assumed I would still be over – great work guys). The problem of course, for those who have followed my weight loss journey, is that I was still over the 35 BMI then. So in essence, my doctor will have to lie if I am to have any chance of being reinstated to the list, regardless of the fact that I am now well under the BMI limit.
I can't see why they have this policy in place. I am supportive of a policy that says we will not pursue fertility treatment if the patient is over a BMI of 35 – the literature says that success rates decline after this point. Even though I have struggled with my weight, I really do understand this, especially in a public health context where we are not paying for the service. But to force people to lose the weight, which is often a long drawn out difficult process, before you can even get onto a waiting list which could take two years, well I just don't get that. After all, you could have a BMI of 35 at the time of the waiting list, and in the time between put weight on, but who would ever know? I could have lied and said I was under the BMI when they asked at the time, after all they didn't weigh me, it was just a phone conversation from the booking coordinator.
I am so angry and upset and flabbergasted. That the policy is in place, that we were not told at the time, that we had to find out after being so excited that this would be the year we could start trying again. I'm sitting at work trying to hold back the tears. I have worked so hard and made a really difficult decision to have surgery to help me lose this weight, the primary reason being that it would help us have a baby. Yet none of that matters right now, because of stupid rules that don't benefit anyone. 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Waiting list disaster

We've been looking after two of my little nieces for the last week and a half which has been a blast. Charlotte is 4 and Lilly is 3, and they are just so precious.

Blowing bubbles was a great time-wasting activity

The girls enjoying Murray's Dads bird aviary

They went to stay at their Grandma's from today, which is good for them as they will be with their other brother and sister, but still quite sad for us to see them go. Spending ten days with two princesses is definitely a learning curve - toilet training, making dinners that the girls like, bedtime routines, doing their hair dozens of times a day (they loved me playing with their hair so they kept pulling out to make me keep going!). Overall it was a very rewarding experience.

Between having the girls here and one of my best friends falling pregnant recently, we have started thinking about fertility treatment again, and so today I called the department of health to follow up on where we were on the waiting list for the public IVF clinic. After going through four different people, I managed to speak to the person who looks after the referrals and appointments. My referral was placed on 11th October 2011. Except that when she looked up the referral it says 'Final-Complete'. I asked her what that meant and she said that our referral was finished, it had been marked complete which meant we were no longer on the waiting list!!!!

I was in complete shock and just started quietly crying. The woman on the phone was the 'patient flow coordinator', and she basically said that someone must have marked it complete for some reason, but she doesn't know why, and she would have to get someone to look at my file but she couldn't do it today because she was busy. I hung up and went straight into the ladies bathrooms and cried.

I can't even process that we may be going to the back of the queue because of this. I just can't. It would be like admitting defeat for me. I am going to call the clinic back tomorrow afternoon to see if they have looked at my file. It's unbearable knowing that this mistake could cost us another 18 months. Fingers crossed that tomorrow we get some good news.