I am in a weird dilemma today.  I’m going to preface this with a little bit of explanation of the differences in character between Pea and I.

I am a researcher, planner, and detail-obsessed micromanager.  Pea is very nearly the opposite: he’s not detail-oriented, and does not like to have to work to find out specifics.  He’s brutal with paperwork and follow-through (I mail everything that comes out of our house, or it languishes on the counter for all time).  Pea budgets “by feel”, I know exactly where every cent I own is at all times (partially a product of being very poor for essentially my whole adult life, partially the natural product of the qualities listed above).  As a result, I often find myself wanting to know more information about Pea’s side of things than he actually knows to tell me, and it takes some delicate but firm prodding to get him to go and find that information, which sometimes does not succeed. 

This has come up a few times as we began navigating the US health care system, as I examined every plan available to me with an eye for infertility (knowing, even months before stopping birth control, that this was going to be a problem).  My coverage, as I said yesterday, is quite good.  It doesn’t cover IVF at all, or any costs for injectable drugs (including trigger shots), but it’s definitely going to make these next three cycles pretty affordable.  Pea signed up for his health care when he started his new job in August, well into our understanding that infertility was very likely to be a significant hurdle, but before I started any treatments.  He never shared any of the different plan options with me, and (as far as I could tell) randomly selected a high-coverage EPO, where nearly everything is 100% covered as long as you are within your network of providers, and is 100% NOT covered if you are outside network.  I’ve asked him MANY times what his infertility coverage is.  MANY times over the past several months, since August when he picked the plan.  He’s been his usual fuzzy self about looking into it, saying “they were all about the same for fertility, so I’m sure it’s like the others”.  Helpful only where I know what the ‘others’ are.

I haven’t pushed this, because I’M the infertile, so MY insurance is what matters.  I’m not on Pea’s insurance, as we’re not married, and we discussed it and decided it wasn’t worth the extra money each month given I have relatively good insurance.

Those were the assumptions I was working under.  We need to check this, but I think I’m wrong.  If Pea’s only chance to procreate with his chosen partner is through infertility treatments, then we think his insurance will apply.

So.  On to yesterday.

I came home to a conversation with Pea where he had finally read his infertility coverage information, because he has to go have his blood work done today.

He is 100% covered for infertility services, including surgeries, IVF, ICSI, and anything else you could think of, up to a lifetime maximum of $20,000.

It has to be in network, or it’s 0% covered.  The fertility clinic we are currently working with is not in his network.

I have not yet looked to see if any of the other clinics I researched who are in my network are also in his, because if they are, I’m going to be really mad at Pea.

For now, given the comparatively low cost of the letrozole cycles and my potential extended mat-leave if we conceive SOON, we’re going to stick with our current clinic and our current plan, and not use his coverage.  If we successfully conceive, all to the good.  If we don’t…  well, I still don’t know. IVF is the next step, and this would mean we have what amounts to a free IVF cycle in our back pocket (my current clinic has a $9,900 one-IVF package deal, plus stim drug costs, so I think that should be competitive across clinics).

I don’t know how I feel about IVF at all, but free IVF is at least less insulting.  I don’t know how I feel about having to switch clinics, and if I can possibly blame that hassle and delay on Pea given we’re only at a clinic because of me.  I’m tired of being the financial and reproductive dead-weight in this relationship, but attempting to compensate for that by taking on more of the cleaning and all of the organizing is just making me angry and contributing to his learned helplessness.  

I’m grumpy, and still out of sorts from the glucose tolerance test this morning, and so I would like to say that I do recognize this is good news.  Changing clinics will hopefully not be that big a deal, our current tests should carry over, and, more importantly, we’re not there yet.  


2 thoughts on “imbalances

  1. Turia

    Well, I’m obviously not coming at it from your perspective, but I looked at that post and my first thought was HOLY SHIT! A FREE IVF!!!!

    Ahem. Still obviously hoping you won’t NEED said IVF, but that is a great thing to have in your back pocket.

    I don’t think your doctors will be offended if you switch clinics- I bet they deal with this sort of network problem all the time. And I bet it can be done relatively smoothly with referrals. The one thing I would suggest is maybe check to see the wait times at the other clinics, as you don’t want a situation where you languish for six months waiting to get in at the other place.

    Honestly, I would be PISSED at Pea. Knowing as you do that timing is an issue, especially for your mat leave, it would have driven me mental to have him not know the most basic of details of his insurance coverage. I would have thought a clear answer on this would have been necessary before you went to a clinic (but then again it would never have occurred to me that you might not be covered on his insurance, given you are common law- ah the U.S.).

    I also think you need to deal with your own guilt/sense of responsibility for being the infertile one- you don’t need to take on more cleaning or something as atonement. Pea didn’t want to date you because of your ovaries. He doesn’t want to share his life with you because of your uterus. He wants YOU- for better or for worse, wonky hormones and ovaries and all. I once told Q. (this was possibly around the time of the IUI/IVF conversion cycle) that I would be ok with it if he wanted to divorce me to go find someone more fertile. He was genuinely horrified that I would even suggest it, and more than a little offended that I thought this might actually be something he would go for. The thing is, I knew he wouldn’t even consider it, but I said it because I felt guilty. It’s not right for us to take it out on them because we feel guilty that we can’t do this most basic of biological functions. They love us, even with all of our foibles (honestly, infertility is probably nothing on a day to day level with our insane need for punctuality).

    I have no assvice on the financial thing except to say that Q. has never made me feel that I am the financial deadweight even though he has massively outearned me since we left Oz, and is likely to continue to do so for the rest of our working lives. I think Pea feels the same way. I think (again) this sense of responsibility/guilt/not keeping up your end of the bargain is entirely in your head. Pea probably thinks things like “I should spend more money on labmonkey”. I know it has been an issue for you for a while and is compounded by living in such an ultra expensive city. But I think you really need to make your peace with it, because it’s likely to be an issue that will continue, and if it continues to be so difficult for you to cope with it, eventually it’s going to turn into a relationship problem and not just your own issues/insecurities/pride. And when child(ren) enter into things, that’s going to be even more difficult. I think at some point a great merging of your finances is going to make sense.


    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      Turia, I know! On most of those counts, actually, but mostly the HOLY SHIT FREE IVF! response. Except that it is also scary, since it makes the decision much much easier, but also much more heavily weighted towards trying IVF (if if if we need to). My internal response was actually a dead heat between “HOLY CRAP THAT’S AMAZING” and “YOU’RE TELLING ME THIS NOW???????” and “AAAAAAAAAHHHHH fingers in ears LA LA LA LA LA”. I’m pissed at Pea. I’m going to have to figure out on the subway home how to have that conversation with him without me straight-up picking a fight when I walk in the door. I was mad last night but also exhausted (late game) and had to get up early for the blood work, so I just left it be.

      We do need to check out the conditions of his coverage, as we are not common-law in the States (filling out that paperwork is akin to getting married, legally, and that will eff up my visa restrictions in the same way that marriage would)…. but I think it stands to reason that if he is the insured, then he can procreate via ART with whomever he wishes. I had just never even considered his insurance when setting up these earlier stages. I think wait times are not an issue, but I will check into it: that is helpful, thanks. (Wait times for everything are super short here because of the insurance shenanigans: most people are not well covered, so emerg. rooms and specialists are relatively empty compared to Canuckia).

      If/when we get married, or if/when we have a kid (whichever comes first), our finances will merge for the most part. Probably we will keep a slightly larger version of your and Q’s ents on the side. Probably I will be in charge of the finances (or my brain and our relationship will explode).

      I know in my head that my lack of moneys and lack of eggs is not something that particularly bothers Pea. We have talked about me feeling guilty and sad in regards to infertility, and he is his usual loving and wonderful self about it. The cleaning is a separate issue, actually, though tied to income, and the fact that I threw it in there clues me in to how likely it is I am going to pick a fight when I get home. Angry Labmonk piles damning evidence on unsuspecting and undeserving Pea. Pea hates cleaning bathrooms, and so do I, but while he is interested in getting a cleaning person to deal with it instead of us having to, I am moderately horrified by the idea. I can’t afford a cleaning lady. It would be embarrassing to have a cleaning lady as a post-doc. WE can afford a cleaning lady, no sweat… so it’s all part and parcel, but it means the reason I clean the bathrooms every. single. time. is that if Pea had his way, no one in our household would clean the bathrooms. Ah pride.

      So really, I need to be less stubborn and more gracious when Pea wants to take care of me. Also, Pea needs to join me in the fertility trenches a little more actively… which will probably mean me ceding some control on that side too.


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