Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Kindness of Others and Making Sacrifices (LONG POST)

iIt took me a while to figure out what I wanted to title this blog post.. Soo many things went through my head... I thought about "the kindness of strangers" but that didn't seem to fit and you will understand why in a bit (hang in there).. OK so as you all know we are saving towards our last IVF cycle (gosh, I still get sad writing that, because I really hope it's just our last fresh cycle and not THE END, if we weren't able to achieve a pregnancy with this fresh) and it's going to run around $14,000 (PLUS MEDS) to cover everything for us and our surrogate.. Well we pretty much save every extra penny we get to our IVF savings account and live like we have no money. It was hard at first, but now we are used to it and it's the norm. Yes we still have cable and internet, but the last time I got a new pair of sneakers was in 2003 and anything I am looking for for our house or yard stuff I always check resale, thrift and garage sales before getting it new (something I haven't done in years) and I never met a coupon I didn't like, people are always commenting on how organized my coupons are when I am at the store.. I'm talking a BINDER here people, not you're Grandma's little coupon keeper, but I digress  because I'm getting sidetracked.. Anywho...

I do all this so we take advantage of every free dime we can, so it can be rerouted to "baby dream fund".. Even with doing that, it is still going to take our property tax refund and EVERYTHING we have in savings, plus a small loan (for a month or two until our income tax return gets processed) to reach our $14,000 goal. Knowing this I asked some girls that I have been on IF forums with that were currently cycling or just finished cycling or about to cycle about their leftover meds so I didn't have to pay full price at the pharmacy. Most times when you cycle, your Dr will prescribe much more than is needed because they have to make sure you are not going to run short. The response I received was overwhelming... I was able to get 2 important meds from one girl and including shipping, it didn't cost me as much as a nice dinner out would have, in fact it cost me less than me taking the family to McDonald's would and that was after I said it was the least I could do! She has walked this IF path and while her story may be finished, she was willing to help me continue mine and all she really wants is pictures of my baby if we have success (I know, the KINDNESS RIGHT!?!) Another girl Chelsea offered me her leftovers as a donation. I burst in to tears reading her message to me. You see, she has been there through my ups and downs and me through hers (Right now she is in her 2ww after having probably the BEST cycle on record anywhere! Read her story when you get a chance, it's pretty awesome.) and she knows just much this costs and what is at stake for me and I was so overwhelmed at her generosity that I wanted to share all the good news with my followers.. The magnitude of these girls gift to me is immeasurable. This is essentially saving us from having to spend an addition 4-5 THOUSAND DOLLARS on the stimulation medication for me, which is the most expensive part medication-wise. I am feeling so HOPEFUL and BLESSED right now.. I feel like God is telling me to hang in there and that I am not "down for the count" just yet, so I have to keep fighting. So this was a huge part of the amazing stuff I was talking about that had been happening in my life.. 

The other parts you ask? Well, we sold our main car. Both of our cars actually.. Hubby's car was a recent cheap purchase that he thought he could fix, but he ran out of ideas on what was going on with it and we were able to sell it to someone who was confident he could fix it, so we broke even. This left us down to one vehicle. Not too big of a deal since I am home, but in the event of an emergency I would be no help to anyone stranded.. So we got to talking and decided to sell our main vehicle and DOWNGRADE so we could keep the leftover equity in our 2006. Now, you may not think that is a big deal but if you don't ever go anywhere in your car, it tends to have low miles on it and if you have never wrecked it or let anyone dirty the interior, it's kind of a big deal when you go to resell. So with what we had started saving in our baby dream account we took that and the money from hubby's car and bought him a 2001 5-speed vehicle. So far so good. We emptied the fund BUT knew that if we could find me something decent for no more than $2K we would still be ahead. So we hit craigs.list and searched for me the perfect vehicle. After much calling and looking Friday we drove 1.5hrs to look at a van we decided would suit our needs. For one, it seats seven and we are already at 4 (even though the teens have one foot out the door) but also when I have to do these trips out of town for my IVF cycles, it sure is nicer to be able to stretch out and have room for all the bags too. And you know what else? It's a Honda and they hold their value pretty well. Now I know some of you are thinking "dude a van gets terrible gas mileage!" NOOOPE. Not a 1996 or 1997 Honda Odyssey. They are the only ones that were made with a 4 CYLINDER engine, which means the same gas mileage as a small car, but with more seating room.. (YAY ME!) So after a few test drives and some skilled negotiation we were able to talk the guy down to $2K for the van (SCORE!) and aside from some fading paint on the hood and roof (an easy fix) there is NOTHING WRONG WITH IT! So we are $3,000 ahead in our savings goal and getting closer to the savings finish line each week. I am already loving my van and what it represents.. Hope of one day having a carseat (or two) behind me and the determination to do what needs to be done to make our dreams a reality. So that's all for now, til next time!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sharing is Caring (Seven Things Share!)

A cool blogger that found my blog nominated me for the seven things share since she wanted to learn more about me (I thought I was an open book! :-D) TeamPancakes So here are my seven things:

  1. My sweet husband is a FOOT taller than me, so I stand on stools when we have pictures taken
  2. I have an incredible memory, not as good as the chick in the new show "Unforgettable" but kinda scary good nonetheless
  3. I am LEFT HANDED everything except hitting a baseball. I was raised with righties so that's what I learned.
  4. I am an artist by hobby. I can draw whatever I can see.
  5. I am deathly afraid of spiders and snakes. I have been known to run from crickets and grasshoppers as well.
  6. I LOVE to cook. People often come to my house to eat or have me make things for their parties. 
  7. I have been an EGG DONOR THREE TIMES and two of the couples have babies and the last is due soon, but my IVF has not been successful for our family....(YET)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's Officially Decided...

After much talking with hubby, we have decided we are going to work with our original clinic again (yes, with the coordinator that I hate!) I know, I know but hear me out. Hubby made some excellent points to me and my surro did as well. This clinic has gotten ALL THE GIRLS I SHARED EGGS WITH PREGNANT WHEN THEY DID FRESH CYCLES. We have never done a fresh cycle because the timing has never been right for the surro side. This time will be different, everything is being based off MY schedule so a fresh cycle it is! Also, since my friend has been there before her records and her hubbys records are already there, so it's not like we all have to start from scratch we all have a history there. Also from our last two cycles, dh has like a eleventy trillion vial stash stored there, because each time we went he had to do a freeze all due to FDA testing and the clinic never discards them (ok eleventy trillion is an exaggeration, he has like 12 vials) so NO TESTING FOR HIM! That will save us about $1,000 alone.. We know what to expect from this place (nasty attitudes and all!) and they are really affordable compared to most clinics in my area, even with traveling! including travel we will probably still spend less then a full cycle would cost here before travel so still saving about $1k-$2k total overall..

So expect to hear lots of bitching and moaning from me once things get started. I am making some calls tomorrow to see what are the immediate things they need so we can start our tentative plan towards a cycle.. I still need to save but this past weekend we made some really great decisions and we freed up a nice bit of cash so we are probably 1/3 of the way to our goal! Also, some really amazing things have happened and are happening for me that I will blog about later in the week..

Suffice it to say i am a very happy girl!~

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I have been meaning to say this for some time...

THANK YOU!!! To all of you who read my ramblings and all of you who have walked this walk and have come out the other side or are still waiting on your miracle, because you give me hope to press on, to all of you surrogates out there that help us make miracles and to all of my supporters and commenters (and lurkers!) and especially my new "friends!" I love you all and am so thankful for you. You help me through the hard times and even make me laugh when I need it the most. I just wanted to take a moment to tell you all that you are awesome and I know it, in case you didn't think I was paying attention... OK off to bed now.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

OK and then there were THREE again..

So new clinic is a bust.. For one, the girl didn't seemed too pressed to give me any info and talked to me like I was an idiot.. So that left a bad taste in my mouth from jump.. Convo went something like this:

Me: Hi (insert rude girls name) I was calling to get more information on a doing an IVF cycle with a surrogate at your clinic. I reviewed the info on your website but it doesn't say what the $9,000.00 covers for the surrogate cycle.

Her: You have to find your own surrogate it doesn't include that.

Me: Umm, I know that, we already have a surrogate. I want to know what the $9,000.00 covers.

Her: The cycle... *enter crickets chirping*

Me: What.Parts.of.the.cycle.??

Her: Well it doesn't cover compensation to the surrogate ma'am. It covers the cycle.

Me: OK look can you tell me if it includes the monitoring, if so for who, and each thing that would be covered.

Her: It covers retrieval, monitoring and the things associated with an ivf cycle.

Me: ICSI? Her: oh no that's extra (Now I am looking at my phone mouthing cuss words at it!) Me: Assisted Hatching? Her: NOPE... *again crickets*

Me: So it's monitoring, retrieval, transfer to surrogate and that's it?

Her: I said that, the cycle, do you have any other questions?

Me: How much is ICSI and Assisted Hatching??

Her: I dunno, I don't have it in front of me, anything else?

Me: YES how much is ICSI and AH??

Her: (huffs and puffs) hold on.... ICSI is $2,000 AH is 750

Me: Is the freezing included in the cycle costs?

Her: How do you know you will have anything to freeze?


Her: $1500.00 is that it now??


I was TIRED after that conversation... So now I need to narrow it down to ONE so I can know what we need to save and get moving on it! We are saving currently, but we are just stashing money and have no clue what we need to have in order to proceed since we have no clinic, lol! So that's the plan.. At least with my old clinic I knew what to expect with the rudeness and disorganization... I have a consult set with the 4hr away clinic for later this month.. I am just ready to know which place so I can move on to the next phase!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Not so fast!

Found ANOTHER clinic I want to interview (I know, I know) it is also in FL so the less travel is still in play and it's actually closer to me and my friend since it's in Jacksonville... More tomorrow after I actually talk to someone there.. Here's to hoping!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Stressing Over Decisions... AGAIN..

Seems like I can't make a decision to save my life! I have been going back and forth on what clinic I want to use for our next IVF cycle. I am pretty sure I don't want to go back to my old clinic in NJ.. I LOVED my last RE there, but the coordinator? Not so much.. And unfortunately she is the main person I deal with. She stresses me out and that place has so much drama and disorganization I don't know how anything gets done. Plus the one old chick that draws my blood pretends she is hunting because her jab turn technique on my freakin vein is crude (I shuddered at that flashback)... The main thing is there is an element of distrust I feel with the support staff and nothing is ever their fault and you feel like a hostage since they are controlling your cycle.. I don't think I need that drama if this is my last shot. To put it in perspective a full cycle (including my traveling, surrofriend travel and her local monitoring) will run us about $15,000.00 for one cycle, not bad by any stretch of the imagination.. The next prospect is a clinic 3 hrs from us and their one cycle cost for us would be about $13,100.00. The bonus there is no long distance travel, hubby can play a bigger role (do my shots) and its a less time off from work for him with not having to fly across the country.. Final contender is 4hrs from us and costs $21,440 for two cycles (a fresh and a frozen). So it's a play on a shared risk program. If we have success the 1st cycle we get nothing back, but if we don't we get the FET and if we didn't have any embies to freeze we pay an additional $2,000 and do another fresh cycle (that's a very good deal) so I am trying to decide which is the best way for us to go financially as well as looking at each clinics success rate for my age group so we make the best choice possible for us.. So that's where I am at. I have talked to both of the FL clinics and one is kinda losing out due to them not doing assisted hatching (nurse said the RE doesn't believe in it and I DO so that's a huge deal to me) and their ICSI costs are out of this world at $1500 (normal range I have dealt with have been 750-1150 with some places doing AH & ICSI for 1500 total!) I feel like I could get the RE to say yes on AH but then I would wonder if he really did it (cause I'm suspicious of EVERYONE and I hate that) So my good people of the interwebz, we will be drawing straws, picking numbers and playing rock paper scissors to see what the hell we are gonna do.. OK, maybe not drawing straws because I can't reeeeally control that game like I can rock paper scissors, HA!

Til next time..

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Not much going on, but wanted to post

Status quo over here. But wanted to post something because I felt like a I needed to. I am doing a garage sale next weekend, so that should be fun! Also turning up my ebaying so I can make some money and get that savings goal met ASAP! My oldest took his senior pictures and they have since come in and they look amazing! Can't believe I have to do it again next year and then I will have no babies :( just grown men.. I hope we have our miracle by then or this will be a quiet house.. OK so before I depress myself I will get back to separating my hoard into what can be sold and what I need to trash. Already have an impressive pile working so happy about clearing out some space! Later gators!

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