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Jan 29, 2016

18 Things About Me


Happy Friday!!!

I am thisclose to wrapping up having my parents submit their spit vials for genetic testing.
Super fun, I know. This week has been mega-stressful trying to coordinate everything...but it is all coming together TODAY.

And on that note, since I seem to have a few new followers (and some robots....lesbihonest) I thought I would send you into the weekend with 18 facts about the Numba' One Stunna'....ME.

Leggo!

1. Mark and I were love at first sight. We met and both immediately knew we would spend the rest of our lives together. I loved him harder in those first few minutes than I ever did with anyone before. Sappy but true.

2. I have a photographic memory.
I can remember colors, layouts, details of a moment, transcript, etc. It's helped me win a lot of arguments....mostly with Mark. Ladies ALWAYS know everything....duh!

3. I am GREAT at remembering faces, but terrible with names.
You know the movie House Bunny? And how she always says people's names in that evil monster voice? I have to do something similar with important names, otherwise, I WILL. NOT. REMEMBER.

4. My baby-making journey is full of emotions. Like every other lady on the planet.
I will admit that every single day of my life, I go through three specific emotions. Frustration and anger because I feel cheated out of the romance of trying to conceive. I feel like a warrior because if anyone was to be tasked with the coordination of all of this...it should be me. And peace because at the end of the day, it's out of my hands, and I know that.

5. I am Type A...mostly. I will compete to get things accomplished and come out on top...even if it's just against myself. But I will not stomp on people to get there....unless you are a cold hearted bitch. Then I'm all Bye Felicia.

6. I am obsessed with old action sci-fi movies like Ghostbusters and Aliens.

7. I have a rather specific routine to get ready in the morning and go to bed at night. Down to the way I wash myself in the shower to how I dry my hair to how I fluff up my sheets before bed. I do it every day and if something gets out of order, I literally stop in my tracks because I get confused.

8. I wear my emotions on my sleeve and have been known to let my resting bitch face get out of control if I hear too much bullshit. Eye-rolling is my cardio.

9. I have a degree in Interior Architecture but wasn't any good with visioning a space I never spent time in. Now I'm in HR and Office Operations and I fucking love it.

10. I love to work with my hands. I am a details person so finish work, building things, and painting are my jam. I would rather make something better than cover it up with shiny tchokchy things.

11. I love budgeting and have a really difficult time not cheaping out on things. I will not take full price for anything, but I still want it to be fabulous and well-made. The struggle is real.

12. I am left-handed for writing but perform the bulk of my tasks as a righty or right-legged.

13. I sleep in a twin bed next to, but not touching, my husband's full size bed. Totally weird. I get it. But I am a light sleeper and he thrashes around constantly. It was this solution or a divorce. :)

14. I am excellent at reading people for who they really are...good or bad. Which is why I am top notch at my job and also why our circle of friends has shrunk over the years. Haters gonna hate.

15. I never dabbled in any drug harder than pot...and wasn't any good at smoking that either. Have you ever seen what happens to your face on meth? No thanks...I'll stick to drinking.

16. I have premonitions about small blips of time that will inevitably happen in the future. It's typically a snippet of a conversation, in a specific location, in a specific time of day....nothing extraordinary. I always flinch when they comes to fruition.

17. My hair is naturally wavy. As an adult I have finally embraced the chaos and love having the option to let it dry curly or iron it straight...with the right tools, of course.

18. I hate debating. Maybe it makes me unwordly or shallow on the outside. I have opinions on most things, based on facts, and I have things that I believe with my whole heart, but will never force them on anyone else. Solving major world problems isn't my thing and it's a total party-kill. Sorry not sorry. Don't bring your rage into my house.

And FINALLY! If you're interested in learning a bit more about my blog and how it came to be, I'm guest interviewing today overr at Bourbon, Lipstick, and Stilettos!

Take care and thanks for reading!!

Jan 27, 2016

A Genetic Lab run by Oprah


Oh hai.
Tuesday morning I had my intake phone call with the genetics lab to go over the required steps for PGD testing.

My motto going into all of this is, Move forward with an open mind.

But man, was I a fool to think it would all fall into place right away.
There is SO. MUCH. SET-UP.

So, we have been paired with Reprogenetics in New Jersey who is the company that will set-up our probe to have our embryos tested for not only our matched mutation (MCAD) but the overall chromosonal composition as well.
I think. There is a local lab as well so I'm not sure how all these works together.

I'm going through all the standard questions with a lady named Dina; we discuss family history, any pregnancies, confirm contact information, etc.

And then she throws me a curve ball.

Both sets of parents are required to go in for carrier testing as well.
If they don't, no one moves forward with anything.

.....WHAT

Trying to explain the in's and out's of genetic testing to our parents is the equivalent of trying to fix their computer over the phone...."WHAT DO YOU SEE ON THE SCREEN? What color is it?
NO DON'T DELETE IT. It's on the HOME SCREEN. The screen you're looking at! Click the square icon in the corner. The BOTTOM corner. Now WHAT DO YOU SEE?!"

Ugh.

I called Mark knowing exactly what his reaction would be.
I tell him what he needs to tell his parents and he needs to do it yesterday.

Why?

Because to get the results of carrier screening it can take up to three weeks.
They have to order the tests first, run insurance, schedule the friggin' appointments and all head in, hopefully within days of each other.

Then we wait.

After we get the results sent to the genetic lab, Mark and I have to go in for more blood samples to send the lab more DNA for testing and set-up.
AND....both sets of parents will be mailed a another saliva test where they will swab their cheeks and mail their DNA to the lab as well.

SO. MUCH. DNA.

And then....AND THEN!! We wait again.

After they get all the results, it takes roughly six weeks to complete our probe.

Then we can start IVF.

Holy. Shit. Dudes.

The only saving grace to the longevity of all this waiting is we had not planned to complete any transfers until July, so really, how and when everything else is completed is irrelevant.

It just all needs to be checked off by July to make me happy.

The birth control cycle, all stims administered, eggs retrieved, fertilized and biopsied, cells tested, results waited on....the whole shebang...by July.

That's all I'm asking.
Oh, and of course, all good reports along the way.

OMG.
I then realized I just need to coordinate everything.
Type A at your service.
I call my dad.
If anyone, out of the four parents understands insurance, it's my dad.
I apologize profusely and unload my spiel.
He jumps into action, having me spell out everything.
We go through what he needs to call about, order, schedule, etc...and of course keep me in the loop.

I also called Mark's parents and talked them through everything.
Again with the apologizing and details.
I just knew there would be confusion, so hopefully I can get something scheduled for everyone at the same location.

For good measure, I also emailed our RE to see if he had any recommendations about this.
It seems weird for our parents to be going to a fertility specialist, but at this point...I will go with whatever is less of a hassle and is the quickest.

Super fun update: it's super weird for the RE as well to have parents of the couple trying to conceive come in and get their genetics handled as well. So that option is out.

Edited to say: After MUCH back and forth between the Counsyl reps, our physician, my dad, and the RE....I determined the least stressful route is to order at-home cheek swab kits mailed directly to both parents home. They can swab in privacy, then mail that 'ish back to Counsyl.

Two weeks later, we have our results.
Bada-boom, bada-bing!

Let the chaos continue and thanks for reading!!

Jan 25, 2016

My Creative Therapy


Blogging. On a Monday! Who am I?
Before I get into my spiel from the weekend, I need to say THANK YOU for all the comments on all the social media outlets, texts, and phone calls I received over the past few days. Your support means the world to me. My family is a bunch of fighters. We will get through this together and I will be sure to keep everyone updated as we move along.

Saturday morning I found myself going over our budget for the year, trying to figure out how in the world we were going to pay for IVF and save for a car all at once.
Last year I could have sworn I had this all figured out, and somehow, over the course of a couple months, we are still in debt and I have no game plan for any additional money.
The more I thought about it, the more stressed I was getting, the more hopeless everything seemed to feel.
My mind is still cloudy from the news last week, and here I am, trying to pick apart our house because "it's not good enough."
We need a new kitchen, new floors, a new bedroom, updated closets and new furniture.
I NEED all new things but yet, we have absolutely zero money to do anything.
In fact we have less than zero.
We have negative.

I can't justify spending one dollar on myself or our home when we have so many bigger things to take care of and was allowing myself to get overly frustrated with this predicament.
Like I was in concrete, unable to move or do anything or go anywhere.

I knew if I left the house I would spend money.
But being alone, doing nothing, with my thoughts, is just as bad.

I needed an outlet. I needed something to make new. To make pretty.
When I'm stressed I find myself wanting to re-design or build something.

Over the last few weeks I kept asking Mark if he would be able to re-spray our piano because I was over the color black against our dark gray walls.
I felt as if that little corner of our entry was being sucked into a black abyss and it needed light.
Light people! Light.

It got to a point Saturday morning that I just needed to do something, and my best bet was to drop a few bucks on some paint and get to work.
If he couldn't spray the piano...I could sure as hell paint it!

Mark walks in the door and sees me sitting on the couch in my pj's and coat...crying.
I unload on him.

WE CAN'T AFFORD ANYTHING!
THIS HOUSE IS GROSS!
I'M SO TIRED AND I CAN'T DO ANYTHING!
I'M REPAINTING THE PIANO!

Yup....he is one lucky man to put up with this nonsense....I mean, does that train of thought even make sense to you? Me neither.

We resolved to take a nap.
So I did.
And when I woke up, I got to work.

Over the course of about eight hours, split up between the two days, I hand-sanded and repainted this old piano and gave it new life.

I listened to the radio....cried a tad...drank coffee...but mostly just focused on the brush strokes.
On the details.
On the ins and outs of that piano.

And I do believe it came out beautifully.


Unfortunately, I don't have a nicely styled "after" photo because this morning as I was getting ready for work, our hot water pipe burst just above this piano and we had to quickly move everything out of the way.
When it rains it pours, huh?

Luckily, it was dried already so no damage was done.
I can't say the same for our ceiling though.

The other event over the weekend, Crash turned 10.


Every day past Saturday that we get to spend with him is another blessing.
He's my old man.
I don't see him slowing down much any time soon.

For those of you wondering, the steps to refinishing a piano are rather easy.

Most importantly, using good tools and having a lot of patience is key.
Your paint is only as good as the brush used, so buy a good one.

I sanded the sheen off using 220 grit sand paper.
I used bondo to fill in any dents in the wood, let it dry, then sanded them down.
After I was done sanding, I wiped down and dusted off everything as there was black shit on most nearby surfaces (and myself)
Enamel Paint used was from Ace Hardware, Regal Outdoor Porch paint, in White Gloss
I painted on the first coat as evenly and thinly as possible using a thinner, angled brush.
You cannot roll enamel paint...easily...so I just didn't.
It takes 6-8 hours to dry to the touch, so I let it sit overnight and added the second coat first thing in the morning.

*The paint brush used for Day 1 can be reused for Day 2 just by wrapping it in plastic and putting it in the freezer. You can't wash away this type of paint with soap and water.
It has to be removed from hands and other surfaces with nail polish remover and/or paint thinner.

*And DON'T do what I did and fill the bottom of a utility sink with lacquer thinner, then mix with hot water. The running hot water shoots the fumes straight to your brain and I almost passed out.
So don't do that.

But, it was perfectly dry by this morning in our rush to move it away from the water damage!

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Jan 22, 2016

Make out with a doctor


I called my parents Wednesday night as I hadn't spoken to them in over a week.
We aren't too keen on daily phone calls. 
I suppose there isn't anything overly new to rehash day in and day out.

My dad had mentioned his blood levels were elevated during some recent testing, and to waive his concerns, had agreed to a biopsy later that week.

Then came the radio silence.
And I guess the old saying is no news is good news, right?
So I called to check-in and get the standard verbiage from him...that he overreacted per usual and it ended up being nothing.
He was upbeat in tone, but then sort of stated that there was good news and bad news.

He was initially worried that the abnormal blood work could mean his prostate was enlarged.
But it wasn't....that was the good news.
In fact, he mentioned it was smaller than normal, so even less worry, I suppose.

And then he kind of paused..... and said the bad news was some of the cells they biopsied came back positive.

For cancer.

And at first I kind of brushed it off. My dad can't have cancer. 
I mean, he just retired a couple of months ago....it's not possible.
He's in good health and great spirits these days!
Cancer isn't a thing that happens to good people.

But yet.....it had.

And the more he talked, the more I visioned my life without him.
And the toll cancer takes on people.
And the treatments, and the money and the time spent in hospitals.
Away from his family.
Away from normal life.

Cancer now defines my dad and I can't think of anything else.

But still....he seemed positive. My dad isn't exactly known for his positive traits when it comes to health and well being. A lot of times, it's a mix of over-reacting and negativity.

The cancer was caught early and thank the lord almighty that science and technology is where it's at these days, because his biopsy is being sent to a DNA lab to confirm exactly what type of cancer he is dealing with and how aggressive it is.

His doctor's original orders were to "wait and monitor" it.
The sense of urgency in my dad's voice as he stated that wasn't an option made me realize why I am how I am.
He watched his own father "wait it out" per the instructions of his doctor.
His father was diagnosed with lymphoma.
And within a year, he had passed, because instead of jumping on some sort of treatment, they waited, and the cancer progressed so quickly that it metastasized to nearby organs and it was too late to save him.

But not my dad.

My dad wants a protocol and to hop on board as fast as possible.
He wants treatment and surgery if needed and wants to remove this fucking disgusting label from his name.

His results will be back early February and at that point he will hopefully have a game plan.

We continued talking for an hour. I think he could sense that I was tearing up on the other end because my voice was warbly, so he started telling me, in detail, about the huge probe that was shoved up his ass.

I mean....my dad has never been one to leave out the details...but I mean...COME. ON.
It was funny and terrifying at the same time.
He kept saying that was the worst part...and I kind of gulped...because what he described is, in a way, exactly what I have to go through this year.
At least twice.
Luckily, I will be under anesthesia....but holy shit.
That did not sound fun.

We talked about insurance for a bit, of course, it's our favorite thing.
We talked about retirement funds and stocks and car maintenance.
Normal things you would talk about with your daughter :)

I totally missed eating dinner.
Mark was out for the night with work stuff, but walked through the front door as I was getting off the phone.

And I just lost it.
I told him he has cancer.
I sobbed into his shoulder hard than I expected.

Even as I'm typing this, the random ugly crying spurts come and go.
Even though I know right now the odds are in his favor, I can't help but associate cancer with death.

Who doesn't?
He's MY DAD.

Ugh...I need to stop before I blubber again at work.

I was chatting with a friend this morning and broke the news to her.
It's weird that in 2016, both my dad and I will be elbow deep with specialists and doctors visits and geneticists. But for totally different reasons.

I am trying to bring a new life into this world,
and he is trying to save his own.

That is a weird concept to grasp right off the bat.

And my friend mentioned that I should hug a doctor...because technology and science is just so great, for us to even be able to consider what we will be doing this year.

To which I stated, "If all goes well for both of us this year, I will MAKE OUT with a doctor."
Promise and prayers, my friends.

I promise for more fun posts in the future.
Please keep us in your thoughts.
And of course, thank you for reading.

Jan 20, 2016

Affordable Healthcare: Can Obamacare help save you money during Infertility Treatments?


Good morning loves.
I am writing today on a topic that is near and dear to my heart: infertility and trying to maximize your dollar.
It's a shame that we have to pay through the nose to get the treatment we deserve, and I'm here to shed a little light on some of the changes in healthcare these days.
Maybe it can help you save a few (or many) dollars, in the long run.

Now, I don't claim to know all the answers. I am not an insurance broker nor do I work in the healthcare industry. I am in HR and have a general understanding of how insurance works. I am not here to make money off of your medical changes, I am simply writing about what I know our options are these days, in the hopes that I can help someone look into alternatives, should they feel overwhelmed with the mortgage payments we call infertility bills.

Take what I say with an open mind, and always always ALWAYS be sure to be an advocate for your own health and insurance. You have to make the calls and do the reading to make sure the switch, if any, works best for you and your family. But it could be worth it.

If you are not into crunching numbers with me, nor are infertile...this post may not be for you.

A little back story...
I love insurance. I really do. It's sick, I know. But I love making something that we have to pay for anyways, work in my favor.  We are in a developing time where Obamacare has entered the medical insurance market and changed the way we look at our coverage.
We are no longer bound to the big box company insurance. We are no longer bound to settle.
Sure, your company's monthly premium may be drastically lower than going out on your own, but in the long run, does it have the coverage you need for all of those out of pocket expenses that may come up as you journey through infertility and IVF treatments?

What if you need genetic assistance? What if you need multiple treatments? What if you need new testing, more meds, more hope? Shouldn't your medical coverage actually help you through dire times?

Now, I will admit....there are a lot of states that don't provide any sort of state mandated infertility coverage.

It's appalling that we are not further along at this point, and to those of you, I am sure there are a bunch of resources for discounted Rx medication, injections, etc. I am sorry but I do not have information on those discounted programs, but there are plenty of ladies in the TTC world that do.
Especially on Instagram....reach out and ask questions.

THIS is a list of the states WITH mandated coverage. There are 15 states with some aspect of infertility coverage. Each state has their own rules and limitations, of course, so be sure to read up on your state specifically when making this decision.

For Illinois, where I reside, the mandate on the website has a gray area that says group insurance and HMO's only....however, I can attest that I recently purchased individual PPO insurance for 2016 and do have the same coverage as a larger group insurance.

There are key elements when choosing a new insurance plan.

Enrollment Date: Most states still have open enrollment by January 31st for coverage starting March 1, 2016. Don't delay if you are looking to save money for 2016!

Check your Current Insurance: Find your Schedule of Benefits or request a copy from your company's broker or access it on your online account. This will give you an overview of coverage. Included in this document should read something to the tune of "Infertility treatments" as Included Coverage.
You can request a complete benefit booklet (typically 100+ pages) to fully understand what is covered.
Or call the insurance directly, they typically can give you more in depth information that the summary.

If infertility treatments is listed in the excluded section....there is no changing that.

Example: my current employer has a self-funded medical plan, therefore, we are exempt from including the Illinois mandate for infertility coverage....shitty, huh? 
Most self-funded insurances have the same exemption.

Premiums: More than likely, switching to your own insurance will up your monthly premium costs. These costs do not go towards your deductible in any way, it is simply the amount you pay to have the coverage in the first place.

Example: my employer's insurance was $305 for my spouse and me to have PPO coverage. 
I now have my own insurance plan and it costs me $299 just for myself.

Deductible: This is the minimum amount you will owe in a calendar year of insurance coverage before your insurance starts kicking in at 100%. The lower the deductible, the higher your premium, typically.
There are additional items to consider besides the deductible though.
Co-pays and monthly premiums do not count towards your deductible.

Co-Insurance: Your best bet is to look for a 0% co-insurance. Co-insurance is paid on top of your deductible, not with it. The way it works is if your co-pay is 20%, for example, and the service was $1,000....you owe $200 more even after your deductible payment.
The lower co-insurance percentage, the lower your max out of pocket expenses will be.
Even if you max out your deductible, the co-insurance still applies until you reach your out of pocket max.

Max Out of Pocket: This amount may or may not be higher than your deductible amount. Ideally you want your max out of pocket and deductible numbers to match. That would mean you likely have 0% co-insurance. This is one of the most key numbers when trying to budget for IVF. If your deductible is $2,000, but your max out of pocket is $10,000.....just assume you will end up paying $10,000 for the year.

Example: I chose an insurance plan that has a $3,500 deductible and max out of pocket of $3,500. I have 0% co-insurance. My plan is a PPO HSA, which means every single thing I pay for up to $3,500 is paid at full price. 
There are no co-pays. 
If I meet with my RE and it costs me $250 out of pocket, then that is what I pay. 
The benefit to this is, everything I pay for goes towards meeting my max out of pocket/deductible....get it?

Lifetime Maximum: This information can get tricky. It can be in the form of amount of services provided, or monetary maximums, or both.  From what I have uncovered, all infertility treatments have some sort of limit to them, regardless of how good the insurance is.

Example: My insurance allows for four (4) full oocyte retrievals per the lifetime of my insurance (one year). I am allowed as many transfers as necessary without penalty. 
PGD is covered if deemed medically necessary. PGS is not. It is considered experimental.  
This information is outlined in the benefits booklet, however, I did have to call my insurance provider to confirm if egg retrieval "banking" is allowed, prior to an actual transfer. It is. Up to four. Everything above and beyond that is out of pocket.

Finally...Cancelling your current insurance: Once you have decided on a plan, completed the online enrollment, and paid for your first month of March, you're golden. At the end of January or beginning of February, you will need to send an email to your broker/HR Manager/person who handles medical insurance enrollments, terminations, or changes, that states you are cancelling effective February 29th, 2016.
You have to give the request 30 days in advance of cancellation.
Also, coverage cannot end in the middle of a month. You will have coverage through the end of February.

PHEW!!! That's a lot to consider, right?
BUT IT'S WORTH IT. A little planning can go a long way.

IVF is super expensive. Most people cannot afford one complete cycle, much less two or more, without depleting their savings and/or taking out a loan to cover the costs on their own.

If you can? More power to you. You are the 1%.

The average costs for one standard (fresh) round of IVF is approximately $25,000 out of pocket.
But what if you need genetic testing?
Don't forget all those injections!
What if you need more than one round of IVF?
What if you need to freeze your embryos and transfer at a later date?
What if you are using a donor embryo?

The costs can really add up.
Getting a genetic DNA test completed for you and your spouse is around $200.
Testing a set of embryos using PGD or PGS, including the biopsy of the cells and transfer to the genetics lab is approximately $5,500. For one round.
Freezing, although typically not covered with any insurance, is around $1,200 for the year
Medications, per cycle, range in price from $3,000-$7,500.

So, the reality is...if you can bear to wait a couple months to get things going (which, lesbihonest, is a drop in the bucket compared to all these prior years of failed tests, right?) it's absolutely worth it to look into different medical options.
The overall pricing difference is monumental.
It could cost you between $4-$10k for an entire year's worth of infertility treatments instead of $100K or more (assuming you do four complete IVF cycles and all the fun stuff that goes with them).

That alone would make me wait. In fact, it did make me wait.

And because I want nothing more than for us to have a bunch of healthy bouncing babies in our near future, I am more than thrilled to help people with their decisions. 
Again, I don't know everything about all insurance options, and there are typically a lot to choose from, but I can absolutely help point people in the right direction should you require it.

Please e-mail me at handsonpantsoff@gmail.com or DM me on IG (@tgendooza) with any questions and let's get knocked up!!
Thank you so much for reading!!

Jan 15, 2016

How Friday is going.....in gif's

I woke up to the sound of dog barking at 5am.

And for a few seconds, I actually thought it was the weekend.

And when I realized it wasn't, I started crying.


And then I got irrationally angry because of yet another problem I saw in an email.


Like, there are always so many stupid problems and everyone needs me to fix all these things, and work has been super busy and stressful recently, that I can't think straight.


So I said a prayer that today goes by quickly.


But I could NOT stop crying in the shower. I kept thinking about all these bad things and things that hadn't even happened yet and all of it was compounded with all my recent stress and I just lost it.

I attempted to pull it together, because we all know you can't keep crying after you do your makeup.


On the way to work, my favorite radio station was playing a remix of 90's music and it put me in a better mood. I kept thinking about how close we actually ARE to the weekend!


Because we all know how to self medicate when we've hopped on the crazy train.


I plan on helping myself out the second I get home.


And then start the happy/sad cycle over again as I look at all the pretty bedroom renovations on Pinterest like...



But then look at my bank account


The reality is...I have 99 problems...


And I'm out. *mic drop*
If you need me I'll be in a padded room with a box of wine.
(also take a chill pill.....I know all of the above is petty. IT'S A JOKE. Like my life. <----that was a joke too)
Happy Friday!

Jan 13, 2016

New Dawn, New Day


Good morning, loves.
January is just so much fun, isn't it?
There are so many exciting things to do, I can't handle it.

Such as organizing closets, cleaning out storage boxes, grocery shopping, and my favorite...staring outside from the safety of your house at the outdoor thermometer and watching the temps drop to single digits.

See? FUN.

I HAVE been productive in terms of purging my closets and donating an entire truck full of household items to Goodwill. It's amazing all the clothing items I say I will keep forever, and then all of a sudden a tag will start to itch and I just can't handle it anymore. It must go. Immediately.

We are sort of on a spending hiatus as well.
Between boat debt, Christmas, and upcoming IVF fees, we have our financial odds against us.

Of course that doesn't stop me from NEEDING to enhance our bedroom.
In our home, I always feel like I want to upgrade the main rooms first, which makes sense, because that's what people see first.
And then our private areas, like the bedrooms and bathrooms, get put on the back burner.
Well, ever since we moved into our new home a few years ago, I vowed to change all that.

Each project flip flops between more private areas and public spaces.
And I'm trying not to break the bank, yet make sure we upgrade using sturdy, well made pieces, so it's a delicate balance to find the right items that will last a super duper long time.

Anyways....this week has been a real kick in the pants.
I am overly tired due to lady times and the weather.
Granted, it's not nearly as bad as when I was outside for miles walking in this junk just to go work.
I truly am thankful for my heated car, music, and warm coffee to sip as I drive to work now.
And the sunshine. It does look pretty when the snow is fresh.
It's the little things.

On the upside, the genetics lab called and cancelled my intake phone screen...only to reschedule a tad earlier. It's now scheduled for 8am on Tuesday the 26th.

Also, my oldest and grumpiest bulldog, Crash, will be turning 10 on the 23rd.



Anyone who knows anything about bulldogs knows their life span is 10 years.
Well....he fucking made it and there is no sign of stopping him now.
Even if he is super fucking cranky and can't hear or see that well anymore.
We'll keep him around.

I'm buying him a fancy new memory foam bed for his tired old joints.
And so he stops messing up my pillows. :)

I'm hopeful the weather will jump back into the 30's so we can get back outside and hang in the hot tub before that goes away. Apparently you can't do baths or hot tubs during IVF. Boo.

I'm going to put together a little bedroom reno inspiration post soon.
Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

Jan 8, 2016

OCD: Party of One


Good morning my loves.
Yay for Friday!
I'm looking forward to another soak with some of my new spa products.
Lush has me hooked and I don't ever want to let go, Jack.

Can I tell you that my original intention with this post was to ramble on about my plans and such to keep myself in fighting shape as we gear up for whatever the next few months hold?

And it probably will at some point, but you see, I am in the middle of the pre-period, high progesterone, phase of my month.
Girls, you know what I'm talking about: I have no patience, a cleaning issue that is beyond my control, a need to make all the labels face out, and a temper like a hyena.

Yea....it's on like donkey kong.

I found myself SCREAMING at no one in particular as I sped home last night.
Everyone was driving like an idiot, except me, obviously.

I got home and knew I could just lose it at any moment with Mark, who was busy heating up gumbo his parents graciously gave us for dinner last night.
And in an effort to combat the crazy, I hopped on the treadmill and ran as hard and as fast as I could for about ten minutes. Then I washed up, removed my make-up, and grabbed a beer.

At that point, I was even willing to put up with the child-like shenanigans my husband kept throwing in my face.



And I didn't even have any day-dreams about smothering him with a pillow that night!
I'd call that a win-win!

Anyways, with this time of my month, before I drop into crampy-stomach-zombie-mode, I can't help but wonder exactly how bad my crazy and anxious mood is going to get once we reach the, "daily progesterone injection in my ass with a 2 inch needle for 12 straight weeks" phase of getting pregnant.

Like, I KNOW Mark has his concerns. He vocalizes them all the time.
"You are going to be crazy and have crazy demands all the time and I'm just going to have to sit here and take it."
And of course I say, "Oh no honey, that would never happen, I know how to keep myself in check."

But in the back of my mind, he knows that's total bullshit.
I KNOW IT'S TOTAL BULLSHIT.

Progesterone does crazy things to me. I am a force to be reckoned with. I come in hot and demand answers and cleanliness and MOVE MOVE MOVE...I want to see KNEES TO CHEST, HONEY...KNEES TO CHEST!

But in like four days, that's all over with.
But those shots...and pregnancy itself?
Look out.

I'm going to try, but I make zero promises that I will ever, at any point, be able to check my self before I riggidy-wreck myself.

So anyways, enough about progesterone. That is so far off this year it's almost laughable at this point.

Before I go any further, I must say a huge THANK YOU! Your comments on this blog and IG and Facebook have all been so uplifting. I feel like this tribe of people, both online and in real life...is epic. I feel good with sharing my story, whether it helps someone else going through infertility, genetic issues, TTC, or just looking for laugh...I'm your girl.

After my last post published, I got a call to schedule my intake phone screen with the genetics lab.
Unfortunately, they can't get me in until January 29th, so really nothing starts with my genetic set-up until after that point.
From the decent amount of Googling I have conducted in the last 24 hours....MCAD is considered a more common genetic mutation, although incredibly lethal to those that develop it (isn't that scary?!).

Because it's more common, it means it will take less time to set-up my probe than a more rare mutation.
I'm anticipating something around four weeks.

Which would mean, fingers crossed, that if it is just four weeks, I could potentially start my birth controlled prep cycle March 1.

See how long all this is to prepare?!

I don't know what I was expecting. I half-heartedly expected to have a completed retrieval cycle at that point, but as we all know...beggars can't be choosers.

Whatever. It'll all be fine.
And that gives me a couple more months to kill it at the gym and drink some boozy booze.

Thank you for reading! Live long and prosper and all that jazz.

Jan 6, 2016

IVF Consultation



Happy Hump day readers!
I hope everyone had a fun, yet relaxing end to 2015.

Mark and stayed in for the long weekend. We had a fondue party for two New Year's Eve and bounced back and forth between watching Miami's and New York's countdowns...ending with Chicago's and passing out by 1am.
Off the subject....pretty proud of Chicago for stepping it up this year! Getting Mario Lopez to host AND our star looked pretty fab...almost better than New York's big ole' ball....amiright?

Anyways, we had friends over New Year's day for a little lasagna dinner party, then capped off the weekend with an impromptu sledding romp after dinner Sunday night.

Mark let the dogs outside and was having a smoke...then abruptly whipped his head towards the door where I was standing...a mischievous grin across his face...."I'm going to skate down the front hill....turn the spot light on!"
I complied but promptly got 911 ready to dial as I was SURE he was going to fall and crack his head open, either on the ice or one of the 26 oak trees he needed to dodge.

Neither happened, of course....so he coaxed me outside.

Five minutes later we're both perched at the top of the ice hill in front of our house.
That led out onto the main street.
Sitting on flattened beer cases.
Mark sped down first and then tried to "catch" me at the bottom, which turned into me b-lining in the wrong direction and landing flat out on our driveway.

It was a blast!
I laughed so hard I gave myself an asthma attack (nerd!), and I think I peed a little.

And this week, it's back to reality.

We had our first IVF consultation with Dr. Jacobs early Tuesday morning.
I had a rough timeline in my head as to how the first half of the year would pan out...but the second we started talking with the doctor...I realized plans don't exist in this world.

Because we have to get PGD testing completed prior any embryo transfers, we also agreed to get PGS testing completed as well. He also suggested we only transfer one embryo in at a time...and then, of course, there was the line about how "this should only take 1-2 times before it works"....of course I'm pessimistic, but that would be pretty sweet!
Lastly, he calmed my nerves about the transfer itself. I had issues with the catheter during the HSG test, causing me to be put under for the procedure, so obviously I have nerves about the transfer for babies!

We will be doing a saline ultrasound prior to transfer, and if need be, he will stretch my cervix while I'm under during the retrieval.

(I have no idea if what I'm saying is correct...I kind of blanked out while he was saying all this)

PGD will test for our specific mutation match (MCAD) and PGS will test the overall structure and composition of the embryo and to rule out things like Down Syndrome.

If we're in...we're ALL in, I suppose.

I knew a lot of this going into the meeting, so I glanced often at Mark's face as Dr. Jacobs showed him the cell division stages, and how they use a needle to puncture the vaginal wall to suck out the embryos....ha.
Mark kept asking if I would be sedated while they did that...btw....and yes...I will be.

Are you still with me?

I thought I would be starting on birth control pills right away, or at least for my next cycle, which would be in less than a week. But....fun fact, if you are diving into genetic biopsies and lab testing and all that, you gotta pump the brakes for a hot minute while they get everything set up for you.

It takes then 5-6 weeks to get you a custom probe.
That's right...I said probe (twss).

I kept asking what the fuck a probe was...like, is it a timeline, or protocol...what is it and why does it take so long?!
My questions were met with a general answer that we get a customized test at the genetics lab, all ready to go, so that when my biopsied cells make their way to the lab, they know EXACTLY what they are testing for and all the checks and balances are in place and yada yada ya.

The Good Doctor seems to think if everything gets set-up smoothly we are looking at early to mid-February to start our "prep cycle."

The Prep Cycle, or PC, is when I take birth control pills to simmer down my hormones and they do some preliminary testing/paperwork/whatever is needed prior to the start of the stimulation period.

During this time, I will be headed to Highland Park to meet with a nurse for about an hour so she can show me how to jab myself the correct way with a million and one needles.
Looking forward to it.

So we get our "Your Miracle. Our Mission" packet of paperwork, Mark gets another lecture about how he needs to stop smoking, and we are on our way.

And then the calls and emails start coming in.
Like...almost immediately.
And I start tearing up because I guess I forgot how emotional all of this is...AND WE HAVEN'T EVEN DONE ANYTHING YET....and I just need to calm the F down already.

So the lab shoots me an email to tell me the cost for everything and that they don't coordinate with insurance.
And of course I immediately took that as insurance wasn't even an option.
Even though I spent many painstaking hours searching insurance for 2016 that would, indeed, cover our genetic PGD testing.

Turns out I need to take a chill pill because although it WILL be out of pocket....up front, I should be able to submit claims to the insurance and get (somewhat) reimbursed.
Fun.

Anyways...for those of you that are wondering, I plan on being REEEEAAALLL honest about all of this.

And for those of you that are nosy....we are paired up with aParent IVF laboratory in Highland Park.

The cost for one PGD/PGS cycle is $4,500.
Testing each embryo is an additional $550 per embryo.
There is a fee to transport bloodwork (if needed) $200.
Plus the biopsy of any day-5 blasts: $2,000

Now...my insurance should cover most of that. Whether or not it actually happens is a whole other story.

I called Mark to vent because I'm a financial, organized person...and this is all already throwing me off track.

In the end..I made a pact with him that I don't necessary need answers and solutions from him...I will just need to vent my worries from time to time as this whole process is going to be super frustrating, yet joyful, yet stressful...but it'll all be worth it...and it would be awesome if he could just listen and hold my hand and tell me I'm not crazy.

It's only Day 2. We still have like two million to go.

Our next step includes hearing back from the genetics lab about whether or not I need blood-work sent to them, or if our Counsyl testing from last year will work.
After that we should have a timeline for when our probe (hehe) will be ready.

And then we're off like a herd of turtles.

Thanks for reading!