Monday, May 26, 2014

Money and Organization- Great Combo!

Since we had this beautiful three day weekend, I decided it was time to reorganize my files and paperwork. When decorating our Living Room, I knew I wanted a organize our paperwork in a way that was attractive, but not necessarily in a filing cabinet (unless I could find a nice wooden one instead of the stock metal cabinets). I found the perfect complements to our overall design from The Container Store (help me if one ever comes here!  For now, it is a safe distance away).  I had originally picked up some items from the Bigso collection in Turquoise on a trip with my bestie, and I loved them!

Desktop File
Pencil Cup
Letter Sorter

After realizing that one file box was not going to meet our needs, I decided another stop at The Container Store was in order, but I couldn't wait for our next trip to DC!  B said to go ahead and order whatever I wanted, so I did, but I was able to get free shipping and used a coupon to make my order total more palatable (of course, all of this was bought before the big spending freeze).  So, I perused the site, and decided to add a little fun with a new print from the Bigso collection, that went well with the pattern of the curtains we bought from Target and the muted colors of our rug. So I few more desktop files and a set of paper drawers were soon on their way!

Desktop File
Paper Drawers

Living Room with our Bigso collection

(Excuse the crooked rug- my cats love moving it!)

Anywho, back to my reason behind the post tonight.  With the first file box, I sat down one night and diligently labeled all my hanging folders and organized all my paperwork.  Then I shoved anything that didn't have a folder and all the paperwork that arrived at our house after that night into the new desktop files.  I took part of Sunday to reorganize everything and get our files in order.  It was a long task, but I was so happy with the results!  Throughout my organizing, I kept coming across paperwork from various treatments over the years, as well as all the receipts from our 2 rounds of IVF.  We've had several people ask us about the cost of IVF recently.  Since B and I are really focused on saving for our next round, as well as paying down debt from previous rounds, I figured it would be nice to do a post about our actual costs with IVF.

Thus, this post (with a completely uncompensated plug for The Container Store- I just love my stuff!).

We have been very lucky with our choice of fertility clinics.  The Jones Institute is world renowned, and the pioneers of IVF.  Although we haven't been lucky enough to be successful yet, I know they are doing everything they can to help us achieve our goal.

One of the best things they offer is a payment plan for the IVF.  We have had to put half down prior to the process beginning, then once the transfer and all have been completed, we make a payment every month for 6 months.  The initial cost for IVF is $6830.  Since B has major issues with his "boys," we also have to pay $2420 for ICSI- IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection (something to help give our chances a major boost by getting rid of the weakest sperm and utilizing the best).  This brings the initial total to $9246.  Jones then divides that total in half and we pay $4623 up front, and have the other half broken into 6 payments of $770.

But we aren't done yet!  Then you have to add in the medications for each cycle.  Those can range from $3000 to $5000, with very little price breaks or help from insurance.  Oh, all that stuff up there ^^? Yeah, none of that is covered by insurance.  Nothing, Nada, Zip.  That is all out of pocket.  The medications?  I am thankfully able to pay for part of them using my Flexible Spending Account (FSA) which just means it is divided up over the year from my paychecks from a non taxed account.  I am very grateful for that.  Since we didn't do IVF last year, I was able to pay for half the meds out of last year's FSA, and plan to pay for a good chunk of the rest of the meds from this year's FSA.

So, now we are at $12,246 (if we had the low end of meds- which hasn't happened yet!) to $14,246 (using the high end of meds).  We fall somewhere in the middle of the two estimates, but I don't have the exact med total in front of me.  Then we add in a check for $400 to pay for the anesthesiologist that puts me under for the retrieval portion of the IVF.  You have to pay that the day of retrieval, or the price doubles to $810.  We always have our check ready!

Since we have never had more than 3 eggs removed from me that lasted, we have not had to get into Cryopreservation or monthly storage fees, but those are also added costs that may or may not be in our future.  The Cryopreservation is $1000 and the monthly storage fee for the frosties is $60.  Pretty much a drop in the bucket compared to everything else! We have always said we will cross that bridge when we come to it, but we are confident that push come to shove, we can meet those payments easily.

So, in the last 3 years (just with IVF, I am not even counting the money we utilized before then), we have put $26,000 into starting our family.  And we are hoping to toss another $13,000 into that mix before the end of the year.  Yep, we have basically paid for a college education just to HAVE a child. (and after looking at college rates for my Alma Mater- I recognize we only paid for a year and a half of education there- WHOA! It did not cost that much when I was there!).

Our biggest hope and prayer is that this next round of IVF works.  I'm not sure what our steps would be if it fails again, but I know we have choices, and we will give all of those choices the thought and research they deserve.  We would also love for some embryos to be preserved so we could try again at a quarter of the cost of full IVF to add another child to our family, but I promise, I would be over the moon with just one!

Anywho, I hope I broke down the costs of our IVF a bit better for those who were wondering.  It's not an easy road, emotionally or financially, but I am confident I am traveling this road with the right person.  We may not have a child to share our love with (YET!), but we do have each other, and that's pretty damn good :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Post Mother's Day

I chose not to post on Mother's Day because it is never an easy day for me.  The last two years have been even worse for me, but I try not to dwell on the sadness.  It's definitely easier to be sad and let the grief and loss overwhelm you, but just because something is easier doesn't make it right. So, this past Sunday, I decided to do the right thing, focus away from the sadness, and set my sights on making this Mother's Day special for my mother and for my family and friends.

We had my parents over for a lovely Mother's Day "Lunner," yes, that is lunch and dinner.  B was awesome and made the whole meal from scratch for my parents and I to enjoy.  We wanted to keep things low key, especially as this Mother's Day fell on the 5 year anniversary of my Nana's passing.  It was a bittersweet day for my mom, and I wanted to make sure it was enjoyable for her.  I think we succeeded!  I am very grateful to B for treating all of us to such delicious food and for keeping the day as stress free as possible for me (no easy feat!).

I am also grateful for so many of my beautiful friends that took a moment to think of me, even though I am not a mother (yet).A family member of one of my kids (who doesn't know about our infertility) wrote a beautiful note about me being "mom" to six kids.  A sentiment that was later shared by one of my dearest friends here.  Both brought tears to my eyes, and I had to take some time before responding.  And one of my dearest friends from my old online group just sent me a simple "I love you, friend."

Those comments meant the world to me.  I don't want to be pitied, I don't want to be ignored.  Those beautiful words... they kept my spirits high, and a smile on my face.  And for that, I thank my wonderful friends and family.  Y'all are what keep me chugging along, through the good and the bad.  The laughter, tears, frustration, and happiness... that all comes from those around me. So, for my Mother's Day this year, I just want to say... Thank you.

Happy Mother's Day to all who are mothers, in heaven and on earth. In hope and in prayers.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Breaks Give Perspective

I had to take a break from writing out my innermost feelings.  I take a lot of time to put my thoughts out there, and after re-reading my previous posts, I was very sad with myself.  I have really tried to stay as positive as possible throughout this whole process, but my posts on here seem so bitter and down.  That is not how I want to portray myself. Or our journey.  Sure, our situation sucks.  No one wants to be infertile. But believe me, being the "bitter infertile" is even worse.  The pity, the eye avoiders, the topic avoiders... it's hard to be yourself when people are trying so hard to ignore the elephant in the room.

I promise, I live a normal life.  Yes, I want kids, as does B.  But it is not an all consuming thought.  We have our moments or weakness; some worse than others, but we smile and move on.  Every pregnancy announcement, every baby shower, every birth... yes, it make slow us down a little, but it is never about taking away from anyone else's happiness.  It is a moment of remembrance of our loss or of our inability to have what so many create so easily. But we always recognize the joyous occasion for others, and cannot wait to be able to share that moment with everyone soon!

My goals the last few weeks have been few, but they have been very poignant to me.  Almost a turning point in my life and how I am living it.  Positivity has been the main priority.  Positivity in everything I do, everyone I see, everything I say.  Sure, I have already failed several times, but the point is to keep moving forward, keep thinking in a positive manner.  The more positive I can be, the easier it is to be thankful for everything I have in my life.  I have been working on losing weight, eating healthier, and staying positive.  I am proud of losing 8 pounds, adding a ton of fruit and veggies into my diet (and ridding myself of too many sweets- save a few Easter treats- in moderation, of course!), and cutting out the dead weight in my life.  It is tough to make those changes, but oddly enough, it was easier to let go of those around me who are not supportive of my life in general (absolutely nothing to do with infertility) than it was to keep working out every day!

B and I have also created a wonderful budget.  Now, truth be told, I have been trying to implement a budget in our house for several years *thank you,* but somehow it never took.  Moving past that, I am very proud of the commitment B made to cutting out our debt, unnecessary spending, and creating multiple savings accounts (including our BabyFund!) to help us reach our goals. He created a wonderful spreadsheet that we share through Dropbox (awesome invention- we share documents between computers and our phones to help us keep track of all of our expenses) and we made a commitment to stay on top of our spending.  We have already put a nice little chunk of change in our main savings account, as well as a tax fund (because we get hit with paying taxes every year, despite claiming zero!) and our BabyFund.  And we have made paying of some stupid credit card debt a main goal.  We are both also pursuing other means of income.  B has recently tried his hand at designing t-shirts, and I have been doing a little freelance work through, as well as banking my homebound paycheck (I work with one of my previous students in his home twice a week whose health is too fragile to attend school- love my sweet boy!), and selling items on eBay and through our local yard sale pages (Thank you Tifferny for your help with that!).

Budgeting, saving, healthier lifestyle, and staying positive! That is how we are spending the 2nd quarter of 2014 (and 3rd, and 4th!).  We are hopeful to start IVF #3 later this year, and I am proud to say we are doing it on our own, and without outside funds.  We were so grateful to our friends that contributed to our gofundme, but as you can see, I took that campaign down not too long after I started this blog.  It didn't feel right to me when we started it, and I just couldn't put our burden on everyone else.  We are POSITIVE we can make this happen with non monetary support from our friends and family! (but a hug or an "I'm thinking of you" is always welcome :) )

What changes are you making as we enter the Marvelous Month of May?