Friday, May 29, 2009

One week down

I finished my first week of work! Yay to some income! Our tax refund is still outstanding (we keep calling and they have now told us by June 15th it will be processed) but I'm "richer" than I was on Monday morning before working! It's a nice place, people seem friendly enough and the work isn't bad. I'm getting through the pains of settling into a new job - learning new names, figuring out who does what and setting things up but it's all good. I've had lunch with my DH every day that I worked (he's right across the street - how convenient!) so that has helped with the transition. He's great that way...always willing to hold my hand and make me feel better when I'm getting used to something new.

Right now cycle wise, I've been on BCP for 10 days and I start Lupron today. Instead of doing the shot in the AM, I've decided to do the shot in the PM so that I can sleep off any spike from the initial injection so I don't go to my new job all menopausal! At least that's the plan! My last BCP will be on Tuesday next week and then I wait for the start of AF. I will be relieved to get it honestly because the start of AF will lock in the timing of my calendar and I can start making arrangements and book the time off work.

I've been lax about getting back onto a strict gluten free/ sugar free/dairy free diet but I am trying to be better. I think I'm suffering from diet fatigue but I have to keep reminding myself that this is temporary and that some day, I will eat bread again! Ahh the small things make me happy these days...nothing gets my mouth watering faster than the thought of a warm baguette slathered with butter. For those of you who are currently pregnant and did the GF/SF/DF or any part of that, did you continue to be GF for your pregnancy?

I know I promised pictures of my garden once planted but I'm not done yet - still a few plants here and there that I'm putting in so I will take photos soon and post them. Promise! It's almost done.

Finally, a little shout out to all my fellow bloggers who have done or are doing transfers right now - good luck to you all and I wish you success from the bottom of my heart.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I start work on Monday and I am trying to keep sane about things. Of course, I am trying to get things done that I have been putting off for a while so I won't worry about doing them later so that has turned into a flurry of activity. Cleaning, organizing, filing, keeping our medical expenses up to date - you know, all that kind of stuff.

Today is CD5 and I have been on BCP for 3 days now in preparation for the FET. Lupron shots begin next week and then I wait to get my period after stopping BCP on the 2nd of June. After that, I will finally know when I will be heading back to Denver and I can make travel arrangements and let my new employers know when I need my week off.

I'm trying not to dwell on the FET too much...I have to admit that I am getting pretty scared about the whole thing when I really stop and allow myself to think about it. So much time and money has been invested into this cycle and I am terrified of the pain and heart break if it doesn't work. Like Sue said in her blog, the high success rates of getting a BFP when transferring CGH normal embryos used to give me such hope but the closer I get to my FET, the more my attention seems to get distracted by the small percentage that doesn't work. It's like something I didn't see before but now that I've seen it, I can't stop focussing on it. Can I please just be a part of the big percentage for once? That would be so nice...

I'm still taking my Chinese herbs although I'm sure CCRM would disapprove if they knew. I figure I have nothing to lose at this point and I may as well try to make things as optimal as possible. The goal with both ART and TCM is to create the best environment and the nicest lining for my embryos and I have done it so many times without doing the herbs so this time, I'm going to try doing it WITH the herbs and see what happens. I don't believe that it can hurt and I am so incredibly desperate.

Other than that, nothing else going on. I'm still waiting for my whopper of a tax return refund to come back. We knew they were going to have a fit when they saw $65K of medical expenses for 2008 so we paper filed our return this year and sent them all the documentation up front so they would have it when reviewing our return. That didn't seem to help though. It's been 2 months since we have submitted the return and all we have been told is that it is under special review. Apparently special review has 5 weeks to look through it and we called the day after the 5 weeks was up to find out the status, only to be told that they couldn't do anything except log that we called and put a query on the file. What does the query do? It gives the special review section another 4 weeks to respond to our query. Geez. The frustrating thing is that the supporting medical receipts were all organized in the same order as they were listed on the summary and I even referenced the receipts to the summary so they would have no problems finding everything. I think they're going through each and every expense and trying to disallow something given the size of my refund. There's nothing else we can do except sit and wait.

Sit and wait. Seems we do that a lot around here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back to Work!

I signed the contract yesterday. I got the job offer on Monday, signed yesterday and will be heading back to work on Monday May 28th at 10am - gotta love those part time hours! In the end, I decided that it wasn't a bad thing - I just had to get used to the idea of returning back to work.

I think that part of the issue was that in my mind, I associated the return to work with failure. It seemed as if I was taking a step backwards, returning to what I had left, the life that I had abandoned in order to pursue creating our family full time. What I have realized that this is just another step that I need to take in our continued journey towards creating our family. I always said when I left my job that I could always return to work if I had to - well, I don't *have* to right now but that extra income would sure make things a lot easier. Besides, as someone else pointed out in a comment a while back, it would be nice to have the additional money since both babies and school cost money!!

In terms of our FET, I am waiting for AF this weekend sometime and then I get to start BCP on day 3 of my cycle. Very anticlimactic. I'm going to have to be careful though - I start Lupron on my 3rd day on the job so I will have to really watch my drug-induced-menopausal self!! Lupron-me will certainly not make a very good impression so I will have to make sure that it is just *me* that shows up for work every day.

On the TCM front, my doctor told me the other day that she thought that my pulses were improving. For those of you who are not familiar with TCM, they always feel the pulses on the inside of both wrists. There are three points on each wrist, representing different energy meridians (i.e. heart, kidney, spleen, lung, etc.) with your left wrist representing Yin energies and the right wrist representing Yang energies. She told me last time that my pulses felt like they had improved but in general, my chi was low. When I first went to see her, she said that my pulses were very high and full of anxiety (this was 1 month before my CCRM cycle!) and she said that this has been stripped away now so that she feels that it is just the underlying chi left. Interesting stuff!

We have a long weekend coming up this weekend and we have a long list of things to do around the house - repaint the garage and front doors, put sand on the interlocking stone in the front and back and plant our gardens. I will post photos of it once it has been completed.

Other than that, just enjoying my last few days before returning to work.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Job Seeking

When IF has invaded your life, you can't help but think about it and assess its impact on every decision you make. Nothing goes untouched and I don't want to think about it so much but I do. Take this week for example - I'm considering a contract job and all I can think about is how it is going to impact our plans and our FET and a potential future cycle.

I've had my resume out there for a while now with some head hunters that place people in contract roles and before, my travel plans would always interfere with jobs b/c they were too long in duration. However, a role just came up for 6 months on a part time basis at a company right across the street from where my DH works. It's about 20 hours per week but can go up to as high as 35 hours some weeks. The work itself is pretty mundane but this is apparently a good place to work as the company has been ranked in the top 100 companies to work for in Canada. It's big, well established and I don't think it's going through a period of rapid change so a fairly stable environment. They're willing to let me take off 1 week for my FET at the end of June/early July but of course, they just think I'm going on vacation somewhere and I would never tell them the real reason.

It's appealing because it gives me a chance to earn some $$ and it is 6 months long so I'll be done the contract at the end of November, which fits my schedule if I still end up going back to school in January 2010. It is also part time most of the time so I can still fit in my twice weekly sessions with my acupuncturist. Now this is where my thought process is interrupted by the "what if" questions that IF raises to which I have no answers.

What if the FET doesn't work and I have to deal with the devestation mid contract? Will I even be able to function on the job?

What if the FET does work but then I can't take it easy during the first trimester? I know, I know - pregnant woman can work but I'm not like the other fertiles out there and it has been such a long and hard road that if I finally got pregnant, I would want to do everything in my power to make sure I was giving it the best chance possible. I don't think that any employer would condone a mid afternoon nap!

What if the FET doesn't work and we want to cycle again? I wouldn't be able to get the 2 1/2 weeks off from the contract so I would have to wait until November to cycle again and then we run into the issue of the December shut down so I may have to wait until January...and then that would interfere with school.

Little Miss Worrywart - that's me! So much of this is out of my control and I know I have to make a decision soon if I get the job.

My head is telling my heart that this is the logical thing to do - the extra $$ would be nice and would help to offset our medication and travel expenses and if I decided to go back to school, we could set aside the money for tuition easier. My heart is heavy though and I think it's because I associate returning to work with failure. I decided not to work so I could focus on treatment and trying to get pregnant and I still haven't gotten to where I want to be. In my mind, going back means that I'm returning to the same place that I left so essentially, nothing has changed. Nothing has changed. And that is the hardest thing to wrap my feelings around. It would be nice to be Vulcan right now and let my actions be dictated solely by logic. There is the logical choice and then there is the emotional choice and it's hard when they aren't the same.

In the end, I am a practical person and if I do get a job offer, I will take it. Deep breath...I have to believe that this will all work out in the end. Somehow. Some way. I have to believe that.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Frugal Me

Over the past year, I've had a lot of time to whittle down our expenses and to make budgetary and lifestyle choices that would support my $30K/cycle habit. We've cut corners and we've really changed the way that we do things in order to economize. We're down to one income, our savings are gone and we don't have the 8 month contingency fund that Suzy Ormond likes to preach about. In this economy, I thought that it would be fun to share some of the things that we've done to economize b/c we're all in the same boat and no matter how you slice it, $30K/cycle is no small pill to swallow on one or even two incomes.

Here are some things we've done in no particular order:
  1. Changed automobile & home insurance policies to a group insurance plan - both my DH and I are Chartered Accountants and for the longest time, we've been getting ad mail about a group insurance policy that was specific to our profession. I guess statistically speaking, a group of accountants doesn't pose as much of a risk! I shopped around after my last insurance company tried to raise our rates again and turns out, the group insurance through our profession actually DOES cut our insurance cost. It actually cut our cost in half!

  2. Buy our meat 50% off - the day before the best before date on the packaging is when many grocery stores slash prices by 50%. We call it trolling for cheap meat at our local grocery store (haha). The meat is still good and hasn't changed colours or smell funny. We simply freeze it if we're not using it right away.

  3. We've stopped giving each other gifts that cost money. For Christmas, my DH gave me some coupons that I could "cash in" at any time. There are the ones that I can't share publicly and the others like where he volunteered to reassemble Daisy's doggy fold out couch after I've washed the cover (it's not fun - it comes in one piece and it always takes me a minimum 30 minutes during which I get incredibly hot and frustrated trying to stuff the foam back into the cover. Did you know that you can't slide cotton over foam without it sticking??

  4. Buy hormone and antibiotic free meats instead or organic - organic is great but it is super expensive and I can't afford to eat it all the time. One 4lb certified organic chicken can cost more than $20 and that is just too much with our budget. Instead, there are a lot of grocery stores that offer hormone and antibiotic free meats, which is better for us and easier on the pocket book. A 4lb hormone & antibiotic chicken cost about $14 - or $7 if you get it 50% the day before the best before date :)

  5. Buy in bulk or buy wholesale - for items that we seem to consume lots of (i.e. OPK, HPT, vitamins), I have researched and found wholesalers where we can get a volume discount. Also, there are a lot of online retailers who also give you a break on the cost such as Save On Tests and you get better prices because they have lower operating costs since they don't have retail stores and often skip the fancy packaging.

  6. Buy only what you need - there is a store called the Bulk Barn here in Canada where everything is sold in big bins and you scoop yourself what you want. I am lousy at estimating how much I need and have often bought too much in the past which goes to waste because I don't use it. Now when I go, I bring a measuring cup with me so if I only need 1 cup, I only buy 1 cup. Also, don't buy the stuff in bulk that you use infrequently - although the unit price of one will be higher, the total cost of one is usually less than the total cost of two.

  7. Buy financial software and track expenses - I have found this very useful for projecting out cash flows and juggling our money around. It also tells us how much we've been spending on things and where we can perhaps economize a little further. How else would you know where you're spending your money and where there is room to cut? Sometimes you don't want to know but I think that we've reached the poing where we have to know and this is one way to find out!

  8. Eat more vegetables with a little meat vs. large serving of meat and a side of vegetables - I find that vegetables are generally cheaper to eat than meat so what I do often is to make a stir fry (for example) and throw in a lot of vegetables and then chop up some meat to put in it as one component of the dish. That way, we split a chicken breast (for example) rather than each eating one. Besides, aren't we all supposed to be eating more vegetables??

  9. Buy less expensive cuts of meat - I often buy bone in, skin on meat like chicken breasts/thighs, especially when they're on sale and I debone the meat myself. It's not hard and I'm sure there are lots of videos on youtube about how to do it. I then wrap it up in plastic wrap in individual or double portions so that I can thaw only what I need. The best part is that I save the bones for stock and can make a better quality stock that contains less sodium. Tip: roast your bones for a deeper, richer tasting stock.

  10. Rediscover your public library - you can now borrow the latest DVDs from the library for FREE and I have rediscovered my love for reading. I also have perused through the magazine section where they always have the most recent issue on the shelf.

  11. Install water aerators for taps and shower heads - I resisted this one for a long time but with the focus these days so much on the environment, I figured it was time to save us a little water and $ and it is also the environmentally friendly way to go.

  12. Trade time for services - some organizations will allow you to volunteer your time in exchange for their services. I looked into this at my yoga studio and they had an energy exchange program where you would work 4 hours/week cleaning the studio and then you would get unlimited free yoga the following week. I didn't end up doing this since my TCM doctor has recommended against Bikram (hot) yoga for me but I've filed that in the back of my mind for the future.

  13. Got a credit card with rewards - when I knew we were cycling in the US, I upgraded my VISA to a Gold Card so I would get more rewards faster and so for each cycle I charge to the card, I get my flight for free. Even with the increased annual fee, it is still better for me to have the card than to buy a ticket.

Those are the many things we've done to cut our costs down. I'd be interested to hear if you have any innovative or new cost saving tips you'd like to share.