Friday, December 28, 2007

Have I mentioned how much I HATE insurance companies??

M and I are having an issue regarding insurance. She currently has BCBS insurance and had checked into adding maternity coverage which is done in the form of a rider. It isn't the best insurance for pregnancy - costing $150-200/month for the coverage, then a $2,500 deductible, after which they pay 80%. But we need something in place just in case she has to have a c-section and ends up spending 3 or 4 days in the hospital, or if she has some other medical problem like M's sister did with the ruptured aneurism that required major surgery the day after they delivered her son. I'm scared to go into this uninsured... I don't need to end up with $40,000 in medical bills!!!

So, we're checking into alternatives - but apparently you aren't allowed to have babies in NC!! BCBS says that you can only add the maternity rider in November, to take effect January 1. If we start a new BCBS policy for her, they will cancel the existing one, which will be a problem because she currently has her kids grandfathered in - she's only paying for 2 of them and on a new policy she would have to pay for all 3 - a difference of about $150/month for the next 13 years!! So, we started checking into other insurance options, but many companies do not offer maternity coverage in NC!! WTH?!? Guess they feel that we're overpopulated here!

Right now I'm not sure just what we're going to do... we have to get something in place to cover her... wish I could just add her to my Tricare.

Monday, December 24, 2007

It's Christmas-time again...

... and I'll be SO glad when it's over! I know it sounds awful to say that, but I'm ready to say "goodbye" to 2007. 2008 is going to be a much, much better year for us - I know this. So many things are just feeling "right".

B and I just got back from 4 days in New Orleans - it was plenty of time to spend there and I think we were both ready to come back home. We're just NOT partiers, and we were staying on Rue Dauphine which is just 1 street over from Bourbon in the French Quarter so while we weren't getting crazy and drunk at all hours of the night, we WERE hearing a lot of it. I'm not complaining - it was actually interesting to stay IN the city - it's amazing how noisy it is at 4am with the delivery trucks and street cleaners. Those of us who grew up in the suburbs aren't used to that - so I slept even less well than usual. But, it was an experience. It was nice to be away. We left our laptops at home, so we did a lot more talking, which was nice. We're hatching a plan to fulfill a moderate-term "dream" of mine - he doesn't seem to think that it's too far out of reach. I'm not going to get into details right now, but it's a business endeavor that I've been contemplating for a few years and we're going to see if we can bring it to fruition. If I can swing the increased bonus the Army is offering... it might be within reach in the next couple of years - and that would be wonderful!!

R called me on Thursday, just after we got off the plane. To be honest, I thought she might be calling because she tried to use the Visa debit and it was rejected; she had told me that her recheck appt was on Thursday. At the start of our vacation, I just didn't want to deal with it, so I let it go to voice mail. Turns out her appt was on Friday, not Thursday, but she had called her doctor's office, I guess, about the path results. They wouldn't let her authorize a release over the phone, but told her that the results came back "normal female." Now, the issue with this is that the cells they analyzed COULD have been hers, if there wasn't sufficient fetal tissue obtained to be SURE that they were looking at fetal tissue and not at uterine lining. But, they saw nothing alarming, and since that's all we have to go on, that will have to do. I did email her again and tell her that she needs to have the report forwarded to NCCRM so they can "advise me as to the frozen embryos" so hopefully she'll do that next week. I told M that all looks good (at least as far as we can know at this point) so we'll talk more tomorrow, and after Christmas, but the next step is to get all of her screening done and get her cleared as a surrogate. Then, as long as everything looks good, we can work on insurances and then head for transfer. I'm not sure WHY, but I'm "feeling" late February for transfer... we'll see...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's been a while -

- since I've posted... not that anything has happened really. Nothing earth shattering that is, though I've certainly been busy.

I came home from work the day after Houdini died and Middle Child was waiting for me... "where's my Houdini?" was the first question he asked. I had my hands full so I asked him to give me a minute; I put everything down and took a deep breath, took the little box I had placed him in and went into Middle Child's room. "Is he in there?" he asked... now, stupid me, somehow I was thinking "he found out that Houdini died and he's already recovered" - don't really know why I thought that, except I was holding a small cardboard box with the lid all folded shut tight and I couldn't think of a reason, I guess, that I would have a live critter boxed up like that - but then, I don't think like a 13 year old and I had information that he did not. I handed him the box and he plopped it into his lap, pausing to complete some maneuver on the computer, then reached down to open the box. I placed my hand on top of the box to stop him and said, "No." He looked up at me, "huh?" I knelt down in front of him and said, "you don't want to open the box?" Of course he comes back with "why not?" I started to cry at this point and I said only, "I'm so sorry, baby." He started shaking his head back and forth and saying, "no, no, no, no" and then he burst into tears. I held him until he calmed down and then asked if he wanted to bury him in the yard. I dug a hole under that huge tree that's right out front - had to use the pick-axe to get thru the tree roots, but I was determined to bury the fur-baby right where my son wanted him buried. He's had a few episodes since then where he just walks up to me, puts his arms around me and starts crying - but all in all, he's doing alright. I promised him that when Binki and Twinkle have a baby (they've been REAL chummy since I took Houdini out of the cage), I will NOT make him get rid of it - male or female, I will spay/neuter it so the inbreeding isn't an issue and he can keep him/her. We also had a long talk about positivity and visualization, which has helped him as much as it has helped me, I think.

On a positive note, I did call F'ville to check on the shih-tzu - the owner gave Benedryl thru the night and she was doing fine the next morning; a bit sluggish (not a surprise really with all the Benedryl she was receiving) but no further reaction, so that was a load off of my heart.

We're still waiting on the results of the testing done on the fetal tissue obtained from R's D&C; yesterday was 2 weeks, so today I sent her an email asking her to call her doctor and see if the results are back; I may be paying for the testing, but no one is going to call me or send me a copy of the results. M is waiting to hear what's going on so that she can get her testing done. I think, at this point, it's a "given" that we won't be doing anything before Christmas, but we are all ready to get started as soon as we get the tissue results (assuming, of course, that they do not find a significant genetic problem there). M can get all of her stuff done in one day - the blood work, the saline ultrasound, the "education" session - and as long as we get the OK from the RE, there's just the insurance to take care of. I know with R, that took a few months to get in place - hopefully we can get it done a little more quickly this time since we'll know what companies to go with - I know one of the issues last time was finding a company that would do a disability policy that did not exclude pregnancy - but now we know who to go to for that, so it's a non-issue... or should be. M has already checked with her health insurance about adding a maternity rider to her policy but she said she was having trouble figuring out what it covers, what has co-pays vs deductibles, etc. I guess maybe she was on the website... I told her that she should give them a call and tell them that she is probably going to be adding the rider and needs the information - I'm sure there's some type of "exclusion" period to insure that women don't add it AFTER they're already pregnant, but I wouldn't expect that to be very long; same with the disability policy - it has to be in place BEFORE she gets knocked up.

I'd love to be able to transfer in February... but that may be a little unrealistic given the insurance stuff. She can get cleared to go right after Christmas, as long as we have the test results back; I did talk to our coordinator about M's IUD, but there's no waiting period because of it... she can get pregnant with her first cycle after it's removed. Of course, I also don't know how long it takes after you remove an IUD before you have a period - if it's pretty quick, then we could conceivably transfer as early as 3 wks after it's removed. However, I'm not going to hold my breath - for some reason February "feels" good to me - but I'm thinking "late February"... but any time this spring will thrill me to no end.

We've been surprisingly busy at work - apparently the girls have been getting in trouble for not making their phone calls - they have to schedule appointments for all pets that are overdue, and then they call and inform the owners when to show up... surprisingly, many of them do!! At any rate, we've been very busy for the last week. I have to work tomorrow and then I'm off until Dec 26th (well, except for the staff meeting on Weds, which of course got scheduled on my PTO day - though I think because I'm officially on vacation, I could not show up, but I think I should go.... it will look much better if I do, kwim?); we leave for New Orleans on Thursday -- I'm really looking forward to that. We agreed to leave our laptops behind, so that will give us some "real" time together. I'm looking forward to it, though I'm sure I'll have moments of "internet withdrawal"! LOL

I guess that's about it. We're having a lazy, lazy day today and B wants some popcorn :) This morning he had me remove the big mole that was in his left armpit - he couldn't get in to the dermatologist until the end of February and it was really bothering him - so now he's playing "invalid"! He's so silly...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I want a smaller plate!

I have heard, and really try to believe, that God will not put more on our plates that we can each handle, but it feels sometimes like I've got a damned platter here while others are carrying around saucers... now, I know that I have been blessed with great inner strength, and I have been through some things that would have pushed others over the edge - and I've become a better person for what I've endured, but come on... where does it end??

I found out that I didn't get the deployment to Hawaii - they opted to use the LTC who is already going to be in Oahu, 'cause then they don't have to pay travel expenses (which B says is a huge thing when you're looking at TDY), but the LTC out at Ft Shafter said that I'd be at the top of his list in case the LTC cancels or has his plans changed, or if they need someone in the future, so maybe... I might just get there after all, just not this Christmas (which is fine anyway, because Little Man was upset at the idea that I may be gone for Christmas and - more importantly - his birthday).

Since the 2nd miscarriage, when I started reading The Secret and working on my visualization journal, I have been having this internal monologue about remaining positive, having tolerance and understanding, etc. Perfect example was yesterday - I was at the UPS store for over an hour getting the motorcycle parts wrapped, boxed and sent off to Robbie's shop... I remained pleasant and cheerful during the entire ordeal (not that it was THAT unpleasant, but still, standing in place for over an hour for much of anything - especially when it's going to cost you $200 - gets old pretty quick); by the time I got out of there, it was time to go back to work (I was working in F'ville) and I was starting to get hungry... I haven't had much of an appetite the last couple of weeks, but my tummy was growling so I figured that I'd just pop in the Food Lion next door and grab some crackers or something. Well, there were at least 8 customers waiting to check out and all of 2 lines open - a "regular" line and one with a huge sign that said, "Express Lane 12 Items or Less" - so I got in the express lane, since I had 3 things to buy. The couple in front of me had 4 items; the lady in front of them had at least 30 things in her cart. Guess she didn't want to wait in the proper line... now, usually, this would piss me off and I would be shooting icy stares (ok... to be honest, I did give her the ol' evil eye a time or two before I got control of myself!) and mentally cursing her out - but instead, I had this mental dialog and managed to calm myself down nicely and even feel pretty good.

Then, one of my last appointments of the day was a 6 month old shih tzu puppy - she was a runt and the breeders apparently gave her away. The owner's in-laws got her as a gift for the girl when her husband was deployed - to keep her company. She had had her 1st vaccine from the breeder, but that had been back in Sept, and she'd not been vaccinated again. With it being Christmas and all, money was tight, so we were only doing 3 vaccines - distemper, corona and rabies. This little pup weighed all of 3.5# but was cute as a button, all playful and sweet. I gave the vaccines and was chatting with the owner for a few minutes - she was gathering up her stuff to leave and the pup was lying sternally on the table, and I noticed that she kinda swayed sideways... that's NOT normal... I picked her up and tried to get her to stand - she wouldn't. She acted like she was drunk. Not good! Then she started retching... so I took her back into the treatment area and gave her a shot of Benedryl and some Reglan - she puked up some mucous and then collapsed. Her gums went a pale greyish color and her heart rate dropped; she never had any difficulty breathing, nor did she have any facial swelling, but it was definitely a vaccine reaction - I've never had a dog do this before!! We got her onto oxygen and finally managed to get an IV catheter in... she got epi (when the girls finally managed to find it - yep, that's right... they didn't know where it was - finally had to call the office manager, come to find out it was in the fridge... WTH?!), Dex and more Benedryl IV, and we started fluids. About 10 minutes later, she was sitting up and trying to get away from the oxygen; she seemed tired, but that could have been from the Benedryl. The owner didn't have the money to take her to Urgent Care for overnight monitoring, so I gave her instructions to try to get thru the night (she's a medic in the Nat'l Guard so at least she had some supplies at home and some basic medical knowledge). I'll have to call today to see how she did overnight.

I didn't get home until 8:30pm, and I was just worn out - this emotional stuff is really draining! I went to give Houdini his Baytril and he was cold and very lethargic; he didn't fight me at ALL which was unusual. I started checking him over and he seemed very thin and terribly dehydrated. How could I have missed this?? I've handled him at least twice a day since he got hurt!! How did I NOT notice that he was going downhill? Yes, I know, like I tell clients all the time, animals are great compensators, but still... I tried to force feed him but he wouldn't swallow, so that was difficult at best. I warmed him up and gave him warm SQ fluids, but it didn't help. He died in my hands last night about 10pm. The worst of it is having to tell Middle Child what happened. He's going to be devastated... I know that kids bounce back, but still - he loves that little furbaby and Middle Child is by far my most sensitive child! And then there's the whole issue of the little girl who is supposed to be getting Houdini for Christmas! I don't know WHAT to do about that!! I guess I'll be calling the unidentified numbers in my cell phone and hope that one of them belongs to them. This is just NOT FAIR!! But, then, I guess no one ever promised me that life would be fair.

With all of the negativity, there HAS also been some positive stuff that keeps me going. I got an email a couple of days ago from my sister offering to be our surrogate. I was absolutely stunned. Of course, I had been praying that she'd volunteer, but didn't really expect it. I remember that she had awful morning sickness with Little T (though I think it was less with the others), but she's been thru a lot lately, and has a new bf, etc. Even so, I HAD responded to one of her emails with a statement that we were going to look for a new surro and I wish I knew someone who could carry the baby for us - and, yes, that was designed to make her think about it - but i didn't hear anything for several days, so I figured she was letting it pass on by, which was fine... and then she offered. Turns out, she tells me, that her "knee jerk reaction" was to volunteer but she forced herself to think about it for a few days and do some research into what is involved! That's just like her! Unlike me who just follows my heart and jumps in without much consideration for the consequences, she doesn't volunteer to do anything unless she knows what's involved. Anyway, we're obviously waiting on the results of the genetic testing of the fetal tissue before we do anything, but if/when that comes back ok, I guess we'll go through the initial testing stuff with M (the blood work screening, the saline u/s, the psych eval if they insist on doing one) and if that's all wnl, we'll move forward. As she said, there are about 4 million details to work out - most importantly insurance and protecting her business, but I had already worked through that one in my head - but we'll get to those in time. The cycle for a frozen transfer is short... about 3 wks from the start of her period - so I'm hopeful that we might be able to transfer in March or April if all goes well.

One thing The Secret "taught" me... if you worry about how you're going to get to your goal, you will keep getting more reason to worry - focus on the end results; "how" you get there is not your job - that's up to the Universe to figure out. I read that Sunday night before I went to bed, and after I put the book aside I lay there visualizing the baby in the bassinet, holding her, feeding her, etc. Monday morning, my sister's email was in my mailbox.... so in the face of these trials, I try to push past it and focus on the positive. But, damn, sometimes it's so difficult... like with Houdini - there's just no sense in it. I know it's not my job to make sense of it - and test me all you want to 'cause I can handle it - but this is testing Richard, too. And that hurts me even more. I've always said he's just like me, and he's already been through quite a lot for his age... he's going to be the strong one. I just kind-of wish he didn't have to be... not just yet.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Having a very lazy (well deserved and much needed) day today!!

Unfortunately it doesn't seem that I am qualified for the assignment in Hawaii - I only had a portion of the information, but have since learned that it does involve some food inspection for which I am not yet certified. Oh, well... that would have been a primo assignment!! B is encouraging me to volunteer for something soon, before I pull another crappy assignment - he says that I'm "on their screen" now with this whole Iraq thing and they're going to find somewhere for me to go. I still volunteered for the Hawaii gig - the LTC in charge said that they're reviewing their options and would be making a decision soon - assignment start date is 20 Dec so they're fast running out of time! I can still hope, but it doesn't look too promising.

I've been working on my visualization journal and really enjoying that. It's getting easier and easier for me to let go of negativity and/or replace it with something positive and that's very important!! I met a girl some weeks ago (on SMO) who happened to mention today that she's looking for IPs - she's in SC which might not be too bad, not sure exactly where in SC she is yet, but at least it's not MI or IA!! Who knows... that might just work out! She's young, a SAHM to 2 kids, volunteers at the local animal shelter and fosters a lot of animals so I know she has a caring heart... I think this other girl, in Edenton, is just gonna be too long of a wait for us, and the one I really like, in Wilmington, is wanting to carry for a gay couple (she's meeting with a potential couple in the next couple of weeks), so that might not work out either. SC is doable, even if it's not ideal - though I was thinking today that maybe it would be a good thing. I mean, I want to be involved, but I have SO much else going on right now, if my surro were 5 or 6 hrs away, I wouldn't feel like I had to be there for every pre-natal visit, but could make it there if I really wanted to...

Last night B and I were talking and he is really convinced that it's a bad thing that R works night shift. There was just a study discussed on the news this past week about the increased rates of breast and colon cancer in people (primarily women) who work night shift. I guess it's just not "natural" and while you can adjust, maybe it does screw up something in your body!! I don't know... but I DO know that B wants our next surro to have a day job, or be a SAHM like this lady in SC.

I was planning on doing the outdoor Christmas decorations today, but just can't get into it - it's gray and overcast and I'm being lazy. I'm not sad or depressed... just want to be lazy!! I think that I'll drag myself up now (since it's afternoon and I'm still in pjs) and get dressed - and at least do the yard trees and the reindeer - maybe that will make me feel like getting up on the roof and doing the icicles - though I doubt it! I'm thinking that's REALLY a 2 person job or a LOT of climbing up and down a ladder... what really worries me is that I don't have a tall enough ladder to get up there without standing on the very top (right up there where is says "this is not a step") and then still getting on my tip toes and stretching to climb onto the roof; I may break down and buy an extension ladder next week. I'll be home on Friday - B and I can do the lights then!!

Alright... time to get the laundry done! Somehow, looking at the piles here on the floor, I think I skipped laundry last weekend!