Thursday, October 28, 2010

All Rolled Into One

First, let’s start with the obvious that I don’t think anyone reads this blog anymore so that’s why I haven’t been writing. This will probably become a monthly or quarterly thing now just to write down some thoughts. No use shouting at the rain.

Second, what’s going on around here? Well, lots to be honest. Overall, Clara has been really good. The nap scheduling at home has been horrendous; I am not going to lie. For some reason she will.not.nap at home. I have tried everything I can think of to get it done with failing results. She was so utterly exhausted this past weekend I had to have Ray drive her around in the car until she finally passed out. Gah.

But let me tell you why I am pissed off though. If you remember my last post about Clara’s VCUG you will notice that I didn’t mention our insurance. Why? Because we have an HSA. While this is not ideal it is/was better than the horrible PPO my company was offering last year and way, way better than Ray’s PPO last year. So, yeah, lesser of three evils I guess. Anywho, the whole deal with the HSA is that you basically pay out of pocket for medical expenses except you pay with a non-taxable savings account that can only be used for medical purposes. I know it sounds terrible but actually it’s not that bad. However, in order to determine exactly how much you will have to pay for one thing or another the best way is to call the place that will be doing the procedures (for doctor’s appointments and the like the cost is minimal so it’s not necessary but for larger procedures that require radiology work it’s best to call). So I DID call Hopkins and chatted with a very nice insurance specialist who assured me that my bill for all of Clara’s radiology stuff would be give or take $220. Yeah, fat chance, it was actually well over $1300 after doctor’s fees (which I specifically asked about), lab testing (which I specifically asked about) and additional facilities fees (like the use of the actual machinery, which I SPECIFICALLY ASKED ABOUT-you get the point). So naturally, I am really annoyed.

Our insurance company footed $24.00 of this bill while we paid the other $1200+ out of the HSA. I guess to be fair the entire amount we paid went to our deductible (which btw is a ridiculous $2500). And I am not so pissed off about having to pay the bill itself as I am that I was duped into believing that our bill would only be $220. I mean really you call yourself an insurance specialist what the HELL where you lookin’ at lady? Luckily for me and Ray we hardly ever get sick (knock on wood) and Clara has only been to the doctor for non-well baby stuff three times this year (a total blessing). Most of what comes out of our HSA is for my birth control pills (at $60 bucks a month because I am on YAZ for the PCOS) and her medication for the VUR (which is like $13 every 3 months or so). There was (and still is) plenty of money in the account but had I known that it was going to be this much we would have done her VCUG/ultrasound a bit sooner. Why? Because we would have satisfied the deductible that much sooner and all our subsequent bills would be mostly paid out of the “PPO” portion of the medical insurance at an 80/20 split which includes my birth control pills. I am convinced that insurance companies are the devil. Sadly I work for one (but again to be fair it’s not major med).

The whole insurance thing has put a bit of kink into our baby #2 plans. While the HSA works fine for people who don’t often get sick and require few, if any, medical procedures during the year (us, most of the time), it sees pregnancy as sickness for which all doctor’s visits are charged separately and admittance to the hospital comes under the deductible (the doc visits would also go towards satisfying the deductible). Additionally, any fertility treatments that I would require (and I would, of this there can be no doubt) I would also have to pay basically out of pocket for (again it would go towards the deductible). Now, Ray’s current PPO has really decent maternity coverage- you pay a $10 co-pay once for the doctor and then never again- all doctor’s visits are fully covered. The hospital stay is still subject to the deductible but the deductible is only $1300 ($1200 less than my HSA). Moreover, I keep any money in the HSA from year to year at the end of this year our HSA will have (with no additional contributions from me) about $1300. Sounds good right? Except for that pesky infertility which is covered under Ray’s insurance at $50 bucks a visit, all lab testing and monitoring may be subject to the deductible and there is a limit of $3500. What this all means is that instead of starting/trying for baby #2 in February/March of this year (when my bc prescription runs out) I will be asking my doc for a 6 month refill and we’ll be trying closer to next September/October of next year. This will allow me to build funds in the HSA over the coming year for the fertility treatments I’ll need but it will also us to switch to Ray’s PPO with the better maternity benefits at the start of 2012. And after discussion we also decided we wanted a little more alone time with Clara. If it all goes to plan she’ll be closer to 4 when baby #2 arrives which means only a year of paying for two in daycare, not to mention a child nearly out of college before the next one goes in- a bonus.

Ancillary to all that stuff going on-Ray and I are preparing for our first real trip sans baby. In April I went to Napa with my sister and mother for a little “girl’s getaway” which stranded me in California nearly an extra day. That was for a total of 4 nights. That’s the longest I’ve been away from Clara. However, over the last year Ray hasn’t spent more than two nights away from Clara. I am both excited and nervous about going. I made sure I told my sister where all the information for our life insurance is and I made sure to write down who gets custody of Clara in the event of our untimely deaths (morbid as it is- but shit does happen). Moreover, I prepared an authorization for medical treatment in case my mom and sister have to make decisions on our behalf. I think my biggest issue is that I won’t have a good time because I’ll be missing Clara too much. When I was in Napa I called Ray every day to check in on her (sometimes twice a day) and got daily pictures of her. While in Mexico it will be much more limited so I won’t really know what’s going on. I can say with complete confidence that I trust my mother and sister so I know Clara is in good hands. I would never have let anyone else watch her for that length of time. I don’t trust anyone else to do what’s best and make decisions for her in our stead without putting their own personal shit behind it *ahem* Ray’s parents *ahem.*

So that's about it from here. Let me know if you are still reading, maybe I'll update more.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


A major sigh of relief. Clara had her yearly Pedatric Urology appointment yesterday which included a trip to pediatric radiology for a renal ultrasound and VCUG. I was really hoping for good news since my week had been pretty crappy.

My mom came down from NY to be with us since I was fairly certain that I could not be with Clara for the VCUG. If you recall the last time she had to have this done it was like a living nightmare. Now granted we were going to Hopkins Pediatric Radiology and not the peds unit at St Joe's followed by a trip to the regular radiologist. Everything, including the cath was done by an actual doctor too. But I still couldn't watch so I sent my mom in with Ray (since they are both calm and handle stuff very well).

She screamed during the ultrasound which I was present for but the technician was wonderful with her. Then we had about a 5 minute break before she had to have the VCUG done. I heard her crying through the door and of course I was upset but it would have been 10 times worse had I actually been in there. When my mom and Ray came out with Clara she was all smiles and so was Ray. I said "what happened I heard her" and my mom said "she's strong willed and did not want to be lying down, that's the reason she was screaming- the cath went in fine she didn't even cry for that" and then Ray said "good news is that the VUR is resolving"- I was so happy.

Our appointment with the pediatric urologist confirmed that her right kidney is slightly smaller than the left and both are without 'hydronephrosis' (scarring. Additionally they downgraded her VUR from 1/2 in the right to 1 (requiring no further treatment) and from 3/4 in the left to 2/3 which still requires treatment for at least another year possibly a few more years depending. Overall the urologist was very pleased with the result. He said a lot of it has to do with making sure she takes her antibiotics daily (which we of course do) and the fact that our Pediatrician had her tested so early. I told him another year or more of antibiotics was okay by us. He said "it's better than surgery" and I said "absolutely" and he said "I certainly don't need the business" and I said "or want it" and he said "exactly."

The Ped Uro said he would chat with our pedatrician about the results but that he thought that Dr DeVoe would be as please as he was. He also mentioned that if necessary Dr DeVoe would adjust her medication level for her height and weight.

So overall really great news. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that this resolves to 1 next year so there will be no need for antibiotics at all once she hits age 2.5.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On the Road (again)

So we’re off to Lake George for the next couple of days. This is our first real car trip with Clara. Obviously she’s been on a plane before and we’ve traveled the three hours up to NYC before but somehow I think this is different.

Clara is 17.5 months old now which means temper tantrums galore. Although to be honest she’s been pretty decent. If you don’t count the hysterical fits of crying that take place when we tell her that Whispurr (our Siamese cat) is done “playing with you for the night.” But really she isn’t “bad”. I only wish we had been able to successfully wean her from her pacifier habit before the trip because if she loses it while we are in the car it’s like a nightmare to find it and give it back to her. The only positive thing is that my mom will be joining us on the trip from Queens to Lake George so at least someone will be back there with her (either me or my mother).

It will be nice to take Clara to a place I love. We spent several summers when I was a kid up there. Most recently I lived just south of Lake George in Clifton Park. It feels like it’s been a really long time since I was up there. Gosh, I think it’s been about 7 years now. That translates into the same amount of time that I spent living there while I was in college and law school.

I’m not gonna lie, I do miss it at times. Some of my greatest memories are of living upstate, some of my greatest heartbreaks too. I wouldn’t change any of it though.

So the plan is to spend as much time hanging out and swimming as possible. Then take a lunch cruise on the Luc du Sant Sacrament, possibly take a paddle boat on the lake and meet with my old law school buddy for dinner and drinks. Another great thing about having my mom around is that she agreed to play babysitter while we hang out with my friend. I am thinking we might take a ride down into Saratoga but we’ll see.

I am looking forward to taking lots of pictures of Clara swimming and boating and just being a kid. It’s strange how fast she’s growing. I looked at her today and I thought “wow, she’s a real little girl now.” And it happened in the blink of our eyes.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Oh Well...

I am having one of those days. You know the kind of day where you think “this isn’t fair?”

So if you read my last post you know that Ray and I have a somewhat set plan for Baby #2. And providing it all goes the way it should I think the plan will work out rather nicely. Plus if we are lucky and Ray ends up with a better paying job things might get started sooner. Although, if I have to be honest I doubt it will happen.

Anyway, one of the attorneys in my office who had a baby 2.5 months before I had Clara just told me she’s expecting #2. I am not surprised. I just had a feeling that any day now she was going to announce her pregnancy. Somehow, I have this weirdo intuition about these things.

It’s not that I want to rush our well thought out plan. Nor do I want to throw us into a difficult financial situation (it wouldn’t be life ending but it would be very tight) but part of me is so “not fair.” We actually have to wait for our savings account to have more money and loans to be paid off before we can even consider another baby. Not just because of the finances associated with putting a second kiddo in daycare/feeding/diapers but because of the treatments I will inevitably have to go through in order to get baby #2.

I like this attorney. She has always been super nice to me and friendly. I don’t have an issue with anyone to be honest. But things still sometimes rub me the wrong way. I am not sure how many people in my office know the struggle we went through to get pregnant, I am not sure I really want them to know. After all it is personal business. But she asked me so casually “so any company for Clara?” and I said “not right now, probably not for a while actually” and, I know she was asking innocently but then she said “oh, why not?” and I said “a few reasons; first, I had a difficult time getting pregnant to begin with and I am not looking forward to starting that process again because of both time and expense and secondly, daycare isn’t cheap and I have to find a way to pay for two.” And she kind of just shrugged and said “it will all work out.” I like her optimism but she has that luxury- she’s a corporate attorney who probably makes twice what I make and her husband is an architect who probably makes twice what Ray makes. So I am sure they can afford to have many more children. But where I am, it’s not possible. Even if it is something I want.

I try not to let myself feel bad about stuff like this. I know we are doing what is on best interest emotionally and financially. But still it feels a bit like a kick in the pants that I can’t just do whatever I want whenever I want. I just hope at some point we do get to give Clara a brother or sister. If not, well I guess we’ll be okay either way.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Now that I feel like our life with MIL is somewhat settled (a whole long story) it’s time to assess what our family needs are.

Ray and I talked and I was honest with him. I’ve been on the fence about wanting to have another baby because of a few factors. First, I adore Clara to death and I want to give her all my love an attention. I am not sure I could love another one as much as I love and adore her. Second, financially things are good right now with just one. Having two means higher daycare tuition, more clothing (especially if we have a boy), more stuff in general (although a lot of the stuff we have is gender neutral with respect to pack & plays, swings, car seats and strollers so at least there is that). Third, I want to go back to school when Clara starts elementary school (in 4 years- I actually wanted to go back much sooner but that isn’t in the cards) and I am not sure I would be able to do that if we had a 2 year old at home. Lastly, the pain of infertility is still pretty fresh. Not to mention our current insurance is an HSA which covers infertility 100% but that’s because I am basically paying out of pocket with a tax-free account (no good really). His benefits (which we declined) pay for all pre-existing conditions except (get this) infertility! So basically I would need different insurance (a straight PPO with a co-pay would be ideal but even my company’s PPO option is a co-insurance thing.)

But I thought long and hard about our financial situation and I realized that in 18 months Ray will have completed paying off his student loans. As in done forever!!! Which is amazes me because he’s only been out of undergrad for 9 years. I worked really hard at come up with a “snowball” plan for paying off the loans (if anyone wants details on how we did this you can just send me a msg and I’ll explain it to you). What was supposed to happen at the end of that 18 months was that I was supposed to take whatever money he was throwing towards his loan and put it towards the smaller of my two remaining loans. But considering the nature of student loans I told Ray that we not do that. Instead we could put that money into daycare costs for another baby…

He said he thought it was a good plan (what?) and what time frame was I looking at. I said providing this all goes the way it’s supposed to (which we know it won’t) 9 months would be the soonest so that if a miracle occurs and I get pregnant right away then we have the 9 additional months to pay off the loan and it would put us right where we need to be. If it doesn’t happen right away (more likely the case) we’ll just keep trying and if it doesn’t happen within 6 months we’ll go back and get help from the RE again. I also figure that if I wait the 9 months from now we’ll have figured out the insurance situation (going back to the PPO and have the HSA money for the co-insurance payments). Moreover it gives Ray a few months to figure out his job situation (that’s post for another day because it means we may be moving. And now that we’re no longer talking with his mother/family we have no reason to really stay).

So that’s the tentative plans right now. It’s nice to dream that things will go just how we plan them to go. But even if they don’t I think giving it another try is in our best interest. I want another baby and I want Clara to have a sibling now more than ever because of our situation with Ray’s family. Maybe it’s not the best reason but I think, even if we stay where we are now, in the jobs we have now, in the house we currently own we can do it. And as far as school goes- well I think having one in kinders and one in pre-school is okay so long as we can swing it financially I know we’ll find a way to make it work time wise.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Promise I'll Do Better


Well I'd like to say the "sleep training" worked like a charm but that would be a big fat lie. We have good nights and horrible ones. She refuses to go to bed before 9:30pm which takes its toll on Ray and me. But when 9:30 comes at least she's tired enough to not cry hysterically for 45 minutes like when we put her in there before she's "ready" to go to sleep.

Fact: She is her mother's (and father's) daughter.

Ray and I are both night owls. We both hate getting up in the mornings. Clara is exactly that way. Getting her up in the morning is a battle and it involves loads of crying and misery for everyone. If only the girl would go to be earlier she would save herself the pain of that 6:30am wake up call. As an adult I can hardly handle getting up that early but our schedules require us to be up until 11pm- but her's doesn't. Go figure.

Other than that she has managed to pull herself to standing without any assistance. Walking can't be too far behind now. She'll be 15 months in a week but I am not sure she'll walk before then. I guess I shouldn't be shocked at how long this is taking she's always been a little bit behind on the gross motor skills. I am hoping she will walk before summer though.

Overall she is doing very well. She was sick two weeks ago with tonsillitis and this past Monday and Tuesday she had another minor throat infection which, thankfully, did not require antibiotics. She recovered well from both bouts but I do worry about her throat and upper respitory stuff since she's had two upper respitory infections and two throat infections (not counting this minor one) in the last year plus. Thankfully, no ear infections though.

Friday she gets her MMR/Chickenpox Vax. I won't be there with her :( only Ray has time to go with her. I hope she does okay. I know that shot can be very painful for little arms. I told Ray to make sure she gets some ice cream (or a cookie) for being a good girl.

Ray and I are supposed to discuss the possibility of having another baby. This conversation is supposed to take place some time this summer. We have casually discussed in the past and while both of us would like to have another baby- finances, educational goals, and time are huge factors in why we probably won't for quite a while.

I have a pro and con list working about having another baby but at the end of the day it's going to come down to feelings and right now I am not sure how I feel because I know I am losing time and especially with the PCOS I have no idea how it will go with the next one, if there is a next one.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The New Adventures of Old(er) Clara

Clara is now 13 months old. No, she still isn’t walking but she is definitely finding her legs. Her not walking doesn’t surprise me at all. She was quite a late crawler- waiting until she was just over 10 months old to do that. I think she’ll be closer to 15 months when she finally ventures off the furniture and steps out on her own.

We have finally decided to let go and try and get Clara to put herself to sleep. I waited too long to do this with her. I should have started when she was about 7 or 8 months old. It wouldn’t be so hard right now if I had. Anyway, since I cannot do straight CIO (despite my best efforts to do so otherwise) I have taken a sort of modified CIO approach which I found in a parenting magazine recently. AND it seems to be working (well last night was only night 2 of this new routine for her). The first night she screamed bloody murder for 25 minutes until she finally exhausted herself. When she finally settled down to go to sleep she still had some pitiful sobs which broke my heart but, she did eventually fall asleep and stayed asleep through the night (score!). So last night we did it again. Ray and I made an agreement. I would give her a bath, put her in her jammies, give her the medication for her VUR and read her a story and he would actually stay with her while she wailed and finally fell asleep. BUT what happened stunned me. Not only did she not cry she barely fussed at all when he put her in the crib (I listened over the monitor). He was tapping her, singing and saying encouraging things. It still took her 20 minutes to go to sleep (and she woke up 45 minutes later but went down again easily) but she didn’t cry or fuss before hand and she managed to once again sleep through the night. Tonight is our last night with the patting and encouraging words. Tomorrow night we are supposed to move to the middle of the room and just talk to her until she goes to sleep on her own, no patting. Not sure how it will go (but I’ll be sure to let you all know).

Additionally, Clara has been a signing fool lately. She has picked up and uses consistently the signs for “more”, “milk”, “all done”, “eat” and “please” (she even uses them together- “More milk, please”). I am in the process of teaching her other signs like “duck”, “bath”, “water”, “wet”, “pain” and “diaper change” (if she just gets ½ of that sign it would be good)- I am fairly sure she knows what the signs for “don’t touch” and “no” are, even though she doesn’t use them (why would she, only mommy and daddy have to say “don’t touch” and “no”-lol). Her level of understanding and cognition has exploded lately and I am amazed by her daily. When she was younger it was much harder to tell if she really understood us but now I know she does understand and watching her communicate is so cool. She has been saying mama and dada for a little bit but now she says “du” for duck. Every time I bring her duckies out I say “who is this” and she says “du” so she is trying to talk to but I am surprised she doesn’t have more words.

We have an appointment with the ped at the end of the month for her MMR and chicken pox shot. I think I might ask Dr. DeVoe whether I should be concerned about her not having more words. She’s a great mimic but for some reason she doesn’t want to say real words. Either that or I am not noticing them. I know I probably have nothing to worry about since she clearly understands language and she signs very well.

Well, that’s all from here, for now. I’ll be updating on how her sleep routine is going. Hopefully in a few days she’ll be able to just get in the crib and go to sleep without any help from either of us.

Monday, February 8, 2010

6-12 month picture retrospective

And last but not least

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Has it almost been another month? Geez

So we've returned from Disney World. And here is a taste of a few pictures from the trip. We had a pretty decent time. I'd rather not talk about what went wrong but Clara wasn't harmed by any of it, it just made for a difficult time for me. I realized a lot of things on this trip that I probably knew before going but that I now know for sure...

Anyway, here are the pictures

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

There will be no apologies

Well folks, I would apologize for not keeping you all up on the comings and goings of a Clara Rose but well it wouldn't make a difference would it?

So what's been up since November? Lots of things. My baby is almost a year now. I can hardly believe how BIG she is (I'll post another picture retrospective at the beginning of next month). She LOVED Thanksgiving and ate everything (including my cranberry sauce, go figure). Then it was Christmas and that was a ton of fun watching her open gifts and getting distracted by the kitties.

She isn't walking yet, heck she won't even pull herself up to stand yet but that's okay her gross motor skills have always been a little behind. But once she's up and moving no doubt she'll be all over the place. I love watching her as she eats because she enjoys it so much. She has eight teeth (soon to be nine) and looks so adorable when she smiles and laughs.

The last doctor's appoint has her at 17lbs 5oz (around the 20th percentile which is where she has been her whole life basically) and 29 inches (50th percentile). We are trying (failing mind you) to wean her from most of her bottles by her birthday (I only want to do 2 one AM when she wakes up and one PM when she goes to bed). So far we are down to about 4 a day. The only way to really do it is to send less bottles to daycare and more food/snacks for her. But I am so bad about doing that and putting together bottles is so much easier for us. But I will make an effort this week to prepare stuff for her to take (the same as I do for Ray) and hopefully that will help. I really don't want to be washing 5 and 6 bottles a day when we are in Disney. And I think honestly I can get away with bringing a few in the park with us but her mostly eating what we eat when we eat.

Which did I mention- that's what we are doing for her first birthday? Going to Walt Disney World? We go every year for Ray's birthday (5 days before Clara's) so now we have combined their birthdays into one longer/bigger trip. And we'll do it every year for her until she doesn't want go any more (and then maybe we'll stop). Ray said part of the wonderful thing about us getting married was being able to finally go to Disney World whenever we wanted. I tend to agree. It was nice spending all that couple time down there but I am really excited to see how Clara reacts to some of the stuff there too. And as she gets older it will be even more fun because she'll get to ride rides with her Daddy too.

Anyway, that's really all that's going on here. I'll try and be better about updating.