Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Questions & more savings

For once, I can say that my blogging absence has not been caused by lack of time, but more out of confusion over what to write about. I would love to hear from my readers who are still out there in the "trenches" of IF and tell me your feelings on the matter. I have ideas for a few posts that I would like to write, but I never want to make someone hurt or put someone through more pain than they're already feeling. Please, even if you've been a lurker until now, let me know your feelings on this!!! On one hand, I hate that this blog is venturing away from its initial purpose (infertility support/venting/etc.) and into one of blogging solely about my shopping trip savings & craft ventures...on the other hand, life circumstances kind of make it difficult to blog about actual infertility now.

And now for my weekly savings! It was another great week to add to my stockpile at Rite-Aid!

(pic coming soon)

Here's the breakdown:
2 Old Spice Deodorants - $1.50 each (plus I got $1 UPR for next time)
1 bottle Welch's Grape juice - $1
10oz Coppertone SPF 50 - $2.99
Cover Girl eyeliner 2-pack - $.89
Crest Sensitive - $1 OVERAGE
Drinking straws - $1
***and my exciting buy for the day...
3 Clearasil face washes (from the clearance aisle!) - $2.64 each - I had a $3/1 VV coupon, a $3/1 in-ad coupon & a $2/1 manufacturer coupon. They gave me overage on the $3 coupons (most likely because the clearance price didn't originally ring up & the cashier had to key it in to come up 50% off), so I got all 3 bottles for $.08 overage! When I originally went in to the store, I had intended to use all 3 coupons on one bottle of the reg. priced stuff, so this was a great find!

I used the $5/20 VV coupon & will get $2.99 in SCR. Once all is said and done, I will have paid $2.78 out of pocket!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Life After Infertility

I've been swirling this post around in my head for a while now, trying to make sense of it. Trying to figure out what to write. Trying to figure out if I should write it at all. Truth be told, there really is no life after infertility, or success after infertility, or whatever you want to call it. No matter how you overcome your infertility demons, be it adoption, surgery, surrogacy, IVF or a miracle, nothing can repair the damage done by the countless tears you've cried, the sympathetic looks from friends and family members, the hurtful (though often well-intentioned) comments that people make, the painful pregnancy announcements where you paste the "I'm so happy for you" face on to mask the tears that are welling up behind it, the money you spent on making a baby that you had reserved for a baby. And then there's the weird curve ball that infertility throws at your marriage. When you take those vows, you never realize just how literally God takes them; how he pushes them to their utmost limits & tests you beyond measure.

But then there are the unexpected blessings...the crazy little things that you can somehow appreciate along the crooked & rocky path...and although I never would have chosen this path to parenthood in a million years, I can honestly say that it has made me count my blessings. And I definitely think it will make me a better parent. It has made our marriage so incredibly strong...stronger than any other couple our age that I know, actually. And I've learned about how giving of yourself can change someone's life completely, like Becki did for us. I certainly wouldn't trade that for anything in the world. Finally, there are the friends I've made; you, my bloggy buddies & my IF-support group girls who get "it" more than anyone else possibly could...how could I not admit that I'm at least a little grateful for the hand that I've been dealt?

Do you have blessings to share from your life with infertility?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Super Rite-Aid Shopping!

I'm so excited about today's Rite-Aid trip! I told G as soon as he got home today - it doesn't take much to make me happy!

Here's a breakdown of the goods:
12-pack Charmin Basic - reg $8.49-on sale for $5.49 - $1/1 coupon = $4.49
Cascade Action Pacs - reg $4.99-on sale for $2.99 - $2/1 coupon = $.99
Schick Hydro 5 - reg $9.99-on sale for $6.99 - $5/1 coupon = $1.99
(2) Old Spice body wash -reg $4.79-on sale for $2.99/BOGO coupon/$2.99 SCR=2 FREE!
(2) Old Spice deodorant -reg $3.29-on sale for $2.49-$1/2 coupon-$3/2 SCR=$.50 each!
Pantene shampoo -reg $4.99-on sale for $3.50-$1/1 coupon-$3 bonus SCR=$.50 overage!
Herbal Essences mousse-reg $4.49-on sale for $2.49-$1/1 coupon-$1.50 SCR=FREE!

I also used a $5/$25 coupon & will submit for a $6.99 Schick rebate. I paid $13.44 out of pocket on $49 worth of merchandise. I will submit for $17+ worth of rebates (Schick + SCR) making this trip a $4+ money-maker!!!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Big (LONG) Update (finally!)

It's time to come clean about the big BFP. Though not spontaneous by any means, it is as big of a shock to us as it is to you. Read on...you might want some snacks...it's a long one (some is for self-documentation purposes, so feel free to skim!) Pictures from every ultrasound (and the embryos) can be found at our baby blog: www.schollbaby.blogspot.com

As I mildly hinted back in February, we decided that we were going to do our FET (2 frozen embryos from our donor egg cycle in July 2009) in March. We decided (after little debate) that we weren't going to let ANYONE in on it, including our parents...after all that we had been through, it was just easier not to have the questions, "when is your shot? how are you feeling? when is your beta? when is this? when is that?," etc, etc, etc...even though of course we know those questions always come out of love and concern. A couple people at each of our workplaces knew, but otherwise, no one! My online infertility girls didn't even find out about it until the evening of the transfer.

On March 18th, I went in to work with G. We were supposed to get the call about an hour and a half before we needed to be at the doctor's office, so there was no way for me to go in to work & still have enough time to meet up with him & leave on such short notice, even though we knew that the call probably wouldn't be made until after 10. Around lunch time, we got the call & they asked if we could be there by 2:00, which was no problem. We ate our lunches, G secured his coverage & then we picked up and left, getting there with plenty of time to spare. They took us back almost immediately and got us set up in our "room" (basically one large room with curtains between each). There were about 4 other couples there. We had elected to receive laser acupuncture both before and after the transfer. It was only an extra $200 and we figured this was our last chance...we would do everything possible to increase our chances of success. It was completely painless and took about 5 minutes. Around 3:00, the RE (Dr. Kim) came in and told us that both of our embryos thawed beautifully (which was honestly the biggest obstacle to pass of the day!). He said that they picked up right where they had left off as far as growing was concerned. By 3:30, we were in and out of the transfer room & I was receiving my 2nd dose of laser acupuncture. After my mandatory 20 minutes rest, G & I made the long (traffic!!!!) trek home with a stop at Wendy's for dinner (because, after all, baby likes HEALTHY food!). By the time we made it home, I barely had any rest time before actual bed time, but G made sure I didn't do too much. I returned to work the next day...my 4-year-olds are easy enough, so I wasn't worried about over-doing it.

We had already made plans to travel up to my parents' house for a family spaghetti dinner that weekend. This meant that, for the first time, I would have to do my PIO shot by myself (G is terrified of needles & passes out - but it's ok - I still love him LOTS!). I was terrified, but my co-worker (former nurse who had been doing my shots for me) guided me through it & watched me do it by myself the next day. She marked out a few spots for me with a Sharpie & I prayed for confidence! The next day, though still extremely nervous, I did it! Complete with finding a good spot (my sharpie marks had washed away!) and drawing back to check for blood! Over time, while doing my own, G became my band-aid man & would stand on the sidelines (not watching) until I was ready for him! Though still not my favorite thing to do (and I'm glad I am officially off of the PIOs), I can do an IM shot like a pro!

So, back to the story...on March 26th, the night before my beta, I went to a social event with my co-workers. While there, I started to feel crampy & went to the bathroom to discover some brownish pink spotting. I was completely miserable the rest of the night (despite the fact that I won 2 prizes while there) & texted G for the duration of the party about how I wanted to come home (I had carpooled with someone else, so I couldn't leave). The next day was beta day and I felt that my fate had already been revealed the night before, but I took a HPT that morning anyway. I couldn't sleep, so I was up way before G. I peed on the stick, waited the obligatory 3 minutes, saw no line & went back to bed. I was so numb. Even though I felt like I had gotten my answer the night before, the blank spot where the line was supposed to be, staring me straight in the face, was like a punch in the gut. Looking back in regular lighting, later in the day (much past the 10 minute window), we could see what MAY or MAY NOT have been a line, but at 9dp5dt, we were looking for a nice, dark line. We kept telling ourselves we were ready to adopt and ready to move on and "just be parents in whatever way we could" but the reality was that those 2 little embies still gave us hope...and try as we might to not get those hopes up, that was virtually impossible.

By the grace of God, I held it together all morning for the blood draw. Several hours later, we got the call that I WAS PREGNANT with a super beta of 163! The nurse on the phone probably thought I was a real witch or something because she told me and I didn't even react - I still could not believe that 2 negatives (spotting and the BFN on the HPT) could equal a positive. I just said "ok" after every statement she said. After I hung up, we were both in shock, but not excited like we should have been. We had been to that place before & we knew better than to get our hopes up prematurely. But we hoped, and we prayed, and we prayed some more.

2 days later (16dpo), I went back for repeat bloodwork & discovered that not only had my number doubled, it had almost tripled to 412! I was beginning to get more excited at this point. However, when I inquired about my progesterone level, which they said looked "good," I discovered that it was low by most RE's standards at 13. So I did what any desperate girl would do. I first called and got my PIO dosage increased (they would only let me do an extra 1/2 mL). I also pleaded for a prescription for progesterone suppositories, but to no avail. So again, I did what any desperate girl would do...please don't tell...I self-medicated. You see, I had some expired progesterone suppositories in my refrigerator & with the help of my enablers (aka my online infertility girls), I started taking them daily for nothing more than some peace of mind. I also begged for a 2nd repeat beta for some additional peace of mind (especially since we were traveling to my parents' house for Easter). Again, I got the call with good news! My beta needed to be at least 1648 to meet the standard 48 doubling time (now at 20dpo) & it came back with a SUPER STAR number of 2379 & my p4 went up to a comfortable (for me) number of 20. Not sure if it was the extra p4 supplementation, but I'll take it. Many of my online girls were thinking twins at that point because my betas were so high...

The day after Easter, April 5th, we went back to the RE for our first ultrasound. We were both terrified, as this was the point in our previous pregnancy where we had the ultrasound and they saw nothing, betas began to decline & we lost the baby. BUT NOT THIS TIME!!! This time we saw ONE beautiful gestational sac with a yolk sac inside! Just what we wanted to see. The PA said it was too early to measure for a due date, but that everything looked just like it was supposed to look (5w2d). My bloodwork also came back stellar with my p4 holding steady at 20 & my beta shooting up to 8067!! In the week between my ultrasounds, I would live on an ultrasound- (and beta-) high for about two days, before reality (and Satan with his doubt) would begin to creep back in. I had no symptoms at that point beyond bigger BBs (although I wasn't complaining about that one)...and I knew that was just from the progesterone.

On Monday, April 12th, we saw and heard one of the most beautiful things in the world...our baby's heartbeat! We were in shock and awe mode. I had myself completely convinced that we would get there and see that the gestational sac and yolk sac had disappeared...G thought I was just being ridiculous & I told him I was glad that he could say "I told you so!" We also saw another mass at the ultrasound which we've determined was likely a 2nd sac that just never developed (considering how high my betas were, this would make perfect sense, since I was right in the average range for twins). Progesterone was holding steady at 20 & hcg rose steadily to 30,896. My TSH came back still slightly elevated (at 3.6) so they increased my dosage a 2nd time & continued to monitor it. The baby measured right around 6 weeks at that time, which was perfect & a HB of 120bpm.

At the 7 week scan (April 19th), they discovered that the 2nd sac had continued to grow. They still saw it as no cause for concern, which was encouraging. We heard the heartbeat again (136bpm) and the baby measured right on target (7w2d). Finally on April 26th, we went for our 8 week ultrasound & for the first time, our baby looked like a baby (or a gummy bear)! The baby measured 2 days ahead (8w4d) & HB was 164bpm! The RE's office "released" me with a really cute ultrasound pic baby card & a stack of pregnancy magazines, though they can't officially release me while I'm still on progesterone (though they actually did since I REFUSED to go cold-turkey so early-on). My TSH went back down to normal levels at 1.86 and they finally gave us a due-date of December 3rd, 2010! And still, our families had NO CLUE.

We traveled up to my parents' house on the evening of my birthday, April 30th. They were throwing a 30th bday picnic (family) for me the following day. My mom & dad were busy getting things ready for the picnic that they were having for my bday. They were both finally in the house at the same time and I told my mom that I wanted her to open her Mother's Day gift (a week early) before she was up to her elbows in something else...my dad almost left but I told him he had to stay. Mom opened the card and started crying (nothing in the card but a sappy little verse) and then she opened the frame and SCREAMED, CRIED & she and my dad made a Teri-Sandwich out of me. My dad cried and my mom sobbed, "This is the BEST MOTHER'S DAY PRESENT EVER"...it was awesome. When she got to the party, we told my little cousin Jenna (19) because she's our bud - she and Gregg always "pretend" they are Ron & Hermione from Harry Potter when we go camping (mainly just finding sticks & pretending they are stupifying each other, or quoting the movie, etc). Gregg asked Jenna if she wanted to be Aunt Jenna or Aunt Hermione - and her eyes got wide and she looked at me & I smiled and she got SO excited & screamed - she had to compose herself before we went back to the rest of the family. My mom showed the frame to the rest of the family after we had eaten & they happily passed it around & congratulated us on the wonderful (and long over-due!) news!

On Tuesday, May 11th, we had a great OB appointment with the heartbeat at 170bpm. The little sucker was in there moving all over the place - it even looked like it was waving at us!!!! The following weekend, we went to the shore with G's family for Mother's Day. Before we went out to breakfast, G gave his mom her Mother's Day gift. His mom was a little confused at first (or we were just confused at what she was asking us)! G's dad is a radiologist, so he looked at the date at the top & saw my name & knew right away what was going on & hugged me immediately. His mom started sobbing and couldn't figure out how we'd been keeping it a secret for so long! We told G's 2 younger sisters and they FLIPPED, then he called his oldest sister and her kids told her that she said Oh My God 21 times! LOL! We emailed the rest of G's brothers and sisters to tell them & we heard back from every single one of them within 12 hours!

We had our NT scan at the Maternal Fetal Medicine unit on the 28th (which was so cool!!). The ultrasound tech got all the measurements (which the doctor said looked normal, putting us at low risk for Downs or Trisomy 18) and then we officially "came out" on Facebook that afternoon! That.Was.Awesome!

And that brings us (finally!) to where we are now, 14 weeks. It's been an insanely long and nerve-racking journey, but we're just thrilled to finally have a chance to experience all of it. The good, the bad & the ugly. I go back to the OB on Tuesday (I'm anxious to hear the HB) and we don't have another ultrasound until the 19th of July (the "big" one)! Please keep us in your prayers!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Rite Aid Savings

First of all, let me say that I PROMISE my next post will be one explaining my most recent big news (my BFP!). I've been trying (rather unsuccessfully) to spend less time on the computer & more time getting the house in order, now that I'm only working 3-hour work days until the 11th. The house is slowly getting into better shape, but somehow I'm still spending way too much time online.

I took advantage of some great savings/deals at Rite-Aid today. I had to make 2 trips because I forgot my diaper coupons (yes, I'm already starting to stock up! We plan to use cloth diapers mostly, but I figure for travel & babysitter purposes, it will be nice to have some disposables on hand). It turns out to be a good thing that I DID forget my diaper coupons because even though I spent a little more money, I got a GREAT deal on the diapers & I'm excited to share!

Here's a pic of the goodies that I got & the cost breakdown below! I had to make 2 separate transactions on my 2nd trip to the store, but it really was no problem at all! No hassles!

Sorry it's a bad pic (phone camera), but here's the break-down:
1st trip:
4-pack Scott Bathroom Tissue: reg $4.79, on sale $2.99
(2) Ziploc Freezer Bags: reg $3.99 ea, on sale BOGO + BOGO coupon (only up to $2.19): paid $.90 each
2nd trip (1st transaction):
Schick Hydro Razor: reg. $8.99, $5 newspaper coupon, $1 Video Values coupon: $2.99
Nature Made Vitamin D: $4.79
Rite-Aid Baby Aspirin (108ct): reg $4.99, on sale $4.49
Coppertone Spray SPF 50: reg. $10.49, on sale for $8.99, $2 in-ad coupon, $3 Video Values coupon, $1 printable coupon: $2.99
Also used $5/$25 Video Values printable = $10.32 total (less than the regular price of the sunscreen alone!)
2nd trip (2nd transaction):
Huggies Newborn Diapers (36ct): reg. $11.99, on sale $8.99, used $3 Huggies printable: $5.99
Huggies Size 1 Diapers (40 ct):
reg. $11.99, on sale $8.99, used $3 Huggies printable: $5.99
Huggies Size 2 Diapers (36 ct): reg. $11.99, on sale $8.99, used $3 Huggies printable: $5.99
Used (1) $1 Video Values coupon and (1) $5/$25 Video Values printable, plus a $2 SCR = $9.97 or just under $3.33 per package of diapers!

In total, I spent $25.26 out of pocket on $78 worth of merchandise with a savings of $52.74!

Yesterday was also a good day at the grocery store! I ended up sticking to my weekly budget of $50 and saved over $30!