Monday, December 1, 2008

The economy isn't helping our infertility...

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind. Let me recap - in reverse :)

Thanksgiving this year was surprisingly good. Not that it's ever bad, but this year nothing felt rushed and people were in a talkative mood, so it was nice to be able to just catch up. One of my favorite moments was when we had the chance to talk with my Grandma after everyone left to for the annual coon hunting festivities. It was so neat to hear her talk about finances. I've always known my grandparents were money savvy, but it was neat to hear her say... My daddy always said, "It's not how much money make, it's what you do with what you have." It's so true, and in economic times like these, it's nice to hear very basic investment rules. Simple things like this go such a long way... I hope my generation starts returning back to some of the basics.

I was able to skirt by without anyone asking directly "when are you guys going to have a baby", which was a relief. Well, it was, but it wasn't. It was definitely nice to not have to talk about it, but sometimes it's good to just get it out. I don't always feel comfortable just confiding in people, so it's helpful if someone just asks. Don't get me wrong, it's a case by case situation, but I guess I feel like if they ask they must really care, which makes me feel good. It's all in how they bring it up and what kind of week I've had I suppose.

In the short work week before Thanksgiving (remember... working backwards!), my spirits were down, to say the least. My pathetic cycle was making me into a Debbie downer and I was irritated that I was feeling like that right before the holidays. Then, on top of it all, my husband got some not-so-great news at work. It goes like this - we've been waiting for two years now, hoping he'd get hired on by the company he works for (right now he's a contractor and technically works for a middle-man). Normally this wouldn't be the biggest deal ever, except that the company has awesome benefits - great 401k matching and best of all - infertility benefits! Yes, believe it or not, infertility coverage is so close we can taste it. Bad news is that the chances of him actually getting hired on are slim to none now, with the horrible economy. In fact, he just got word last week - here comes the bad news - that he's not only not getting a raise for the second year in a row, he's getting a pay decrease! Seriously - one of the worst scenarios, aside from him getting let go, which goes without saying.

With no hope of a job providing us extra money to save for infertility, or insurance coverage, I felt totally empty. Devoid of any glimpse of what the future might look like - and that, in my little world, is pretty freakin scary. Like it or not, I am the type who much prefers to have not only today pretty much figured out, but at the bare minimum a framework for the future. On one hand I feel like I'm getting carried way with this. I mean, technically, we were fine before the thought of a child came into our lives, right? So why, now, does this have such a strong hold over me? For one, our hearts were never quite in that place before. We'd always wanted children and made decisions in our lives so that we were setting ourselves up to be able to provide a good life for our kids (probably one of the main reasons we up and moved from Illinois, an infertility state, to Missouri, where jobs are more plentiful). Anyway, we are now ready, have been ready, and don't want to give up the desire. I guess we could try to burry our longings and pretend that we are fine either way, but the truth is - at least the truth for me is - that I'm not sure if I would be fine with that. And even though I'm still young, I think of the timing of it all. I want my kids to be fairly close in age, so even if I would get pregnant sooner than later, it might take me quite a while to have the second. I really don't want to be in my mid-30s and still trying to have a child... but you never know. I guess I'm not open minded enough sometimes, admittedly.

Enough rambling. So where does that leave us? That was my big question for the Thanksgiving holiday. In effort to keep this short (I always try, but never quite achieve that), here's the tentative game plan.

1) Go to new OBGYN appt on Dec. 9 - Meet, get her opinion and next step recommendations.
2) If we like her plan of action, we'll proceed as such. As of now we're thinking our push will be for trying to get bloodwork done and other such initial things done (as described in the post below). Not entirely sure about this though, as we still need to have this discussion before our appt.
3) If we don't care for the new OB and/or her suggestions, or if she thinks it's best, we might make an appt. to go see an RE to have some initial testing done.
4) Hopefully at some point in the near future (couple/few months), we'll know more about our infertility situation to get a more solid idea of what we're up against.
5) Then, we'd like to get an idea of the types of things we can try, given our situation. If appropriate (health and money wise), we might stay put with jobs and our home and try those out with what money we can scrape together. At this point, we feel like taking out a loan is not really an option. Scary economic times and an additional $20k or so loan isn't really a good situation. Not to mention, we're already not super flexible with our finances. Yes, we have wiggle room and we are saving, but it's not tons. (I like to spend, but I like to save even more... especially the older I get!) And, I really really want to be able to stay home at least part time with our kids one day. Especially with us not living close to our relatives. With my current job, I believe this would be doable (part time work from home mainly), but I definitely couldn't stay home full-time. I shouldn't be scared by this, but I am a little. I guess I want the ability to do that, but the flexibility to work if I desire. Anyway, the only reason I mention this is so you can get a good idea of my work/home situation. Good, but not the best situation ever. Our home is a bit bigger, and older, than we probably bargined for - especially with kids not being in the picture yet.

See! I told you this wouldn't possibly be short! There is no hope for me I'm afraid.

6) Here's the thing that changes everything. If all signs point to us needing to do IVF (say, for example, if my one and only tube is blocked or damaged, that would be my only option) or if the doc says we can try all the other routes but it doesn't have a high probability of working, then we have to consider what to do next.

It seems almost foolish to not consider moving back to Illinois, given that it's an infertility mandated state. The only problem is that with my husband's current career path, web analytics, there are very few opportunities in the STL area, and absoutely zero opportunities on the IL side (near STL). This means that if he wants to stick with this, we would need to be open to moving to the Chicago area. My family would totally hate me if we moved that far away, and that is one of my biggest fears. It's also one of my biggest heartaches - I know how much it would mean to my Mom, for instance, to have us be somewhat close (where we live now is about a 1.25 hour drive) and I feel like I would be the world's worst daughter if I took that away from her, especially when it would come time for us to have a baby.

That has been one of my biggest struggles from day one, when this thought popped into my head, and one that I continue to loose sleep over.

The only other option is that he give up his career path (which is a bit more interesting and pays a decent amount more), and return to finance. At which case, he could probably find a job in the STL area, probably still not many on IL side, which means we could down-size our home and work our butt off for a year or two to save up as much as we could and then try something. Or, for it to really work, one of us would need to get full-time benefits from an IL company, and I would hate to lock us into a situation where that person is me. Then we're just creating a new problem for after we get pregnant the first time and try for a second.

Do you see how there is no good answer.

And on top of it all, the housing market is also down, which means it will be TONS harder to sell. I'm talking we'd ultimatley be shooting for breaking even on what we paid originally (if push came to shove and we had to lower the price). And, we'd need to save for some type of down payment for our next home, which means if we wanted do to things kinda quickly, we'd probably need to rent for a year or so. Which, if we moved to Chicago, that would most likely be best and would give us a chance to get familiar with the area. The only condition on that - our dogs! What in the heck would we do? I couldn't bare to part with them (the cats I could - sad but true), but never my dogs.

And these are the things that run through my brain from day to day, with no end in sight. No quick turn-around. No easy conclusion. Sadly, the economy is playing a huge role in our ability to be flexible in our lives in order to do what is necessary to provide a way for our family.

Even with the way things are, we arn't giving up hope. We will continue to push ahead and are willing to step outside our comfort zone in order to provide a good life for our family, in the hopes that one day it will grow.

In the meantime, here are a few resources that might be helpful when seeking out companies who offer infertility insurance coverage:

Here is a list of states who mandate infertility insurance coverage, in some form or another:

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The Swann's December 1, 2008 at 9:21 PM  

Oh my gosh do I understand or what!!!!! All unfortunately though... Oh. And go figure. As I"m reading your blog, on the news they are officially announsing that we are indeed in a recession and have been since December 2007! Um. DUH???

Anyways. Check out my blog as I have something there for ya! :-) I love the info you provide your readers! Thanks!!

Ray and Chrissy December 2, 2008 at 8:04 AM  

I just want to comment on the whole infertility mandated benefits issue. I work in insurance and mandates are only included if the company you or your DH works for does not "self insure" i.e. that a different company (not your company) pays the claims.
If the company you or your DH works for is large enough they probably just have a claims administrator who takes care of claims but does not actually pay them. Rather you or your DH's company does (i.e they are self insured). If that's the case the company you or your DH work for may NOT provide IF benefits to you, or if they do they will be much less than what the state mandates.
It is something to think about when decided to return to IL. Insurance, when it comes to madated benefits, can be tricky. Just be sure to look into the benefits portion when you or your DH interview for jobs in the state you are looking to move to.

Cathy December 4, 2008 at 4:20 PM  

Thanks, Meghan, for the sweet compliment! It's nice to know that I might be helping other women out there based on my situation... make lemonade out of lemons, right?!

And thank you Chrissy for being so nice to take the time to give me a little insight on the infertility insurance situation. I had read that about the coverage, but didn't realize that it seems like a lot of companies self-insure... is it the mid-sized companies that are general those who are likely to not self-insure, but still be covered? No matter what though, you're right. We definitely need to be asking about benefit details from the get-go, if either of us do end up applying for jobs, before we up and move. Thanks again for dropping me a note! And congrats on your little one!

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