cmonkey's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:04 am

November 2018

November has been a crazy month. Our financials did very well! In fact market gains were more than my paycheck this month (including 401K/match). We ended the month just over 262K in FI funds. We received record dividends for this month of the quarter as well at $617 in received dividends.

I'm accumulating cash now in prep for pulling the trigger in just over a year. The stars are aligning for spring of 2020 on a number of fronts (although there is some uncertainty now...see below...)

Next month will see two very awesome milestones knocked out financially! Stay tuned.

Baby Update

DW's pregnancy is progressing well so far. She is 32 weeks as of yesterday and we are getting everything together that we need. Many things have been found on craigslist, lots of donated clothing and stuff as well. And some new purchases. For the year we are at $300 in money spent specifically for baby.

The last few weeks have been a sort of blur, however, and fairly stressful. DW's pregnancy had been going by uneventful until her appointment earlier this month. She was getting a second ultrasound because they thought the baby was a little big for her age. The technician asked us if we'd be seeing the doctor that day.....and DW and I looked at each other, both knowing she had seen something on the ultrasound.

Sure enough she had seen something alright! They missed it on the original anatomy scan, but turns out our little baby has a condition called Situs Inversus. It's estimated that 1 in 10,000 people have it! The exact cause is unknown - it could be genetic, but most cases are just spontaneous. Almost all people with it are totally fine as well, and the same appears to be the same for our little girl - with one exception.

Folks with this condition have a 5-10% chance of having a heart defect, so we had to get a specialist followup in Iowa City this week and they did an echocardiogram of her heart. The most common heart defect that occurs with this condition is something called TGV - basically her pulmonary artery and aortic artery would be connected to the wrong chambers of her heart. This condition requires immediate surgery right after birth. Thankfully, they confirmed she does not have this!

However, they think they could see a tiny hole between her ventricles (the bottom chambers) but they weren't convinced. The doctor "saw a flap of tissue" which he thought could be a hole. There also appeared to be a slight reduction in flow through the valve leaving heart going to the aorta, but they said it could be caused by the small hole.

I confirmed with them that, since they aren't convinced of a hole, if it is a hole it is probably super small.

Doing my own research, I've discovered small holes tend to heal themselves as the baby grows, especially if accompanied by a small flap of tissue and rarely require surgery. In fact most of these holes are not discovered until a heart murmur is heard! But we are now mentally preparing for the worst case. We also need to deliver the baby in Iowa City which means a 60 mile drive once DW goes into labor, which gives us more stress. I haven't driven at highway speeds in several years, so the plan is that her parents will be here to help when the time comes. But if baby comes early, I'm going to have to face my demons and get her there, albeit slower than most drivers.

There is a 20-25% chance she could have something else as well - something called primary ciliary dyskinesia. We won't know until after she is born, after which is might be totally obvious because she will have trouble breathing in the most severe case. They will do a genetic test for this, which I'm thankful for because I've read it can be difficult to get a diagnosis outside of the test. If she has this, she'll be more prone to ear and sinus infections and also lung infections. There is no cure for it, just daily management.

So far we are handling this pretty well I think, just focusing on the fact that the baby is perfectly healthy otherwise. She is 69th percentile and hanging on to that number. Her heart beat is strong each time we go in and she is suuuuuper active. She loves it when I talk to her. :D

We have another appointment on December 10, so I can post another update then.

Expenses/Savings


Total Spend - $1,242.80
Total Savings - $6,164.54 ; 79%

Years Saved - 19.40
SWR - 5.15%

TTM Expenses - $13,531.87 (- $558.78)
Total FAI - $8,870.83 (+ $205.08)

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2Birds1Stone
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:56 am

I admire your calm approach to the news. Nothing you can do but be the best parents once she's born. Keeping my fingers crossed that it's all minor.

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jennypenny
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by jennypenny » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:00 pm

Sorry about the medical issues. If she has PCD give me a ping--her maintenance regimen will be similar to DS. It's not a big deal.

Some babies let you wade into the parenting pool while others start with a cannonball off the diving board. Welcome to the deep end of the pool. :D

cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:44 pm

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:56 am
I admire your calm approach to the news.
Ha! If only you could have been in my head during those 2 weeks between appointments. Having no information and reading all I could on it. :oops: We are definitely more at ease now. This is definitely letting me flex my "you don't have control" muscles though.

jennypenny wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:00 pm
Sorry about the medical issues. If she has PCD give me a ping--her maintenance regimen will be similar to DS. It's not a big deal.
Thanks jp! I'm curious now about your DS. I will certainly ping you if it turns out she has it. I am heartened by knowing not everyone with PCD has the worst symptoms. Many people don't have many symptoms at all.

ffj
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by ffj » Sat Dec 01, 2018 6:17 pm

If this is her first birth than you should have plenty of time to get her where she needs to be in time, even after her water breaks. Her contractions can last for hours before the baby is born, so take your time and enjoy the fact that you'll soon be a father.

Congratulations by the way, and I sincerely hope everything turns out perfectly fine. Your life will never be the same again, in a good way.

vexed87
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by vexed87 » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:50 am

@cmonkey, our fingers are crossed for smooth delivery, but just in case it doesn't go exactly to plan, a word of advice for you both. Next time you meet with doc, discuss what happens immediately after birth in worst case scenario. DD was taken away from DW pretty much immediately, (we got to pose for a really quick photo) but DD and I got whisked away leaving DW in the delivery room with midwives. DD was rushed off to HDU. DW, not knowing what was going on was pretty distressed and traumatised after the event because of it, because she had no idea what was happening next. Talking about it in advance, even if it never comes to pass puts you in a position of strength
ffj wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 6:17 pm
If this is her first birth than you should have plenty of time to get her where she needs to be in time, even after her water breaks. Her contractions can last for hours before the baby is born, so take your time and enjoy the fact that you'll soon be a father.
Word of warning, that wasn't our experience at all! <1 hour labour here for our first (and definitely last! :lol: ), things don't always go as you expect! If you haven't already, get your hospital bags packed and even if you think you won't need them, carry them with you every time you leave the house together!

@cmonkey, maybe get a bit of practice of the route under the belt before you get called to battlestations, especially if you are unfamiliar with the hospital location etc. Whilst you plan on getting parents to help you out, well, you know, Murphys law! You really don't want to be worrying about where you are going to park/how to get to get there etc in the heat of the moment, a trial run whilst it seems kinda crazy, it may pay off in a worst case scenario! However, hoping it wont come to any of the above!

Take care!

ffj
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by ffj » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:12 pm

@vexed

Yes, I should have included an asterisk. Just going with probabilities here.

Good advice should things not go as planned.

cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:41 pm

@vexed, Part of our Dec 10th meeting is going over expectations/plans for when we arrive at the hospital and after she's born. We are meeting with someone from pediatric cardiology, ob gyn, neonatal intensive care and perhaps someone else I can't remember.

I wonder if premature babies tend to come faster compared to full-term? Getting everything packed is high on my to-do list as frankly, I don't trust those due date predictions. :lol:

7Wannabe5
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:21 pm

I was in labor for 36 hours with my first. Second was more like 12. It's kind of like if somebody embedded a billiard ball under your bicep and your muscles kept spasmodically flexing until the ball slowly, slowly, slowly pushed through the middle of the bicep and then ripped right through your skin.

I would be optimistic about the prognosis for your baby. All this early detection of potential problems is kind of a mixed blessing. Lots of kids need little fixes, and the bun isn't baked until it is out of the oven. My DS30 had a pinched ureter which had to be repaired, and my DD27 had to have her tear ducts surgically opened.

cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:58 am

Thanks 7w5. It's true, prognosis even for the worst heart defects in newborns is excellent these days with near 100% success rate (meaning no followup surgeries or complications), albeit still a huge source of stress.

Crazylemon
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Crazylemon » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:23 am

Sounds like you are seeing all the right people.

Vexed is totally right on being ready!

vexed87
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by vexed87 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:53 am

cmonkey wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:41 pm
I wonder if premature babies tend to come faster compared to full-term? Getting everything packed is high on my to-do list as frankly, I don't trust those due date predictions. :lol:
I think we were the exception to the rule :lol:. We knew DW had risk factors for early delivery, but no idea about extremely fast delivery! We will never know for sure, but the delivery team suggest DD was delivered early and relatively quickly because DW had a urinary tract infection, she had pains (we later realised these were contractions - hard to tell difference) before we got the hospital. We went to the hospital expecting her just to be treated for UTI as had happened a few times during pregnancy, we didn't know DD was coming until DW's waters broke in the hospital bed seconds after they told us she was fine to go home, the junior obstetrician was freaking out (yes! really!) then DW got rushed to delivery suite, minutes later we had a baby in our arms.

I remembered the bags :D. Anything can happen between now and the due date, so get that bag packed ;)

SavingWithBabies
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:30 pm

I would recommend practicing driving on the highway to get more comfortable.

Our second was born 45 minutes after we got to the hospital. We would have gotten there earlier but we weren't sure if it was a false alarm and then person watching our first took a while to arrive which delayed our departure (in hindsight, we should have all gotten in the car and gone but early morning foggy thinking does happen).

cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:33 pm

Yesterday was a very long day - 8 hours in Iowa City with 4 different appointments and then 3 hours of prenatal classes last night. Ugh. However, we have a game plan now that we had the board meeting with all hospital departments involved.

Baby definitely has a heart defect. There is a hole near her aortic valve on the septum. It's causing the septum to lean toward the valve and is causing a slight reduction in blood flow. It's not severe but its just over the tolerance level for fixing. Aortic flow is good and no regurgitation which is good as this would mean a valve problem.

DW is scheduled for induction on January 21 in the evening. The baby will be taken to NICU almost immediately and given an echocardiogram. They want to wait about 5-7 days to let baby's heart acclimatize to life outside the womb before making the determination on path forward, but the cardiologist was frank with us that he believes the baby will not go home without surgery. The hole is blocking aortic flow slightly and will never heal given its location. It would lead to cardiac issues if not treated.

She will stay up to 2 weeks post surgery so we are looking at a pretty extended hospital stay. Since it's an hour from home, we are on the waiting list for hospital housing.

I am feeling quite a bit better about the situation given a couple things -

1. Induction is scheduled so as long as baby doesn't come early, we don't have to drive to the hospital in labor.
2. The heart defect is not very severe and the prognosis is very positive.

Before this plan was set up both DW and I started having a very hard time, compounded by DW's grandfather dying last week. We weren't able to make the funeral since it's 9 hours away.


Given what we are about to go through, every other struggle in life is about to get a whole lot easier. :)

SavingWithBabies
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:29 pm

Have you considered hiring a doula? I thought it was over the top but we did for our first one and I was very happy we had done so (for our second, we went it alone). A doula that is familiar with your hospital can help you navigate your options, come up with a birth plan and assist you during delivery to ensure your wife is always supported by one of the two of you. In your situation, I would look for one that has a lot of experience and ideally has experience with "high risk" pregnancies (basically, that's any pregnancy which is at all unusual). I would also confirm that they are allowed into the delivery room (if you want that aspect of it). Your hospital might offer a doula program but I'd tend to prefer an independent one. You interview them much like you would a nanny and it's important you find one that your are both comfortable with and can work with. Our experience was our doula was just as happy to recommend us to someone else if they didn't think they were the right one for us.

The doula might help you with another aspect: induction is usually a choice. It's more convenient for the hospital and the doctors but it might not be the right thing for you and your wife and future child. A good doula can help you explore that and figure out what you want (or what questions to ask the doctors) and how you can get it on the context of the hospital you are working with. And the birthing plan would include the potential paths that could happen and how you and your wife want to do things at each branch. There are a lot of choices and the hospital, in our experience, is not good about educating and/or communicating any of this up front but a good doula should be able to do so.
Last edited by SavingWithBabies on Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

suomalainen
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by suomalainen » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:51 pm

@cmonkey - I feel you. Our 2nd was born premature and had a PDA (patent ductus arteriosis or something like that) that required heart surgery at 10 days old (would have been 25 weeks gestation). I don't know if your surgery would be any more invasive than ours was, but...it's a frightening thing in any event. Now, 12 years later, he talks about it with some measure of pride - how he almost died, how he has a cool scar, etc, etc. I wish you and your wife as much peace as possible until then and best of luck.

prognastat
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by prognastat » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:53 pm

Sorry to hear that surgery is going to be necessary, but glad that the prognosis is good. I hope the surgery goes through without a hitch.

cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:34 pm

Thanks all, your thoughts are appreciated.

I commented to DW last night that I feel like I've never been in a better position than right now to get through something like this. Not just financially, but just our entire life situation makes this a lot easier than it would have been just a few years ago, with both of us WFH and having flexible schedules. Mentally and stress-wise I'm in as good a place as I've been in a long time (but this doesn't help of course ;) ).

Of course, I won't white-wash it this is very difficult. It's the hardest thing we've ever faced together and individually, but it's bringing us closer together all the same. The hardest thing for me is knowing DW has to go through this. I wish I could go through it for her. I really really wish she could go to the NICU, instead of me, once the baby is born.

7Wannabe5
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:26 pm

Wishing you all the best. Hopefully, your wife will be able to join you very quickly in the NICU.

EdithKeeler
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by EdithKeeler » Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:36 pm

So sorry you’re having to go thru all of this.

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