My Life Abroad: The Adventures of Two Birds
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Nov '10

California or Bust!

Home for the holidays

I’m sitting down to write a few entries into the blog, noticing my countdown clock to our trip… only 25 days left!  I can’t believe that it has gone by so fast.  We’ve known for months but only told Mom last month that we were coming.  It will be so nice to see my Gramma, cousin Lavette, brother and Mom too! I miss my family so much and I can’t wait to see them all.  After Mom’s sickness this year it will be good to be together again.  I really enjoyed her last visit here last year and I am looking forward to her next visit in 2012 with our family friends the DeLongs.

Ultimately we wanted to make this trip low key, in fact at first I was only going to come out by myself… visit with Mom for a couple weeks while Birdie continued to work and do things around the house. But, Birdie loves the U.S. and he just couldn’t imagine not coming out for another Christmas.  We’ve decided to round out our trip with one weekend in Chico, California, and New Years Eve (5-days) in New York City.  I think that should do it!

Our itinerary is looking good so far:

16 Dec – arrive at 11:00am SFO – drive to Mom’s house in Sacramento
17 Dec – Friday through Sunday 19 Dec in Chico, California
19 Dec – Sunday: Back to Sacramento
19 Dec – Kings Game
23 Dec – Kings Game (floor seats!!!)
24 Dec – Gramma, Lavette and Adam arrive
25 Dec – Christmas
27 Dec – Kings Game (extra ticket… who wants to go??)
29 Dec – Fly to New York – stay in Soho
30 Dec – Sightseeing in NYC
31 Dec – New Years Eve – tickets to rooftop event near Times Square
1 Jan – Recovery/sightseeing/shopping
2 Jan – ‘Rock of Ages’ on Broadway
3 Jan – Return to Sacramento from New York City
4 Jan – Kings Game
5 Jan – Fly to Melbourne :'(
7 Jan– Land in Melbourne

Luckily we have found a wonderful house-sitter to take care of Spot and Pete while we are away so that they won’t be lonely or hungry while we are gone.

Our new project: IVF

Yes, it’s amazing and unbelievable that at 40-years old and serious illness we are going to give IVF a go.  We have been trying for 5-years and have been unlucky.  So it’s time to take our chances with a new method.  We start our treatment on 19 January and I am very excited.  I’m not sure what you all know about IVF so be sure to tune in for a play by play as I take you through our experience first hand.

Notably, after my illness and 7-months on chemo I unfortunately have no eggs.  We have scored the most awesome egg donor and we are proceeding with the treatment this January.  The treatment is pricey but allows us to make several attempts at conceiving with Birdie’s sperm and our donor eggs to make several embryos that we can implant.  We are only going to be implanting one embryo at a time due to my illness.  I am currently in remission and we don’t want to push my body back to a state where the Wegners will go active again so we must take precautions by taking things slow and working through the process.  (for more information on my illness look back to my archive posts from July 2009 http://www.laineybird.com/?m=200907).

Just a breakdown of what is involved with IVF.  Cost for the actual treatment which includes one try at implanting the embryos, the extracting of eggs from our donor, and all the medical visits = $13,000.  Additional tries should the first implant of eggs not be successful is $1600 each try.  OB/GYN specialist that handles Wegners patients and high-risk pregnancy = $6,000.  Luckily we have an excellent socialised medical system in Australia and my normal doctors visits and treatment costs us next to nothing.  IVF in the United States generally starts at $25,000.  My friend that lives in Sweden tells me that IVF for your first two attempts is covered by their socialised medicine/medicare and costs them $0 out of pocket.

Currently we are in the final stages of our doctor visits and we have had all our blood tests, and our first counselling appointment. Our counselling appointment wasn’t what I expected.  They ask a lot of tough questions as the recipient of a donor egg.  Nothing we hadn’t really considered before, especially when considering adoption.  For my husband – he will be genetically linked to the child, for me, I will be the biological mother but not have a genetic link.  If adoption was our alternative I would not have this link so I think it is irrelevant. Luckily our donor is a long-time friend and will play a part in our child’s life that we have all agreed and I can’t be happier about that. This is the most selfless thing anyone has ever done for me personally and aside from being a true friend – I am eternally grateful to her for the rest of my life.

Our schedule is looking a little like this:

Dec ??- Lainey to start on the “pill” to sync with Donor cycle
Jan 17 – Group Counselling Appointment (Donor/Recipients)
Jan 20 – Donor begins hormone shots (to be taken at home for 10 consecutive days)
Jan 24 – Donor Stem Scan Blood Test
Jan 29 – Donor HCG Trigger shot (triggers egg creation)
Jan 31 – Donor Egg Collection
Feb 1 – Birdie Sperm Collection (embryo is created)
Feb 2 – Lainey Embryo Transfer

So lets all cross our fingers and hope for success on the first embryo implant.  Extra prayers please.

Online IQ Test

Channel 9 in Melbourne recently did a “National IQ Test” show on television, they have set up an online test that you can do at home from the comfort and privacy of your own computer.  Take a shot at it here: http://channelnine.ninemsn.com.au/sectionsmall.aspx?sectionid=6678183§ionname=showiqtest&subsectionid=7776388&subsectionname=iqtestv2 

I had a lot of fun doing this.

Continued Renovations

We are continuing to make improvements and renovations to the house – so it will be our perfect house some day, and then we can sell it (ha ha). Isn’t that how it works?  We’ve finally got our potential nursery cleaned out and ready to start when the time is right.  We’ve sold off all our old things on eBay, have finished off the Master bedroom and bathroom with the exception of some lighting and window treatments.  The laundry is completely done, and we just put on new front doors, and painted them green to match our very green Australian-bush surroundings.

We still haven’t stained the inside of the door but picture a similar colour to the door frame. Previously our front doors were full panes of glass, which although beautiful, seemed intrusive when strangers come to the door, you can see straight in.  I love our new doors.

Our next plans will start mid-next year when we will begin moving our kitchen to a new place in the house.  Our very old kitchen which doesn’t even deserve a photo made of disgusting laminate will be moved to what is currently our dining room.  We have to do a lot of wall removal to make this change and it is going to be a task!

Luckily this time we are hiring someone to do the majority of the work for us.  I’m tired of doing-it-ourselves to be honest.  After we build the new kitchen, we remove the old kitchen, the wall that separates the kitchen from the living space and redo the flooring to create an open plan dining, living, and kitchen area.  It’s going to be fabulous.  Lastly, we add on a new deck and double car port – and hopefully I can finally get my hot tub.  Looks like we have a long way to go still.

The renovations have been fun but damn it’s hard work, I can’t imagine doing this type of work for a living – I have a renewed respect for tradesmen a.k.a. tradies.

Once we are done, it’s gonna be so nice, and I promise not to complain anymore.  HA!

Our downstairs apartment is coming along nicely, when we got our new bedroom set, we put our Queen set down in the apartment and it’s really filled out the place.  Just needs a couple of homey touches and it will be ready for our first guest in January.  Remember if you are interested in coming out and staying in the bushland and visiting Australia – make your reservations now for our little apartment and enjoy the wonder that is Australia. (This public service announcement is brought to you by ‘the Birds’.)

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