Challenges Of Pregnancy Over 35

This pregnancy has been the most difficult of all my pregnancies. While the second and third pregnancies ended in miscarriages early on, thus minimizing the emotional and physical stress, the prenatal blood tests I took around week 10 came back positive for Trisomy 18 (T18), also called Edwards Syndrome. On a Friday morning while I was at work, the OBGYN called, and from the moment she said “Hello”, I knew it was serious. Most of the telephone conversation is a blur, but I can remember her saying “low survival rate post birth, if the baby even makes it to birth.” During my lunch break and that night, I Googled everything I could about T18. While it is the second most common chromosome abnormality behind Down syndrome, it is much more serious and extremely fatal.

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The weekend was filled with sadness, but not despair, as I had prepared myself all along for the possibility of another miscarriage. I was 36, had already been through two miscarriages, and did not have the same level of fertility as I had with conceiving my daughter. A week and a half later, I was seeing a genetics counselor and a few specialists in Rochester, NY, about three hours away.

The genetics counselor asked us questions about our family history to get a better idea of about the probability that the baby actually had T18. Based on our relatively healthy lifestyles and the fact that there was very little chance that my hubby and I were related (I’m Korean and my husband is the standard white male of European descent), there was a 55% chance that the baby had T18. The specialists did a high resolution ultrasound and a chorionic villus sampling (CVS). Since I knew that a CVS involved a needle in my uterus to the placenta, I asked about any numbing drugs. The doctor said while she can give me lidocaine, the typical burning sensation from lidocaine is actually worse than the needle for the CVS, so I opted out of the lidocaine. It was more uncomfortable than painful. Just take controlled breathes and remain calm.

A few days later, the genetics counselor called with the FISH results, which is a fancy medical word for preliminary results. Of the 200 cells taken from the placenta, 190 of them confirmed the blood tests, but 10 were normal. Because there were some normal cells, she suggested doing an amnio as soon as I was 15 weeks pregnant. Two weeks later, we were back in Rochester for another meeting with the genetics counselor and specialists for another ultrasound and amnio. An amnio is similar to a CVS, but it takes cells from the amniotic fluid rather than the placenta. The genetics counselor was a bit more optimistic this time, since there was a ray of hope with the 10 healthy cells.

Three days later, the genetics counselor called with the best news I had heard in a long time. The FISH results of the amnio were back and the baby was healthy. And while the full results of the amnio would take another week or so, they would be very surprised if the full results showed anything to the contrary.

A week and a half later, she called again to say the full results were normal. The reason the prenatal blood tests and CVS were so different is because the cells on the placenta have a different composition than the cells from the baby, which makes the placenta cells not representative of the baby’s cells. While the baby is healthy, my situation is uncommon, having gone through the prenatal blood test, a CVS, and an amnio. I am proof that prenatal blood testing and CVS’ are not definitive. We went back to Rochester once more after the amnio for a 19 week anatomical ultrasound, which showed an active and healthy baby.

Now at 22 weeks, my belly gets bigger and more inconvenient every week. Two months ago I was coming to grips with the possibility of a pregnancy termination, but my gut told me to remain patient and have hope that everything would be fine.

I Owe $116,781.21 In Debt

It’s been almost two years since I last reviewed my overall household debt, which included my mortgage, student loans for both my hubby and myself, an auto loan, and our two active credit cards.

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The mortgage, which is our biggest single debt, decreased by about $2,500 in that time, down to $73,557.27. The payments are automatic so it’s never late.

My hubby’s student loan is our second biggest loan at $31,946.33, which is about $2,700 less than last time. His payments are also automatic so there’s a never problem with paying on time. My student loan was the next biggest loan back then, but with large monthly payments and refinancing to a lower interest rate, I was able put more than $14,000 to it and pay it off entirely by early May 2017.

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It was great timing too because I got laid off on May 22. I have since found a new job, with higher pay, and I don’t have to pay any student loans. Woohoo!

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The auto loan for our Chevy Malibu was the next biggest loan after my student loan. My auto loan is set up for automatic payments at $60 more than the minimum monthly payment. It’s also biweekly, so I actually make 13 payments rather than 12 at $60 more than the minimum payment.

With this payment plan, I was able to pay a little under $6,000 towards the loan, lowering it to $5,700.42.

Our second to last debt is our credit cards, totaling $3,295.12. We tend to keep running balances on our credit cards to maintain activity on our credit histories, as well as collect credit card points that I use at Amazon.com. During the 6 weeks that I was laid off, I made smaller credit card payments to ease the cash flow, so my part of the credit card balance is a little higher than normal.

Lastly, we actually added a little debt to our financial situation. My hubby had the displeasure of getting a root canal earlier this year and financed it with a loan from WellsFargo, which is now at $2,282.08. We could pay it off now, but with interest free payments for 18 months, it’s better to put that cash towards his credit card and student loan for the time being.

Our total debt sums up to $116,781.21, which is $22,318.31 less than my last analysis almost two years ago.

Top 10 Ways To Deal With Being Laid Off

I was laid off on a Monday. Three weeks and four days later, on Friday at 4:55pm, I got the phone call that I had been waiting for all week, I got the job. Thankfully, a job aligned with my career path.

Here are the top 10 ways I dealt with being laid off.

10. As an introvert, I dislike the word networking to no end. But networking does not necessarily mean attending expensive events where you have to put on a smile to disguise your bad mood. It could be as simple as telling some friends that you’re looking for a job. My hubby told his friend, who told a mutual friend. A week after I was laid off, I was sending my resume and cover letter to the mutual friend so he could pitch me to his boss for an unadvertised position that was in my field and a step up in my career.

9. If you had health, vision, or dental insurance, and are due for any kind of check up, make that appointment ASAP. I had one week between being laid off and my health insurance terminating (without taking the COBRA option), so I made a doctor’s and eye doctor’s appointment within that time frame so it would be covered.

8. Thank goodness I had a current copy of my resume on file.

It saved me from having to create one from scratch during my most emotional period of my unemployment. I was able to apply to jobs almost immediately. Even if you don’t have a current one, always save an old one so you have a starting point. It’s really annoying to have to go hunting for dates of prior employers.

7. I kept everything given to me when I was laid off. Since I received severance pay, the unemployment division requested a copy of my severance notice, which was given to me at lay off.

6. I applied for unemployment the next day. Besides that (in New York) there’s a three week waiting period before you receive any unemployment benefits, the unemployment office will question as to why there was a delay in filing for unemployment.

5. Since I worked in a professional office, I always had a suit ready to go, except for the dog fur I cannot seem to get rid of. But if you don’t have one ready to go, get one. During my second week of unemployment, I got a call on Wednesday (which I knew was coming) asking if I could interview Thursday, giving me 24 hours’ notice. I don’t use dry cleaners, but I assume requesting a suit for same day dry cleaning is not cheap.

4. I used multiple sources for my job searches. Specifically, I checked CareerBuilder, Indeed, and LinkedIn every day.

There were a few times where I found a job on one job board before the others. In fact, my first interview came from a job that I found on LinkedIn but not the other two (don’t forget to update your LinkedIn profile too). I also checked the company websites of bigger employers in my area.

We’ve now reached my top three strategies in dealing with being laid off. If you couldn’t, or didn’t, do any of the previous strategies, don’t feel like it’s too late. From this moment on, you can implement the following top three strategies to end your career rut.

3. I didn’t apply to just any job. I chose quality over quantity and looked at jobs that are directly in my field, the ones that I would naturally progress to in my career. I knew I would get a job fairly quickly since I had many desirable skills and responsibilities that an accountant should have. In additional to quality of the job, I also paid attention to the quality of my resume and cover letter by tailoring each one to the job I was applying for my using the same keywords that the job description used. And if given the option, definitely write that cover letter.

2. I had coping mechanisms for dealing with any negative, sad, or depressing feelings. Those kinds of feelings can be a real mood killer and result in an entire day being wasted if not kept at bay. Whenever I started feeling sad, tired, or just generally unproductive, I would either walk the dogs (which they love) or exercise by running or punching my punching bag.

Whenever I feel spacey or tired, I usually walk the dogs as a way to break out of that headspace anyway.

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And we’ve reach the #1 piece of advice I can provide in dealing with being laid off:

1. I kept my schedule as close to my working schedule as possible. I got up around the same time, went to bed around the same time, and tried to keep myself occupied in between. I still dropped off my daughter at daycare as a way to get out of the house and feel productive. I applied to jobs in the morning, walked the dogs and exercised (or did yard work) in the afternoon, and did errands or worked on projects that I had wanted to do for a long time. Throw in an interview here and there, and I’d say I haven’t been much of a couch potato during my fake vacation, my faux-cation.

So there is my list of top 10 strategies I implemented to handle my lay off and get a job. By the time I start my new job, it will be a six week vacation, which was mostly paid between my severance, my vacation time that was paid out, and my unemployment benefits. Not bad for being laid off.

Best Things To Do When Laid Off

I was laid off. My boss called me into his office, and blah blah blah, I was laid off. At least it happened on a Monday morning, and I could immediately start the long, emotional process of looking for a job. At 11:30am, I was laid off. By 12:30, I was home. Once I got past the rollercoaster of emotions that afternoon, I found 8 jobs to apply to and laid out a plan for the rest of the week.

  1. Find my most recent resume and cover letter, so that I don’t have to create them from scratch. I knew I had a fairly recent version, since I had applied for and got a board of trustee position a few months prior.
  2. Apply to 1 – 3 jobs a day during the first week. I’m spreading it out so that I don’t run out of jobs to apply to before the first week is over. It also takes time to adapt a quality resume and matching cover letter to each job.
  3. Apply for unemployment, a process I hadn’t done in several years.
  4. Make a doctor and eye doctor appointment before my health insurance terminates at the end of the month.

On Tuesday, the first full day of being unemployed, I applied to three of the eight jobs, set up the doctor’s and eye doctor’s appointments for Thursday, and filed for unemployment. The New York unemployment process took a little while because I had to set up an online New York Department of Labor (DOL) account and answer a questionnaires (tip: you need your employer’s tax ID # when filing unemployment, which I got from my w2). I also updated my LinkedIn profile because I had heard somewhere that LinkedIn was a good place to look for jobs.

On Wednesday, I applied to two more jobs. I also started to feel a little depressed, so I took the dogs on a nice long walk, and went running as a way to prevent any negative energy from overwhelming me.

On Thursday, I went to the doctor’s appointment that I had made so that I could get one last check up on my health insurance. Everything came back good. I applied to two more jobs, then went to the eye appointment I also made. When I arrived, the front desk informed me that the eye exam would be subject to my (really high) deductible, so I would have to pay out of pocket for the exam. Since I was now watching my cash flow, I thanked her for letting me know but I wouldn’t get the eye exam and left.

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Late that afternoon, I got a call from the HR department of a bank I had just sent my resume to a few hours prior. He asked me to elaborate on my experience a little more, then told me he was going to send my resume to the head of the finance department, and asked that I call him on Wednesday, being that the upcoming Monday was a holiday. I was quite the scene then, calmly saying yes while skipping around the living room with my dogs following me.

I took it easy on Friday, applying to the remaining job of the original eight, and still running off the high that I might have an interview in the coming week or so.

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I basically tried to keep a similar schedule to when I was working full time, waking up around the same time and remaining someone productive during the day. I read more books, walked the doggies more often (which they love) and exercised more. The house is also much cleaner.

Donald Trump’s Taxes

I am not surprised that Donnie Trump won’t release his tax returns. He is a business man at heart, and does what he needs to do to keep the Trump Empire afloat. I’m betting his presidency is a publicity stunt to further his own agenda. And politics and business tend to share the same survival of the fittest mentality.

I’m also not that offended by his unwillingness to publicize his tax returns. A person’s financial situation is a private matter, and tax returns can provide a wealth of information to those who know how to read them. In the wrong hands, a lot of damage can be done to a person’s financial records. In addition, as an accountant, I know that there are perfectly legal ways for Donnie to avoid paying federal taxes, or whatever claim it is that he made (I don’t pay much attention to him, as I have more important things to do). Here’s what I envision what Trump’s tax return may look like.

In regards to his income, he probably makes more money than you and I could ever imagine. I mean, he’s got a plane because time is money, and driving is just too slow.

As large as his income may be, his operating losses from his bankrupt businesses are even higher, thus negating all his income, possibly even making it negative. The adjusted gross income (AGI) is a calculated total that incorporates adjustments to a person’s income, including any business net income or loss. If the business net loss is large enough, it can completely negate a person’s income and result in a negative AGI. Donnie can also carry forward some of those losses into future years, thus creating little to no taxable income for years to come, thus no federal taxes.

Now I don’t know if my theory on his taxes is anywhere close to the truth, but I imagine that his lawyers and accountants know how to take advantage of tax loopholes to Donnie’s benefit. And even if his taxes are not as how I theorize, I don’t care enough about him as a person to be angered by his lack of political experience.

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