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.
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.
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.
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.
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.