Two weeks ago, we were on such a roll in getting our debt paid off. In the 5 weeks prior, we had paid off $8,293.87 of our debt ($4,183.96 had been our tax refund). We had gone from $14,777 at the beginning of the year down to $2,594.23 and even though our original goal had been to be debt free by the end of the year, we had hopes that we would be debt free by early June.
Then, one and a half weeks ago, we got the news that would rock our world. I was pregnant.
At first, we were elated! But then, reality set in. Even though we had been trying for 6 months, I suddenly felt not ready. (Apparently, this is pretty common but I’d love to hear how you felt!) We were close, but still not debt free. Time was ticking to save up the $14,051.52 that we would need to survive the one year of maternity leave without going back into debt, yet we couldn’t even get started until we finished paying off our debt. And that doesn’t even include the “start up” costs – strollers, car seats, cribs, bassinets, baby monitors, rocking chairs… those don’t come cheap either!
On top of it all, I started feeling sick. Although I know my morning sickness has been nothing (so far) compared to plenty of other women, I wanted nothing more than to be at home curled up in bed. Alas, having a contract job means that doing so results in a financial hit since sick days are unpaid days. On the Friday I first tested positive, I ended up leaving work about an hour and a half early. I didn’t go in to work either on Monday. On Friday, I had an eye specialist appointment (unrelated to the pregnancy) which meant leaving work early another 2.5 hours. And tomorrow, we have our very first pre-natal appointment, which means I will be going into work 2.5 hours late.
And unlike the past, I no longer have the energy nor desire to work overtime. Every day I’m at work, I have to convince myself not to leave work early whenever the nausea hits. Making it to the end of the work day is an achievement like no other, and I definitely don’t have it in me to work overtime anymore. On top of the pregnancy exhaustion, I can no longer fall back on my medication for my Idiopathic Hypersomnia (Modafinil) so I’m literally feeling like a zombie. I’ve been working 8-4 and by the time my 11 o’clock lunch (aka nap time) rolls around, I’m usually fighting off sleep attacks. The afternoon post-nap isn’t as bad as the mornings, but I crash on the couch when I get back home and still end up sleeping early.
The exhaustion hasn’t helped in me keeping up with our finances either and it’s disappointing to report that last week, we were only able to pay off $430.34 of our debt, leaving us with $2,186.18 to go.
At this point, our Debt Repayment Schedule shows that we won’t be debt free until June 24, and that’s with a $400 payment per week. At this rate, even that would be a stretch!
However, when I had first done the number crunching on how much we’d need to save up before taking a maternity leave for a year, I had mentioned that my husband contributes 10% of his paychecks towards his company’s employee share program, which is then matched 50%. At this point, he’s accumulated about $2,500 in cashable shares (the company’s contributions are locked in for a period of one year). I had calculated that in the “worst” case scenario where I got pregnant immediately (and thus had the least amount of time to save up), over the 9-month pregnancy plus 12-month maternity leave, we would accumulate $6,622.69 + $7,038.33 in shares for a total of $13,661.02, leaving us only $390.50 short. This is incredibly reassuring knowing that we will still have access to a pretty sizable “Emergency Fund” although, of course, the ideal scenario would be that we don’t have to touch it at all.
I’ve been super anxious about the pregnancy recently (“Are these cramps normal? Am I going to miscarry? Is the baby going to be born healthy? Am I going to feel even more sick? Am I going to have to take a medical leave of absence?”… I know. I’m such a worry wart!) so I’m really keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow morning’s pre-natal appointment. Wish us luck!!!