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The Labor & Delivery Bill

KQED

I don’t understand why medical costs need to be so murky, everything has a code associated with it. How on earth does one plan for a “$3,296 to $37,227” variation?

Our local NPR station is doing a series called “Price Check,” that is striving to make healthcare costs transparent in California. I always held an interested ear during my commute while pregnant, hoping beyond hope they would do a segment on childbirth costs before I gave birth. They didn’t, but I resolved to hold onto all my billing statements so when they inevitably did this segment–they would find at least the benefit of my Labor and Delivery information (here is the article).

What I did do pre-birth was call the billing center, and they put me off for an entire 4 weeks until giving me a rough figure with “this might not be accurate” thrown in every fifth word. SO many things would make *my* birth totally unique. The doctors were billed separately, my child was billed separately, room & board didn’t include ibuprofen which would also be billed separately. So much for preparation.

My final step was to “prepare for the worst.” Since I DO have insurance, who covers 100% of my prenatal (pre-birth) exams, and 80% of maternity I felt like I could be reasonably assured of my final bill. My insurance has an out-of-pocket max including the deductible of 4,200$…assuming I don’t have a child I need to add on for the date of service (birth) which would put me on a family plan (my husband uses his own insurance)…hmm, well, in THAT case, it’s an out-of-pocket max of 8,400$ for me and my babe. So even if my total bill was the maximum 37k, that would still be below this out-of-pocket max. Yay?

Time to hold on for reality. Birth!

My labor story was not particular unique, from a billing standpoint anyhow. I had a normal vaginal birth, and I used no medicines–in fact, I almost gave birth in the Hyatt because the midwife on staff refused to admit me on the grounds that no one gives birth in under 24 hours for their first child. I arrived with twenty minutes to spare, 5.5 hours after my first contraction.

Billing doesn’t care about these details, so here’s the dirt: Continue reading

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Best Laid Plans: My Labor Story

baby d

Many women, like me, go into their first labor with an ideal birth vision in mind. I’m sure this may be the case for subsequent birth events as well, but there is nothing quite like the mentally-backed optimism that comes with a first time pregnancy. All knowledge, no experience. My birth vision included a robe, a bathing suit top, no epidural, a tub, a doula, a midwife, and my supportive and equally-birth-educated husband.
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Third Trimester (Week 38): Complete!

Haiku Summary:
The end nears
Flood warning issued
Are you joining us?

Week 38 Highlights

  • Lost mucus plug (37 weeks)
    • 1 cm dilated
    • 40% effaced
  • Baby dropped (37 weeks, 1 day)
    • Was a full moon
    • Less heartburn, hooray!
    • Suddenly starving. *nom nom nom*
  • Migraine (37 weeks, 2 days)
  • Group B Strep Test Results: Positive (37 weeks, 3 days)
    • Went to Google
    • First website read:
      stupidorgwebsite
    • Sobbed hysterically for 30 minutes
    • Went back to Google
    • Realized I over-reacted
  • Heart Palpitations (37 weeks, 6 days)
  • Ate “The Prego Pizza” (38 weeks, 0 days)

prego pizza

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Maternity Classes

My husband has been an ideal partner during pregnancy, caring, involved, and interested. He is like that in all facets of life, so it’s not really surprising. He was the driving force behind our decision to join our prenatal group, and this group has shown plenty of men who make stereotypes of how men behave in pregnancy outdated. At the risk of sounding mushy, I have a bit of a crush on my guy.

reabirth1

We took three classes: (1) preparing for birth naturally seven class series, (2) safe start (infant care) one class, and (3) surviving the first month one class. I give a brief description of each class and then my favorite tip from each class below. Continue reading

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Pregnancy Weeks 33-37: Complete!

Haiku Summary:
Dancing immigrant.
Belly bulging against
the tight space

Week 33-37 Highlights

  • Parenting/Birth classes
  • Maternity photos (33 weeks, 2 days)
  • GBS Test (37 weeks)
  • Pelvic Exam and Ultrasound (37 weeks)

Common Symptoms/Complaints I had

  • Tiredness, frequent urination, & braxton hicks (ho hum…)
  • Insomnia  & appetite loss (infrequent)
  • Ate so much my belly button popped out temporarily (hahahahahahaha….)
  • Heart burn (36 weeks, 3 days +)
  • Hips stiff (36 weeks, 4 days +)

Stats (37 weeks)!

  • Mom
    • +27 lbs from starting weight
    • 114/77 blood pressure
    • 1 cm dilated
    • 40% effaced
    • “You have plenty of space!” … rude… 😛
  • Baby
    • 37 cm fundal height
    • 140 bpm heart rate
    • Head down, engaged, but not dropped fully into pelvis
    • New estimated arrival: 1-2 weeks more (between 38-39 weeks gestation)

Currently feeling: hands-free parenting, wooo—aaghh! …was that a foot under my rib?!

Maternity Photo Session

Our maternity photographer was great.

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Packing The Hospital Bag

I lived out of hotels and rental cars for a year and a half for work and I traveled to Ireland for an entire week on a vacation with only my carry-on. The hospital bag did not concern me. This would be a shorter trip of a mere 2 days, and the only thing exiting terminal V would be a single passenger.

At the hospital, meals are cooked for me, there is free WiFi, and a new life experience. Let’s do this…! Continue reading