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I’m Getting a Little Tired of This

I got a notice from my insurance company last night that we had new claims activity available to view on their website. Being curious, I logged in and found a $3300 bill for me for miscellaneous services and materials not covered by insurance at a in-network hospital!

Apparently, individual service providers within the hospital can choose to not participate with an insurance plan and ultimately the patient gets screwed over because the freaking hospital pharmacy doesn’t accept their insurance. Where else would they get their IV medications?!

I’m frustrated, disheartened, and angry, although less angry than last night. My plan is to call the hospital billing department the next time they are open and ask for an itemized bill and about any reductions they can make since I’m paying out of pocket or, at the very least, a cash discount. My biggest fear is that because I’m given the option to pay the bill on the insurance site that they somehow paid up front and now I’d be negotiating with them, which is much less likely to happen.

I hope this is quicker and easier to resolve than I think because this means all sorta of hoops to jump through in the future too. My OB only delivers at this particular hospital and I can’t imagine any other area hospital would be any better. If I don’t want to use this hospital, I will have to switch OB practices and you know how I feel about that. I’m worried about what this means for future L&D experiences. Will my epi not be covered next time? Will I be paying out of pocket for nursing staff? I was in the hospital for a total of 4 hours for this outpatient procedure. I can’t imagine what could happen with a 2 day admission or emergency c-section!

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Follow Up and Moving Forward

I’ve been meaning to write this post for almost a week now. Ben has been going through another nap strike so any chance I get, I’ve been playing catch-up on housework. Ben is sleeping right now AND I’m done with laundry for a day or two so I have time to post again.

I saw my OB last Wednesday for a 2 week follow up after my D&C. I was expecting a pelvic exam but that didn’t happen. The nurse asked me if I was still bleeding (I was) so that might be why I didn’t have to undress. I wasn’t complaining though, I’d rather keep my clothes on! Although I was still bleeding, I wasn’t having any pain, cramps, or other warning signs of complications. I’ve really been feeling pretty good. After asking a bunch of questions about pain, medications, hormones, etc, I was dismissed with a clean bill of health and don’t need to return to the OB until I am pregnant again. I asked about the timing of the initial appointments. I’m worried about not seeing a live baby before something goes wrong IF something goes wrong. He said that they would definitely see me earlier than 10/12 weeks if that is what I want. Hooray!

We talked a bit more about the findings of the blood test. The baby had Turner Syndrome and all babies with Turner Syndrome are born female. It kills me a little that this was the daughter I was hoping for. There is still hope for more babies in the future so that is something else we discussed. The OB told me that normally he’d recommend waiting through two cycles before trying to get pregnant again but since we aren’t anticipating me cycling, that we can decide to start whenever we are ready after 6-8 weeks post-op, which is sometime between December 18 and January 1. If I was to get pregnant on this first cycle, the baby would be due right around Ben’s birthday. I don’t know if we want our kids’ birthdays that close together but it’s just as likely that I won’t get pregnant this month. B and I will be talking it over for sure. Hopefully we can figure out which we want more, to not waste a cycle or to keep kids’ birthdays apart.

I’m not quite looking forward to seeing family over Christmas because they all know what happened but we haven’t seen them since. I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle it if they try to talk about it. I already know that I’m going to have a difficult time getting along with B’s younger cousin. She is an 18 year old college sophomore who accidentally got pregnant over the summer. There are few things that are more frustrating to me than an accidental pregnancy for someone who had no intention of having kids anytime soon since we have to work to get pregnant and right now, don’t have a very good track record (1 in 3). B doesn’t believe skipping the extended family gathering is an option so this will be an interesting discussion.

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13 and 14 Months

I missed writing Ben’s 13 month update but at the time I was thinking that I could slow down his posts to give Baby 2 his/her time to shine but that isn’t an issue anymore. B and I are so thankful for Ben and how incredible he is. Without him, this miscarriage would have been a whole lot harder.

The biggest change since his birthday was that he learned to walk! He had been cruising around the furniture for a few months already and starting to let go to take one tentative step before falling down. One day, as I was putting things away on our tv stand, a little boy wrapped his arms around my legs. I was startled because I didn’t notice him pulling himself up by holding on to my pants. I turned him around and was surprised to see him walk 3 feet back to the ottoman. He was so proud of himself! In only 3 weeks since he learned to walk, he had become much more steady on his feet and walks (or runs) almost everywhere now. If he starts getting frustrated or antsy, B will take Ben’s tiny hand and go for walks around the house. While I was gone for a bridal shower on Saturday, B figured out some solutions to our baby-proofing problems, namely the cats’ food and access to the basement for their litter box. Now, Ben can free-range roam the house to his heart’s content. It oddly makes it easier to cook and clean too since he can come find me if he feels he needs to keep me in sight.

Both of us have noticed that Ben’s comprehension level for spoken words and instructions has vastly improved over the last months. We can tell him to find something, go somewhere, or ask him what he is eating and he can respond correctly. He doesn’t always listen, like when we tell him to go to his high chair and he runs into the bathroom, but that’s more of a toddler getting into things he shouldn’t than not listening. Along with being able to understand us much better, he has come a long way with signing. He can sign more, please, water, milk, cheese, eat, and hot. He can use these signs without us prompting (except please because that’s the newest one) and even in more than one use case. For example, he’ll sign for more food at lunch and sign for more books when we read before nap time. I’m hoping to work on “thank you” next. It would be great for him to figure that out before Christmas. Help and read/book are on my list too.

Ben has also started to mimic words and has learned some animal noises. He knows cow (mmmm), sheep (baa), pig (gunk gunk), chicken (indescribable throat noise), and puppy (arf arf). He knows there is a small stuffed sheep on the shelf above his changing table to every time we put him on it for a diaper change, he asks, “Baa?” If we give him the sheep, diaper changes are much less like shoving a boa constrictor into a grocery bag. Ben can say “hi hi,” goldfish (shhhh), cereal (sssss), and talks about “da DEE” constantly, especially if he knows we’re going home from running errands and B is working at home. He doesn’t say Mama very often and if he does, it’s because we’re making him do something he doesn’t want to to, like get ready for bed, and he would like to be rescued.

He’s wearing all 12 month clothes and is starting to look more and more like a little boy every day instead of our baby. His hair is getting really long but I’m still dragging my feet about getting it cut. He is still our baby and can look like it for a while longer. It doesn’t bother him at all so I’m not feeling pressured to do it yet. Our favorite shoes are his Robeez because the soft soles make it easier for him to walk without slipping. I love themĀ almost enough to pay full price but not quite. I have had a good amount of success finding them at our local kids consignment store.

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Ben tried to figure out if the hammer was edible. Answer: No

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My parents, Grammy and Grampy, gave Ben a wagon for his birthday. He loves it!

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Now that Ben has learned to like milk, he asks for it all the time

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Having a rough day? Try snuggles and Baby McDonald

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Too cool for school

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On an adventure to the orchard to pick out Halloween pumpkins

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Chaos, thy name is Benjamin (small aside: Ikea Expedit bookshelves are AWESOME for toddler toy access)

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I’m going to kiss him! I’m going to do it this time!

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Doc Brown and Marty McFly from Back to the Future for Halloween. It turned out exactly as great as we had hoped!

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Playing in the corn box. He only ate one piece!

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Maniac tractor driver and Grammy

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Ben really, really wanted to join all the big kids for trick or treating. Next year, buddy!

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Super Ben!

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More daddy snuggles

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Ben-Ben Banana Head (not pictured: the banana on his shoulder)

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Testing out the Skip Hop fork for the first time

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Results and an Answer

I got a phone call yesterday from my OB. No, not his office but the actual doctor. Apparently doctors make the phone calls when there is bad news to share except in our situation, almost any news is good news.

The OB called to tell me that he got the results of the Maternit21 blood test he had drawn while I was at the hospital last Wednesday. The test scans for chromosomal abnormalities, is incredibly accurate, and could possibly tell us why I lost the baby. I don’t know any women who have lost babies who haven’t wanted to know why and I was definitely wondering (obsessing) about it.

The results said that the baby was missing the second sex chromosome so instead of having an XX or XY pair, the baby only had an X. He explained that most babies with this condition are either miscarried or a stillbirth (I can’t explain how glad I am that it didn’t go as far as a stillbirth) and very, very few make it to full term. This isn’t something that B or I contributed to and was a completely random occurrence. I can stop worrying that something I did/ate/medicated with harmed the baby in any way. The likelihood of this happening with subsequent pregnancies is very small.
I was honestly surprised that the test showed any results at all, much less was able to pin down the probable cause. Both of us were expecting a dead end. It isn’t great news that there was something seriously wrong with the baby but it is a relief to get closure and know that it’s not something we will be dealing with during my next pregnancy. I could start obsessing over why we had to draw the short stick of the fertility lottery yet again but there is nothing productive that can come from going down that road.

I am thankful for the decisions we’ve made to have the surgery and the extra blood test to get this answer. I am thankful that the OB’s nurse (who called me 20 minutes after he did to make sure I was ok- I love my office!) reported that “he,” either the doctor or the lab rep, stated that the test wouldn’t cost us more than $200 out of pocket, regardless if our insurance covers it (it doesn’t). I am thankful for our healthy, loving, and funny toddler. I am thankful for friends and family who are concerned for us and are walking with us through this struggle. I am deeply thankful for answers so I can absolve myself from any blame and we can move on (soon hopefully) to try for another baby.

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How It Went

B and I dropped Ben off at my parents’ house at 9:30 in the morning so we didn’t need to worry about him or coordinate his care. He loves his Grammy and Grammy loves to have her Ben around so they were happy with the arrangement. We had just enough time to run a quick errand before heading to the hospital.

We navigated the hospital’s very full parking garage and I was hit with memories of doing the same thing when in labor with Ben. The walk from the parking garage through the sky bridge, over to the main hospital building is long but seems even longer when you have to take a break for every contraction that hits you along the way. Instead of heading to Labor and Delivery on the 9th floor, our destination was Outpatient Surgery on 3.

I typed my name into a registration kiosk and sat down in the waiting room. It took only a few minutes for the receptionist to call me up to sign paperwork and receive my ID bracelet. Above our heads was a large monitor with patient ID numbers and short status updates like “prepping for surgery” and “in recovery.” I thought it was cool that the hospital wants people waiting to have as much information as possible. B got a sheet of paper with his instructions as a very important loved one with my ID number, a timeline of when he would be able to see me, and a few other details. We waited a few minutes more before a nurse stopped in the waiting room to collect us.

We walked across the hall into another ward of pre-surgery prep rooms. The nurse got my weight and we headed to the coldest and farthest room in the area. We played 20 questions about my medical history (don’t smoke, drink, do drugs, have any breathing problems, 3 pregnancies, no I haven’t eaten today, yes I know what the surgery is about) before she left me to change into the flattering hospital gown and double sided, grippy slippers. Like I said, it was freezing in there so I wasn’t too keen on losing my layers.

Once I had changed and packed up my clothes for B to take care of, the nurse came back to prep me for surgery. First she had me sign consent forms for the procedure and for anesthesia then covered me up with what she called a “bear hug” blanket. The first layer was a thin, papery blanket. The second layer was like a giant, deflated bubble wrap blanket that the nurse then hooked up to a space heater with a hose. The plastic pockets inflated with warm air and I was quite cozy. The top layer was a plain sheet. I got hooked up to my IV (I need to remember that I should ALWAYS get an IV in my left hand). All meds that I needed to get before the surgery were intravenous because my stomach had to stay empty. I started getting fluids and because of my previous reaction to general anesthesia, the nurse also gave me Zofran and Pepcid to keep me from getting sick when I woke up.

My OB stopped by to talk about what as going to happen and suggest the Maternit21 blood test to check for chromosomal abnormalities. He told me that there is a good change that our insurance will cover it so we agreed. We should have done more legwork and called our insurance company. Both B and I are almost certain now that we’ve had time to think about it that our insurance will refuse to pay for it. I really don’t want to get saddled with a several thousand dollar invoice when the test might not actually answer any questions. My hope is that we’ll get a bill before my follow up appointment with the OB in a few weeks so we can talk it over if it is as high as we fear.

Finally, when all this was done, I met with the resident surgeon who was assisting my OB (one thing I love about my OB is their office is partnered with the hospital I love and all their doctors practice at both locations) and the anesthesiologist. He approved me for the kind I was hoping to have (mac instead of general) and the nurse pumped half of my anesthesia into my IV. Everything got a little soft and fuzzy at that point, partially from the anesthesia and partly because B took my glasses. I kissed B goodbye and was wheeled into OR.

There were people buzzing all over the place. I was as introduced to a nurse practitioner, the anesthesiologist’s assistant, and several people I can barely remember. They transferred me over to the operating table and must have pumped the second half of sleeping drugs into my IV because I remember nothing beyond that point. Since not remembering was the highlight of having to go through this surgery for me, I am thankful that was true.

I woke up in a small recovery room with Brian waiting next to me with crackers and ginger ale. I told him on the way to the hospital that all I wanted when it was all over was something to drink and he had it ready. He told me that once I went into the OR, he had just enough time to run to the cafeteria for a quick lunch before my OB went to find him to tell B I was done. Recovery from a mac anesthetic is shorter than a general so before long, within an hour actually, I was getting dressed and was ready to go home. They wheeled me through that forever-long hallway to the parking garage (so thankful I didn’t have to walk it!) and we got to go home.

Today I am slightly crampy, very bloated, and uncomfortable but not in pain. It’s tough to pick up Ben’s 20+ pounds of dead weight so B has been helping for diaper changes and meals. Most importantly though, I am no longer nauseous and can eat again! I’m enjoying having energy and enough willpower to get things done around the house.

As bad as this experience could have been, the staff made it bearable. Everyone knew why we were there and expressed their sympathy when we met them. The nurse told me that after the surgery, the lab will analyze to the best of their ability to find out any information about why I miscarried. After that, the baby will be buried and we will be notified when the service will be so we can decide if we want to go or not. I told this to a friend of mine who also had a late first trimester loss and she was surprised. They didn’t have the opportunity to bury their baby and she had never heard of a hospital that offered something like this. This is just one more reason that this hospital is my favorite and we are blessed to live so close. I hope with all my heart that I never have to make the choice to go through a D&C again but if that has to happen, we will be in good hands with our staff.

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D&C

My D&C is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at 12:15. It will be an interesting experience because the only other surgery I’ve had was getting my wisdom teeth out with general anesthetic back in high school. Ben is having Grammy Day all day, even getting a bath, and B and I will hang out at home after.

I don’t really know what to expect other than that I won’t remember the procedure. Thank God! I’m sure I’ll have thoughts on how things go after the fact and definitely will be able to tell you if the anti-nausea medication the preintake nurse promised works to keep me from becoming sick from the anesthesia.

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Does God Give You More Than You Can Handle?

I stumbled across this blog post while browsing Facebook this weekend and thought it very appropriate to our situation and how we’re feeling.

A physical status update: not many changes, a little crampier than I have been but I haven’t actually lost the baby yet. My scumbag body still thinks it’s pregnant and I’m as nauseous as ever. I thought I could get away with not taking anti nausea meds on Saturday and I didn’t keep anything down all day! I left a message for my OB’s office this morning since we didn’t actually discuss how to schedule the D&C at my appointment on Friday. Hopefully I’ll hear back from them soon so this can all be over with.