Wake Me Up Tomorrow

I am not having a good day.  Every sentence I type comes out whiney, and each additional sentence I type to try to correct the whine sounds petulant instead.  So here I am, being whiney and petulant anyway. 

Today is cold and damp and tiresome.  I have things to accomplish today, but I’m being hindered by my own bad attitude.  My hips are trying to widen a bit more, and my sciatic nerve is not responding well.  I wish I could have the nerve removed from my body.  Sitting for more than 10 minutes is more than I can handle at the moment, and everything I need to accomplish today (before the child gets out of school, that is) requires sitting in front of my laptop.  I’m writing this on my phone while laying down in my warm bed.  Also, every bit of research I have completed for the work I need to accomplish has only served to increase my agitation and bring the whine in my sentences to new heights of annoying. 

To say I am human and I am flawed today feels like I’m being generous.  I’m pregnant by some miracle.  My cyst laden ovaries (polycystic ovary syndrome) seem to be giving me a reprieve as I currently only have one zit and I haven’t had to pluck my beard in a week and my last A1C was beautiful.  I don’t have to leave the house until 1:45 pm.  I can work in my underwear if I so choose.  All our bills are paid.  I live in my own house.  I’m an ungrateful, whining, self-absorbed–I’m at a loss for an appropriate word that isn’t a four-letter, makes a movie rated PG type word.  At least I’m aware of my flaws, I suppose.

As my husband works hard and my daughter tries to learn everything she can at school, I get to stay home and knock out a few sentences for a few dollars.  I couldn’t be happier that my current reality is even a possibility, much less really happening.  I read something earlier that reminded me that God chooses the people He sees as fit, not the people we always judge as fit.  Jacob (he was kind of an opportunistic manipulator), Moses (a murderer that had a speech impediment), King David (adulterer), or Rahab (a prostitute) were all chosen by God for something great.  Even as I whine, God might be choosing me for a purpose.

Today, I’m very glad God has my back even when I’m being whiney and ungrateful.  It gives me hope that tomorrow will be better. 


Health Insurance

This post is going to be full of numbers.  However, it is important to me and an important issue affecting the general population.  Health insurance has become a topic avoided like politics and religion.  We only speak of it in times of great frustration and desperation as we struggle with something health related.  An open dialogue that doesn’t blame current problems on the left or the right but instead gives insight to current problems and possible solutions would be a nice change.

Last week while I was sitting at my obstetrician’s office, I overheard a pregnant patient declare to the front desk ladies that she does not have insurance and would be paying for her care out of pocket.  At first, I was a bit flabbergasted.  How could anyone afford such a thing?  What’s more, doesn’t she realize she will now be penalized for not having insurance under the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obama Care)?  I don’t even know how much that will cost.  This, combined with a the knowledge that our insurance is going to be renewed in a month (which might result in an increase in premiums) has made me stop and think about the cost of having insurance versus the cost of not having insurance.  Once I started doing the math, I was a bit surprised.  Well, disheartened might be more accurate than surprised.

Our insurance premium every week for me is $81.88, a whopping $327.52 a month.  That is $3,930.24 a year.  I have been to the doctor exactly two times in the last year previous to my pregnancy.  If we paid out of pocket for those doctor appointments it would have cost $350.  Previous to pregnancy, I had two prescriptions I purchased regularly that would cost $44.00 each month without insurance.  Now, maybe my math is off, but I don’t think so.  My insurance has only had to pay out $614 minus a $25 copay, which equals $589.  Let’s see…

$3930.24 (my premiums) – $589.00 (health care expenses paid) = $3341.24

That’s $3,341.24 in profit, from me alone.  Wow.  Call me inarticulate, but just wow.

I am currently in my 19th week of pregnancy.  My estimated pregnancy costs are just over five grand, and my insurance covers everything…except for my deductible.  I have a $2,500 deductible that must be met.  The insurance will pay for everything else, leaving $2,500 behind for me to pay.  My appointments I have attended up until the birth will be billed under something called global billing.  For those of you that have never heard this term, it refers to a specific method of billing used in instances that care will follow an expected pattern over a defined period of time, such as in pregnancy.  As I go each month to my obstetrician, my insurance and I will not be billed.  My insurance and I will be billed after I attend my post-natal appointment (six weeks after I give birth).  This means that I will only be paying my deductible in 2015 as long as I do not have any pregnancy complications requiring hospitalization in 2014.  If I have any such event, I will then be paying my full deductible in 2014, and again in 2015, resulting in $5,000 out of pocket instead of $2,500.  

So, how much will my insurance pay out for my pregnancy as I’m paying $2,500, possibly $5,000?  According to WebMD, the average cost in 2008 of pregnancy and delivery in a hospital is $9,600-$15,800.  My estimated cost as explained by the billing department of my obstetrician’s office for prenatal care and hospital delivery is just over $5,000 if the birth is via vaginal delivery.  There is obviously quite a disparity between the national average and what my obstetrician’s office has predicted will be my total costs including hospital stay.  But, I at least know how much the self-pay pregnant lady is anticipating paying, just over $5000.  In 2012, 32.8% of all births in the U.S. were via Cesarean section according to the Center for Disease Control.  This means in 2012 32.8% of women giving birth had their delivery costs almost doubled because of C-section.  I wonder if the self-pay lady has budgeted for this.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published that in 2010, Medicaid was responsible for funding 42% of all births in the U.S.  It did not specify what percentage of the total cost of those births was covered by Medicaid (for example 100%, 50%, etc.), and I have been unable to find any statistics to give me answers.  I have known many women that had Medicaid as secondary insurance during a high risk pregnancy.  I’m starting to wonder if maybe Medicaid will end up being my only source of insurance.  If my premium goes up again, I won’t be able to afford to pay it.  As my insurance is right now, I’m not sure I should continue to paying for it.  My family is only within a few hundred dollars of qualifying for Medicaid.  One bad month at work for my husband (most of his income is commission based) and we would most definitely qualify.  No deductible with Medicaid.  Too bad I can’t just pay Medicaid what I pay my insurance.

So, again, how much is my insurance going to pay for my pregnancy?  Well, somewhere in the ballpark of $2,500.  How much will I be paying for my pregnancy and my insurance for the entire pregnancy and birth?

$2,500 + $3,766.48 (cost of insurance for 46 weeks) = $6,266.48

That’s more than my car cost.  That’s more than what we pay in car payments for my husband’s car in a year.  That’s more than we will pay in mortgage for a year.  That’s more than, well, a lot of things.  That’s almost worth having the baby at home on my kitchen floor (the only non-carpeted floor other than the bathroom) even though that thought makes me want to vomit and cross my legs and hold my baby in for the rest of my life.  I’m not much of a granola-crunching-hippie type (yes, that is very stereotypical of me, but you know what I’m saying) so that’s not really a viable option for us.

Why am I paying for insurance?  What’s the point?  Insurance is like a bad gamble.  The only way it will pay to have my insurance is if I have a C-section, or if there is something wrong with my baby and he or she ends up int he NICU (that’s like $2,000/day).  The only point in having insurance is to cover us in case the unthinkable, or worst possible scenario becomes reality.  Looks like the self-pay pregnant lady is way smarter than I ever would have anticipated.  So, now what do I do?  Do I drop my insurance and accept whatever “tax penalty” comes my way via the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) penalties?  How do I find out how much that’s going to cost me?

I have been writing this post for days now.  Every time I come back to it to edit or add to it, I can feel my blood pressure rising.  I can feel a bit of itchy, leg-twitchy panic start to creep up.  I feel like I’m talking in a circle.  There isn’t a good answer for any of this.  Health care costs too much, health insurance costs too much, the economy is crap, Obamacare is crap, etc. is all a bunch of rhetoric that doesn’t get me a single real world answer.  Not one viable solution is going to come out of a conversation based on where to place blame.  I need something practical that will impact my life, the life of my family.  Maybe modern fairy tales won’t be about a boy and a girl saving each other, but instead it will be a story about affordable health care.  It doesn’t look like we will be getting any real world solutions any time soon.


The conversations I have with my six-year old are simultaneously gross and entertaining some days.  Within minutes of being home from school, she had her head hanging over the toilet, violently vomiting.  But let me back up to what she told me about her day on the way home.

She said: “I was sleepy in the morning, and then my stomach hurt, and then we went to lunch, and then my stomach hurt, and then we went to recess, and then we went to gym, and my stomach hurt.” 

Her stream of consciousness summarizing her day prompted a conversation about pooping.  I asked her had she pooped recently, and she said yes she had pooped today.  I asked her if it was normal poop or was it runny poop. She rolled her eyes and then said “normal”. 

After we got home, she looked like she was on the verge of tears as she turned and asked, “Where do I puke?”

I answered, “The toilet,” and waved her toward the bathroom.  She hasn’t puked much in her life, obviously.  I could picture the vomit stain in my new house with new carpet if she hadn’t made it to the bathroom.  I’m very grateful she is good at controlling her vomit.  Excuse me while I find some wood and knock on it.  I sure hope particle board counts.

After she finished vomiting the first time, I immediately got out the bleach spray and hand sanitizer, a cool wet wash cloth, and a bowl (just in case particle board doesn’t count). 

She stood in the bathroom watching me clean for a moment before declaring dramatically, “I need to see the doctor.” 

“Honey, the doctor can’t help you this time.  You just have to be sick for a little while.”

“But,” she said with tears in her eyes, “I just need to see her so I know what to do while I’m sick.”

I hugged her and reassured her that I knew what to do and I would help her.

“Look,” she said while holding out her hand, “I’m shaking”.  She said this as if her shaky hand was proof that I am out of my depth, that we must seek more knowledgeable help from the doctor, immediately.

“I shake, too, after I puke, baby,” I replied hugging her tighter.  I then led her to the couch and set her up with a cool wash cloth on her forehead, a bowl nearby, and her show (Peep and The Big Wide World).

“Mom, what’s making me puke?”

“Well, you have a virus,” I replied.  Instantly I’m wishing for a pathophysiology cheat sheet regarding the disease process of a stomach virus.

“That’s like germs, right?” She asks.

“Right.  You got a virus in to your body somehow and it got all cozy and said, ‘It’s nice in here,’ and then he made a bunch of friends that are just like him so he wouldn’t be alone,” I replied.

“So, then what happens,” she asks with a smile.  At least I can make her smile while being scientifically inaccurate and vague.

“Well, suddenly there’s too many little virus guys in your belly, and your stomach doesn’t like it,” I explain.

“Is this the part where my body starts fighting with the virus guys?”

“I’m not sure if they start fighting now, or if they were fighting before you puked, but your antibody guys are definitely going to fight the virus guys,” I answer.  Again, a cheat sheet would be great.

“How long will it take them to fight enough for me to stop puking, or is their fighting making me puke?”

“You’ll probably be sick until tomorrow, honey,” I say sympathetically.

Let’s just say this statement was met with much dismay and possibly some groaning followed by a race to the toilet.  After some more bleach, hand sanitizer, and a swish and spit, back to the couch we went.  I called Grandma (in Emma’s eyes, the ultimate authority on anything worthy of knowing), and asked her to stop by the health food store near her work for ginger ale on her way home.  Of course it wasn’t so simple.  To summarize,  Grandma drove an extra twenty miles out of her way and even delivered the ginger ale.

Eight more vomits later, she is sleeping on the couch.  It’s going to be a long night.  I am snuggling her and comforting her and dreading my turn.

Bloodwork is Back

My A1C is lower than it’s ever been and in the normal range.  My fasting blood glucose is also in the normal range.  My blood counts are perfect, and my electrolytes are balanced.  So why does my head still hurt? 

Hormones.  That’s the only answer for now.  I’m good with that answer.  I always knew it was a possibility.  My doctor explained why it’s not safe to use Ibuprofen later in the pregnancy, but that right now it is safe and she would like me to take 600 mg with 12 oz of my favorite caffeinated soda.  She wants to try to break the headache.  Otherwise,  another few days of this and she wants my head examined (told her my husband says that all the time). 

So, out to purchase some Pepsi I go.  Here’s hoping…

No Reassurance, Worries Abound

I posted early this morning about my headache problem.  I have had a severe headache every day for a week now, and large quantities of water (2 or more liters a day) is the only thing helping.  I received some good suggestions from rceg91109, Eventual Momma, and C.L. (thanks again ladies!) for coping with my headaches.  I also put in a phone call to my obstetrician.  Unfortunately, I have yet to receive a useful phone call in return.

I am worried that this prolonged headache may be a symptom of something more serious.  I do not have any swelling, weight gain (I actually lost two pounds since last week), or any other symptoms to suggest pre-eclampsia or pregnancy induced hypertension.  I do have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), which was being managed with diet, exercise, and Metformin.  My obstetrician advised me to take a break from Metformin once I hit the second trimester, four weeks ago.  Now I’m worried that perhaps that has backfired and my blood sugar has spiked.  I took my blood sugar this morning, but it was after I had eaten.  It wasn’t high; it was within normal range.  So, I’m trying to convince myself that this super-long headache is just hormone induced.  Especially since my doctor’s office has not returned my call.

I had left a message this morning as they first opened.  An hour and a half later, I still had not received a return phone call.  So, I called again.  I spoke to the nurse, explaining the situation to her again and asking if it would be simpler if I just came in to the office.  She assured me that someone would be getting back with me before lunch, that I did not need to come in.  And someone did call me before lunch.  The same nurse I had spoken to earlier called me letting me know that she would be calling in a prescription for a headache medication I had never heard of and that I needed to “stay well-hydrated”.  I don’t think she even heard me earlier when we spoke, beyond the word headache anyway.  I explained to her that I am very hydrated, and that she shouldn’t bother calling in the prescription because I wouldn’t be picking it up or taking it.  I went on further explaining that I wasn’t concerned about the pain of a headache, and that I was only concerned that it was a sign of something more serious.  I just wanted my doctor to be made aware and to offer her opinion, as to whether I should worry or take another Tylenol and suck it up.  She said she misunderstood earlier, but that she was forwarding our conversation to my physician and I would be receiving a phone call back after lunch.  Seven hours later, still no phone call.

My husband is trying very hard to be calm and patient, but he is ready to take tomorrow off and go camp in my obstetrician’s office.  I can’t decide whether I’m overreacting or not.  I’m concerned, though, so I just need a little reassurance.  I might spend tomorrow trying to find a new obstetrician with an office that isn’t quite so busy.

So, my friends, anyone have any experience with week-long headache that only lessens with large amounts of water in the second trimester of pregnancy?  I would appreciate any advice.

I Need Headache Help

Warning: this is about pregnancy and a possible complication.

Yesterday marked 17 weeks of pregnancy.  Today marks the 7th day in a row of headache.  It seems if I don’t drink a lot (about 2 liters or more) throughout the day and night, I get these painful headaches that are hard to chase away.  I get up about twice a night to pee, and I take a big drink each time or I will wake up with a splitting headache.  If I forget to drink for about an hour, then hello headache.  I have been getting headaches at least since the 10 week mark, but they were more infrequent until the last 2 weeks.  My doctor and I both (last month) blamed it on the hormones.  My blood pressure is in the normal range and I have no swelling.  I’m afraid this is PCOS related because I stopped the Metformin at week 13.

Any of you ladies have any thoughts on this?

I’m planning to call my doctor once her office opens this morning, but I was hoping someone out there might have something to say based on experience.


Here I am again.  At a quarter to two in the morning, at work, awake, and on watch.  My job is to ensure the safety and health of my clients, my people.  I’m leaning a bit toward being of a philosophical mindset at this hour.  I wish I had some way to understand the disabled individuals I work with.  I want a way to view inside the mind, to understand what it is that is missing from his or her life that I can provide, or advocate to get provided.  I am a strong advocate for my people, and I take great pride in that.  Oh, I wish that was all that is on my mind at this hour, and I’m out of things to clean.  Cleaning usually helps keep my thoughts quiet.

I’m struggling with many decisions in life, and part of the struggle is my unwillingness to let go.  I want to be ready for the birth of my baby.  I want to be financially ready, with enough income from freelance writing to replace my now meager income from my day job.  I very recently took a step back at work, declaring I would only be available to work every other weekend.  I agreed to work extra hours on that weekend, but nonetheless I am only working somewhere between twenty and thirty hours every other weekend.

Since this change, I have been working hard at home applying for freelance jobs and working on a current contract.  I have a problem,  though.  I feel inadequate as a freelance writer; because I lack experience I find it difficult to apply for certain jobs with confidence.  Thursday I found the perfect freelance job that seemed to be ideally suited to my strengths.  I applied with as much confidence as I could, but I had no previous relevant experience to offer.  I still have not heard a single peep from that job, which in this digital age means it is a no go.  What do I need to say to convince someone to give me a shot?  Everyone starts somewhere.  I started freelance writing in a slightly more commercial, much less creative branch of things.  Now I need the creative.  To be prepared to stay home with my child, and to truly enjoy the freelance writing career, I need the creative writing, too.

I have a friend that says you are what you say you are.  She told me that if I say I’m a writer, then I’m a writer.  Although she states it very simplisticaly, I get what she means.  I have to think positive thoughts and I have to believe in myself.  Even as I write that, the tired phrase believe in myself, my brain is screaming at me that is so cliche.  No one successful really does that.  My poor brain and I probably won’t be coming to an agreement on that any time soon.

As I sit here at work, I know this is where I’m supposed to be.  I don’t doubt myself, my instincts, my knowledge here.  As I check on my sleeping people like a mom with a newborn, I know I am more than adequate for anything that may occur here.  Outside of here, once I leave work and become Mindy, the freelance writer, again, my confidence wavers.  But, you can’t gain seven years worth of knowledge and experience overnight.  Seven years I have done this type of work.  Freelancing is much newer for me than that, and I am sure I will get the knowledge and experience I need with time. 

Still, letting go is a problem.  I have been afraid of really spreading my wings because of my fear of falling flat on my face.  I have to let go of that fear.  I’m also having trouble with letting go of my current job.  I enjoy what I do to improve the lives of those unable to do for themselves.  I’m good at it.  There is no falling on my face here.  Lastly, another fear I need to release, is my fear of becoming completely reliant on my husband as my primary means of support. 

My very first post on this blog was about my divorce from Eva’s father.  It is firmly in my past, but obviously some things aren’t.  I had never trusted the entirety of my financial well-being to anyone before my former husband.  He had my complete trust, and he was our only source of income…for three months before he left with all save ten dollars.

My wonderful husband I am currently about to rely on even more heavily is a good man.  I don’t have a shred of doubt about him or his ability to provide.  This fear I have, though, doesn’t seem to know these things.  I have to let go.

So this week is going to be different.  I’m going to loosen my white-knuckle grip, and I’m going to let go.

How American parenting is killing the American marriage

I saw this on Freshly Pressed today. Great read! I can’t say how many times I have had to tell my daughter that the world does not revolve around her, but rather that we have to prioritize needs and wants as a family. I hope I can pass on to her that my marriage is important, and that she isn’t the center of the universe.

My Dear Friend

God had some really funny timing with my pregnancy.  He timed it just before my 30th birthday, which was my prayer.  Then He gave me an extra gift (because, of course, my view is it is all about me).  The gift he gave me was that my dear friend managed to conceive her first child just five weeks after I conceived.  Not only do I get the baby my heart so desired, but I get to be pregnant with my best friend.  Then we will both have newborns at the same time!  That’s more exciting than I ever thought it would be!

My friend, let’s call her Adrienne (her name has been changed to protect her privacy), has always been there for me and Eva.  I couldn’t be more excited for her and her husband.  They will be great parents!  As she nears the second trimester of her pregnancy, life has thrown her a curve ball, though.  She visited the dermatologist last week, and a spot on her skin was deemed suspicious.  The doctor immediately removed this spot and sent it to a lab to be analyzed.

Adrienne has skin cancer, and she has to have surgery while she’s pregnant.

Mixed histology basal and squamous cell carcinoma.  That’s the technical, medical terminology for her brand of skin cancer, and apparently it is aggressive.  There will be no waiting until after the baby has arrived to perform a long, tedious surgery for her.  Adrienne has a consultation this week and surgery next week.  There will be no good drugs for her for the surgery, either.  She is going to have to cope through Mohs surgery (cut off a layer, check for clear borders in the lab, then maybe continue to cut another layer in an ever-widening circle until there are clear cancer-free borders) which can be a couple hours or last until dinner time.  Until her consultation, she isn’t sure just exactly what her options are for coping during surgery.  She know she will be completely awake, and she knows they can inject lidocaine.  Beyond that, she has planned for a stress ball and a portable DVD player with some of her favorite movies and some earphones.  Being in the first trimester of pregnancy, she can’t be completely put under without worrisome risk to the baby.  Also being in the first trimester of pregnancy, I would be concerned about being able to snack and eat lunch while I’m sitting in a sterile environment waiting for the lab to determine if I’m done or not.  There is just no way that this can be made pleasant, or moderately not awful.

I have tried to put myself in her shoes.  I really can’t.  At such a happy time in her life, she now has to be worried about skin cancer.  There doesn’t appear to be a risk to her life at this point, but there is obviously the potential for repeated, painful, disfiguring surgeries.  She now has to worry about the stress this is causing on her body, and her baby as a result.  The worst part, it seems, is the not knowing.  Until the surgery, it won’t be clear just how severe the skin cancer may be.  I’m such an awful friend at moments, and I forget that she just doesn’t have any answers yet as I ask yet another question that she can’t possibly answer at this point.  I’m not the only person in her life asking for more information, I’m sure.  Not knowing what stage/how severe the cancer is means not knowing how involved getting rid of the cancer may be.

I don’t know how, but Adrienne does seem to be holding it all together pretty well.  She has gotten floods of unsolicited advice from well-meaning family and friends alike.  She has received non-reactions, like those that think if they don’t say anything about it or pretend it isn’t happening that somehow that is a better way to go.  I doubt out of sight out of mind applies to any form of cancer for anyone, anywhere.  Even me, I’m trying not to treat her any differently, but I cringe every time I complain about something to her.  She is my shoulder, my one person from whom I don’t hold back any of the poor-pitiful-me whinings in my rather blessed world.  Now I feel like it is unfair of me to expect her to sympathize with my minor complaints.

I hope she knows (which she will once I hit publish) that I admire her ability to roll with the punches.  I always feel like every set back is the end of the world, at least initially.  She seemed to take it in stride, and admitted to crying only a little over the weekend.  There hasn’t been a week-long pity party (totally the route I would have taken), or melodramatic Facebook announcements (not my style, or her style, but it happens), or a sudden trip to the lawyer to fill out a living will, or the urge to start a blog to chronicle her suffering (totally me!), or any change at all in her normal routine it seems.  She bought a hat and some extra sunscreen to protect against further sun damage, and went on with life.

I admire you, my friend, and I’m proud to call you my friend.

I will definitely be saying some prayers for her, her husband, and her precious baby over the next few weeks.  I know she would welcome more prayers from anywhere she can get them.

Midnight Wanderings

I’m having trouble falling asleep tonight, despite barely being able to keep my eyes open earlier this evening.  I decided some milk might help my situation.  Off to the kitchen I went.

As I sipped my milk, I wandered around the house.  I picked this up, and put that away.  I returned to the kitchen, and I sorted through some papers.  That’s when I saw it–an ant!

I hate ants!  I understand that ants are environmentally necessary,  but do they have to be necessary in my kitchen? 

First item on my list for tomorrow morning is researching a natural,  pregnant lady safe ant repellent.