Sunday, October 28, 2012

Holy frijoles, the bills!

I don't think that's quite all of our bills from having Whit, surely there's a couple more filed away somewhere. I have to admit I was not prepared AT ALL for how expensive the actual labor and delivery was going to be! We had saved up nearly $1000 for Whit's arrival and that covered about a third of the medical bills. I think in total we racked up $3500? Oy! And believe me I could spend a lengthy amount of time being angry at our insurance company for a couple of things (like changing our coverage in the middle of my pregnancy without telling us or giving us the option of switching plans, etc.), but I won't. I will however let you in on a few ways I've learned to save some money along the way.

1. If you know you're going to rack up a lot of bills, see if your employer offers a health savings account. A health savings account takes money from your paycheck before income tax is taken out and sets it aside for medical expenses. The downside is if you don't use that money, at the end of the year you lose it. Next time we're for sure doing this. Our insurance company had a cost estimator on their website before I got pregnant that estimated having a baby was somewhere in the $900 range. Had I known that was a gross underestimate or that Ben was also going to be sick, we would have signed up this year!

2. The cheapest option is home birth, then birthing center, then hospital. I was already hesitant about home births before, but now after Whit's scary beginnings I for sure won't ever have one. But we will definitely look into a birthing center and midwives next time around.

3. Don't have a c-section or epidural! Now I see why a lot of women want to go natural and not have c-sections... it's cur-razy expensive! Now, that being said, I will probably never try to go natural and I wasn't shooting for a c-section, but it's what had to happen. Shit happens.

4. Know your body. I've always been pretty damn in tune with myself physically. I can feel a cold coming on days before it does. If my stomach hurts, I can tell you which of my ten issues is causing the problem. Point is, I know myself way better than a doctor or nurse. So when I told the nurses I was nauseated because of the anesthesia and that I would like some Phenergran and they gave me Zofran pills instead I was furious. But I was exhausted and out of my element and went along with it. Now I know better, I want what I want and don't give me anything "in the mean time" to charge me for later. If you know stool softeners don't work on you, tell the nurse you're not taking it. (I hid a bottle of Miralax in my bag for just such emergencies.) And if you want to go home a day or two early, do it. We left a day early because we were too tired to stay any longer, and we could have left the day before that, which would have saved us about $600.

5. See if you can eat your own food and not get charged the "board". Honestly, I've always liked hospital food... I know, I know, I'm crazy. But when my friend Amanda was in the hospital after her c-section I heard her ask someone to bring her take out. And I thought, really?! We definitely had some people I could have asked to cook for us, especially once I realized I was getting as much leafy greens as I like to normally eat.

6. Take everything you can! Everyone will tell you this, so don't worry you won't forget.

Basically, speak up! If you have questions, ask. Once I was back to feeling like myself I found out the minor pain pills they were giving me were basically a big Aleve. Like I don't already own some Aleve!

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