a comedy of errors

My medical care during this pregnancy has been sufficient, adequate, fine–but the administrative and bureaucratic issues surrounding that care have not ended. Around every corner is another fiasco. You know that great ultrasound we had last week? I scheduled it three weeks in advance. I woke up the morning beforehand thinking I needed to call the clinic to confirm the appointment, and I’m so glad I did, for they no longer had me scheduled. Luckily, they resolved the issue, but the fact that this came as no surprise to me is a little alarming. You can read back through the archives to see the other issues we’ve dealt with, but in short, every visit to the doctor has come with some weird administrative issue from the theft of my records to mysteriously cancelled appointments to appointments being moved to other providers.

It should come as no surprise then, that this most recent attempt to find us some new health coverage is also coming with its fair share of hassles. Despite the “rush” that was placed on our application for state healthcare, our case is still pending. Now that it is still pending, J and I have made too much money this month. I just read that if it is found that we have made too much money in a month, then we will be expected to quickly rid ourselves of our “excess” cash by putting it toward medical bills the state would otherwise have paid. In short, we’ll be punished for making a bit of money to cover our rent, food, and utilities over the summer and instead will pay cash for our medical bills just like we’re doing right now.

The tiny silver lining is that we’ll now qualify for the middle-income state-sponsored insurance, so we’re going to pursue that, and that seems great, right? Well, yes, in some ways, I suppose; however, with this insurance, there will be no birth center. The birth center will let us pay $5000 cash, or they will honor one major health insurance company (to which we have no access), or they will take Medi-Cal. They will not honor any of the three insurance companies this new coverage uses. This means that there will likely be no birth center for us. This means we’re back to a hospital birth, back to an OB, back to conditions we had so tried to avoid and so wanted to escape.

My wife keeps telling me today she’s going to deliver our son. We have joked that we will call my brother the paramedic and his wife the nurse to attend the birth. Or perhaps I’ll just go squat in a field by myself.

In all seriousness, I’m trying to come to terms with this. I have long wanted a midwife-attended birth center birth. If we didn’t live in a busy apartment complex, I would have wanted a home birth. These things aren’t likely going to happen (unless we decide to stop bringing in income), so I’ve given myself the day to mourn, and now I’m putting on my big girl pants and figuring out how to make this hospital birth the best we can. We’ll be looking into doulas, possibly exploring the other two midwives at our OB clinic to see if they’re any less scatter-brained than the one we met a couple of months ago, and checking out the “birth centers” at a couple of hospitals, and then we’ll proceed from there. Ultimately, I know it’s most important that the baby and I are both well cared for during the birth. I just hate that our hopes and dreams for this birth now seem so far out of reach.

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6 Comments

Filed under health care, the P word

6 responses to “a comedy of errors

  1. Lyn

    How frustrating, both in terms of getting coverage at all, and figuring out where you’ll be when the time comes.

    If it really is just the apartment that is keeping you from home birth, it might not have to. Gail labored at home, in our tiny apartment, making plenty of noise, and it really wasn’t a problem.

    However, at least out here, it takes pretty swanky insurance (with out of network coverage) to get any home birth coverage, so you’d probably still have a cash problem (costs seem to range from $1800-$3500 for prenatal care and birth, some midwives will work with you on price or barter).

  2. Jodi

    Look, after watching “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” on TLC, I’m convinced I can do better than these women; I will even catch the baby in my hands to avoid his plopping onto the floor in some god-forsaken bathroom. I can do it. I know I can!

  3. cindyhoo2

    Grr. Here are some thoughts: you are having trouble negotiating the system to get adequate medical care and you are a smart cookie. Imagine how hard getting adequate health care is for women without your education and your future earning potential. So unfair.

    And, I am so sorry that you have hurdle after hurdle to jump through. I like the doula idea though. They are wonderful advocates and can help you have a personalized labor even as you have to use a more impersonal system.

  4. I’m sorry that there have been and continue to be so many barriers to getting what you want. It is so frustrating.

    We had a doula for our hospital birth and I felt like the hospital was very open and encouraging of a natural birth and of our use of hypnobirthing. Maybe our hospital has learned to be open and to try to reduce medical interventions because we have no birthing centers here (there was one that recently closed). Visiting the hospital and working with our doula and taking the child birth classes at the hospital really helped us make the birth plan that we wanted. Of course we ended up not going according to the plan anyway, but that’s the way parenthood is…..the best laid plans….

  5. I’m so sorry that you’re going through such a hassle getting coverage and determining where you’ll give birth. I went through a similar grieving period a month or so ago when I learned that I wouldn’t be birthing at our birth center. I really didn’t want to hear anyone try to put a silver lining on it for a good while, but now I am seeing the bright side–we’ll have immediate access to a lactation consultant and will be able to relax and sleep instead of packing up to go home after a couple hours. I hope that you end up finding a place (both figuratively and literally) where you feel comfortable as well.

  6. You can definitely have a better hospital birth experience if you mould it to what you want. Having doulas and midwives around makes a HUGE difference. Good luck to you in figuring it out.

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