I know, I know. She’s 9 months old already and I’m just now getting around to this, but Punch Debt in the Face and Budget Blonde know how fast it goes. It seems like the costs surrounding having a baby – like anything that involves health insurance – are shrouded in mystery. Seriously, wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly what your cost will be up front? Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy, since every baby and every mother is different, and no matter how much you plan, things don’t always go your way in the delivery room because, let’s face it, at that point you’re not in control. Am I right?
With that being said, I can definitively tell you baby costs on Tricare Reserve Select (straightforward labor and deliver, prenatal, and post natal care): (drumroll, please)
I’m not kidding.
Let’s start with the birth story! (Guys, my apologies, and ladies, ever since I’ve had a baby I’ve loved reading birth stories as long as they weren’t drawn out and long)
I worked at my day job all the way up until the kiddo was born. The last two weeks at work were complete hell. I would sit at my computer and time my contractions as I did my work and was really starting to feel swollen and miserable! Every friday I would hope that I would have the baby so I didn’t have to come back to work on Monday. (I could have taken leave earlier, but it was unpaid, so I was trying to work as long as possible) And, every friday I would go hang out with The Big Guy at work. We would eat dinner (which I would then throw up….TMI – sorry!) and I would walk.
I really wanted her OUT! The whole waiting game was made even tougher because for the 3 fridays prior to actually having Baby RB40, I would have Braxton-Hicks to the point where they would be 3 minutes apart for an hour, I would pack up to go to the hospital, and they would stop. And they didn’t hurt at all. They were maybe a bit uncomfortable, but they didn’t hurt. It was like magic…lol.
The friday before I actually had her, I came into work not really expecting to to be my last day. But, 2 hours into the work day, I was done. I didn’t care whether my leave was unpaid or not, I was not coming back to work on monday. All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and binge-watch Gray’s Anatomy. Luckily, my boss was very understanding, and we sat down and went through where I was at with all of my work and what she would have to do while I was gone.
Saturday morning rolls around and I am awakened by what felt like menstrual cramps. You know the ones where your back and uterus hurts? It wasn’t too bad, but since the Braxton-Hicks for the month prior hadn’t really hurt at all, I thought that maybe this was the real thing. Regardless, it wasn’t time to go to the hospital even if it was the real thing, so I told The Big Guy I wanted to go to the mall and just do a lot of walking. At that point, I didn’t tell him I thought I might be in actual labor. So we went to the mall and bought some baby clothes, looked at a motorcycle (for The Big Guy, of course), and caught a movie. It was kind of amazing, because I hadn’t told The Big Guy yet.
At first, the walking helped with the cramping. For the first half of the day it helped, actually. But then, it got tougher, so that the walking wasn’t helping. It told the Big Guy I wanted to go home and bounce on my exercise ball, and when I did that, it helped. I could tell the contractions were getting closer together and were steadier, so I told The Big Guy that we needed to start making arrangement for the dogs and getting last minute things packed. I also wanted to shower and eat before going to the hospital. So, The Big Guy made me pasta while I showered, and while I showered the contractions started to hurt really bad, to the point that bouncing on the ball wasn’t helping and I made the decisions that even it they weren’t close enough together, we were going to the hospital and I was not leaving until they made the pain stop or we had a baby!
I mean, really, that should have been my first clue, but I still wasn’t convinced that were were having a baby that weekend. Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it? We checked in, and I tried not to cry as I worked through the contractions in the waiting room, but at that point it felt like my back was going to explode because the back labor was so bad. I couldn’t even feel the uterus contractions now. Once checked in and in our delivery room, the nurse hooked me up to the monitor, checked me and informed me that I was, indeed, in actual labor and that we were going to have a baby! It was about 10:00 pm at this point.
And I got really scared.
I toughed it out through another hour of back labor, but when The Big Guy started seeing bruises on my back where he was rubbing – and I still wanted him to rub harder – we made the mutual decision to get an epidural. The epidural – which I was really scared of (I mean, a needle near your spine cannot be a good thing) – ended up not being a big deal at all, and I loved the pain relief! It felt so good to be free of pain that I fell asleep!
Then, around 3am, I started waking up, just a bit, because I started being in pain again. I found out later that my epidural cut me off of the drugs at 3am, and the gradual increase in pain was because the epidural took time to wear off. For about an hour and a half I was in an out of sleep, trying to relax and fight off the pain, but at about 4:30 am I freaked out and woke up completely, because the pain went away completely and was replaced by this crazy urge to push. I called the nurse, who check me and said “Well dear, it’s time to push.” (Side note: my L&D nurse was awesome! Young and caring, she walked me through so much, taught me how to push, and actually delivered Baby RB40)
All of the sudden the room got a little busier. The nurse taught me how to push, and put my doctor on call to come in. But, 5 minutes later, we realized the kiddo was coming really fast – probably because I refused to listen when she told me to slow down pushing – and they called the doctor next door. In the end, I only pushed for 20 minutes, and out came our baby girl! The doctor in the next room didn’t even make it – our L&D nurse caught her! Side note: pushing does not hurt! It feels like pressure, kind of a push so you can get this kid out!
Initially I freaked out because, well babies are a bit blue when they come through the birth canal, and the kiddo didn’t even cry! She just looked around and was super peaceful! They put her on my chest, and she nursed immediately, like a champ! Of course, the next few days were crazy, but then I started worrying about money!
Three months after she was born, I still hadn’t received a bill from anyone – no prenatal care, no hospital, no anesthesiologist – so I called the hospital. They told me that I had not patient responsibility, but that maybe I would have a bill from the anesthesiologist. But, when I called them, I wasn’t going to have a bill from them either!
So, in total, having a baby on Tricare Reserve select cost me $28 from start to finish. My prenatal, L&D and postnatal care, as well has the kiddo’s pediatrician visits have cost us nothing but that $28!
I did return to work 3 1/2 weeks after having her, but that is a story for another time:-) I am super grateful for our insurance! We weren’t really planning on this baby (*ahem, not at all), but honestly, she is the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done!
How’s that for a monster post?
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