Friday, September 21, 2012

5 years ago today

Five years ago today, I went on my last first date ever.  (I wrote about meeting MM for drinks that evening here, on my long-abandoned first blog.)  At the time, I was just looking to get back out on the dating scene and have some fun after ending a two-year relationship (and engagement) less than six months before.  Little did I know that I was meeting my future husband and the father of my children. 

Five years ago today, I never would've envisioned that I would be where I am today: wife to MM, mother to two sons.

Life is strange.  And unexpected.  But wonderful.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

8 months

I can hardly believe that our sons turned 8 months old yesterday!  I had planned to include some of their 8-month photos with this post but forgot to upload them to the computer.  Oops.  Maybe next post I'll remember.  I share with you some photos from the past month instead.

(If you're checking this post on or after 9/30/12, the photos have been removed from this post.  If you're a regular reader, email me, and I'll be happy to share them.)

Here is AJ.  He is sitting very well without assistance these days and crawling all over the place!  He started with a few hitching "steps" at the end of August and has progressed daily ever since.  It's hard to get a decent photo of him with my point-and-shoot camera because he is constantly in motion.  He has also become a very good little eater, eating more than his (heavier) brother at many feedings.

Here is MJ.  He is not yet actually crawling but is able to get around very well by rolling, pulling himself and scooting.  He is also able to get in and out of a seated position on his own, and he has two teeth on the bottom!  The first broke through a few weeks ago, and the second joined it yesterday.

AJ and MJ playing on the big bed (smiles courtesy of Daddy's antics).

It is so fun watching them learn and grow and progress, and I love their smiles and laughs.  We are really enjoying them!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Insurance & Health Care--my perspective

Without getting into the politics of it, I just want to say that there is something seriously wrong with the way we pay for health care in America.

My husband and I pay for health insurance coverage which is available to him through his job. . . "good" (though not "Cadillac level") coverage.  And yet, nearly eight months after my sons were born, I am still paying for "our" share of the hospital bills related to their birth.  I just made the last payment on MJ's bill this morning.  (His was the least expensive of the three--mine, his and AJ's--because his stay was shorter than AJ's and he didn't need many interventions.)  I will still be making payments on my bill and on AJ's bill for another few months.

I didn't even receive the first bill for any of our care from the hospital until they were a few months old.  I guess the hospital doesn't bill patients until/unless the insurance company has processed and paid its portion first.

And I occasionally still get a random bill for the boys. . . either for a doctor visit during their hospital stay (billed separately from the hospital) or for a special vaccine I forgot they received (and didn't realize I'd paying $250+ for "our" portion of the charge).

When you have a health insurance plan that says there is an annual family out-of-pocket maximum of $2,000, you might reasonably expect that you'd never have to pay more than $2,000 for your health care.  In our case, you would be wrong.  There are all sorts of exclusions and exceptions that no one tells you about up front, so that the amount we ended up paying out of pocket has exceeded $4,000 so far this year.  (I stopped keeping track after that.)  It's only September.

[And don't even get me started on the fact that the MFM group that followed me in the hospital was deemed to be an "out of network" provider by our insurance.  This despite the fact that (1) they are the only MFM group that sees inpatients at that hospital, which is "in network," and (2) they are the main MFM group to which my OB group (deemed "in network") refers its patients.  Yeah.  Messed up!]

In the past few months that I've been receiving and paying all these bills, I've often remarked to MM that we are the fortunate ones: our sons' hospital stays were relatively short (7 and 11 days, respectively); despite arriving at 34 weeks, they never spent time in the NICU and just needed to "feed and grow"; our sons have only had to go to the doctor once since discharge from the hospital for a visit that wasn't a "well check"; and I have a well-paid job that allows me to handle the occasional unexpected $200-300 bill without panic or insolvency.  So many other people in our situation would not be so fortunate.

I'm not even talking about the fact that our insurance paid not one red cent toward the fertility treatment which produced our sons in the first place.  That is whole other topic for another post.  I'm talking about the (in my opinion) crappy insurance coverage of the delivery-related and post-delivery care we received.

In terms of quality of care, I couldn't be happier with the care my sons and I received.  (And, as a former nurse myself, I think I'm in a better position to judge this than the average layperson patient.)  But the way we pay for that care leaves a lot to be desired.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Random things I've realized

  • There are not enough hours in the day to do everything I need/want to do.
  • Friends really do understand when I don't have time to call or send them cards these days.
  • "Billable hours" are one of the reasons people hate lawyers, even if they don't realize it.
  • "Billable hours" are one of the reasons lawyers (in private practice) hate their jobs and have higher-than-average rates of depression.
  • Wearing comfortable underwear can make a big difference in your mood.
  • So can free barbecue for lunch.