Ow. Ow ow ow. Ow.

Sometimes I feel like I should write a book called “The Things No One Told You About Pregnancy.” I mean, I’m sure someone did tell me and if I read month by month in the Mayo Clinic book or somewhere else, I wouldn’t be continually surprised by things. Like, did you know your nipples just leak after birth? Just randomly a thing?

Today, it’s side body pain. Dude, my ribs are killing me. It started at 34 weeks but a few days ago, it got *rough* on my left side. To the point where I can’t sleep on that side anymore. Trust, I’ve tried, but after an hour or two, I have a deep, niggling, something wrong that’s not just sore muscles pain in my abdomen.

So now I can only sleep on my right side, which means that my right hip and shoulder are killing me. I also tend to sleep in a way that I call ‘sentry duty’ – meaning I wake up every hour or two, look at the clock, make sure we haven’t been attacked by aliens, roll over and go back to sleep. Except now I can’t roll over, so instead I get up and go to the bathroom. Because that’s something else that they don’t really tell you, you’ll have to get up multiple times in a night to pee.

But the left side rib pain has become constant. It gets worse, probably when baby girl is kicking me in the ribs, but it’s pretty much always there. The pain level is like a 2, but as anyone with a toothache knows, a constant 2 can become intolerable by hour 6. Tylenol is made of magical fairy dust, at least for a couple of hours, but I’m really trying to stay chemical free during this pregnancy. Off to the chiropractor again today. They didn’t really help last time, but hey, maybe this time? Maybe?

Also, OW.

Welcome, APW!

I wrote a thing that’s on APW today about how I’m still not really sure I’m a grown up. Are we sure? Really?

I mean, the universe is giving us a baby. Really? To us? Because I’m pretty sure we’re gonna break it, and break it pretty quickly. Maybe that’s what all parents do in their own ways, but even if I fill out the warranty card, I don’t know if we can get this done right.

We’ll find out. 5 weeks and counting. (OMG 5 weeks and counting!!!!)

Shit’s Getting Real

I am 34 weeks. We attended a birth planning meeting yesterday held by our midwives to discuss expectations and plans. At least once I day, I watch my stomach move around with a frequency and intensity that I expect an alien to burst out. I have taken a breastfeeding class and have signed up for two more. We have two showers in two weeks and half our friends with kids are unloading stuff they don’t want anymore on us. (Dear friends who have done this, I LOVE YOU) We’re interviewing a temp for while I’m out on leave.

But the kicker?

I just recycled a bottle of 300 prenatal vitamins that I bought in February. That felt like so many days when I got it, an eternity away. But it’s empty now. And I pulled it out from its hiding place behind a sweater in my cabinet and recycled it in the office kitchen, unafraid that someone would see it and start asking questions. It’s still hard for me to let go of that lingering ‘I CAN’T TELL ANYONE’ feeling. Which is made even funnier, because strangers and acquaintances still don’t realize I’m pregnant until I drop baby hints.

Keep cooking, baby. But this is getting real.

Feet

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For some reason, I thought I would get through this pregnancy without my feet swelling. Because I am the best pregnant person ever and therefore immune from such things? I don’t know.

But the clock ticked over to 32 weeks on Wednesday, and, right on cue, my feet have started swelling. New priority: elevating as much as possible.

Health Insurance, Copays and Back Pain

Apparently, my pregnancy rage has lasted a month! (That’s not true, it’s ongoing, oh well) But I’ve had a lot going on this month – my grad school class just ended, my parents are officially in town for a quick visit before my next class starts, I’ve got endless fatigue issues and nothing is ready for the baby. Which is OK, because I’m only 31 weeks, but is also not ok because I’m 31 weeks.

I’ve been dealing with some serious low back pain, so I finally sucked it up and started going to a chiropractor. And she is made of magic and kinesio tape. A few adjustments and everything is calming down a lot.

But it’s frustrating because of cost. My employer considers chiros specialists and specialists are a $50 copay. I find this so incredibly frustrating. It’s only $15 more per visit than the 2013 rate of $35, but are you really going to spend $50 for a mole check at your dermatologist, even if they and your PCP think you need one annually? When you sprain your ankle and need physical therapy 3x a week for a month, are you really going to spend $600? No, you’re not. You’re going to live with the pain / uncertainty until the problem escalates.

Also, every single fucking visit to the midwife is $50. Every one. Let’s consider they want to see you at 12 weeks, once a month after that until 28 weeks, biweekly until 36 and then weekly. That’s 13 visits, over $500. IN JUST COPAYS. Is that really encouraging me to invest in the health of my baby? Compare that to Kaiser, who (I believe) waives copays for maternity care and for children under 5. Because they understand that preventative care IS FUCKING WORTH IT IN THE LONG TERM and not worth pawning the costs off on the individual. I really hate my current insurance plan, but I mostly hate that my employer has decided to pass the costs on to their employees in both higher copays AND raised premiums (and then sends out emails announcing the changes touting how affordable they are).

Anyway, the chiropractor (who specializes in pregnant women) is made of magic and is $50 a visit, twice a week. I’ve already spent $250 off my FSA that was supposed to go towards delivery costs or my $850 deductible for delivery. I’ve got one more for tomorrow and then I think I have to downgrade to once or twice a month.

I’m just not sure I can justify pulling more money out of my savings for my temporary comfort.

And that sentence pretty much sums up everything that’s wrong with the American health insurance system.

Edit: I wrote this in a fit of cranky and realized later my privilege is showing. I’m fortunate to have health insurance and income to cover co-pays. Many people don’t. Health care costs in this country are outrageous and having a child or an illness shouldn’t bankrupt them. My original point is more that high co-pays discourage people from getting care. It’s savings in the short term which can raise costs in the long and that is just antithetical to me.