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.


Is pregnancy rage a thing? Because, frankly, I’m going to start bashing heads and going on a crazy lady rampage. I give it two weeks until I go apeshit and/or get myself fired.

My back aches continually. Sleeping is uncomfortable. I’m always tired. I’m always hungry. I always have heartburn. My bullshit tolerance level has gone from 7 to 2. My job requires a bullshit tolerance level of at least 5.

I still have 12 more weeks to go. This is not going to be pretty.

High Five?

I work a block away from a medical building that has an OB-GYN practice, two ultrasound facilities and the local breastfeeding center. There are a *lot* of pregnant ladies around where I work.

I cannot tell you how hard it is for me not to point at my stomach and point at their stomach and do some kind of crazy nod of pregnant lady sisterhood. Like we should have some kind of secret, pregnant lady handshake because we understand the need to run to the bathroom every hour on the hour.

I think it’s partly because while I think I look pregnant and people who know me and know I’m pregnant think I look pregnant, the rest of the world… hasn’t changed how it sees me at all. I don’t get offered seats on the metro. I’ve had to tell several coworkers I’m pregnant while I’m standing in front of them talking. We did a work retreat last week where we networked with people in our department that we hadn’t met… and none of them had any idea I was pregnant, much less 6 months pregnant. I shared some of that with the bump gallery of the ravelry group I joined for solidarity and they were actually all very sweet about it, but it’s somehow not the same.

I guess I want some kind of recognition from strangers that my body is doing a lot of work right now.

Or really, just the pregnant lady high five.

Food, Redux

27 weeks in, I can definitely tell you that pregnancy changes your relationship to food. I used to wake up at 9am on Saturday, take the dog on an hour walk and then spend an hour mowing my lawn before having coffee. Now I have to eat a protein bar before I leave the house because I can’t wait an hour to have my actual breakfast at work.

I also don’t go anywhere without emergency snacks (a packet of nuts) in my purse. I got caught places without food too many times.

In my unblogged about 20 week midwife visit,* I got put on a version of the paleo diet. I wasn’t eating enough protein, eat only meat and vegetables. Nothing white, no sugar, no artificial sugars, no beans, no corn, no potatoes, maaaybe quinoa just meat and vegetables. So, I ate salad for a month. I felt guilty for having sugar in my coffee and buying the honey roasted nuts by accident. I told Graze I was lactose intolerant and gluten intolerant. I had one splurge a week, except when I had three on vacation.

See, when I get advice from a doctor, I don’t half-listen. I kind of go crazy. I’d actually specifically picked this set of midwives over others because I knew I would get into disordered eating otherwise. Welcome to life following the rules and being a fat girl. You get in this desperate rut to prove to people that you’re not one of those fat girls,** that you have to color within the lines and do exactly what you’re supposed to do.

I also had my blood glucose because I’m a fatty fat fat fat (read: my BMI) and that my mom got diabetes… at 60. So the more I read into the visit, the more I saw that my food choices and my body were unacceptable to a healthy pregnancy and that I was going to get diabetes and I’m a terrible baby grower. (Never mind my regular exercise routine, that I was still under pre-pregnancy weight at the time and that I was eating pretty decently before that)

I came back for my 24 week visit and glucose test and was told I was eating too much protein. And that the midwife I talked to didn’t understand why I had my glucose test moved up. And she thought everything looked fine. I celebrated by eating a piece of pizza and then reintroduced bread into my life. I remembered how awesome peanut butter sandwiches are instead of just eating peanut butter with a spoon. I had an ice cream bar a few times a week again. I found out I passed my glucose test with flying colors. I had chips and queso to celebrate.

But this is a digression. Somewhere in finding another way to make yet another salad with chicken, beets, nuts and cheese appealing and worrying that my produce choices of pickled beets, carrots and apples were too high in sugar, my relationship to food changed a bit. I still calorie track like a mo-fo (Fitbit for the win!), but I also don’t really care if I go over. I’m not feeling guilty if I splurge. I just want eating habits that make me happy, that are automated enough that food doesn’t run my brain and that I don’t get defeated by the idea that we don’t have any thawed chicken for dinner.

It’s a process, but I’m getting there. Still working on thawing the chicken.

*I actually did write a blog post about it, but wordpress lost the draft and I care enough to resurrect. This is the gist, anyway.
**This is all bullshit anyway. You are who you are. Your body is not separate from you, nor a tool under your control. Society’s determined to judge us all on something, it’s just reserving real vitriol right now for fat women. (way more than it judges fat men, probably because mainstream culture already feels ownership over women’s bodies anyway)

Hello? You there?

Strangely, no one has this gif for a baby

Everyone keeps asking me if I talk to the baby. The answer is no, not really. And then I feel guilty, like I should have these long, involved conversations with my tiny parasite.

But what do you say? Tell her all my hopes and dreams for her, whisper sweet nothings, tell her no, she can’t have another Captain Cookie sandwich for lunch? In my head, she’s just sleeping and kicks when she turns over to get comfortable. Also, she’s a fetus. At 26 weeks, she could live on her own outside me with serious medical intervention, but she’s not capable of rational thought. We can’t discuss if she liked last night’s So You Think You Can Dance. She’s only kind of a baby.

I think it kind of boils down to the fact that pregnancy is insidious. Change creeps in about the edges. One day your boobs hurt and the next week, you’ve gone up a cup size. You’re hungry Monday and on Tuesday, you’ve gained 2 pounds. It’s so sudden and so slow. I still haven’t quite grasped the fact that I’m making a person. There’s not a lot of conscious choice and a surrender of control of your body.

Do I talk to the baby? Not really. But I am always aware of her.

Hungry: A Time Line. In GIFs.

6:15 – Hey, I’m kinda hungry. But I’m stuck in class for another 2 hours.


6:45 – Ugh, I’m kinda nauseous.

7pm – Man, I’m tired. Can we nap instead of class?

7:15 – Everything about this class is bullshit, the professor is awful and I hate his face.

7:30 – Heartburn.

7:40 – Why is there still no food? I am so sad about this. I want food and everything is hard.

7:45- Why did I forget to replenish my emergency snacks?

7:55 – Elaborate fantasies of the food I’m going to eat outside of class that do not include items on the midwife approved diet.



9:25 – Heartburn. Again.


Diary of Bed Time, Pregnancy Style

10pm – Think about going to bed… but maybe I’ll check Facebook first

10:30pm – Actually begin going to bed

10:45pm – finish night time ablutions, actually get in bed. Lie on back for two minutes until you remember that doing so causes lower abdominal pain and may cut off blood flow to the baby. Roll onto your side and hug your new body pillow.

12am – briefly awoken when wife comes to bed.

2am – right shoulder hurts. Roll over to left side, rearranging pillow appropriated.

3:30am – left hip has gone painful / numb and bathroom needs have become urgent. Get up.

4am – cat comes in, crying for attention and then eventually snuggles up to the wife after rousing the dog, who comes over to investigate, shakes herself loudly and then goes back to bed.

5am – right hip hurts and AC has made you too cold, roll over again. Rearrange body pillow without smacking wife in the face. Only partially successful. Add covers

6:45am – wake up because it’s gotten light up. Stay cozed as is.

7am – left shoulder hurts. Rearrange slightly.

7:30am – first alarm goes off. Wife cuddles up, drift cozily back to sleep

7:40am – HOLY CRAP SO HOT. Try to carefully disengage wife without waking her.

7:45am – second alarm goes off. Drag myself out of bed.