Thursday, January 31, 2013

The heart of the matter

The heart of the matter

I wrote a little bit before about the baby's mystery maybe / maybe not heart thing. I had two ultrasounds at the high risk practice and his heartbeat was perfectly normal both times. But my regular OB picked up the off-sounding beat at the checkup between the ultrasounds and at the one afterward, the arrhythmia was so distinct that I clearly heard it. I had my "let's check your fluid levels just in case" ultrasound booked for right after that OB check anyway, so I went next door and this time, it was clear as day on the ultrasound. The high risk doctor thinks it's a premature atrial contraction and no big thing as long as it doesn't get worse. She and my OB both say this type of arrhythmia usually spontaneously corrects after birth and that any serious problems would've shown up on the ultrasounds. Ultimately, it was a whole lot of hullabaloo to basically be told, "Sometimes it happens, he's almost certainly fine, don't worry about it." The bill came in the mail last week and I was literally nauseated to see how much this cost after our decent insurance kicked in. Before insurance, the hospital charged $3200 just for the tech using the ultrasound machine. THIRTY-TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS. And that didn't include the doctor's visit or her reading the ultrasound. I felt like I was going to throw up for about two hours after opening the bill. We've filled out payment plan / bill assistance paperwork at the hospital at the recommendation of the very nice woman I talked to in the billing office, who really seemed to understand why I was flipping out about this. Now we just wait, hope, and try not to puke when the next two monster bills show up.

I am glad we know that he does have a funny heartbeat so there won't be any panic if it sounds off during delivery. And of course, of course money means nothing compared to his life, and if there really had been something wrong, the ultrasounds could've saved him. (No hyperbole…my OB admitted the reason she wanted it checked out is because if it had been a blockage in his heart that went undiscovered until birth, he'd be born and then he'd be gone. I'm sure I looked like a deer in the headlights when she said that because she hastily assured me she wouldn't have mentioned it at all if that was a possibility for my baby. Still, I kind of wish I didn't know.) Anyway, if you're a crossing-fingers type, I'd appreciate some in the interest of getting the bill lowered and / or getting a manageable payment plan option. I never thought I'd be paying my kid off like a car, but he's worth it. He might also be grounded, I haven't decided yet.

My coworkers have been (good-naturedly) harassing me about getting stuff ready for the baby and I've been blowing them off. I have six weeks! Five! Four! Four-ish weeks! Today one of them said, "Hey! Guess what Friday is! FEBRUARY FIRST." I told her if the baby does come early, she can say "I told you so" for the rest of forever. It's not like we haven't done anything, we just haven't done much. My dad came over the week of Christmas and helped me strip the 80s hotel wallpaper from the walls and ceiling (ceiling! The hell?) of the guest room-becoming-nursery and my cousin MacGyver patched the cracks in the plaster for us. Dad came by again a few weekends ago and helped us move all the furniture out and move the crib from Nico's room to our room, then MB took a day off work this past Friday to scuff-sand and prime the nursery walls. We've got our paint picked out and ready, we just have to find the time to actually use it. I'm hoping I'll at least be able to start it on Saturday. I made appointments to get the carseat base installed in my car and to get one last haircut and eyebrow wax in the interest of looking semi-presentable in my hospital photos. I did finally start washing baby clothes this week and it's really hard to believe Nico was ever small enough to fit into that stuff. I'd say we don't have everything we need, but that's only true in a first-world comfortable-life definition of "need." We would like to get a few boring basics like a new ceiling fan and some non-ugly curtain rods, but really the only thing we need to buy before he comes is a box of tiny diapers. I'm hoping to have a sweet little nursery set up for him, definitely, but if he surprises me by storming onto the scene early, everything will be fine.

Reading:  A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Playing:  the Brave soundtrack

1 comment:

  1. Man, baby heart things hit close to home for me. I'm so glad everything is ok w your little one. Unfortunately I know how expensive this stuff is. You can do the rest in these last few weeks!