What does it cost to have a baby in Michigan?

A lot. But I’ll break it down for you.

Our OB’s cost was a flat $2,700 – which included all my prenatal visits and a few lab tests. Did not include ultrasounds, other lab tests or any Gestation Diabetes mumbo-jumbo.

Ultrasounds were $125 a pop. We had three.

When we first called the hospital to inquire about the cost of giving birth – this is the run down we were given:

Vaginal birth = $4,758
Newborn, no complications = $1,620
Epidural = $185
C-section = Ranges from $6,300 – $11,500

Actual bills we’ve received from hospital:

The birth = $3,779.15 (the vag birth)
Oliver’s cost = $943.14 (the “Newborn” fee)

We’ve had plenty of lab bills – all have been paid. I might detail those here too, if I get around to it – and we’re pretty sure we’re not done getting bills from the hospital. In the next few weeks we should know the grand total of what we owe them. Our OB is paid in full and all our other medical bills, not including the birth or Olivers newborn cost have been paid to date. So … we’re half way there in some ways.

Wanna know what we paid to give birth to Jessica???

Sixty american dollars.

Who’s crying with me right now?

One Month

Baby O,
Hi. Man alive do I love you. You’ve been in our arms for a month and finally feel like a little person and not such a stranger in our home. Our family is starting to take shape quite nicely, I think – you fit wonderfully.
You’re pretty much a night and day difference from your sister – but we love it. You demand more attention than she did, but as I was explaining to my mom this morning – when we had your sister I was super excited to be a parent but when we had you – I was ready to be a parent. So your need for a little more of me is quite all right. I’ve got it. I now know how fast this goes and will give you all the time you need, little man.
We took you to the doctor this morning to check a few things, like your poor little ingrown toes -ouch. You weighed in at 11lbs 2oz! Over a 2 pound growth in one month!!! I called the lactation consultants at the hospital to tell them the good news and do a bit of healthy gloating.
I love bragging about you, by the way, because what Mom doesn’t? Lets be honest here, shall we? Thats a promise I make to you, to always be honest. You are awesome. So far a good and easy baby – sure there are nights when I want more sleep or an hour here or there where I’d like some peace and quiet – but Oliver, you’re amazing. You’re one month old and already amazing.
Right now it feels like the whole world is open for you – everything is at your finger tips, the possibilities are endless, and so unknown, for your life. I love living in such hope. I think you’re going to do great things – even if all that is is working with your hands as a craftsman – you don’t have to be the president for me. I love you already and I know what your poop smells like.
I haven’t talked about your middle name yet for a lot of reasons. You are named after my step dad, Wayne. Pappy. He died of cancer when we were pregnant with your big sister – if she was a boy she was going to be named after him, also. That was a promise we made to my dad before he died, that our first born son would bear his name. He cried and asked us more than once if we were serious.
Oliver, I have a lot of unresolved feelings about my dad’s death. I’ve stuffed most of it away, unwilling to deal with the bitter sadness that was our loss through his death. I hurt so badly, still, maybe even more than when it actually happened. It’s so hard. Wayne was very special to me. He showed me a kind of loving compassion that I had never known before, and I don’t say that to take away from the things my parents had shown me or given me until that point. I would have been a fulfilled woman had I not known Wayne as my dad – but I am a richer and more whole woman because I did.
I wasn’t always close to my real dad – we had a hard go of it for a long time. Mostly due to my stubbornness and anger at our family situation. Things have gotten much better between us and I’m now very close to him. This is all very hard, too. I don’t know if I can explain it, but any way I slice it I have some loyalty issues – whether it’s feeling unloyal to my real dad for being so close to my step dad or feeling unloyal to the relationship I did have with my step dad now that I have a better relationship with my real dad.
You can see why I’m so messed up about all this.
Either way – Oliver, you are a dream come true in so many ways. I know for certain that Wayne, my pappy, my daddy – is looking down on you from heaven and just giggling in pure and honest delight. Your gas would make him proud and the small dimple on your cheek would make him cry every time he saw it while you smiled in your sleep.
I am so very sad that you’ll never meet him or know his hugs, his smell, the size of his hands against your own – it breaks my heart that he’s not here to meet you.
However, Grandpa Bosa (my real dad) is and he’s a mess with happiness over you. He loves baby’s. LOVES baby’s. And I’ll go on record saying that a grandson is a tad more special than a granddaughter – because he’s dreamt of taking you fishing, hunting, showing you how to use a saw and work a lawn mower – he’s dreamt of all these things for years. Taking his grandsons on trips and showing them the way of the world. He shares the same zest for his granddaughters, but it is different. A boy to a man is something very special.
And your Grandma Schaap (daddy’s dad) is the same mess of happiness. I don’t think he ever looks away from you when he’s holding you. His eyes get this glazed glittery look, all mushy and melting with affection and he just droops, saturated in your cuddle. I think we could leave him like that forever and he’d never protest.
Any way – all the men in your life are very special, even the men who are in your life through memory. I have a feeling you’ll be a firecracker for life, and Tadpole – I can’t wait!
Love,
Mama.

Things I forgot about in the 3 years since having a newborn

The ridiculous proportions my body becomes when my milk comes in. And I do mean ridiculous.
That sleeping in a puddle of milk really just does not bother me. I’d rather sleep than care about smelling like spoiled breast milk.
The ability to take a shower is like finally figuring out how to run the 200 yard sprint in less than 2 seconds.
Doing anything to your hair after that shower is nearly impossible – especially if it requires blow drying. Forget about it. Invest in an easier hair cut – or just stop caring.
Wishing that it was totally acceptable to duct tape the pacifier to the newborns mouth.
Some times babies do not like the car seat. Leaving them in it once you arrive home does not make them like it any more than before, although one can hope. Ignoring the chance to leave the house, though, because of this little inconvenience is not OK. Turn up the radio – you must get out of the house once in a while and the baby is safe – so go for it.
It is SO true what they say about kids that are not the first born – writing down milestones, or in this case blogging about them or the like, some how doesn’t seem as important as, oh … eating breakfast or sleeping for another 15 minutes.
It’s a good week if you’re dressed in something other than your pajama’s by the time the mail man delivers your mail at least 2 days out of the 5 you’re home without your spouse – in my case that’s 4pm in the afternoon.
When the baby is growing and moving around his schedule or eliminating a feeding – you grow too. Again with those ridiculous proportions. And it hurts.

Differences between first and second offspring

When we found out we were pregnant with #1 our lives became a triage center of “preparing for baby” – our minds, money, and time went into thinking “baby” and all that it was to mean for our future.
When we found out we were pregnant with #2 I did a little jig, sent Aaron a text and then emailed the entire world. We found out we weren’t covered for pregnancy with our insurance, I threw up and continued to throw up for a few weeks. Then our lives continued as before – still focusing on child #1.
When #1 was born it was instant love for me – I had a baby girl, couldn’t imagine my life without her. We were a family all of a sudden and it felt right.
When #2 was born – we had just figured out his name a few hours before and he felt a little like a squishy stranger to me. I had a son – and I still remembered what life was like without him. Our family did not feel complete – just bigger and more confusing.
With #1 I was very laid back – didn’t mind too much if she cried, she was an awesome baby, didn’t have to be held alot but loved being held. She slept through the night at 5 weeks old and was on a schedule right away, with our help. She smiled and cooed and was the center of attention almost everywhere we went. We continued to fall deeply in love with her – she was our life. Our pride, our joy. She is still our breath of Heaven.
With #2 I’m even more laid back, although Oliver likes to be held more and will let you know – he’s louder than Jessica was, more vocal – and I’ve only let him cry it out twice in almost 4 weeks. It breaks my heart. Just this week he started sleeping in his own room, it’s going fabulous. The warm fuzzies and maternal love is getting stronger every day and I feel like I recognize him now when I see him first thing in the morning. He’s not this little poopy machine stranger living in our house any more who likes my breasts. He’s a baby, my baby – our baby. We are very much in love with having him in our lives.
With #1 when the pacifier fell to the floor, I picked it up, sucked on it and stuck it back in her mouth. With #2 when the pacifier falls to the floor, I pick it up, suck on it and put it back in his mouth.
#1 is a Daddy’s girl who loves her mommy.
#2, well is attached to me for most of the day so right now – he’s a mama’s boy who thoroughly enjoys his dad’s face and voice, as well as showing great interest in his big sister’s antics. I’m thrilled at the prospect of a mama’s boy – but already have shed tears over the fact that boys leave their mama’s whereas girls generally stay close. Aaron thinks I’m a little crazy. I would have to agree, most of the time.
After #1 I was very very sure we were not going to be having any more – I couldn’t imagine loving another baby like I love Jessica. She was 18 months old before the thought even came to me, that hey – we could maybe do this again. I might be OK with that.
Before #2 was even here I was pretty sure our family wasn’t complete yet. Don’t expect an announcement any time though – it’s a tad too soon for that. And we’re both not sure of the future and kids yet. But I love being a busy mom – I LOVE having more than one and I think I would LOVE having more than 2. It’s just the getting there that really doesn’t appeal to me anymore – not after the last part of Oliver’s pregnancy. I love you, Oliver – but for some reason your placenta had it out for me and I’m just not real certain I want to thrust myself back into that position – um, maybe ever.
#1 was exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life and continued to breastfeed til 9 months of age. Apparently the lactation consultants at the hospital thought I was lying because of my surgery (breast reduction) they were sure I couldn’t breastfeed Oliver and have called me 3 times since being discharged from the hospital to make sure Oliver is still alive. You think I’m exaggerating. I am not. I’ve had to remind them, more than once that our daughter – who is now almost 3 1/2, is alive and was breastfed. When they heard Oliver was gaining weight they, now get this, actually gasped on the phone. They keep asking me if I’m supplementing my breast milk with formula – I am not and they just think I’m a miracle.
I am not against feeding my child in any way, shape or form that best fits his needs. If that meant that because of my surgery I could not breast feed than I would be a formula buying mom and proud of it. However, breastfeeding DOES work for me. I can even pump and get a supply of milk in the freezer for a rainy day or the babysitter – because IT WORKS (imagine that!). Jessica was on a schedule very soon and so far I haven’t felt the need to do that with Oliver because of his natural ability to schedule himself – he eats every 3 hours or so – some times more frequent and some times just to snack. It doesn’t bother me, I do not care that he uses me to fall asleep or needs comforting.
I definitely advocate that breast milk is best for any baby but it’s not best for every mother and you know what – some times some one has to look out for us too. Our children will not go hungry, we live in the land of plenty – this is a non-issue for me – there is not black and white right answer and I really feel that it shouldn’t be portrayed as such. The real question to mothers of newborns should be – are you ok? Do you need any help? Can I bring your family dinner?
With #1 I made a scrapbook – an extensive scrapbook of her first year and most of her second. Then I quit.
With #2 I’ve already ordered photos to put in his album, but his album has nothing to do with scrap booking – and everything to do with simply putting photos in an album and writing down some thoughts and memories for him.
With #1 I had SO many questions – what does green poop mean? Why are there seeds in her diaper? Is she sleeping enough? Do I wake her up to eat? Is it ok if she misses a scheduled feeding? Will my milk dry up if I miss a feeding? and on and on and on … it never stopped.
With #2 I have reread a bit of some of the books we have, like how much he can see at this point and what he can hear. I now realize that nature will take care of it’s own and that my milk will not dry up – because even though Jessica had stopped nursing at 9 months I could still extract milk all the way up to when we found out we were pregnant with Oliver and throughout his entire pregnancy. You totally wanted to know that. I have so many interesting things to tell those Lactation Consultants. Like, MY BOOBS LEAK MILK AT WILL. MY AREOLA’S ARE PERFECT FOR BREASTFEEDING. I HAVE NIPPLES. I think they would be shocked at all of these facts.
With #1 everything was something new to learn.
With #2 now we’re just learning on a curve.

Doctor’s visit with Oliver

Today Oliver gets circumcised – we chose to do it today because having it done at the hospital would have cost us double – the hospitals charge and the doctor’s charge. So we’re going into my OB’s office today to have it done.
I’m really hoping this goes better than the doctor’s appointment we had on Friday last week. In the hospital you generally get a visit from the lactation consultants – they check up on you to see how breastfeeding is going, make sure to answer all your questions and give you the run down on what to expect. Well … when they found out I had had a breast reduction our lactation consultant pretty much freaked out and told us not to expect to be able to breastfeed our baby.
I then reminded her that we have a living, healthy 3 1/2 year old daughter who was exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of her life and continued to breastfeed until 9 months of age when she weaned herself off. Needless to say she was flabbergasted. I was the only woman she had heard of who was able to successfully breastfeed after a breast reduction!! Um. Really? Because I can list 2 other names off the top of my head, of people in my circle of influence who also successfully breastfed after a breast reduction – but whatever, I’m not the “consultant”.
So after enduring her freak out and reassuring her that we knew of all the risks, after all, we had done this before, and that at the end of the day if breastfeeding really isn’t work we weren’t going to starve our child – we’re not against formula if it means our baby will thrive, she told us we should have his weight checked before the weekend and then give them a call to let them know how things are going. (Hear: I don’t believe you, I want you to see your doctor and make sure that you’re not starving your child)
Insert our appointment on Friday – we went in for the weight check – Oliver was 8lb and 12oz when went home from the hospital and on Friday he was 8lb 13oz. He gained weight. Which, duh, happens. So I called them to let them know he had gained weight – they were excited and then told me I should have another weight check in 2 weeks. Bull shit. Enough with this. Breastfeeding works for us, leave it alone. That was my rant.
On Friday our pediatrician also wanted to check his bilirubin score (jaundice) because of his coloring – so we waited and had that done, too. Which was a little piece of hell, if you ask me. They have to make a slit in his heel to get blood out – a good amount of blood for the test – and since he wasn’t bleeding how they wanted him to – they did it twice and it took a good 10 minutes of them squeezing his feet to get blood out and his baby-murder-curdle cry to get the test done. I held him, they asked me if I was going to be able to handle it and I was all – uh, I’ll be able to handle it better this way rather than hearing it from another room and feeling completely powerless, thanks.
I kept my cool while we were in the office – as soon as we got outside though – I fell apart. I let it go, I lost my cool. I sobbed. Witnessing that at hardly 4 days old was a little much for me at that point.
So lets hope that circumcision goes much better. I hear it makes the baby sleepy and that they’re numbed and not really bothered by it. But who am I? It’s not my foreskin we’re removing.