Warning: OB talk ahead
I am back from what turned out to be like a three hour OB appointment. Good night was it thorough. And long. And detailed. And seriously- is it ever fun to spend that much time with people all up in your business (literally and slangly)?
I am a bit scatterbrained now so this is really just a post where I am going to try and get down everything that happened. For starters I waited about 30 minutes in a packed waiting room with lots of belly rubbers. It was like there was this internal soundtrack that only they could hear and they were rubbing in sync.
When I was called back I had my weight and blood pressure checked. My blood pressure was said to be “a tad high” but the nurse shrugged it off to nerves (mine, not hers). We went into an office and I was given a little glass bottle of orange sugar water to consume in five minutes. Turns out that my insurance* requires anyone over a certain weight must be checked for diabetes at the first appointment. If the test is negative then another test won’t be administered until the 28th week. (I’m negative)
We went over genetic testings that are done by scan and blood work at 12 weeks, more genetic testing at 16 weeks…We went over foods not to eat, things not to do, and medications that are safe. I was given a massive bag of loot that included a journal, coupons, books, magazines, and a week sample of 8 different prenatal vitamins. When I find a brand of vitamin that I like I am to call them and they will prescribe that brand.
Then It was time for the rest of the physical exam. It involved the getting of two cultures for STD’s and an internal exam. Then the nurse (this was now the head honcho nurse) decided that she wanted to check my blood pressure again and this is where things took a turn. She had me lay on my left side for 10 minutes and then she checked my pressure twice. Both times she grimaced as if it was hard to hear my heart. Then she instructed me to sit up and told me that I was “borderline for elevated blood pressure”. (It was 134 over 80)
So then things became serious and she told me that I am to come back next week and meet with an OB and have my blood pressure checked again. And while I really looked forward to my first OB office visit suddenly having this red flag is all kinds of not fun.
I came home, made everyone lunch (Mother stayed home with GM today as GM was having a low mobility and low connectivity day) and then began googling how to reduce blood pressure. Decreasing salt and meditating seem to be the go-to suggestions. Any of you guys have any other ideas?
*So here is where I am going to openly talk about something that I was a little nervous revealing. But I try to be full-disclosure here and I am hoping by sharing this information it might help someone out there. My regular health insurance is an individual policy on a major national network. However this network has a horrible maternity rider option. Depending on what agent I spoke to I was told that coverage would never be approved because of my (lack of) marital status, or I was told that if I wanted coverage I would have to pay an additional $500 month AND that I would have to pay anywhere from 5-10 thousand dollars into the plan before I would see any benefits.
This means that simply calling up my insurance company and letting them know that I was you know what would not = maternity coverage of ANY kind. None. I knew this going into fertility treatments and I had always planned on using one of those agencies that negotiate lower bills for self-paying women. I even researched what OB offices had low self pay rates or even free services. I was not overly worried about how I would pay for things. It was one of those “problems” that I felt I would be lucky to have.
And then I was lucky.
I received a nudge from a good friend that lives in another state but works with state funded programs. She walked me through the benefits of applying for state insurance and I felt all kinds of squeamish about it. I didn’t want to take assistance and prevent someone else from getting it. But then this friend told me that it doesn’t work that way. And that by getting help I am actually allowing these agencies to get more and better funding.
I figured it wouldn’t hurt to apply and if I wasn’t eligible then I wouldn’t get approved. So I went down to a local branch and had someone walk me through the application. Turns out my being a full time care-giver with no income (other than “room and board”) made me an ideal candidate for assistance. And yet the stigma was still floating around. I felt weird about it. Didn’t feel like I could blog about it without opening the door for someone to hate on me.
But my entire experience with the program has been amazing. Completely amazing. The program is simply state funded maternity coverage. Any woman that is you know what that makes below a certain amount of income (& you should check your state guidelines because the number is not as low as you might think) is considered automatically approved for coverage. No questions about pre-existing conditions, no questions about HOW you got you know what, no qualifying exams.
To qualify I had to fill out the application, I had to have a document that was proof of you know what, I needed a letter from Mother that stated that she covered my room and board and I needed a letter from GM’s doctor that indicated that she needed around the clock care and that I was the one providing it. The entire process from paperwork, to phone interview (to verify social security number and home address), and notification of acceptance took less than three weeks.
I thought that the quality of care would be sketchy, that I would only be allowed to see a hand-full of doctors or that I would only be seen like twice before April. That has not been the case at all. Most doctor’s staff are fully schooled in what is covered and what is not. And it turns out that state coverage covers a hell of a lot more than many ‘regular’ insurance companies.
So I bring all of this up because I was surprised and relieved that this was an option for me. I bring it up because I don’t want to have any shame in admitting that I need help. I don’t anyone else to feel that either. I have been through a lot of insurance hell and this is smoothest experience I have ever had with it.