Billing Confuses Me

The bills are already starting to pile up in our nifty little mail organizer. IUPUI is asking for almost $1300 back after I dropped classes this semester. I have to file an appeal to ask them not to charge me so much, or at least let me make payments.

The total in charges at the hospital for my kidney stone situation, ultrasound, and tests is somewhere around $1500. I set up payments yesterday for the first half of that.

I still have to get a letter from my doctor stating that I dropped classes due to medical reasons, but there’s no guarantee this will get me out of paying all their charges for my two and a half weeks of school. Twelve hundred dollars for physically being in three different classes five times? Sure, that seems fair.

Sarah told me how much her bills were after she had the baby. Obviously, we have the same insurance. So, add another several grand to those totals here in a few months, plus whatever I get charged when I start going to OB appointments every two weeks, and then again every week prior to the labor. Assuming, that is, I have absolutely no more probems, I don’t need an episiotomy or epidural or C-section or anything else.

And let’s not even discuss the fact that insurance company continues to ask me for “proof” that I had no pre-existing conditions before signing up for the insurance in August. As if that’s possible at my age — to have never had any problems, ever, in your lifetime? Yet when you admit to anything, they can refuse to cover you. And apparently there’s some law in a few (if not all) states that says an insurance company isn’t legally required to pay maternity services to a woman who has been on their plan for less than one year.

This is why we decided against buying a house this June. I knew shit was going to go down, I just didn’t know how deep it would be. And I still don’t.


Here I Am.

There hasn’t been much going on the in the Peanut McNugget household. One of our supervisors from work is on vacation all week so everyone’s working extra hours to cover in her absence. I’m relieved that I don’t have to worry about school on top of this and the pregnancy. The Peanut has been doing somersaults lately. Charlie got to feel a couple of kicks last night and giggled like a schoolgirl. If this is what she’s doing at 6 months, I can’t imagine how things will feel in April or May when I’m trying to sleep or eat. This kid is active.

People all around me are having health problems that cause me to worry, but there isn’t much I can do about it. My dad is having some sort of spinal chord inflammation that’s really bothering him. One of my friends just discovered she had a heart attack. Maureen threw her back out. Everyone at work has a sinus infection. One of our regulars just had a mastectomy. Another, who’s got to be in her sixties, fell and broke her leg a couple of weeks ago.

I had a dream last night that I stumbled across some sort of baseball game/laser light show combination when I was wandering downtown. I stopped because I couldn’t figure out why both things were happening at the same place and I saw a bunch of regulars from the coffeeshop (one is the woman who had the mastectomy. She’s been on my mind a lot lately, which is why I imagine she appeared in the dream). I had the baby in the dream and she was tiny. I kept trying to hold her in a way that didn’t hurt her, and I kept forgetting to support her head, which was just sort of rolling all over the place. At one point, Woody Allen was peeking in through a window, looking wistful and wanting to join the party. I asked Charlie if it was okay and he said yes, but keep an eye on him with the baby. That hurt my feelings because I didn’t think Charlie believed all the Woody Allen hype.

A few days ago I found myself on the couch, eating some Cheetos, and watching Dr Phil (it was a special on the woman in California they’re calling the “Octo-Mom”). As soon as I realized what was happening, I put the junk food down and turned off the television. What is happening to me?

Charlie leaves for Las Vegas on the 2nd of March. He’s going for a “work-related conference,” something they managed to con the owner into believing was beneficial to running a nightclub. I’ve been to my fair share of conferences, back in the day when I had a Real Job, and I know how that works. As soon as you get there, you attend one event and then discover no one takes attendance or anything, so you wander off and go shopping. Or, in this case, gambling and drinking. He’s going with two people I trust, one person I don’t. They’ll return that Thursday and I have to admit I’m jealous. My one trip to Las Vegas (almost ten years ago) completely sucked and I made Charlie promise he won’t have “too much fun.”

In a couple of weeks we’re going to check out the office where Jay & Scott live to see about building, look at models, go over prices. We’re both completely torn when it comes to home buying. I don’t think I need to detail a laundry list of the positives and negatives of either buying an older, drafty, moldy home with “character,” versus a boring brand-new construction with energy-efficient everything and no trees. We like the idea of Peanut growing up next door to her godparents (whether or not they’d think it was fantastic remains to be seen). I think the main problem for us is the location; it’s the complete opposite side of town from all our family, who may or may not be willing to help out with the kid, and it’s not convenient to work or school for either of us right now. The last thing I want to do is commute just to work at a coffeeshop, and I doubt Charlie would think it was worth it to work at the club. He has to make a lot of short runs over there during the day to let people in or take care of problems. But I don’t think either of us want to do what we’re doing right now as careers, so we’re trying to determine if this is an area we’d want to end up, and if so, what would we do?

Babies Everywhere

I met my third infant yesterday in just about as many months. They are so little. I don’t know why that surprises me except for the fact that I don’t think I ever met a newborn. Most of the kids I’ve ever met are at least a year or two old, and I’d certainly never held a baby before November when Maureen brought her newborn to Sarah’s baby shower. But I really had no idea how tiny they are.
Sarah’s little boy was born three weeks ago and I had yet to visit her and take her even more crap that she doesn’t need. I asked what she might actually want – dinner, lunch, clothes, movies? – and she said movies. So we took her Sicko, Arsenic & Old Lace, the first season of Flight of the Conchords, and one other thing that completely escapes me.

Which is a problem I’ve been having a lot lately — my brain has turned to mush. I have heard that this occasionally happens to pregnant women in their second and third trimesters (I think I’m about a month away from my third trimester). I didn’t necessarily believe it, but my coordination and cognitive skills have both been impaired lately. I keep dropping things, stumbling, tripping, my hands don’t seem to grasp very well, and a couple of weeks ago I actually fell out of bed! I didn’t stiffen up since I was half asleep, and this was before the ultrasound, so no damage was done, I’m relieved to say.

I have also noticed my short term memory seems to be going. I read in my week-by-week pregnancy book that this can happen, but I chalked it up to the usual B.S. women give in an attempt to get away with more while they’re pregnant or having their periods. I have to admit that when it comes to emotional stuff and food, I haven’t been very forgiving of other women. I have had no strange or unusual cravings. In fact, I’ve lost my taste for certain foods and really only want to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, rice, and salad and french fries. Based on that experience, I just sort of assumed that some women use getting pregnant as an excuse to eat like a pig and act like a maniac.

But then I noticed the problems with coordination, and I have had some mood swings (mostly irritability, which is nothing new), so maybe I was being unduly harsh.

I don’t have any photos of The Baby’s Room yet because it’s currently a mess. I finished most of the accent wall today, using a really small roller, because we didn’t have a handle for the bigger ones and I’d started edging and . . . well, before I knew it, I was practically done with the whole thing. The paint is supposed to be low in fumes and non-toxic, which is why we got it from Sarah, and I barely smelled paint at all while I was doing it. Yesterday we painted a wooden wall hanging of owls that Audrey gave me a while ago. That’s pretty much the theme right now: owls, octopuses, some Ugly Dolls, and, I think, black and white furniture.

The house hunting is on hold for the time being. Charlie called the landlord yesterday to ask him to send us another one-year lease. We talked it over and it just doesn’t seem like a great idea to move a couple of weeks before I’m due, not to mention all the problems I’ve been having with my health insurance company. I got a letter in the mail today notifying me that they asked for all my medical records from the past year, and they want me to send proof that I didn’t have any insurance during that time. I didn’t, but several times since I signed up for the insurance, they’ve tried to deny coverage for certain things, claiming they think I have a pre-existing condition and demanding I prove that I don’t.

Whether my insurance refuses to pay for things, or whether they continue to pay only very little of what I’m being billed, we’re both a little concerned about what sorts of payments we’re going to have to make. Rather than let things build up, affecting our credit, we figured we should get through these next few months, get stuff paid off, and think over the whole buying-a-house thing next year.

Back on the Juice

I’m back on coffee — just a little bit today, but enough to keep me going all afternoon. I’m making sure to drink twice as much water to flush it all out, though. I was beginning to worry that I couldn’t make it through an entire day without passing out on the couch again, much like the first three months I was pregnant. But I made myself a little go-go juice before I left work and ended up getting a lot done. Yesterday I was ready for bed around 5:30pm.

I got stuck at work an extra hour this morning, plus about 15 minutes to do paperwork, because someone (the owner) had changed the schedule to have both me and Rebecca (a girl who only works weekends) leaving at 11, but the next person not coming in until noon. She goes to church on Sundays, so I felt obligated to stay, despite her offer otherwise. The owner has made a habit lately of sneaking in to change schedules so people aren’t getting as many hours. I know we need to cut down on labor, but we’ve already got only two people in the mornings – except for Friday and Saturday – and the closer leaving an hour earlier than the shift supervisor.

The owner came in again this afternoon, this time to make notes of what we need from the warehouse, and began to list off things she wanted us to do in and for the store – clean these shelves, dust behind the tea tins, clean the top of the bench, get bananas and yogurt and tape and White-Out, etc… So Joe (a former employee who came back to work during our manager’s maternity leave) and I split up the duties. Since I was leaving I had to run all the errands, and since he was closing he had to do all the cleaning. I should have stayed clocked in. It’s not like I’m salary.

So I went home, ate some lunch, changed clothes, and made a Target/grocery store run. We went right back to the store with all the crap so they’d have bananas and yogurt, and I could do a paid-out to reimburse myself. There were two police officers standing around inside the store when I got there. I learned that Crazy Pink-Haired Lady had been down at another store, communicating ineffectively, and had created quite a stir when she made someone believe she’d been assaulted the night before at her apartment. Apparently, she was only trying to say that she saw two boys lurking around that she didn’t like. This is something she says often. There are a couple of twenty-something dudes who live in her building that she doesn’t trust. But the kid from the other store didn’t know any better, and didn’t understand her, so he called the police, trying to do the right thing. She didn’t stick around to see what happened when Joe told her what was up. Nice.

When I got home, I started cleaning the bathroom and organizing The Baby’s Room. We’ve been slowly moving things from the room next to ours to the spare room that used to be Cavan’s. It was functioning as a spare bedroom and sewing area, while the room next to ours was Charlie’s — for lack of a better phrase — “man cave.” I hate this term, but have been hearing it a lot lately. It’s a very popular theme.

I spackled the holes in the wall where the wall-mount used to be. We’d found a nice black dresser at Goodwill on Friday that was still in the box. Charlie put it together and we shifted the pictures and McFarlane figures into the spare room. We have a really nice sea-foamy green color for the wall that Sarah had painted in her room. She had a couple of gallons left, so I bought it from her since I liked it so much. We also have a lot of good owl/octopus stuff to put up, and a scary/cute painting Audrey made me (and the baby) for Christmas.

I’ve been feeling [her] move around a lot more lately. Especially when I try to lie down at night. Did I use that verb correctly? Lay and lie give me a lot of trouble. Lay is past tense, yes? Anyway. Last night it felt like [she] was doing somersaults in there. I feel weird about saying it’s a girl, because I keep hearing stories from people who thought they were having a girl and gave birth to a boy because ultrasounds aren’t necessarily a guarantee.

Too Little, Too Late

Last week my doctor recommended I drop out of school for one semester. “I’m a professor,” she said. “I’ve also had four kids. You need to take it easy.”

Charlie and I deliberated. I don’t want to hurt my credit, so I’ll either have to start paying back some loans before fall semester, or defer them. I also hate the idea of taking yet another semester to finish school (although, the way things are going, it’s not like I was going to find some amazing job this time next year, anyway). I also don’t want to make this pregnancy any more complicated than it has been in the past couple of months.

So I went online last Friday and dropped my classes. On the one hand, I felt a tremendous sense of relief. I push myself really hard to do well in school and I could already tell things weren’t going well. Just three weeks into the semester I’d missed each of my classes several times. On the other hand, I was really disappointed in myself for not just pulling it together and doing better. It doesn’t matter if I’m pregnant and doubled over in pain from kidney stones. I’m still frustrated.

But it looks my hard work paid off. In the past 72 hours, I have received invitations and notifications of 3 – three! – different scholarships and awards for which I had been nominated by professors at school. One was to notify me that I was in the running to be one of IUPUI’s Top 100 Students. One was for a national honor society for leadership and success. The third was for a scholarship and awards ceremony for being a top English major.

Every time I get one of these emails, my heart sinks a little. I think, if only I could have held on a few more days. Would this have made me work harder? If only I hadn’t dropped all those classes on Friday. Maybe I would have won some of these awards. If only I could have tried harder or pushed myself more. After all these years in school, someone is finally recognizing my hard work.

I wrote one of the department heads back to apologize, and let him know that I would no longer be eligible for the English award. He wrote me back and said that’s fine, we’ll get back to it another semester. He said, “Please be aware that your work is thought of very highly in the English department and I’m sure you’ll be nominated again.” And I almost started crying. I’ve never even heard of this guy. So it’s possible more than one professor put my name in for something.

I guess it’s an honor just to be nominated.

“Passing” Along the News. Ha!

It finally came out. I don’t know if this was the first one, the second, or another in a series. But, dear god, I hope it’s all over.

I’m not good with measuring things, but Charlie said he estimates it’s about 1/4″ long and about 1/8″ in circumference. Or diameter or whatever.  I tried to take a photo of it, but I couldn’t get close up enough to give you a good visual. And then, I thought, it might gross some people out when they think about where it’d been. Not that you aren’t thinking about that right now.

I was worried for several days about the peanut’s health. Was she doing okay in there? Had something happened? Over the course of the past two weeks I lost about 8 pounds and had a really difficult time eating. But last night I felt her moving around and hoped everything was okay, after all. I’m still a little concerned about overall development and if my being so sick has screwed up some important step in fetal growth.

In celebration of the baby/stone, my favorite aunt came over tonight to bring us dinner. I expected just soup, but besides the delicious homemade vegetable soup, she also brought bread, homemade muffins, cookies, and a baby cake! I almost started crying after she left. Some people are so incredibly helpful and thoughtful. Lots of people have offered to come over and give me a hand, if I needed one. And this is before the baby!

Ever since I began considering whether or not I wanted to have children, I always think of her as the ideal mom. I wonder how she managed to raise three smart, clever, talented boys like my cousins. I know it’s because she’s a loving, caring person who is also really smart and talented. I figure I need to make sure my kid spends as much time with her as possible. Maybe some of that will rub off.

Another Attack of the Stones

Yesterday morning I woke up with a dull pain in my lower left side, on the back. As the morning progressed, so did the pain. It finally got to the point where, once again, I couldn’t stand up straight, I felt nauseous, and the pain was more like a spasm; like someone was stabbing me in the back and the lower left abdomen.

More stones.

I called some people, some nice people, who covered the rest of my shift yesterday and today, and I called my doctor’s office. They asked a million questions (did I have a fever? No. Was I able to urinate? Yes, a little bit. What was my pain on a scale of 1-10? About a 6 or 7.). They told me to up the amount of Tylenol 3 I was taking, drink a ton of water, and just rest. I’m calling it the “pee and pray” method. That would pretty much sum up the extent of my treatment. But it’s starting to concern me to the point that I’m worried about my job. If I can’t stand on my feet for extended periods of time, how can I work a job that requires this of me?

Charlie and I had a discussion last night about the possibility of these stones recurring again. And again, and again . . . and then what happens? Can we work out something with the owners of my company where I pay the full amount of my health insurance, regardless of how many hours I can work each week (rather than paying even more for private insurance that would require me to find all new doctors)? Can we even afford to do that without the full paychecks I normally receive every two weeks? This definitely puts the whole buying-a-house thing on hold.

When Sarah returns from maternity leave, I may just end up having to do something like this. I believe I’ve had three different attacks over the course of the past ten or so days. I’m hoping, of course, that this is it. If it isn’t, though, I need to think ahead.

Cavan told me when he had his stones, the nurse at the hospital told him about a friend of hers who suffered from kidney stones every single time she got pregnant. Five times. Why, in god’s name, would anyone want to go through this for five different pregnancies? But it gave me some satisfaction to know that she’d given birth to all her children and they were fine. The more UTIs, kidney problems, infections, and whatnot you have, the greater the chances of complications and pre-term labor. At this point, we’re not even “viable,” so if something were to happen, the baby wouldn’t survive. Not something I want weighing down on me.

This f-ing blows. I just want to feel normal again. Get through this pregnancy, these last four months, and not freak out.

The Curse of Hissy Fits

I had a dream last night that I was a teaching assistant to my dad for a group of five-year-olds. For some reason, it was his responsibility (or choice) to explain the philosophy behind Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. I had to assist in this explanation and act it out for a series of kindergarten classes.

My dad then asked me to help explain the story of Sisyphus. I told the kids that it’s what happens when someone gets really mad and throws themselves on the floor in a temper tantrum. My dad asked me to repeat it and I did, adding, “You know, hissy fits.”

The Latest in Barfosity – And Introducing … Ms. Peanut.

peanut1Okay. So the final ruling is in. And it’s full of gross information that you may or may not want to hear. I passed some/several/one huge kidney stone(s) last Friday morning. As a result, I got a massive infection that led me to vomit uncontrollably and I couldn’t keep anything down, including water. I couldn’t stand up straight, sit down, lay down, or feel comfortable in any way. It was, I’m quite sure, the worst thing ever to have happened to me. I haven’t had a “movement” in four days, if you know what I mean, and ended up losing almost 6 pounds. All’s well that ends well, I guess, because my doctor wasn’t as concerned this morning as I thought she might be, even after they found blood in my urine. But I guess that’s a common occurrence with kidney problems.

Her final suggestion? Drop out of classes this semester, and let her know if I need a letter for my advisor with that recommendation in print. I’m stressing myself out and not staying healthy, she said, and I need to stay super-hydrated and focus on one thing. Work. That thing that gives me the health insurance that lets me go to these appointments. School can wait. I’ll finish. Just get through till June, have this kid, and go back to school.

So Charlie and I talked it over and I came home, wrote all my professors an apology, and dropped my classes. I almost cried afterward, because I feel like I’ve already taken so g-damn long to do this, that I can’t imagine stretching it out another friggin’ semester. Then again, I can’t imagine getting as sick as I was the past week and still making it through this pregnancy. I can’t put myself or the baby through that sort of stress and come out on top.

For the record, there was an ultrasound on Monday. They wanted to make sure the baby wasn’t undergoing too much stress, and that the placenta hadn’t ruptured or anything. Through my pain and nasuea, the tech told me it appears to be a girl. How she can tell this from the blob above, I don’t know. But she’s the professional. I can make a mean cappuccino or edit the hell out of your papers and resume, but I honestly could not tell what she saw that made this a female crotch. I already told my mom and my favorite aunt, so it’s probably only a matter of time before everyone else finds out. Figured I’d go ahead and put it out there for everyone. Nothing pink, please.

The Baby is Fine; I’m Not

Update: I heard from the doctor’s office last night, after hours. My white blood cell count was abnormally high. Although they don’t have all the tests back, they’re thinking it was, in fact, kidney stones that led to an infection. This is probably why I couldn’t urinate Thursday night, but could these past few days. I have to see a urologist, possibly tomorrow. I have to work tonight and I really cannot miss another class on campus, but if all else fails I can get a doctor’s note.

After last Thursday night, I didn’t think it would be possible to experience such pain until I went in to labor. I was wrong. Yesterday morning I started out feeling some slight pain in abdomen that eventually turned into something even worse than last week. I called my doctor’s office and they said for me to come in as an add-on.

The pain was in my lower left back and radiated all over my abdomen. It was burning, stabbing pain. Unlike last week, though, I was able to pee.

The doctor’s main concern was the baby; I got an ultrasound and they determined everything was fine. The placenta hadn’t ruptured, I wasn’t going in to pre-term labor, the baby was doing flips around in there. So much so that they couldn’t determine the gender with any accuracy. They didn’t want to give us an x-ray or CAT scan to see if there was something wrong with anything internally. They sent me home with antibiotics and Tylenol 3. They said to call them if it doesn’t let up.

It’s now been almost two days since this pain started. I left work early to go to the hospital yesterday, skipped class today, and have to be at work at 2 tomorrow afternoon. I woke up every hour last night to throw up or pee, depending upon how much water I’d had.

If this continues to happen I don’t think I can deal with it. I can’t stand up straight, lay down, take a deep breath. If the doctor can’t figure out what’s wrong I have no idea how I will be able to function, whether I’m at work, at school, or just trying to sleep at night.