Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Life, Love, and Loss

It has been an incredibly crazy summer!
Isabelle had surgery on her tongue at the beginning of June to have the fenulum clipped to help with her speech. She had a bit of a hard time with it afterward, but brightened up quickly with a steady diet of ice cream and Popsicles for the day, combined with two stuffed animals from the hospital and a special pony as a gift from mom and dad.
Post-surgery - waiting for some Tylenol

Mid-June, we headed up to Michigan for our annual summer vacation and to attend Adam and Stephanie's wedding.
Monday before we left, we got a call from Howard saying that Nick's great aunt Nellie was in the hospital with pneumonia and was requesting to be discharged. She was sent home Monday evening and passed away Tuesday morning. A funeral was added to our travel plans for Thursday afternoon.
Tuesday before we left, I tripped on a dog bone while carrying a laundry basket and fell down a few stairs, which I really didn't think anything about, however, that combined with a 15 hour drive on Wednesday led me to the hospital on Thursday, in Alpena with a slight placental abruption. They kept me for observation for 24 hours, were satisfied that it had not increased in size by Friday and discharged me.  I missed the funeral, but was told that it was nice.
Friday was hall decoration and wedding rehearsal. The kids were crazy, as usual, but kept us all laughing. Isabelle and I had nail appointments scheduled, which I couldn't attend (still in the hospital), but Grandma brought her to get her fingers painted and she loved it! :) She, of course, picked a bright pink! She is so my girl!
Saturday was the wedding and it was absolutely beautiful! The kids performed well - emphasis on "performed" as they provided quite an entertaining show for the audience. We had quite a bumpy bus ride to Stephanie's family farm for photos. The kids LOVED it! I thought it might send me into labor!

We finally got to move into the cottage after the wedding reception Saturday night (we were supposed to check in Thursday). We had a mostly uneventful week following - beautiful weather and lake time - what more could you ask for?!

We took our time on the trip home, taking two days. It was much easier on my 37 week pregnant body!
On to July -
Amy and kids came out on the 11th to help me out with the kids and some things around the house before the baby was born. By the 15th, I began thinking the baby would never show up and Amy would have to leave before that day would come. I was scheduled for induction on the 16th to ensure the baby would come before Amy left! We checked into the hospital at 11am, started pitocin at 12pm, had baby Oliver Lewis at 5:10pm!

On the 25th, I took the dogs to the vet - Jake for his well visit, Elwood because he had been coughing for a couple weeks and I wanted to make sure he didn't have a cold or something. The vet wasn't sure what could be causing the cough, so he did an xray to be safe. The xray showed that Elwood had cancer in his lungs - hundreds of tumors and there was nothing to be done for him. The vet gave him some antibiotics for the fever that he had and some pain medication. The diagnosis was about 3 months. Nick and Belle took him for a nice long walk on Saturday in the woods - he was full of energy and ran like nothing was wrong with him. Monday morning, he was up with me at 1am while I fed Oliver and when I got up at 6am with Oliver, Elwood had passed away. We were definitely not expecting only 3 days with our old dog... We were struggling with a burial location, since we know that Maryland is not our final destination and we did not want to leave him here. We decided to have him cremated so that he can come with us, where ever we may end up. It has been lonely around here without him - Nick and I both have our special times of night where he was always by our sides and we are struggling most those times of the day. Jake is certainly missing his old friend, as he has never been without Elwood. We will miss his companionship daily!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

31 Week Comparisons

The Belly is getting huge! At this point, I'm still sort of feeling girl, but much more unsure than I previously was! Less than nine weeks to go until we meet this little one!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Change is a comin'!

Got a call from the new OB today saying they are "willing to take me on"! So, next week is the start of a hopefully much better OB experience for the rest of this pregnancy! :) Yahoooooooo!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Proud Mama

Just had to share! I am so impressed with how much George is learning lately - in part from Nick and I and largely due to his sister. He is speaking more and more in sentences and picking up words like crazy. He can easily tell us what he wants/needs and is starting to be more independent and getting things for himself. He is also using the potty about once a day! Yay! Here are some of his sentences from today:

"Read the book more!"
"I want ride the bike."
"More noodles, please."

So happy that his language skills are developing and hoping he keeps going on the potty! Hooray for my almost two-year-old!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Time for a Change

Time for a rant! I have been using the same OB for over 5 years now (since I was first pregnant with Belle) and I have *generally* been very happy with them. There are two doctors there, one of whom I like better than the other... That being said, both doctors are very nice, one is very spunky and outgoing (I love her!) and the other is more down to business. I started seeing them because a friend recommended them, they were close to both my office and my home, and they deliver at the hospital I wanted to go to. 
Until this pregnancy, the only problem I ever had with them was that their reception staff NEVER (and I repeat NEVER) returns phones calls AND 90% of the time, when I call, I get sent directly to voicemail instead of a receptionist actually answering the phone. After I had Belle, this led me to an abscess in my breast, which led me to the ER and ultimately, getting cut open to drain (yeah, probably more than you wanted to know), BUT I do believe that if they had answered any of my first 7 calls, the mastitis probably would not have turned into an abscess, and if they had answered any of my next 7 calls, the abscess probably would have been treatable with antibiotics. BUT since I called multiple times a day, for TWO WEEKS, and only got a return call when I finally got through to a nurse, things progressed to a pretty scary state for me. 
However, being the loyal person I am, I gave them a shot again when I was pregnant with George (in part because their office was close to mine). The only issue I had with them during my second pregnancy is was with billing. After about my 3rd visit, they showed me a paper ("that my insurance company faxed over") stating that I didn't need to pay copays for my prenatal visits ($40 each). I was very excited about that, THEN about a month after George was born, I get a $400 bill from them for "unpaid copays"! I called and talked to the billing lady about the insurance paper that they said they got that supposedly said I was not responsible for copays, etc. Finally, I agreed to pay it, but, since I was on maternity leave and not getting paid myself, I would need to make payments and I specifically asked if they would continue to send a bill every month to remind me - I tend to forget to pay bills if THERE IS NO BILL in front of me). She assured me they would. However, after a few months, I forgot about it and never received another bill, until then sent me a nasty letter telling me they were going to send it to collections if I didn't pay it, blah blah blah. So, again - talking to the the billing lady to see what the heck was going on and just ended up paying it in full because I was back to work by that point. (And by the way - NEITHER of my doctors delivered George. It was some on-call lady who was a total B-I-T-C-H... but that's another story).
Fast forward to #3. I am no longer working, so going to this doctor is actually no longer convenient at all, as it is located about 30-35 minutes from our house, BUT I do NOT want to deliver at our county hospital, so sticking with my doctors, who deliver at the hospital I want to go to was why I stayed. This has been the progression of issues (maybe not in order) that I have had with them since being pregnant this time. *I should note that we have switched over to an HSA insurance plan instead of a regular plan which just covers everything, after copays are paid.
1. Took 5 phone calls to get through to schedule the "confirmation of pregnancy" appointment.
2. Nausea hit early on (while we were on vacation in Michigan). Took 4 days to get through to them to get the doctor to write me a prescription for it.
3. At my next visit, I talked to the doc about the fact that the reception staff is ridiculous at answering calls and NEVER returns messages. She said other people have been having similar issues and thought it was a glitch with their phone system.
4. Got a call from their billing department one day saying that I needed to pay 3 LARGE lump sum payments over my next 3-4 visits to cover the pregnancy and delivery. I did not have a problem with this, as we had saved enough money in our HSA to cover us up to our deductible AND insurance would be kicking in after that deductible was met, so there was a good chance I wouldn't have to pay all that money anyway.
5. Paid the first $800. Went to the next visit (after checking my insurance online to see where we were at as far as meeting our deductible, and noticing that they had not billed that $800 to the insurance company) and refused to pay the next $900 (or whatever ridiculous amount they wanted) because THEY HADN'T BILLED ANYTHING TO MY INSURANCE COMPANY for the FIRST $800. The receptionist assured me that they bill everything to the insurance company and just keep watching for it. Which I did. And about a week before my NEXT appointment (this has been almost 2 full months now), they STILL hadn't billed to my insurance company (which means, I have paid $800 to them and it is not being applied to my deductible). I call the doctor's office to speak with the billing lady and, of course, get no response. So I talk to her at my appointment the following week and she says they bill $920 up front for delivery (as a coinsurance - the amount my insurance company will not pay after my deductible is met), and I am responsible for that amount right now and we will revisit the deductible balance a couple weeks before delivery to see what else I owe. This didn't quite sound right to me, but I wasn't sure (never having dealt with an HSA plan before), so I agreed to it and went on my way.
6. Went in for my glucose screening at 24 weeks (when the doctor told me to come in for it). I got a babysitter for that visit, because I didn't want to make the kids sit through waiting for that. At the previous visit, I told the receptionist that I needed to do my glucose screening at the next visit and she scheduled the visit for a Wednesday - which meant I was NOT 24 weeks, but 23 weeks and 6 days at that appointment. When I got in the exam room, they told me I could not do my glucose screening that day because I was not 24 weeks! I was FURIOUS!!!! Not only was I paying a babysitter for this particular appointment, now I was going to have to come back, kids in tow, and make them sit through that miserable wait anyway!
7. A little later, I get a bill for lab work for over $1200! So, I check online before paying it to see where that puts me with the deductible and I see that of that $1200, only $26 is going to be applied to my deductible!!!! WHAT THE?!! NO WAY! So, I called the insurance company to see what was going on. Turns out, the doctor has been sending all my blood work to out of network labs, so they are not being applied to the deductible! I talked to the insurance lady to see a. why my doctor would send stuff to an out of network lab and b. what I could do about it because I am certainly not going to pay that amount if it's not going to be applied to my deductible! At this rate, this kid is going to cost us a FORTUNE out of pocket and we will never hit our deductible! So, she said she would call them to see why they were sending to out of network labs and if they didn't have a "justifiable" answer, I would have to submit an appeal to both the doctor's office and the lab. So, I started going through all my insurance claims and see there is over $500 in other bills - THAT I HAVE ALREADY PAID - that are not being applied to the deductible because they were submitted to out of network labs. Lovely. After a few days, the insurance lady hasn't called me back, so I call them again and she says she hasn't been able to get through to them. What a surprise. So, she is persistent and FINALLY gets through to them later that day and said I need to bring all my bills for the wrong lab into the office and they will sort them out with the lab. I had an appointment a day or two after that, so I brought everything in, and had to explain it all to the nurse, because they wouldn't just get the stupid billing lady in there, the nurse has no idea what I'm talking about, so she finally gets the billing lady, (who has been completely unhelpful to this point) who says she will have to give it to another lady to take care of. !?! Whatever. I don't CARE who takes care of it, just DO IT!
8. It has been 2 weeks and I have not heard from them regarding the billing. So, at my appointment today, I asked for a status update on it and they said the lady who is taking care of it is working in a different office today, but that they would call her to get some info for me - which they did not. Now, I was 10 minutes early for my appointment today (had both kids with me), and we sat in the waiting room for 30+minutes. When we finally got moved to an exam room, we had to sit for another 45 minutes before the doctor came in! AND she only came in, when I was FURIOUS and walked out of the room, demanding to know what was taking so long, and found her sitting at the desk, looking at a computer!!! WTF? I had heard her leave the room next to me at least 15 minutes prior! How long was she sitting there? And how long would she have left me, with two children, sitting in that room if I hadn't gone out there? I was IRATE! So, by the time she came in and did her thing, I was so mad, I couldn't even ask her any questions without completely blowing a fuse. 
Alas - I have FINALLY decided to find a new doc - even though I am almost 30 weeks... I really can't handle the stress of dealing with them every week and fighting over billing and whatnot. So, tomorrow I will be calling a new OB and hopefully it doesn't take long to get my $920 refunded for the delivery "prebilling" that the old doc charged so that I can actually pay the new doc when they need it. AND I still have to deal with these guys about all the labs... UGH. So frustrating! I guess I should have made the move long ago, but I do hate to change doctors when I find one I like. Unfortunately, I have only seen the one doctor that I like once this whole pregnancy and I've had enough of the other lady, leaving me sitting in waiting and exam rooms for an hour every time. Here's hoping the last 10 weeks go much smoother than the first 30!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Making Progress?

George peed on the potty today! That's the second time (and one poo poo) in a few months... He was SO excited about it today, that I'm hoping it means progress has begun on the potty training adventure? Time will tell... Keeping my fingers crossed!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's about that baby again...

Posting about pregnancy seems to be all I'm good at, so, here goes! I will be 28 weeks tomorrow and will say, it has flown by, yet I am completely exhausted and already ready to be done and meet this little one! I found out yesterday that I have "borderline" low platelet count which needs to be monitored (more blood work around 35 weeks) and if it drops too low, it could mean no epidural for me. THAT is not cool. Unfortunately, they also said there's really nothing I can do about it except "drink plenty of water and try to eat as healthy as possible". So - a granola bar on the go counts, right? Staying hydrated is definitely a problem for me right now. I'm constantly on the go and almost always remember to grab drinks and snacks for the kids and almost never remember to grab drinks and snacks for myself. I'm going to work on that.
As for gender predictions, I am now very torn. I had been feeling girl all along and now I'm starting to question that, so that probably means boy since I was flip-flopping all the way to the end with George. However, my weight gain is the lowest yet - most likely because I am home all day chasing a crazy *almost* 2-year-old and trying to entertain a 4-year-old all day. It's crazy busy, and most days, I prefer it over being at an actual job, but I definitely have days where I think it would be nice to be at work with some adults to talk to once in a while! :) These kids are great, though. As frustrated as I get some days, they certainly keep me entertained and we have no shortage of laughter going on around here!
We are heading to Michigan for Adam and Stephanie's wedding at the end of June and I think it's safe to say, we are ALL looking forward to it. Isabelle asks about "our trip to Stephanie's wedding" almost daily. She's very excited to wear her pretty flower girl dress, and play at the beach, but I think she's most excited about going to the farm to see the animals. George has no idea what's going on, but he's a huge fan of tractors these days, so I'm thinking he will also very much enjoy the farm this year. :) Looking forward to another Michigan visit! Yay!