Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A new beginning (of the end?)

The issue of when (and 'if' in tt's case) to have another baby has been a haunting one since Bella's birth. You have to remember I was living in Provo, where some women my age were already on number 4 or more. There was a girl in my ward who's baby girl was born the same week as Bella, and when they were 6 months old, she was 3 months pregnant and ecstatic about it. (Really truly ecstatic, not just a coping mechanism for her inevitable fate of having 2 girls that are 1 year and 1 day apart.) Maybe it's just me, but as Bella gets older and older (she's only 2 1/2) I imagine the eyes of large family-bearing church members upon me, silent inquiries left unsaid. I have gotten pregnant on birth control before, so there seems to be no sure safeguard. In fact, when the aforementioned girl in my ward was pregnant 3 months after giving birth I was rightfully horrified. (Not in a Victorian age mentality of propriety, but the threat to my already tremulous mental health.) The day after I was mocking/sympathizing for this girl, I took a pregnancy test on whim, as I often did just to make sure I had a handle on the situation. Imagine my surprise when it read:
Knowing that there are no such things as 'false positive' pregnancy tests, I figured it leaves little doubt, right? Not so. Turns out I was pregnant...then I wasn't. No miscarriage, no other signs of pregnancy...just this. My Ob/gyn confirmed that I had in fact been pregnant when I took this test, but that it 'went away'. Yes, that was his medical explanation for the pregnancy that was not to be. It made me wonder how many other times I have been pregnant and not known about it. In that bizarre dichotomy of women's emotions, I was slightly disappointed for the loss of a pregnancy I was so troubled by.
We've had no other incidences. That I know of.

So I've been going along, mostly-happily enjoying my single-child status without the pressure to conceive in the immediate future. I would go through very brief and delusional periods of 'baby hunger' (which sounds pretty creepy-) and then just as quickly reverse my thinking completely. I was happy to space my children out as far as necessary to ensure the best mental state possible. Until very recently.
In the last few months I have been thinking increasingly about getting pregnant. It began around the time of our move, and has progressed rapidly in the last month or two. However, it is not met with excitement or 'baby hunger', but an increased sense of duty. I can only describe it as though I am being prompted that now is the time to prepare to have another baby. As these promptings increased in frequency and intensity I began to explore the option of insurance, since I have none. It was looking grim since between private plans and tt's coverage we were looking at at least $500 a month. Just for coverage. Then there's the percentage of all the bills that we would pay, the separate dr's bills, the hospital stay, the anesthesiologist, etc etc etc. We have no room in our budget for much of anything, let alone $500+ in insurance costs. Then there's the waiting lists of up to a year on the private maternity coverage. We brainstormed anything we could think of- a personal loan, charging it all on a new credit card... nothing seemed legitimate, but it seemed ridiculous to stop growing our family simply b/c we couldn't afford the insurance. We are over-qualified for Medicare, but unable to afford health care. (An oft-told story, I assume.) I was at a stand-still, prepared to keep waiting it out and look for a reasonable option.
Then a couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with Michelle about this very subject. I was lamenting that I didn't know when I would ever feel 'ready' to have another child and give up the freedom, alone time, and independence that I have grown more and more accustomed to as Bella has gotten older. My stress threshold is very low, and it seems I am always waiting for something, usually many things. I don't want to have another child until I feel I have it more together, that I have more of a handle on my depression and can manage it well. I want to lose a significant amount of weight that I have gained so I don't compound the problem. Timm wants to wait until we have more money, etc. etc. etc. The problem is, I will wait out my entire childbearing years waiting for the right time to have another child. (Perhaps that is my intention after all-)
Michelle offered some advice that struck me. She told me that it's not going to get any easier to give up my treasured freedom as time goes by. I will become more and more accustomed to it, and as Bella gets older and older it will be that much harder to let it go. I could see the wisdom in her words. I was reluctant to admit it, but it made perfect sense. That cemented it for me. Then as I continued my search for reasonable health care, I discovered a miracle. I think it was only within a day or so of talking to Michelle. I met with an insurance rep. who referred me to an advocacy group. They called me within 20 minutes. It turns out that they are a Maternity Advocacy Group, and through various means are able to get costs drastically reduced. It is not insurance, it is just.. 'aid' I guess? All of the bills go directly to them, and for everything- 12 months of care that includes maternity visits, ultrasounds, tests, lab fees, medication, hospital stay, C-section, anesthesia, post-pardum care: $699 flat fee, or pay a monthly charge for a year totalling $1,288.
That's insane!!! I couldn't believe my ears. I still am incredulous, but I looked at their website, and it all seems legit. Plus, a Blue Cross agent referred me to them instead of trying to sell me his own policy. I can't believe it. It is all coming together, and I am feeling ready to heed these promptings. Not ready to be pregnant or have another child, min you- but at least to proceed with faith. It will take a lot of faith because sometimes I wonder at my capability of having more children, as far as they are concerned. I know that this is not coming from me because I have a complete 180, almost overnight. I don't know how I will manage, if I will be 'ready', if I will be monstrously fat in the end (pray for me-) or if my children will suffer long-term emotional trauma because of this. I only know that it is time, and I am being asked to sacrifice something for a purpose and blessings beyond my comprehension right now.
Timm is more reluctant than I, if possible, but sees that this is not coming from me. I think that in January we will proceed. (That sounds awfully technical.) He is promised a small bonus in January that should almost cover the $699 payment. Well, here's to a faith-promoting experience. That, or the beginning on my impending doom in the form of institutionalization.
(How's that for over 4 syllables, Hannah?)


Hannah said...

I seriously thought you were announcing something- I bet others will think the same thing! So funny.

The insurance "aid" is excellent- just what you need right now. You CAN do the two kid thing- Bella won't be the Bella she is now, much more independent and playing the big sister role. I had reservations about going from 1 to 2 for many of the same reasons, but knew that it was ultimately what we wanted and would be worth the sacrifice. Now it feels good to be complete and done with that part of my life- the bearing children part anyway:)

You are well on your way with institutionalization...don't think I have ever used one with 8-sheesh

Karli said...

Wow. I love this post. You are amazing! Really. I can understand the "longer you wait the harder it gets" thing because we waited four years to get pregnant with our first and it just got harder & harder to let go of selfish things...however, I know Heavenly Father wanted this baby to come to us at the time he is coming. (Only about 60 some days left!)...I am so nervous about being a mom for various reasons, and the cost financially is huge. I am so naive and didn't realize that everything at the hospital is a separate bill!

I know you two will be blessed for heeding the Lord's promptings and not shutting the idea of having more children out. I agree with what Michelle said too. WW has a program that you can do while pregnant (I think) and that would help with the weight thing too, possibly. And, you are such a blessing to all you come in contact with, including Bella and Lola and you will only be a blessing to any future kids.

Keep us posted!
Love, Karli

Robin said...

That "aid" deal is fantastic! That sounds like it will be just what you guys need.

I can imagine the difficult decisions and mindsets you are facing in deciding to have another child, as we have discussed before (: (stupid weight). But it sounds like you are getting "nudged along" on this one, so to speak. Gotta love those promptings.

Bella is going to be one cute older sister.

And yes..."baby hunger" does sound creepy. I've always kinda felt that way. Somehow, it always reminds me of this (make sure you have volume turned up): http://mickeyeatsbabies.ytmnd.com/

Beatrix Kiddo said...

Go Jess! You always manage to find these great things!

KLR said...

That's fantastic! We just had baby number two using our hospital's financial aid program and it really saved us.(What we did sounds little different and not as cheap but they prorated all of our fees based on our annual income...) But, we are in the same situation since Jared is self-employed...no health insurance.

Diana said...

Wow that's all I can say right now

Jill said...

You are such a great writer Jessie. I always finish your posts feeling like I totally understand your feelings...what a gift you have.

Deciding to have another baby is a big decision, just like deciding to have a baby at all is. I think it's wonderful that you recognize that you're being prompted to do so. This means the Lord knows what's best for you and that you CAN handle it. Finding the advocacy group is another huge blessing and confirmation of this. Our lives are full of leaps of faith like this, but it always works out. Best wishes to your and Timm!

michelle said...

It is always such a big decision when you're family planning! And I think it always requires a leap of faith. I'm so glad you found the incredible insurance deal!! And I know you will be a good mother to any and all children who come your way...

Claudissima said...

oh jessie what a beautiful post to read, I agree with Jill you are an excellent writer. I think just the fact that you are listening to your promptings means that you are in tune with the holy ghost which means you are doing everything possible to be obedient and faithful. Even though you might feel you are not in the best overall state for it...body wise...mental wise...and other wise....Heavenly Father will help you out through everything, He is already doing so...by finding that insurance what a blessing.

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