three generations in blue and orange Gramaw Debbie & Annalie

Troy’s mom and stepdad were here for a weekend, and they got a whole monster post all about their visit. My mom was here for a week, and I still have not written a word about it. Sorry, Mom.

two heads Dr. Annalie

Of course, if you know how we usually roll, you know that my mom’s visits are normally closer to a month long. Her being here for a week felt like a blip, like she was barely here before she was going home again.

raking leaves into a pile for jumping jumping into leaves

blue eyes, brown leaves

We crammed a lot into the week, I guess. The first whole day my mom was in town, we spent about eight hours dealing with various routine pregnancy-related doctor’s appointments. That wasn’t a very fun day, but it was a lot easier since my mom was with us, helping entertain Annalie in waiting rooms.

Annalie in a leaf pile traveling

The last appointment I had that day was my 32-week ultrasound. This was the first time I’d ever gotten an ultrasound at a military hospital, so I can’t say that every military-hospital ultrasound would be like this one, but I do know that it was a completely different experience from all the ultrasounds I’ve gotten from civilian facilities.

First of all, there was a big sign on the door stating that kids weren’t allowed in the ultrasound room unless they were patients. Troy had managed to get off work early so he could meet us for the ultrasound, and he charmed them into letting Annalie come into the room with us, which was nice because it meant my mom, Troy, and Annalie all got to come in and watch. But then we had the least chatty ultrasound tech I’ve ever met. She worked in silence, and seemed startled when we asked her questions. She spent an hour taking every single measurement she could take, telling us that even though I’d had every measurement already taken at my last ultrasound so she normally wouldn’t be taking so many, I’d had the previous ultrasound done at a civilian facility and that wasn’t good enough. Then she left the room, leaving us in the dark, to talk to the doctor. She came back ten minutes later and had to redo a bunch of the measurements because the doctor didn’t think they were clear enough. Despite the 90 minutes she spent taking all those measurements, she never once attempted to get a look at the baby’s face. Also, that was the only ultrasound I’ve had done where they didn’t print me a single picture.

flipping a flip and a flare

Things are nuts at this base hospital right now. They’re closing a couple of other military health facilities in the area, and funneling all the patients to this base since they’re building a new hospital there…which will open in another year. In the next month they’re expecting to deliver twice as many babies as usual, with no increase in staff or beds. Things are so crazy there that in the past five months I’ve seen five different OBs and two different nurse-midwives for my appointments. I’ve been asking for two months now if there was any way for me to get a referral to a civilian OB so I didn’t have to drive so far to my appointments, and so I didn’t have to have my baby at a hospital that’s heavily overburdened. Everyone flatly told me there was no way, that it was the policy of the command not to refer patients except in cases of extreme need. I was on the verge of telling Troy I didn’t care, that we could pay out of pocket if we had to, but I did not want to keep going back to that base hospital.

Troy being a goof

And then Troy found out there was an easy way for me to switch to a civilian doctor and hospital to have this baby: switch to a slightly different insurance plan, one that has some minor co-pays and a very reasonable deductible. That’s it. THAT’S IT. I have decided to laugh rather than cry at the fact that not one single person I talked to in the past two months ever mentioned this option to me, and be grateful that we figured it out when we did.

family portrait by the dogwood tree jack-o-lantern smiley girl and me

So at 34 weeks pregnant, I’m switching doctors. Now I’ll only be driving 15 minutes to my appointments instead of an hour. The antepartum testing I’ll be doing twice a week is at a hospital two miles from my house, about a five-minute drive away—the same hospital where we’ll be having the baby, that happens to be one of the top-ranked hospitals in the country for a variety of services, including its wonderful childbirth facilities. Please pardon me while I do the dance of joy.


Oops. Did I trick you into thinking this would be a nice chatty post with photos of the fun stuff we did with my mom while she was here, and then I suckered you into reading a rant about my frustrations with the military medical insurance system? And now, like our neighbor’s cat Mazda, you are unamused? Sorry about that. Here, let me show you some more photos of fun stuff.

cats wishing they could trade places delicate operation

Although it looks like Annalie is performing some delicate operation here, all she’s doing is stirring plaster and water together to make a decorative stepping stone. The kit came with the mask and gloves and Annalie insisted on using them. Madge commented on Flickr that when she saw this photo her first thought was, “Wow, homeschooling is intense!” which cracked me right up.

my mom winding away

God's eye center almost done explaining to Gramaw how she was doing it wrong

Our homeschooling days aren’t always so intense, though. One of the days my mom was here we made God’s eyes after reading about how the Huichol people in Mexico make them for good luck and protection. Craft projects with Annalie can be hit or miss, and I wasn’t sure if she’d be able to do this one without getting frustrated, but she was so into the idea that I decided to give it a shot.

"I got it! I can do this!" concentrating

As it turned out, Annalie picked it right up and needed almost no help once she got going. She watched me wind the yarn around a few times as I explained it to her, and then she took over and did great. The only times I helped her were when she wanted to change colors.

Annalie explains it all

My mom had more trouble with her God’s eye than Annalie did with hers. She kept forgetting which direction she was supposed to be winding the yarn. So Annalie stepped in and showed her the right way to do it. It was fairly hilarious.

Annalie's first God's eye

God's eyes

I don’t even know what we did the rest of the time my mom was here. We went to gymnastics one night. We went out to eat a few times. I baked egg rolls. We spent another half-day on a doctor’s appointment (before we figured out that we could switch insurance plans). We did schoolwork. We met Bekah for pottery-painting one night. We went to church. We sorted through two bins full of baby clothes and got them washed (and now they’re sitting in a bin in the living room because the room which needs to become the office so that the current office can become the baby’s room is uninhabitable at the moment thanks to a leaky window and possible mold; we’re waiting for the contractor to come back and fix it). My mom let me sleep in on the few mornings we didn’t have a reason to get up and go somewhere. I made a postcard for my mom to send to the usual suspects. The time went by way too fast. But we’re glad the visit happened at all—one last visit with us as a family of three.

family of three (plus one)

21 Responses to “my mom was here for a week and all she gets is one lousy post”

  1. Yara says:

    I don’t care if you tricked me. I thoroughly enjoyed this post : )

  2. Sonja says:

    Hooray for less driving back and forth, and for a much better chance at a room & bed and non-hurried doctors, midwives, and nurses at your birth! That’s a big effing deal! ;)
    Also, I was wondering why Troy would wear a sweater with the words “root canal” embroidered into it, until I got a closer look.

  3. bonnie says:

    Hey, we recently made God’s Eyes, too! It’s that weird psychic thing again.

  4. JennyBean says:

    You’re looking absolutely stunning; pregnancy clearly agrees with you!

    What a bizarre ultrasound tech. Way to be a killjoy.

  5. Sam says:

    Maybe the ultrasound tech was pretty new at it, and kinda nervous? Who knows. I am so relieved for YOU that you don’t have to drive for such a long time and be at an overcrowded hospital!

    You are looking SO LOVELY in these photos! And your mom’s visit sounds so normal and happy and isn’t that the best?

    I thought of you when I was flying out of Baltimore…for some reason, I had no idea Baltimore and D.C. are so close together…I could see the Washington Monument clearly from the air. I thought, “Dang, here I was, somewhat close to Bethany Actually!”

  6. Katie says:

    Oh I’m so glad you can go to a better doctor, I just had a horrible experience with my second little one and I’m not even in the military! Pregnant women should get to do whatever they want ; ) We do live near a Navy base and an Air Force base (Charleston, SC) and I hear lots of horror stories… eek!

  7. a chris says:

    Whoa, I’m so glad you figured out a way to switch facilities before the actual birth. So much extra trouble to get to the base hospital just for a regular prenatal dose of stress! So happy you won’t have far to go when the baby comes. That can be important!

    Are US military personnel allowed to wear Roots sweatshirts? ;)

  8. Sarah says:

    I don’t call this a lousy post! For starters that’s a great family-of-three-and-a-half shot at the end. I’m so glad you were able to sort out your healthcare to suit you (so much!) better.

  9. Stephanie M says:

    So glad you’ve gotten your doctor situation worked out…that really must have been a pain. you look fabulous, btw! :)

  10. Jill says:

    I’m so glad you were able to switch to a doctor/hospital situation that will be more convenient for you. What a stress-inducer, to have the drive and overburdened facility… that can’t be good for anyone needing medical care!

    And as other commenters have said… you do look lovely. Must be that pregnancy “glow”! ;-)

  11. Erin says:

    Yay for things working out!

  12. Leta says:

    That is awesome about the doc. I hope everything goes smoothly for the remainder of your pregnancy. Love that purple shirt! You look fab!

  13. Mrs. Wilson says:

    SO glad you got in at an awesome CLOSE hospital!!!! I’m thinking that I’d better learn where the hospital here is some time … some time before April anyway!

    I’m glad you had a good visit with your mom, even if it was short.

    Most of the photos aren’t showing up on my work computer (it’s not you, it’s me), so I’ll have to re-read this post when I get home. :)

  14. Lauren H says:

    glad things have worked out better for you – you look radiant btw, that last shot of the three of you is lovely :)

  15. Madge says:

    I’ve met a lot of ultrasound techs and a couple were like yours. I had one tech that clearly had made the ultrasound room her domain. I felt like I was walking into her home, uninvited. Eventually, she kind of warmed up though. I have that effect of people, har har har.

    Tell Troy he is AWESOME :)

    Your mom’s visit did seem short to me too. I’m glad she had a chance to see the fam of three before 4. Special times they are.

    God’s Eyes!!! I don’t know what Bonnie is referring to with the psychic stuff, but maybe Fish is a part of it because he has been talking about making God’s eyes with the girls for about 2 weeks now. WOOEEEEWOOOOOO (that’s my eerie music)

    Your next mug, “Homeschooling, It’s INTENSE” teehee

  16. Cc says:

    I love that last photo of you guys. You look absolutely beautiful.

    I also can’t wait for your winter greeting card this year. I keep looking at last years, yes it’s still on my fridge, and I get all excited thinking about how the next one will have four of you instead if three.

  17. Melissa says:

    Glad to hear that the hospital/medical stuff has been worked out. Also – my oh my – you look fantastic!

  18. Aunt B says:

    Thanks for the post card.

  19. Lety says:

    so glad you found a way out! I have the same INS to see outside dr’s. Although i’m being seen by the military out here, so far it’s been pretty good. I wish I had known you needed out sooner, ive known about that little change since my first durty station when a friend refused to be seen by military dr’s. Most Military hospitals are different, some are navy some are army, and not once have I heard of them not printing out a picture…that was just cruel! Maybe you can look into doing one of those 3/D 4/D ultrasounds sometimes it’s a bit pricy but you get a movie and tons of pictures!

    OH I would definetly get on the hospital website and leave them a comment about your experience on their ICE. Someone is always reading them and they go up to the higher ups from where you comment to.

  20. *sigh*

    Sounds like things haven’t changed much since I had my nearly 13 year old at a military hospital. I had many sonograms due to complications and no printed photos from them. When I went into preterm labor with her my husband and then three year old were asked to wait in the lobby or just come get me later while they determined if I was going to stay or not. It was horrid and I don’t wish birthing babies in military hopsitals unless you have to. (So glad you don’t have to!)

    Those eggrolls sound divine, I must make some.

    Also on a totally unrelated note. I bought your spiral square pattern off etsy and I finally got what I was supposed to do and I LOVE making the spiral squares, they are so addicting!

  21. Kuky says:

    I am trying to catch up on my reading. I’ve been saving your posts to read with Isabelle. Well not really read all of them with her. But I thought she’d enjoy the ones where Annalie was reading. But I’d always check the internet when she’s asleep. More and more of them are piling up so I figure I’ll just read them now. I’m a big weirdo.

    Yeah so anyhoo…I thought your “rant” was interesting. And not getting an ultrasound print? That is unusal. Maybe she figured you already got one at the civilian office? And when she disappeared for 10 minutes…that would have freaked me out. I would have been worrying something was wrong.

    And yay for being able to go to a closer hospital. Having to drive an hour away must have been such a pain.