October 27th, 2010
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.