Friday, October 31, 2008


Yesterday I finally picked up my car! And we finally got Ben's paychecks and reimbursement. We settled for a little less money that the true amount he was owed, but we decided we were fine with it and are letting it go. I felt an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders and finally feel like I can get back into the true swing of things after vacation. I have been so stressed about it and not doing anything because of it.

I had to take the whole day off work yesterday which I was not so happy about, but I came in early today. And I may come in on Sunday. We will see how I feel. Tomorrow is a major catch-up day. I really need to get started on the ornaments for the shower, among other things.

I have decided that I am only doing Thanksgiving dinner for my husband and I this year. This is not a popular decision with my BIL and cousin-in-law. I tried to explain to them that it is a thankless role. I work on dinner for 2 days straight and no one offers to help clean up or peel potatoes or most importantly, contribute to the cost of the dinner. I just don't think I can handle it this year with the pregnancy and moving and all. There is too much else going on.

Ugh, I need some caffeine in a major way this morning. An ice-cold Coke may be in my near future.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Test Run

A while ago, actually about 4 months ago, my friend D had premature fraternal twin boys. She also has a two year old son. She is off work until December and has been since May. Her husband just went back to work this week and she is overwhelmed to say the least.

I have to pick up my car this afternoon. Correction: I finally get to pick up my car this afternoon. Then I am going to stop by her house to let her pick up her 2 year old, take him to swim class, and take a shower. It will only be for a few hours, but I am kinda nervous. I haven't been around an infant for quite some time. She will be there for some of the time, but still. NERVOUS. :/

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Headache

When my husband switched to a corporate job, we gained the option of a corporate health insurance plan. Now, we currently have an individual HMO plan (we shall call it plan A) that was paid through the store we had partnership in. Since the partnership has been disbanded, we would now have to pay the premium ourselves. I have spent the better part of the day trying to decipher which plan is better for us in terms of the next 4 months. We shall call the corporate option Plan B.

Premium: for Plan A, if we were to continue coverage for me and Ben, the premium stays at 759.11 a month, for a total of 3036.44 for 4 months. I know, ouch. If we were to switch to Plan B, the premium is 164.00 a month (656.00 for 4 months). If we were to drop Ben from our current plan A, the premium for just me would be 379.55 a month, and insure Ben on the plan B it would be 82.00 a month (total for 4 =1846.20).

HRA: Plan B offers a Health Reimbursement Account, in which they essentially give you money toward you deductible. For a family it is $600 each each, which is $50 a month. Any amount you don't use carries over to the next year. Plan A has no such offereing

Deductible: Plan A has no deductible. Plan B has a $2,500 per family deductible, which translates into $1,900 after the HRA is used up.

Out of Pocket Maximum and Co-insurance: Plan A has an OPM of $2,500 and Co-insurance of 20%. Plan B has an OPM of $8,500 including the deductible, so $6,000 and Co-insurance of 20%.

So here is my dilemma. My current OB is covered under both plans as in-network, as is my hospital (sigh of relief...I really didn't want to switch at this point). Plan A will cover 100% of my labor and delivery, and I will only be billed for 20% of the hospital stay (which is currently planned at 2 days) and lab fees up to $2,500. So with my current plan, to just insure me, it seems the most I would pay to have this baby would be $4,018.20, assuming that it cost $12,500 for a normal 2 day hospital stay. It would also cost $328 for Ben's insurance. That is a grand total of 4,346.20 for 4 months.

With Plan B, it seems it would cost the $656.00 to insure us both, the $1,900 for the deductible, and then we would start in on the OPM. I do not know if labor and delivery is covered 100%, but from the looks of the website, it is not. There is something called in-patient services that cost $350 but that doesn't seem like it is it. I used a website to estimate the cost of total maternity care for a normal pregnancy and it gives me a generious $13,000.00 price tag (I don't think this is the contracted rate, just a generous estimate). With my co-insurance, it would cost me $2,600.00, making the total cost $5,156.00 for 4 months.

Now, here's a couple catches. I don't know how quickly a $1,900 deductible would be met in the 2 months leading up to the delivery. Probably not very quickly. Assuming I have one doctors appointment a week for the last 4 weeks, that could be about $500 right there. That leaves a $1,400 carryover for the delivery. I would also not meet the deductible for this year, so I would be paying for the labwork in November and two monthly appointments. I am going to grossly estimate this at $1,000.

Another catch: I don't know when we would be able to enroll me and the baby in Plan B if we don't do it immediately. I am pretty sure the child can be added whenever, but I don't know about me. If I would have to wait until June, that would be another $1,500 to keep my current insurance. That assumes that they don't raise it again, which is very doubtful as they raised it twice last year. I could always decrease my coverage I guess.

I would be able to make a better decision if the people from Insurance Plan B would call me back or answer their phones. I need some more specifics on their plan.

Why does health insurance have to be such a headache? I have been dealing with this all day, and just have a bunch of numbers floating before my eyes. :( All I want is a healthy, safely delivered baby boy!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Just a quick update:

Still no car and no checks. Still only have about $25 in the checking account and had to close my eyes as I charged $40 worh of groceries tonight.

New developments include: One pending police report to be filed, a newly empited bra drawer (meaning I lightened my load by um....about 30-40), and a underwear drawer that now closes.

It was a long Saturday for not having a car or being overly productive. I did laundry and filed 3 months of bills.

Ben found out he has to work tomorrow, so I am without a car (unless I decide to break the law and drive one without insurance). But no car means I won't go anywhere where I can spend money. It also means nothing will get done in the way of getting money.

I hate not having control. Why are boys so dumb? I am going to have to get started on my son at an early age.

Oh good news though. My little brother (who is not so little anymore) is going to state cross country next weekend! Both for team and individuals. He is an individual league, regional, and district champion. We call him @$$-haulin Colin. True story.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bargain Baby

There is no questioning that a new baby costs moolah, and a lot of it at that. Since I really grabbed the reigns of our financial situation in the past few months, I have been all about looking for ways to save some dollars in anticipation of Peanut's arrival and for once Peanut gets here. I gave my husband a run-down, and he was quite impressed with what I have done.

1. I transferred our cell phone bills to automatic bill pay on our AmEx. This gave us 2 $25 statement credits. Our AmEx is paid off every month, and they give us triple points for automatic bill pay through our wireless carrier. It just made sense to do this. On Saturday, I will be transferring our separate plans into one family plan, and this will save us $75 a month. Since my husband is no longer using his phone number for work related calls, he can reduce his minutes way down. And I rarely use all mine. Plus with this new plan, there is a roll over option.

2. I transferred our credit card balances to other cards. I played the shuffle game, and we now only have about 1500 on a card that is above 10%. I am going to call that card this weekend, since I haven't had a balance transfer offer from them in quite some time. We will see what they can do. I have heard this is sometimes very effective, especially since this is the card that we use every month and have had for 10 years now. And when I say it is the only one that is above 10%, it is actually at 13%, and all the others are now less than 6%.

3. I have massive baby coupons. I created an email account just to filter online offers. I get about 5 coupons in the mail per day and get online offers. We have already talked about what kind of diapers and stuff we want to use so I have been prioritizing those coupons. Last night I totalled my coupon savings that can be used until next June and it is almost $100! We have also gotten free diapers (the brand I want), free samples of ointments and creams, free bottles, and free spoons.

4. We started shopping with our online points through AmEx. We have been saving our points up for almost 4 years now, so we have tons. Originally we planned to use these points for airline tickets to Europe this fall. Once we learned about Peanut, we decided to postpone. Next summer is out, and it would only be feasible to go the following summer for our 5 year anniversary. We still may do this. However, last night we redeemed Ben's proshop points for our bouncer, an electric screwdriver (which we decided may be helpful in putting together furniture and hanging stuff, plus Ben has always wanted one), and a family size electric griddle (that I have always wanted) we each got something. I have been scouring the online AmEx catalogue and to my delight, the majority of our "big-ticket" items on our registery are available with our points. In theory, if no one bought them as gifts, we could get our crib, changing table, breast pump system, swing, and gym for free. I am still looking for other items. I have found alot of similar ones, so I have added those to our maybe list. I am also going to check for other stuff we need, like a new dresser for us and a surround sound system. :) Those things are very important for a baby, you know.

5. I finally got a hold of my dentist and discussed my "overpaid" root canal and office credit. It turns out that I overpaid by over $500! Since then I had one "emergency" visit when I broke my tooth and needed it filed (and we all know those visit are more $$$), one comprehensive exam including 4 x-rays, and one bacteria scan and purchase of a mouthwash treatment that tastes like sewage. My credit is down to $21.90, but they are issuing me a refund. I did tell the billing woman that I would have appreciated knowing about the credit in um, February when I had had the work done and was stressed about how to afford this massive root canal. She said nothing.

6. Yesterday at my doctor's appointment, the insurance billing woman told me that my current insurance plan would cover my labor and delivery costs 100% other than my co-pay of $20 per day for the o/p and hospital. It pained me not to be able to sign it since we may switch carriers. She also told me that the two potential carriers we are looking at would most likely cover the same amount, so I have a call into the new potential company to verfiy coverage and costs. If it doesn't meet the coverage we have now, my husband thinks we should swing the premium ourselves for 4 months, which is about $750 a month. Ouchie. I am learning lots about the healthcare system in this process though...I will spare you my soapbox for now. :)

7. We are getting massive hand me downs. We have already gotten a Baby Bjorn that was never used! The people that gave it to us got too many as gifts, so they passed it on. No objections from me! Those things are pretty pricey! I also told them that we don't mind hand me down clothes or anything. Ben's best friend had a baby boy about a year ago, and they have said they will be sending us tons of stuff too. :) Seriously, the baby will never know the difference. I have also scouted a few baby consignment stores to look for stuff we are going to be washing the heck out of anyway, like play yard sheets and bumper covers,etc. No need to buy everything full price. We have some stuff on our registery that we would like, but we really aren't expecting this baby to have all brand new stuff. Nor do we want him too.

I think that is pretty much it. We have also decided to make our own baby food. For our wedding we received an ultimate chopper and a magic bullet (the blender thing ;) ) and both make wicked purees. We are pretty stoked at the idea of being able to control what goes into our baby food. One of my friends did this and it worked really well. We just need to get a bunch of those itty bitty tupperware containers.

My doctor's appointment yesterday went well. He ok'd my change in prenatals. I have gained 4 pounds, which is about what they wanted. My next target is 2-3 for the next month. He says I am doing well with weight gain thus far. Peanut's heartrate is strong. And the doctor measured my belly! This is the first time he has done this. He said everything looks right on track and gave me the order for my follow up ultrasound, which I scheduled for next Friday. I also have to do my 28 week bloodwork, which includes the infamous glucola test....yum.

Thank goodness it is Friday! I am going to pick up my car tonight and drop off my husband's reimbursement requests and hopefully get a check for them. I am soooo looking forward to sleep tomorrow.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Baby Day #6

First off, Happy 24 weeks to me! :) 24 weeks marks another important infant viability milestone. Not that you want a baby to be born at 24 weeks, but if it is, it has a greater chance at survival.

Today is also my monthly doctor's appointment. I have much to talk to him about and we have to go over my ultrasound results. Here's my topic list:

- Insurance: since my husband switched employers, we may be switching insurance plans. We agree that we like our doctor and want to stay with him, so we have to find out if he is covered in either of the new plans.
- I want to switch my prenatal vitamins. I pay a butt load for the ones I take now, and while organizing my coupons, I found an offer that covers almost the full cost of a different one. I checked online and they are basically the same. Now, given that my blood work has all come back normal and I am not anemic or anything, this should be feasible.
- I want to schedule my 3 and 4D ultrasound and I know his office gives a referral discount with a company in Santa Rosa.
- I want to make sure that my due date is not going to be adjust back at all, because my mother and Ben's mother are buying plane tickets soon.
- I want to start my maternity and disability leave paperwork so I can plan when my baby dedication and such will be.

I think that is all. :)

I also have to get another referral for another ultrasound because they couldn't get the picture of all four heart chambers together last time. Baby kept moving and such. :) Yay! I will get to see him again!

Ok, so last night was our first Lamaze class. I think it went really well, alot different than I expected. It was kinda long, and we were really tired from long work days. I was definately a talker...I asked any and every question that came to mind, which the instructor told us to do. I wanted my money's worth! :) There were just two other couples there, and they knew each other, but they were really nice. I was telling my husband that I felt more comfortable around these people because they are more like us. In my yoga class, there is only one other girl that I really mesh with. The others are all stay at home Sonoma type moms who took yoga all the time during the week and take the other prenatal yoga class during the day together and some pregnancy water aerobics class. They always come in all made-up and with perfect hair and yoga clothes. And they are all like perfect body types and the only place they are pregnant is their bump. They are really nice people, don't get me wrong. I just always come in ragged from a work day in my lounge pants and t-shirt.

Anyhoo, class went well. We talked alot about body changes through the different trimesters and preterm labor. We talked about signs of labor and watched a birth video. Let me tell you, I cried. Not out of fear or anything, but when the baby was born...I cried. And...I was the only one. Thank goodness it was dark. I was very interested in the shower that helps during labor. I had never heard about this before, a laboring woman getting a shower. The instructor said that alot of women who do the shower then feel they don't need an epidural. Interesting. We also learned some stretches and exercises to help during birth. Most of them were yoga positions, so I felt ahead of the game :) I was interesting to see Ben attempt a child's pose though. :)

Sidenotes: My car still is not done. It should be done tomorrow. Correction: It BETTER be done tomorrow.

And I had my first bizzarro craving last night. Grape jelly and Ruffles. No joke. I made a bagel with grape jelly and Ruffles. :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And so it begins....

Lamaze class, that is.

Our first Lamaze class is tonight at the hospital where we thus far plan on having the baby. Correction: where we plan on me having the baby. I know it is incredibly early to be starting class, but this is the referral my insurance company gave to me and she only does the class by demand. Apparently not enough people have due dates in early 2009 to warrant a later session. Oh well.

I am pretty nervous about this. Not the actual classes, but learning about the birth and such. When the instructor called me to confirm and register, she asked if I had thought about what kind of birth I wanted to have. I of course replied "a short, easy, and pain-free one." Yes, I really said that. And I really meant it. I AM A WIMP. DRUG ME UP. She started telling me about different options and asking me about my exercise and diet and all that fun stuff.

My yoga instructor has also been asking those questions. She was talking to me about coping mechanisms and how they make birth easier. She said one of the things she suggested as a doula was to hold an ice cube in your hand for one minute and try to focus on something other than the discomfort and pain. And to practice breathing through it. When you can do that, you are supposed to submerge your whole hand in ice cubes for one minute. Now, this is my first baby, but I am pretty sure that ice in the hand for one minute does not equal the pain of an 8 lb baby ripping from your loins. Ben suggested that I put my hand in the doorway and he would slam the door on it a few times so I could "breathe through that pain." I am pretty sure that may break some bones, but it seems more realistic in terms of pain.

I have to say that over the past few weeks, the pregnancy and arrival of Baby Boy Lahman have gotten far more real. For starters, there is absolutely no denying that I am pregnant when you look at me. I can't really even be confused for a fatty, unless you are remarkably stupid. I know this because all my friends I saw told me so. And also commented on the increasing frequency of my um...waddle. :) Not bad things in any way, it just makes things more real when others notice them as well.

Peanut moves ALOT. I feel him wake up in the morning and move about until I eat or drink breakfast. Then I feel him move around sporadically throughout the day, with high peaks of activity in the early afternoon and late evening. Today, I felt him push what felt like a knee across the horizontal length of my belly. He also likes to play a game in which he lays on my bladder so I have to pee very badly. When I finally make it to the bathroom, he seems to jump off the bladder, making my trip futile. :) He thinks it's really fun and does it once a day.

I felt a few kicks from the outside over the past few weeks. The first occurred in Ohio and friend J was excited about it and wanted to feel. However, the kick was close to my crotch and that didn't seem that suitable. :)

The baby registeries are complete. More on those later. My mother is in full on baby shower planning mode. We have discussed many details. I think I mentioned before that we are doing a Christmas theme, as I am not so into the cutesy pastel baby themes. We are using poinsettas as centerpieces and prizes for the games and lots of Christmas-y decorations like lights and wreaths. There will be a Christmas funfetti cake. The favors will be little train ornaments that I am making. Or am going to attempt to make. I am not so crafty. I found a cute little kit, and have to check into ordering them. The Ohio shower is the huge one, so I may have to recruit help from a certain husband. He would like to use the hot glue gun, I am sure. I may order one and see how it goes together and then go from there. I am working on the guest list and addresses. My aunt is working on the invitations and I am really excited about them. Hopefully I will have one to post soon.

I also organized all the baby stuff we have so far. It is ALOT. I separated the clothes into 0-3 months, 3-6 months, and 6+ months in order to see what I still needed to add to my registery. Peanut gained quite a bit from my vacation (again, more on that to come) and is definately ready for football season with daddy next fall. I organized the billions of coupons I have by category and expiration date. The bassinet still needs to be put together to ensure function and such. Maybe we can do that this weekend. I also realized that we can use our AmEx points to buy discounted baby gear, so I have been looking for some of the bigger things we registered for. Ben also has some ProShop points and our bouncer and play yard are available for those points.

And lastly, with my increasing size, my wearable wardrobe is dwindling. Before I left for vacation, I seemed to be able to fit alot more than fits now. I bought one sweater in Ohio that is now a daily staple as few to none of my zip up hoodies fit any more. And god bless my pashminas. Looks like another maternity clothes outting is in my near future. I do still have quite a few shirts that fit, as before the pregnancy I really like babydoll style and flowy tops. However, a pregnant woman soon realizes that the beauty of maternity shirts is that they are made longer in the front so when your belly fills them out, they are closer in length in the front and back. Yeah, my regular shirts don't do that.

Ok, so I think that is all for the pregnancy updates. I swear vacation antedotes and pictures, along with belly pictures are coming.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Frustration and Paranoia

If yesterday was back to business, today is back to stress. All I want to do is sleep. It's like the past two weeks never happened. The tension came flying back.

First of all, my car went into the shop where my husband works for repairs before he left for our vacation. After a week and a half, it is still NOT DONE. I am beyond angry about it. We are paying for these repairs, and we should therefore be treated like any other paying customer.

Second, there are just alot of work issues going on for my husband. Being the control freak that I am, I am stressed about it more than he is. Well, at least I am being more vocal about my stress. Having him chastise me and such, does not makes me angrier or worse, makes me hysterically cry. I like to think that situations are never as bad as they seem on the outside and look for the positives. He always prepares and expects for the worst. He handles things in a completely different manner and it makes me angry. More so now that I have a mounting hormonal imbalance fueling my fire.

Third, we still have not figured out where we will be living. As my belly expands and it becomes harder for me to bend down and do all the motions and activities associated with moving, this begins to stress me out more.

I am just so damn frustrated and feel like I am taking care of everything and everyone.

And as for the paranoia....yeah, I have become irrationally paranoid. I have always been a teeny bit more paranoid than the average person, but it is becoming way worse. Example: My husband was taking pictures on his phone from the top of the Empire State Building, with his hand and phone outside the fencing. All I could see was someone bumping into him or something and the phone being dropped. I seriously got sweats over it. Everytime he took out the phone, I had to look away or felt the need to stand guard. That is not normal. I told him about it, and he laughed.

I better have my car back tomorrow. I am doing my Target registry on Sunday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Back to Business

My glorious two week vacation has come to an end. :( I am officially back to normal life, as I am sitting at my work desk. I will post about the vakay, complete with pictures as soon as I catch up on the huge stack of mail from home, re-orienting myself at the office and such, and getting stuff done around the apartment. Alot happens in two weeks! :)

Baby Boy Peanut is doing well. He liked vacation. :) And I felt him kick from the outside for the first time. However, it was down by my crotch and did not feel it was appropriate to ask anyone else to feel it. :)

More to come I swear.