Life Stabilizes

I’m getting it together! HA! Take that, life.

Baby

The baby is 5.5 weeks old now and he’s getting his life together, too. He’s eating a lot–considerably more than the internet suggests he should be, but we’re not fans of hunger in this house, so he’s getting what he wants–and he’s on a normal sleep schedule now. He goes to bed between 10-11pm and sleeps 4-5 hours and then sleeps another two or three hours until morning. The husband takes that middle of the night feeding because he can go back to sleep easily while I will stay up for hours trying to get back to sleep, so I’m actually getting between 6-8 hours most nights and I feel human. He continues to be a calm baby and hardly fusses at all.

He’s going to the specialist this afternoon because his little penis has some sort of issue that kept him from being circumcised. It’s not serious, but the doctors seemed pretty sure that he’d need the urologist to do the circumcision because of it. I’m not sure if that’s happening today or if it’s just a consultation but either way, I’m a bit nervous about it.

Eating Habits

It took two weeks and change for me to get my appetite back and then I was eating weird and crazy stuff. But now I’m getting back to a reasonable eating schedule. I’m working on one meal at a time. I’ve transitioned to protein shakes and iced coffee for breakfast, which works because in the morning the baby needs food and cuddles and actual food for me isn’t feasible. The next stage is lunch. I like to have big salads for lunch but they’re a bit labor intensive with the chopping and assembly. TBD. I’m also making a big push to get my water consumption back on track, and that’s going well.

Weight

The weight has stabilized at slightly higher than my lowest post-baby weight. I’m sitting fairly consistently at 208 pounds. Now we start fighting the good fight on the weight loss again.

Medical Care

It’s about time to start transitioning out of the recovery care portion of my medical treatment and start getting maintenance care back into place. This week I’ll do the next thyroid blood test and schedule a follow up appointment with the endocrinologist. I expect my dosage to drop down, since I’m currently taking nearly twice as much as I was pre-pregnancy. I’m finally off of the blood pressure meds and the blood pressure is ok, although not yet as good as it was before the baby. I assume this means it’s not back to normal either. In about two weeks I do the final recovery appointment with the OB and get the birth control started back up, which should push my reproductive system back into a normal cycle. I expect that the next few months will be rough from a hormonal perspective as my body starts to ease back to a normal situation, but it can’t be helped. Having a baby really does a number on your body.

Work

I’m finally getting back to work. I’ve had the older kids almost constantly since the husband went back to work and doing summer activities with a newborn in tow does not make work a feasible option. However, my summer possession ended on Tuesday night. I get the older kids this weekend and my usual every other weekend for the next month until school starts but now that I’ll have more time with just me and the baby, I can start working during his naps. To that end I’ve been gathering materials and doing research on how to move my writing to the next level in terms of income. I’ll still be doing the web content stuff for dependable income, but I’ll also be starting to work on small ebooks on specific topics and putting them on Amazon.

Money

I had to dip into my reserve this week for a birthday present and to keep us alive until we get paid again Friday morning. My reserve is now down from 400 to about 350. I’d like to get that back up as quickly as I can.

Humana tells us that the refund for the overpayment of copays comes from the specific people I paid for service after I reached my out of pocket maximum. In other words, the hospital will have to cut me a check for the 250ish dollars we paid them, and the doctors will have to do the same for the copays I paid. The only money that will come from Humana directly is any prescription copays that I paid after I reached the out of pocket maximum. What that really says to me is that it will be months before I see any reimbursement, if the reimbursement even happens. Dubious. I detest Humana, I really do.

 

Stupid Metabolism

My weight had stabilized last week, which is good, it gave me a solid starting point for the ongoing weight loss. I started tracking my calories, staying in the 1500 calorie range–which is, obviously, a solid number for weight loss considering I started at 205 pounds last week.

Inexplicably, the weight started going up. Nothing I could do would stop it. Slashing calories down to 1100 did not help. Adding water did not help. Cutting carbs did not help. The weight eventually topped out at 210.2 before starting to come down again two days ago. I’m back to 209.2 now, but still. This is not a great sign, especially because I’m getting a temporary boost from the thyroid meds, they’re still at the slightly higher dosage from the pregnancy. That’s slated to change in the next couple of weeks and it will only get harder from that point onward.

*sigh*

We’ve paid Humana about 700 dollars to cover the premiums for me and the baby in July, plus the pro-rated premium for the baby in June. It physically hurt my heart to pay them that. Especially since 1) they owe me that 400-ish for the double charged premium payment in January 2015 and 2) they owe me about 400 more for overpaying the out of pocket maximum this plan year. I could REALLY use that 800 dollars.

At this point, they assure me that I do have coverage and so does the baby. It took me two phone calls and over an hour to get them to resubmit my current prescriptions so that I didn’t have to pay for them because after giving them all this money I’m not paying anything else that I don’t have to, period. I have no sense of humor about this at all.

We’re still hassling them about the refunds and the primary care doctors are still messed up but at this point I need to take a break before I head back into the fray.

I’ve managed to pull together another 200 dollars so I’m now sitting at 400 dollars, more than halfway to what I need for the little one’s gymnastic lessons. The trick is going to be not being forced to spend that for food and gas as we’re about to hit a massive famine over insurance premium payments. I’m so ready to be done with the struggles, I really really am.

In happier news, we’re having a day at home after being out and about a lot on Monday and Wednesday, and doing a couple of activities on Tuesday. Today’s plan is to fill up sixty water balloons, toss them on the trampoline and let the kids bounce on the trampoline until all the water balloons have popped. This is a home alternative to going to the pool, which I will certainly have to do tomorrow, as hard as that is going to be with a newborn. At least the kids are having a reasonably fun summer, even though I’m stressed and tired.

 

Surviving Chaos

This week has been TERRIBLE. Not just for me, of course, the entire world is in chaos and sadness.

I feel like the entire world should take a day off of misery and suffering. Everyone should just take a day, stay home, catch up on their Netflix queue and have pancakes for dinner. The level of misery and sadness we’re all inflicting on ourselves is way too high. I was listening to a podcast where they were discussing the possibility that this summer is going to be like the summer of 1968 all over again, and the general consensus was that as long as major cities aren’t actually burning to the ground, it’s not as bad as 1968.

THIS is the best we can do this week? Cities aren’t actually on fire and we’re counting that as a win? *sigh*

Over on this end, we have exactly one week left with the older children for the summer, and then we get the occasional weekend and that’s it. We’ve started trying to push on the activities a little bit, always hard because of the newborn.

Last night, we went to an event for the kids, and then when we left, the car wouldn’t start. Another dad tried to help us, even stopping other cars to look for jumper cables. I appreciated it so much. Of all weeks, anything that gives us hope for humanity is important. Eventually the husband got the car working and it turns out that the connector thing on the battery isn’t connecting correctly? He thought he’d fixed it last night and this morning it wasn’t working again, and he had to tinker with it. I cannot handle more out of pocket expenses right now, I just cannot.

We decided to go with a cheaper insurance plan for me and the baby, and we picked one that would only increase our monthly premium by 25 dollars. Before we made the change, we specifically asked Humana how that would work with the hospital bills, and they assured us that the policy at the date of admission is the policy they use for the entire stay. The healthcare marketplace people said the same. So you can imagine my surprise and my horror when Humana updated my account to reflect the new policy and applied the hospital charges to the new plan. That means an extra 1800 dollars to meet the new deductible, plus 20 percent of the rest of the hospital bills. I called them and complained and they said, oh, we have no record of telling you that. This is our policy. Sorry.

I HATE Humana.

It’s worth noting, while I’m complaining about Humana, that they double charged me for a premium ALL THE WAY BACK in January of 2015 and have outright refused to refund it to me. For 1.5 years, now. I’ve talked to them for hours and hours on this, and they acknowledge that they owe me the refund but they won’t give it to me. If anyone knows how to make them cough up that refund, let me know.

Obviously we moved back to the old plan, which means we have to find the extra 200 a month. All this adventure did was make it impossible for me to get prescriptions filled this week and mess up my entire billing situation. And I have no idea what would happen if the baby or I needed to see a doctor before they fix this, which could be another 30 days.

The good news is that the doctor let me off house arrest and let me start driving again. The weight hasn’t changed in the past week, so we’re finally stabilized over here. The bad news is that I’m no longer restricted to just baby care and have to do chores again. I’m so tired. So so tired. I don’t know how I’m going to start working again at this level of exhaustion.

Recovery and Money Issues

It’s been two weeks and change now since the emergency c-section. The baby has seen the doctor twice, for his newborn check at almost 1 week, and for his 2 week checkup. His weight had stabilized before we left the hospital. He was 6 pounds, 9 ounces at birth and 6 pounds, 2 ounces at discharge. 1.5 days later at the pediatrician he was back up to 6 pounds, 3 ounces, and yesterday at his two week checkup he was all the way up to 6 pounds, 15 ounces. He’s catching up as fast as he can, trying to make up for the fact that he was early and small.

He’s incredibly active for a little baby, always lifting and holding his head, rolling onto his side (and starting today, onto his belly, which…I can’t really believe is happening at 2.5 weeks) and when you put him on his belly for tummy time he pushes off and tries to crawl.

I’m not doing nearly as well as he is. I had to do an emergency trip to the doctor last week because my incision had become infected. I still have random pains in the incision and if I move too much I’ll start bleeding heavily. I see the doctor again at the end of the week and I hope that he’ll let me go out and about and drive, since the older children come home tomorrow night. I don’t want them stuck on house arrest with me.

Also, he mostly has a schedule for nighttime, where he sleeps from 10pm-midnight, then again from 1am-4am, and then again from 4:30ish to 7-8am. Thus far I have managed to convince the husband to take the 4am feeding, so I can usually sleep six hours or so, assuming I can get to sleep, which isn’t always the case. The problem we’re having is that he keeps peeing through his diaper and clothes, which wakes him up and makes the resettling process take longer. It’s weird, because the diapers DO fit properly. I’ve started putting him in cloth diapers, which work better, but that’s not a realistic solution because 1) we got a bunch of disposable diapers as gifts that we should really be using and 2) we don’t have enough cloth diapers. We have ten cloth diapers, and the recommended amount for a newborn is a minimum of 24, with 30 being a better choice. And I can’t really afford to buy more diapers, even from alva baby, which is the cheapest place you can get cloth diapers from, at circa 5 bucks a diaper, since we’re talking about probably 75 dollars.

Which brings us to the money situation. We have three major issues to deal with:

  1. the health insurance. Adding the baby to my marketplace plan will add 200/month, not the 100/month that the insurance website said it would cost at the beginning of the year. Alternatively, we can switch to a cheaper plan, which would reduce our monthly out of pocket cost, but not probably enough. The cheapest plan for the two of us that doesn’t come with an insane deductible still adds a hundred a month to the budget and requires us to pay out of pocket on labs and whatnot, which there will be quite a bit of for me and the baby. Whereas, if we stay with my plan, we take the 200/month hit but since I’ve hit my out of pocket maximum for the year, I won’t pay anything else till January. Nothing for meds, nothing for copays, nothing at all. I could do allergy testing and treatment, even, and probably will, because although my allergies are what I’d call “moderate” even moderate allergies are annoying and hard to control and if I can fix it for free, why wouldn’t I do that?
  2. the lawsuit. We filed for an enforcement of the orders in June because my ex keeps willfully misinterpreting the orders and withholding the kids as a blackmail tactic to get what he wants. We signed the contract with my lawyer, but we didn’t have the thousand dollars it’ll cost and so he said we could do payments and once it’s halfway paid, he’ll file the paperwork and we can start the negotiation process. I’ve left that entire process to my husband but I have a sinking suspicion that he hasn’t been paying him and we’re not getting any closer to that getting resolved, so that’s a real issue.
  3. extracurricular activities. The little one has been agitating for gymnastics lessons for two years. I’ve been pushing her off because of the money, but she’s getting old enough that if we don’t start she’ll be aged out of the beginner classes. I found a class that’s near her school and on a day we can do it if we stop the girl scouts, which we have to do anyway since the older one is trying to get onto a sports team this year and the games are that same day. Obviously, I can’t possibly ask for this to come out of the existing budget. I would have to find the money myself. It’s about 700 dollars for the year, for her to do the lessons, which isn’t that bad as far as lessons go. I’ve been trying to do a little work here and there (not easy, as sick as I’ve been these last many months with the preeclampsia) and I have almost 250 in my Paypal account now, which is a good start. I’d feel better if I could have the entire 700 before we start so I don’t have to worry about making the payment each month. But that means that I have to get my hands on an additional 450 dollars before the beginning of September. I’m not sure that I can do that. But neither do I want to deny her this, which is very important to her and after all, this is the only childhood she’s going to have.

Everything is really hard. I’m hoping I can make this all work, but I’m not at all sure how. *sigh*

Oh, but the weight loss continues, although it’s slowed at this point. As of this morning I was down to 205.8. One pound away from a total of 40 pounds lost from my highest weight.