After my beautiful 4 hour homebirth on Feb 25, 2009, my midwife discovered a small vaginal cyst that was only visible because I tore. After much discussion, it was mutually agreed that I go to the hospital to have it removed, stitched up and sent home to enjoy my new family. Simple, right? Of course not! Hold on to your butts...you are going on a ride through our "Great American Health Care System".
My doula drove my husband, our 2 hour old newborn, and me to the hospital (not the one that was actually closer to us because that one was not covered by our insurance). My midwife called ahead and told them our situation. I think she also faxed over my records. She said to go to the ER and tell them that we were expected. Of course they were confused by us telling them that we just had a baby at home, I needed a cyst removed and to be stitched up. (BTW, this is what hospitals are for!)
We got to a triage room pretty soon (after I was put in a wheelchair of course...) They took quite a lot of blood for "admission into the hospital" and because you can't go to a hospital without them sucking you dry (in more ways than one!). The ER staff were all friendly and seemingly unbiased about homebirth. Finally the on-call OB comes in, we tell her what we want and she mumbles something about "that's why we shouldn't do homebirths..." What the ?!?!?! Okay, we know what side of the fence she is on...
So (several hours later) I am in the pre-op room getting prepped. They want me to sign all sorts of things and I only make it longer trying to understand it all. I know I do not need to be put under general anesthesia for just such a simple operation but they keep trying to push it on me! All I need is a local anaesthetic (lidocaine) and to be sent home...
Then my blood work comes back...and my liver enzymes are elevated.
"What does that mean?" I ask. "It could be late-onset preeclampsia. We would like to keep you for observation and put you on magnesium sulfate."
Okay. With my first birth, I had preeclampsia (and I promise to write that birth story soon!) and my midwife thought well, maybe, it is possible. But having no other symptoms throughout pregnancy or labor (seeing spots, dizziness, high blood pressure, swelling, protein in the urine), I thought it was weird. But I trust my midwife. This is what the doctor/OB is for. So because of my history, I let them hook me up to mag sulfate..."for 24 hours" they said...they couldn't find me a room in the maternity wing until late afternoon...I would have to be there with my husband and new baby overnight...
By the way, Anastasia (my 3 yr old) went with my parents (Thanks Mom and Dad!) to stay the night...thinking that we would all be together the next morning........
By 6 pm they hook me up to that crap...er, I mean mag sulfate...which means that I would be there at least until 6 pm tomorrow!!!
We had our baby at home THEN went to the hospital...I think we did it backwards ;o)
Throughout the entire night and day, my BP had never been lower in my life! I felt like crap because that is just what mag sulfate does. And I had to eat hospital food full of refined carbs and sugars and HFCS and the occasional GMO fruit...
I had such a wonderful diet during pregnancy - whole foods, organics, NO HFCS (well, maybe a tiny bit that one cannot escape in this day and age) - and they expect people to get better on this sh!t? I hope Health care reform also includes hospital food reform!
It was NOT preeclampsia. But my liver enzymes were still high. They kept sticking needles in my arm to draw blood several times during my stay. Then they wanted to do a sonogram of my guts, which involved me fasting for 8 HOURS! (I thought this was ironic because it was the Friday after Ash Wednesday ;o)
A new mother that needs to breastfeed having to fast?!?! Maybe it was better than eating that cr@p food ;o) Eight hours actually turned into 10 hours because the ultrasound room was understaffed that night and slammed for what ever reason. Of course! They found very little 'wrong' but also did not talk to me during the procedure...yes, I did ask questions...I do have gall-stones...whatever that means...
They ruled out 'late-onset preeclampsia' and the GI doctor had no clue either as to what made my liver enzymes so high. That second night there I had a feeling that they wanted to keep me much much longer so I decided before I went to bed that we - Patrick (who was sleeping on those damn 'Dad' beds), Daciana (who was nursing and sleeping very well and did not seem phased by any of this) and I (who was quite ready to literally kick some butt) - were going home. We could not just leave because of the fear of the insurance not covering any of the hospital stay. I told God I wanted to be home by noon on Saturday.
From the first moment I awoke from a restless nights sleep, I was a very squeaky wheel. I wanted some grease and lots of it!! "I want to go home today. Where are my discharge papers? When can I go home?" is all I said to anyone. The only way they were going to let me go is if I agreed to become an outpatient and be referred to another GI doctor (this I suggested).
To speed the story up, I ended up staying in the hospital for 3 days! And for what? No one knows...but by 11:30 almost noon, I got my discharge papers: we were going home!!!! Thank you GOD!!
Now I am going through my itemized bill for the hospital, trying to see where they are nickle and diming me. After the insurance covered their portion, somebody thinks I still owe over $2000! Patrick is already working overtime and taking on a couple of paying gigs on the weekends just to make ends meet. We are not living beyond our means or overspending on things we think we should have. The last time I bought new clothes for myself was a couple of maternity items and before that maybe eight months without having new things. I have been wearing the same pair of shoes everyday for over a year, have not gone shoe shopping since Jan 2008 and before that probably when I was pregnant with Anastasia in 2005! We spend money on good food for the family, gas for Patrick to go to work (2 hours driving to and from work 5 days a week...), electric bill, water, and mortgage (this is what is killing us...can't sell because the market is cr@p right now)
Sorry about the rant and rave there...we, like many of you, are living paycheck to paycheck. Whether one or two incomes per family, and tightening our belts every month, it doesn't seem like enough. I believe the only reason the doctors and the hospital kept us there as long as they did was because we have insurance. If we didn't, they would have patched us up and kicked us to the curb.
Wish me luck on interpreting the paperwork and disputing it!