Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Excuse Me?"

I had a pre-natal appointment yesterday at 11:15 am and I got there a bit early. I had hoped they would either see me in a little before my actual appointment time, or at least right on the nose. I didn't get called in until after 11:30, which I didn't really mind too much, because I was reading a magazine that was too good to put down.

After getting called in and placed in a room, answering questions from the nurse, I waited. And waited. Looked around for the non-existent clock and found none, but I did spy another basket of magazines. So I settled with a December copy of some home decor mag and waited some more. Finally the nurse returned only to tell me I needed to move to another room.

I was given a bottle of that orange diabetic testing drink, and I wish I had drunk it while I was waiting. The nurse asked me to drink it after the appointment and then head over to the lab a half hour after drinking it down. I could smell other people's lunches wafting through the air and I was getting hungry myself. The doctor came in to see me after 12:30. She was not at all what I expected, and seemed very rushed. After telling her I was deaf and to please look at me when she talks, she wrote in large capital letters across the top of my file "HEARING IMPAIRED".

She looked to be in her 60's with thinning, short, white hair. She was quite plump, no, more than plump and her pink, fuzzy velour pants showcased the large tire around her waist. I always find it weird to see fat doctors, when they are all aware of the dangers of being overweight. I asked if she would be the one delivering the baby at the hospital and her answer? "If I'm not out of town."

"Excuse me?" I asked her, thinking she meant she would be at conferences or the like.

She looked at my file, noted my due date, and said, "I always go to North Carolina at the end of June. So I won't be here for the birth if you have it then. I also won't be there if I am having dinner. Or if I am tired, then you don't want me there."

With an attitude like that, it may be time for her to retire. She gave me the names of 3 other doctors that she works with and said one of them will do the delivery if she is not there and I actually hope it won't be her. She seemed nice, but the whole attitude thing just turns me off. I want someone that is happy to be there, excited to help me deliver my baby, and not looking at it as a chore. I've been spoiled by having an excellent doctor for the first 2 babies who always felt around my belly and gave very close estimates of the babys' weight and could tell me where the foot or hand was. Then I had a wonderful midwife for baby #3 and she did the same, felt the belly and could tell me the weight and location of the baby. This Doctor did nothing of the sort.

After a quick check of the baby's heartbeat (good) and a measurement of my belly, she left me with some pamphlets on getting my tubes tied. I also had to ask her about the results of the ultra sound and if the baby was fine. A quick look at my file and an equally quick "baby's fine." I made my next appointment (every 2 weeks) and then sat in the car and downed the orange drink. I waited a half hour, walked into the lab only to be told I had to wait a total of an hour after the drink to get blood drawn, not 30 minutes. Argh! I could have drank it in the doctor's office! I read yet another magazine and finally got out of there after 1:30!

I hope the next appointment goes more smoothly, because I am this close to calling up the midwife and going back to her. We almost all went to the doctor's office together because Hubby has never missed a pre-natal appointment with any of the other births and I am so glad that Hubby decided at the last minute to stay home with the girls. Can you imagine 3 little, restless girls crawling up the walls, not understanding why they have to waaiiiitttttt?!? Then again, maybe having 3 restless little girls, would have sped up the waiting time?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Good News, Bad News

The good news is: our refrigerator has been repaired. We spent nearly 3 weeks of cramming everything from two fridges into one and re-training myself not to buy as much as I usually do when I go to the food store. The downside to having only one fridge is having to make more frequent trips to the local food store, 20 miles away, which costs us more in gas. The repairman came this afternoon and found that the fridge had burned out it's relay thingy and after popping a new one in, everything is working like it should.

The bad news is: one of our kitchen cupboards fell off the wall and my mom happened to be the one standing in front of it when it fell. Poor, startled mom slammed the doors shut and held the thing on the counter hoping that someone heard the clatter and would come to rescue her, pronto! I heard it, alright, and I didn't know what it was, but it didn't sound good! Hubby and I both rushed into the kitchen to take over and we managed to get everything out without breaking any more dishes. A couple of bowls broke and a plastic pitcher that happened to be on the counter underneath the cupboard shattered, getting water all over the floor in the process. I'm glad it was mom standing there and not one of the kids, and I don't want to imagine the outcome of that!

The cupboards are made of laminated, heavy, pressed wood, installed in the late 70's/early 80's we think, and that particular cupboard held all the plates and bowls. Upon closer inspection, there were 6 brass screws holding up the cupboard and all snapped off. I am a little wary of the other cupboards now, but none are as big as this one was and none hold heavy items like this one did. After we assessed the situation and made sure mom was alright, I noticed right away that the kitchen seemed brighter! My first thought was, the cabinet is not going back up and we were going to patch the holes, paint-- seems the kitchen used to be mint green/blue-- and put up open shelving instead. A cheaper alternative to replacing all the cabinets, which we'd like to do, but cannot afford at the moment.

After more than a week of living with my bowls and plates on a folding table in the office, I am starting to miss my cabinet and getting tired of the arrangement we came up with. We planned to put the cupboard back up today, after buying new screws, but as it turns out, more bad news: the pressed wood has a bad crack in the bottom board (probably from falling on top of the pitcher) and I don't think it could support the dishes anymore. So we are back to the original thought I had, which was to patch, paint and install open shelves.

I'm tempted to rip out all the other upper cabinets to make the kitchen seem more uniform with open shelving all around. I don't know if that is such a wise thing to do and I need to talk this over some more with the husband. It would force me to de-clutter if we did the open shelving thing, and it would also better showcase all the vintage dishes and glasses we have, too, rather than having them hide behind ugly brown laminate doors. I suppose the best thing to do is try living with a small section of open shelving for a while and see how we like that, before we do anything like pulling down the rest of the cabinets.

Any suggestions out there that aren't costly? We could use some fresh input! :o) There is an Ikea that we can go to if the local hardware stores can't give us what we are looking for.. but our budget is tight, so any ideas would be welcome!

Friday, April 25, 2008

*Sniff!* Ahhhhh!

At long last, I have a clothesline hung up outdoors again! It has been 3 years since I hung clothes outside to dry, but not 3 years since I've line-dried my clothing. We have a clothesline in the basement by the wood stove, so I use that mostly. Anyway, I bought a pulley for being able to hang a line way up high just like I saw one of my neighbors have, and it sat in it's brown bag for ages. With all the posts I've been seeing lately about outdoors clothes drying, my soul has been itching to get my own line up.

Yesterday, I got out the pulley and started eyeing where I wanted it, but it didn't look feasible. Hubby suggested using the light pole and stringing the line to the dogwood. Not my first choice, but it'll do. I already had a load washed and waiting to be hung and Oldest helped with pinning the clothing. There are multiple green things happening here: look closer...
See? Sorry, too close! Forgive the blurry shot, I couldn't get the camera to focus on the knot instead of the background, but can you see what I used for the line?

How about now? Yeah! Telephone wire! How many of you have miles and miles of old telephone wire lying around the house that have no usefulness anymore? With the onslaught of cordless phones and cell phones, there is no need for long telephone extension cords. We've had these wires sitting in a box for the past 3 years, not wanting to throw them away, but not needing them either, until now!

So, multiple green things happening? 1- Recycling telephone wire; 2- Drying clothes outside which reduces our energy usage and saves us money; 3- We are re-using an old Lard tin bucket for the clothespin holder. My soul is at peace.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Some time ago, Molly over at A Foothill Home Companion wrote a post about the Remains of the Day. She wrote about how their scraps and peelings go into her compost pile and she found a fascination with the composition of the leftovers and took some lovely pictures. She also challenged us to take photos of our own "remains of the day" and share them.

I had taken this picture long before Molly ever issued her challenge but felt a bit self-conscious about posting a picture of my scraps and thought maybe my readers would think I had a screw loose (or two). For as long as I have had a compost bin, I have always arranged my cantaloupe skins in a bowl like this, to sort of build up the sides of the bowl a little and still have the center to add more scraps into. It always struck me as flower-like and I took a picture. Thanks, Molly, for the courage to share this photo and not feel silly.

I've also been issued another challenge, by two of my favorite bloggers: Dj Kirkby and Darth Sardonic. I'm to write a 6-word memoir. I am also supposed to tag others, but seeing as how this has made the rounds lately, I won't do any tagging and instead, will leave it up to you if you want to do this. I had been thinking about this for some time, since Darth tagged me back in March, and this one immediately comes to mind:

If you're gonna eat, eat good.

I know that we all must eat to live, and not live to eat, as the saying goes. The way I look at it is this: instead of eating some flavor-less health-food concoction, eat something good that's good for you! Like say, cantaloupe! Make a fruit smoothie! Make rhubarb pie! Beef stew! Homemade bread still warm with fresh butter! As long as you balance your diet, I see nothing wrong with eating good.

One more challenge has been issued to me by Todos La Vie to share with you some facts about myself. Feel free to do this one also, if it strikes you.

  • What was I doing 10 years ago? (1998) I was planning my upcoming May wedding and frantically looking for a wedding dress. I didn't go to any wedding dress store because our budget didn't allow for an expensive dress that I would likely wear only once, so I took advantage of Prom season and looked at white dresses in all the department stores. I found my dress and had it altered and paid only $75 for it.
  • 5 snacks I enjoy: homemade banana bread, bagels and cream cheese, strawberry "soup", rhubarb pie, and banana/strawberry/yogurt smoothies
  • Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Good grief! This has endless possibilities, and most of the things I would do would be for the betterment of our communities; like encouraging green lifestyles and farming, and setting up a much-needed recycling program in our area. Some of the selfish things I would do for myself would be to help out family with their money woes, set up trust funds for all the little ones, and I would love to build a little family neighborhood of homes with a shared pool, garden and clubhouse.
  • Jobs I have had: Cashier at a jewelry/gift shop at the beach, mailhandler at the post office, sign language teacher to pre-schoolers, food prep at Wendy's.
  • 3 habits: daily morning check on the computer, daily pre-natal vitamin with dinner, saying "I love you" to Hubby and the girls
  • 5 places I have lived: Born in Illinois, lived in Louisiana, moved to Virginia, shared an apartment in Alexandria, Va with Hubby, bought this house in West Virginia 3 years ago.

If you decide to do any of these challenges, please let me know and I'll come right over and check it out! :o)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bad Timing

Now that I know I have a boy growing inside my belly, that gave me the opportunity to "shop" for baby boy clothes at this past Saturday's freebie sale for us staffers. I get to "shop" twice a year and I look forward to this and eagerly anticipate it, even more so this year since our budget was severely tight, I'm expecting a baby and I only bought 5 outfits per girl on staff shopping night.

Friday night, I felt kind of nauseous and attributed it to being hungry. With family visiting, I kind of put eating on the back burner which I shouldn't have done, being pregnant and all. After they left, I scrounged around for eats but could find nothing to fill my tummy. Everything tasted either too sweet or too salty or too seasoned or too blah. I settled for a banana and milk and huddled under a blanket in front of the TV.

Saturday morning, after a night of frequent trips to the bathroom doing number 2s, I realized I got the stomach virus that Oldest had the week before. I made pancakes for breakfast and one bite tasted like sawdust. I managed to force myself to eat half but it went down slowly and I had to wash it down with milk. I drove the girls and I the 1 1/2 hours trip to the store and it went something like this:

"Oh, I think I gotta poop. Next bathroom is at the gas station 10 miles down the road. I can make it."

We pass the gas station.

"Made it this far, let's make it to the next gas station 7 miles up."

We pass that gas station.

"Ohh, here comes another wave, let's make it to the next stop 10 miles down."

Made it pass that one and so it went, setting little goals to make it to the next bathroom all the way to the store. By the time I got to the store, I was miserable, but determined to "shop". After several trips to the bathroom and the go-ahead from the boss to shop, I was too weak to get out of the chair. I would stand, only to be forced back down with light-headedness and another painful wave rocking the belly. What made it worse was the baby kicking where it hurts.

Thankfully, the other staffers helped me shop after they did their own shopping and asked me what I needed. They helped me get baby boy clothes and clothes for the girls in their various sizes. I managed to roll the chair over to the maternity section and pick out a few pieces for me to tide me over the last 2 months and the next few months after while my body still has baby weight. I sent the girls to pick out books and movies and whatever else they wanted. Instead of staying until 7pm to go through the donated clothes we didn't touch yet, we left to go home so I could be where I belonged: in bed.

Sunday was our last day at the store, and I felt well enough to go in. I wasn't 100 percent, but better than the day before. I picked through the donated clothes, bagged up the freebies, and said good bye to all the staffers. Won't be seeing them again until the next sale, unless they decide to visit when the baby arrives. It was a good sale, but I am glad the 6 weeks are over. Things will return to normal again around here, and I can catch up on all the stuff that needs to be done.

I'm going to go and crawl back into bed and rest.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's a...

Boy!! We are having our first boy!! Wow! I can hardly believe that I have a little boy growing inside my belly!

We had the ultra sound Thursday night and how lucky that we had family over for the night and they were happy to watch the girls for us so we could go to the appointment on our own. Imagine our surprise when the technician pointed out our baby boy's *ahem* equipment! First thing that popped in my head was "my, those are some big balls!" Next thing that popped in my head is that song: AC/DC's "Big Balls"! I managed to keep those thoughts to myself until we finished the ultra sound and walked out to the car. Then I blurted out to Hubby what I was thinking and Hubby laughed and said, " Now I have someone I can sing that song with!" Hubby then started belting out the song and I have not been able to get that song out of my head ever since!
We have asked family members if they wanted to know what the baby was, and the majority of them all know by now. So this is why I am posting this. I cannot contain it any longer and just had to share my excitement with all of you!
The due date has also changed a little bit and is moved up to around June 22. Baby currently weighs around 3.6 pounds and so far looks good. I am feeling great at 7 months pregnant and looking forward to new adventures with a baby boy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One Spring Day...

You know how they say "A Man's best friend is his dog"? In my husband's case, it's his cat. Charlie the cat is a bruiser. You call his name and he will come running. If you lean down and wait, he will stand up on his back feet and bump you on the chin. Hard. He's a bumper! If you go for a walk around the yard, he'll walk right along with you. A couple of days ago, we had a lovely Spring day, and Hubby decided to burn some of the leaves around the woodpile. Charlie came along and meowed for some attention. When he meows, you listen!

I spread an old moving blanket down on the ground to relax on and watch the girls play. Of course the girls eventually crowded me out and took over the whole thing! They were imagining one of their books to be a laptop computer and what a serious face Youngest has as she listens to Middle explain the lowdown on a computer program!

After I got chased off the blanket, I decided to go for a walk around the property. We have about 7 wooded acres on the right hand side of the house and one of these days, we'd like to thin out some of these trees to make it look a little more park-like. Much to my surprise, I spot a patch of bright green popping up in the middle of the trees. Looks like a renegade patch of lilies! Makes me wonder if once upon a time this was all cleared at one point and then the previous owners just let it all go. There is also a humongous rhododendron in the middle of the woods a little farther away and I am talking elephant size here!
We worked on the little kitchen garden patch and got all the manure and extra dirt worked in. We pulled a blue spruce out of the area and it left a gaping hole that needed to be filled in. The patch is all ready to go and as soon as there is no more frost in the mornings, I'm going to plant! As we were dumping the manure onto the dirt, Middle asked what it was. I told her it was 'cow poop.' She looked around and asked where the cow went. I had to laugh and then explained exactly how we came to buy cow poop in bags. Tell you what though, it was easy to keep them out of the dirt after telling the girls there was cow poop in there!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Strawberry "Soup"

When I was a kid, my dad used to whip this up for me and I loved it! Pretty easy to make and it tastes great on top of ice cream or with warm biscuits and even all by itself.

All you need is strawberries, a little sugar and some milk. You can use half-and-half, or cream or whole milk, the flavor is basically the same and I've had it all ways, and all ways taste just as good as the other way. So it's up to you what kind of milk you want to use.

Take some strawberries, clean them, remove the stems and cut into bite-size pieces. This is about 1 pound of strawberries and you can use as much as you want, depending on how many people you are making this for. Put the cut-up berries into a flat-bottomed bowl because you want to smash it with a potato masher. I don't recommend using a blender or food processor because you want the strawberries to have their texture and not pulverized into liquid.

Here-- I have started to mash the strawberries..

After you have mashed all the strawberries, take some sugar and add a little at a time. I have never measured the sugar and for about a pound of strawberries, I probably used about 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar. Just enough to sweeten it up a little but not too sweet.

Add the milk (or half-and-half or cream) and again, this is something you use your preference for. I don't measure here and add just enough to make it like a thick soup. Maybe 1/2 to 3/4 cup of milk for 1 pound of strawberries.

Stir in the sugar and milk and taste. Add a little more sugar if it needs it, add more milk if you want it thinner. Enjoy!!

I ate it up just like this, and it was sooooo good! There were leftovers, so I decided to freeze it and if I had stayed on top of it and stirred it every couple of hours, it could have made sort of a strawberry ice cream type of dessert. But I froze it all the way through and it ended up more like an italian ice where I had to scrape it. Yummy both ways.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Crazy Day..

It was spent driving all over the place. Oldest's stomach virus had a rebound last night and I never had the prescription for her pain medicine filled because one, the first pharmacy I went to didn't have it; two, the second pharmacy wouldn't take WV medicaid and wouldn't give me a price to see if I could afford it without the insurance; and three, she seemed to get better. Last night looked like it was going to be a long night but after I gave her half of an aspirin and a heating pad, she seemed to be alright. Or not. Hubby tells me that she tried to climb into bed several times in the night and I never stirred.

We had to go to Northern Virginia for a birthday party and on the way we were going to stop at a WV pharmacy to get the prescription filled. No go. The place was closed and looked to be permanently closed. Agh! Kept going and thought we would try the super Walmart just over the Virginia border. No problems except the wait time was an hour and we were already late for the party. After inquiring what time they closed, we went on and planned to come back to pick up the medicine on the way home.

We finally arrived at the party an hour late but had lots of fun with family and friends. Seems like everyone we know are early birds which also translates into early party leave-ers so not too long after cake and ice cream, everyone left. We said good-bye not long after and went to stop by at a friend's place where they had a box of girl clothes they wanted to give to my girls, plus 2 bed rails that were bought but never used. Perfect! I had been keeping an eye out for bed rails to use when baby gets here and will be co-sleeping with us in bed.

Our original plan was to work a couple of hours at the kid store before heading home, but that all changed when we had to get back before the pharmacy closed and when traffic in the Northern Virginia area was a total killer! I can never move back there! My nerves would be shot after a week of driving in bumper to bumper traffic and dealing with all the rude drivers that cut in front of you with no warning or suddenly braking for no reason. I'm now used to the slower pace of driving in the mountains with way fewer cars.

On the way home, there was a major accident on Route 66 and when we finally came upon it, it took my breath away. A RV was over-turned on it's side and a SUV was upside down. Firemen were trying to cut into the doors to open it and on the other side was someone strapped down on a stretcher ready to be put into a waiting ambulance. It certainly was a somber moment and we said a prayer for them and hoped that no one was seriously hurt.

We got the medicine and am relieved that it only cost $13.68 without the medicaid coverage. Oldest's tummy hurt again tonight and after giving her a dose and putting her to bed with a heating pad, all is quiet tonight.

Our main fridge isn't cold. We woke this morning to a funny smell and pinpointed it to the fridge. We thought maybe the coils were dirty and gave it a quick clean before we left. Coming home, the smell was stronger and I could see the items in the freezer were no longer frozen and the ice had melted and dripped through the ice dispenser and puddled onto the kitchen floor. Luckily, we have a second fridge and I transferred most into that one. Gave me a good chance to clean out old items and fill up the compost bin with forgotten leftovers. The fridge is still fairly new, so maybe it ran out of freon? Will have to call a repairman to come out and take a look. If it isn't one thing, it's another!

Hubby was peeved about the fridge and getting worked up about having to spend yet more money on something else that needs to be fixed. I told him that I am just glad that it fizzed out instead of sparking and catching on fire. Could have been worse. I reminded him of that RV we saw on the road today and how that family was headed somewhere, on vacation maybe, only to have ended upside down on the highway. I'll take a fizzed-out fridge over that any day!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just in Time, Too!

Seems like no sooner than we get approved for medicaid, I had to take Oldest to the emergency room.

Tuesday afternoon, she complained of stomach pains and picked at her food. I gave her some ginger ale and she burped and said she felt better. Put her to bed and then I went to bed early. Early meaning 11:00. That's early to me! Not long after that, Oldest is standing by the bed shaking my arm to wake me up. Said she didn't feel good and I told her to go to the bathroom if she needed to, gave her some water and then Hubby gave her some children's Pepto Bismol.

An hour or two later (the time is starting to blur here), she is back by the bed saying she still doesn't feel good. I get up and give her some more ginger ale. One sip and she projectile vomited across the kitchen! She grabbed the towel and her cheeks puffed out with more vomit. I rush her to the bathroom and she vomits some more. Feeling better, she goes back to bed with freshly washed cheeks and hands.

Some time later, I feel something heavy by my feet. I realize it is Oldest trying to get into bed with me by starting at the foot of the bed and working her way to the top. I move over to let her under the covers with me but Hubby turns on the light and tells her to go back to her own bed. I take her back to bed and sleep next to her for a little while, holding her close until she falls asleep.

After Hubby wakes up around 7, Oldest takes his place in bed and sleeps next to me until I wake at my usual time, around 9am. She complains her tummy hurts still and it seems to come and go in waves. She's fine for a little while, then rocking and moaning for a bit. She picks at breakfast and lunch, but seems well enough to play outside a couple hours. By dinnertime, she looks terrible and can't find a comfortable position. It's hard to watch her squirm and rock and she asks me to go with her to the bathroom. On the toilet, she keeps moving and I can see she has cramps and cannot poop. She refuses to eat and I get frustrated with myself for feeling so helpless. I want to take her pain away and make her better, but I don't know how.

Is it her appendix? "Does it hurt here? Where does it hurt?" we ask her. I lay her down and prod her belly to see if any one spot hurts more than another, but she seems to hurt all over. A quick search on the internet tells me that milk will help and symptoms for this and that are similar to what she has. She refuses to drink milk. We decide to take her to the emergency room. Hubby stays home with the other two and I take her myself. Hubby has a weak stomach when it comes to bloody situations, and I was prepared for the worst-- emergency surgery for a burst appendix.

Getting to the hospital took 30 minutes (I timed it for my future trip when it's labor time) and the average wait is 2 hours. She seems to get better and I am almost tempted to take her home because I worry about how much this will cost us. I ask her if she wants to go home and she tells me her tummy still hurts, so we stay. She signs to me that she needs to poop and has an urgent look in her eyes. We hurry to the bathroom and she has an explosion in the toilet. "I feel better," she says. But about 15 minutes later, she starts to get uncomfortable and starts whining again. I ask at the front desk how much longer and am told there is one more patient ahead of us.

We finally get called in and when asked to point at a chart to express how much pain she is in-- from a smiley face to a crying face, she points to the picture right next to the smiley face. I am aghast! If only they saw her 2 hours ago when she was crying and writhing in pain. The doctor prods her belly and listens with a stethoscope, asks her some questions and tells me it is a stomach virus. The symptoms come and go and none of the prods cause her pain if it was an appendix or some other organ problem. He gives her a dose of medicine and some juice to wash it down with and keeps her for a while to observe her and make sure she does not react adversely to the meds. Meanwhile, with all the stress of worrying about her, my bowels chose that moment to let loose and I am torn between leaving her alone in the room and running around the corner to poop. I poop. Come back. Gotta poop some more. Come back. Oop! Gotta poop again. Think I got it all out. Oldest wants to go home, and I tell her we can't go until the doctor says so.

After an hour in the room, we can go. I get a prescription for pain meds and we are back in the car. Oldest falls asleep almost right away and it is a quiet drive back home. The meds have done a number on her, she climbs on the table instead of walking past it. I stop her and take her coat and shoes off. I ask if she needs to pee and with a nod of her head, I lead her to the bathroom. She turns around and bolts into my bedroom. When I turn on the light she is disoriented and surprised to see where she is. After the bathroom, I help her change into her jammies and she is asleep quickly. It's an uneventful night and I wake in the morning to find her in bed with me.

All is well, with her stomachaches not as painful or as frequent as yesterday. I am relieved it is only a stomach virus and nothing worse. Now I wait for the bill and hope it won't be too much. I'm not sorry. Her health comes first, and money can be replaced.

On a funnier note, when the doctor asked if she had any brothers or sisters, she said she had 2 sisters. "I have one little sister, she is 2 and one medium sister, she is 4." I think I better stop referring to them as 'small, medium and large'.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

We're Covered!

I found out last week that the girls and I have been approved for the State's Medicaid program! As a pregnant woman, I'll be covered for a certain length of time after the baby is born, and the kids will be covered until Hubby finds a job with benefits. Working at the store all last week kind of made it hard to make some calls to local Ob/Gyns and finally, today, the husband and I have been on the phone all morning and afternoon.

You'd think that it would be easy to find someone willing to take on a 6 1/2 months pregnant woman. Not so.

First, I called a local doctor's office that's about 18 miles from where we are. A pretty drive, winding through curvy roads and past forests, pastures and country houses. Turns out, if they were to take me on as a patient, I would have to give birth in a hospital that is more than 50 miles away on more winding and curvy roads. Not something I am willing to do-- driving over an hour while having contractions and 3 small children along for the ride. I declined and started calling offices across the border in Virginia.

What I really want is to have a home birth. Of the 3 births I had, the last one at home was the most favorable and the most memorable and I bounced back quickly after the birth. The problem is, with no money, we can't afford to pay for a mid-wife and it seems kind of ironic if I got medicaid that will pay for the medical bills at a hospital and not use it. I'm torn! I really want a home birth, but our funds just don't permit it. What we will do instead, is stand our ground at the hospital and make sure that we have a calm and as natural birth as possible without an epidural being forced on me.

We must have called between 10 and 15 offices today, inquiring if they accepted Medicaid and new patients. About a third said they were either not taking medicaid and/or new patients. Another third refused to take me on because I was too far along or because I have had no pre-natal care. One of the offices that was affiliated with another doctor we called, said that there was a note in the computer not to take me on as a patient because of conflicting information on my medicaid and my lack of pre-natal care! By this point, Hubby was getting worked up and I was getting frustrated and near tears at the lack of compassion for a 6 1/2 months pregnant woman!

I wanted to grab the phone and start spewing out cuss words and really let 'em have it! Look people-- I am sorry that my husband does not have a job which means we do not have any insurance and we had planned to have a home birth. Then along comes medicaid and all of a sudden, we have the means to get pre-natal care and check-ups with ultra sounds. What is supposed to make our lives easier is sort of making it into a hell. Just because we have not had any pre-natal care does not mean that we have been doing anything wrong. I eat right, I take my pre-natal vitamins, I exercise and don't do any heavy lifting or extended periods of stressful activities. This being my 4th, I think I have a bit of experience by now! Not to say that nothing could go wrong, it could-- I'm just trying to say that we weren't being ignorant about this pregnancy, we just didn't have the means to see a doctor about it.

Then the phone rang, and it was one of the doctor's offices that we called earlier. The secretary was calling to say that they will take me on as a new patient and I have an appointment with them next week! Finally! A load has been lifted off my shoulders and the world is looking a little brighter now. Hopefully the doctor is nice and I like her and she is as easy-going as the mid-wife was. The hospital that I will be going to, when it comes time for the birth, is 32 miles away in Virginia. Much closer than the one in West Virginia. Plus, if we end up taking the girls along, it would be much easier for the in-laws to find the hospital (and us) and keep the girls busy while I huff and puff and push the baby out.

I'm looking forward to an ultra-sound, to see that the baby is alright, to get checked out and make sure my iron levels are fine (I have had a history of low iron) and no other problems that are age-related. An ultra-sound will also confirm the due date when they can measure the size of the baby and will ease my troubled mind to have a more accurate due date. And of course, I want to know the sex of the baby. We will probably keep mum about it and let it be a surprise to friends and family, which means I cannot post it here, because friends and family read this, too! Anyway, it's a relief to know that the baby and I will be getting medical check-ups, even if it isn't with the mid-wife I want and the birth won't be at home. Beggars can't be choosy and I would rather make the best of what I have.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tomorrow Is A New Day

With all the back-and-forth driving we have been doing lately, I've had a lot of time to think. When the girls are not bickering with each other, that is. Mostly on the late evening return drives, when the girls are sleeping peacefully in their seats, and Hubby is listening to the radio on so low that I cannot hear it, my mind drifts and wanders. An hour and a half is lots of time to think. And it is amazing what the mind comes up with.

Certain things I have been told over the years come to mind: My Driver's Ed. teacher telling the class not to drive with your thumbs curled around the steering wheel, because if you lost control of the car and the steering wheel were to jerk around, your thumbs would get caught and possibly snap back and break some hand bones; or my Home Ec. teacher telling us to always think about the colors and textures of a meal you are about to cook, to never have all the same colors or shapes on one plate-- like white, baked chicken with white mashed potatoes and white bread= boring! Better to have white, baked chicken with sliced, steamed, orange carrots and a nice green leafy salad= wow!

Moments from the past weave their way through my mind: riding in Hubby's truck and remembering the first time I rode in it when we were dating and I could smell his cologne, his "new car smell" spray and cigarette smoke. Remembering the jacket he wore that I absolutely hated but loved to smell when he gave me hugs and I would bury my face in his neck, inhaling his scent.

Feeling the baby kick and I am taken back to the present and I start to imagine and wonder about the future and what it holds for me and my family: is the baby inside me a boy or a girl? What kind of name are we going to give this baby? What if it is a boy? How are we going to do room arrangements with 2 bedrooms and 3 girls and 1 boy? I begin to think of when the baby should get here and without a sonogram, I wonder if the due date really is around the 28th of June or maybe it is earlier?

Hubby turns up the radio on a song he likes and I catch the strains of Elton John's "Benny and the Jets" and I am all of a sudden on stage in high school, performing a jazz dance to the same song, every step and move still dances in my head and I watch it as if I am seeing it on TV. The memory of my Jazz dance instructor comes back and even his sweaty brow comes to me, as he would clap his hands and stomp his feet along with the beat to make clear to us deaf students when it was time to dip, leap or fall gracefully to the floor. How we giggled when he showed us the skin-tight black leotards we were to wear for the performance along with spiked hair and heavy theater make-up.

We pull into the drive and the gravel crunches under the tires as we make our way slowly to the house. Pitch black and the stars shine brightly, is that the Little Dipper or the Big one? The interior light comes on and eyes blink-blink, adjusting to the sudden glare. "Come on girls, we're home. Time to wake up and go to bed." They fumble with their seat belts and climb clumsily out of the car, sleep still has a hold on them. They walk into the house, one by one, changing into jammies and crawling into cold beds. "Good night, my loves, tomorrow is a new day," I say, kissing them and tucking them in under their blankets.