So yesterday was….I don’t even know how to describe it. Definitely not my worst day ever, but it sucked pretty badly. If you’ve seen my other posts, my postpartum healing took a turn the other day when I had my midwife come and check out my lady parts.
She didn’t feel comfortable doing the repair, so I called a local OB to have him examine it. Yesterday was my appointment. We went to the office and a friend was there getting her own prenatal stuff done, so we chatted for a while and I filled out paperwork since I had never been to this OB before. I was nervous about having to get stitches and lidocaine in my lady parts, but my midwife had said it needed to be fixed so I was just going to suck it up and deal.
So they call us back to a room, we walk in and I notice some tools and a white plastic board sitting on the examining table. I walked all the way into the room, with Grant in my arms, and Damon behind me. The nurse said, “Okay, just get the little guy undressed and we’ll get started.”
I realized why they thought we were there! “We are not here to get him CIRCUMCISED! We’re here for me to get stitches.” We quickly exited the room. In the hallway, I repeated, “We’re here for me; I’m the one with the problem.”
The doctor was in his office and I heard him jokingly say, “Yah, I’ve never done one of those!” Him meaning female circumcision. I laughed, but was still surprised they thought we were there for that. A few minutes later they called me back into a new exam room and the OB came back after a few minutes. I had my husband wait outside the room with Grant during the exam. He looked at things and said, “I don’t feel comfortable doing this procedure at the office, I would rather you be in an OR with general anesthesia.” Tears start rolling down my face. The doc starts going, “Don’t cry, come on, please don’t cry.”
I reply, “I’ve never been put under before.” (I had forgotten I have had anesthesia when I had my wisdom teeth removed, but did remember a few minutes later.) He responds that I could have a spinal or an epidural instead. I said, “But I’ve never had those, I have no idea how my body would respond to that. I mean, I choose home birth to avoid that stuff.” He was understanding, and my husband came in about this time. The doctor just didn’t feel like the office was a good sterile environment to do this procedure and said he could probably fit me into his surgery schedule the next day (today) over at the hospital across the street. He then goes on and tries to make a joke with my husband saying, “I’m sure you would want this fixed.” My response was quick from my mouth, “It is mine! Not his body part.” I know he was trying to make light of the situation, but joking about my husband wanting things a certain way in my body, for my husband’s own comfort is not funny, at all. Just like I don’t tell my kids that my breasts are theirs, they are always mine, they just get to drink milk from them.
So crying and defeated, mad at myself for not getting the stitches right after the birth (I was told I had a first degree tear, two others have said it was second degree tears) I go to the surgery scheduler and set up the surgery for the next day. I try and joke about the situation, but deep down, I’m extremely hurt and scared. The office person tells me that I should go over to the hospital for pre-admission testing. I go out to the car, tears streaming down my face and we make the short drive over to the hospital.
We go through registration, then the pre-admission questions, them going over how long it will take….about four hours for a fifteen minute procedure. They tell me I can’t eat anything after midnight, but the surgery will be at noon at the earliest. The pre-admission lady gets a phone call telling us that we need to see the financial person after we get done with the blood work. We go to another room where I get to pee in a cup (to make sure that I’m not pregnant, yup stupid right, I had Grant in my arms when the admission lady said they were going to make me take a pregnancy test). Then I felt completely confident in the hospitals ability to not screw up the surgery the next day when the nurse couldn’t find the very obvious vein in my arm and had to retry in my hand to draw off a couple of vials of blood. (Eye roll!)
After that, we headed to the financial person where the shit hit the fan! The lady informs us that there must be a mistake because we just had a baby, but we haven’t hit our deductible yet. I inform her that no, that is correct, we had a home birth and insurance doesn’t cover home birth. So she gets her financial information and shows us how much we will owe the hospital for this procedure. Our part would be $2899. Yes that’s right. Three hundred dollars more than we paid for our home birth and this was just the hospital’s fee. The doctor’s fee was going to be $250 or so plus a $60 office visit, if we paid cash. I was livid.
I was mad at myself, mad at my midwives, mad at the whole situation. I was scared about the procedure and couldn’t believe that I was looking at paying more than my birth to repair something that could have been fixed in the minutes after the birth….if I hadn’t been so excited for not tearing badly, or so I thought (which, after doing a ton of research yesterday, my tear really isn’t that bad, at least in my opinion, but it is a slight second degree tear according to the OB).
I stormed out of the hospital with Grant in my arms, sobbing. The rain was pouring down. It was fitting to how I was feeling. My husband was fantastic through all of this. Just listening to me express all of my emotions. I called me Dad because he had called me while we were at the doctor’s office. He couldn’t understand why I was so upset about the money, he said, “But you have insurance.” And I said, “But we haven’t hit our deductible and we have a high deductible health plan.”
I called my midwife and expressed my displeasure about everything that had happened with this birth….the stuff about the back up midwife situation being confused, the fact that no one had inspected my tear in the days after my birth. The fact that this procedure was going to cost a ton and it is ridiculous. She tried her best to calm me, but I eventually had to say that I’m still trying to figure out what I wanted to do and I wanted to get off of the phone with her. I was so angry and a lot of it was towards her, that I just needed to get off of the phone.
I called another midwife friend and she suggested I call the OB back and see if he would reconsider his decision. I did, but he said no. I was really stressing out yesterday, going from tears to fervently researching the long term effects of leaving this tear alone. I spoke with my mother and she very generously offered to pay for the procedure, saying that money should not be the deciding factor here. I told her that I had until around 5 pm to decide if I wanted to cancel the surgery and I still needed more time to think. After doing as much reading as I could and discussing things with some other friends and my husband, I felt that making this decision to have surgery could wait. This isn’t a have to do right now procedure. My body is feeling really good, I feel like the tear, although it healed more open than it should have, feels okay. The OB said it was something that could wait to be repaired. I’m still questioning the need for the repair at all and different people have different philosophies on this topic.
I thought it was funny that the OB was willing to do a circumcision in his office but wouldn’t do my procedure in the office. He said a few times that he wanted a sterile environment. I appreciate that, but why would a circumcision be different? I appreciated that he didn’t want it to be a painful procedure for me but the whole general anesthesia thing freaks me out, as does a spinal and an epidural. When I called to cancel the appointment around 4:45 pm, a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. I feel like I’ve made the right decision, at least for the time being.
The evening ended up being fantastic. Since I wasn’t going to have surgery the next day, I decided that I would go hang out with some friends to help plan a birth rally for Labor Day at one of our local hospitals. I sewed a few ring slings for my friend, ate a fantastic pasta salad made by my friend that was at the OB office that morning and felt a lot better chatting with my friends late into the night.
A few lessons learned from this whole experience. If you might need stitches after a birth, go ahead and get them. Although, another idea is, maybe this tear will not be a bad thing if I ever have any more children. I tear in the same place every time. So maybe, just maybe, if we ever have another kid and I leave this un-repaired, that I won’t have to have stitches anyway. Another lesson learned, having friends that you can call in a moments notice to talk about this stuff is so important. It really helped to have others to talk this whole situation through. Hopefully my story didn’t scare others but I wanted to share.
And if you are one of my co-workers, I hoped you enjoyed once again reading about my lady parts. I know that for some of you, this is the high light of your day. Next time you see me, make sure to ask me how I’m doing! All of me. 😉