Tag Archives: Pregnancy

The envelope, please…

28 Apr

Boys? Girls? Eh?Nothing smacks you between the eyes quite like the sight of that positive pregnancy test and, from what I understand, the only moment to top it is the instant  your child–or, for us, children–are born.  But, thanks to ultrasound wizardry, contemporary parents get to enjoy a very specific pre-birth moment of adrenaline about midway through the 9 month journey.  And for Carey and me, that was today:

Today we found out what our children are.

For us, it wasn’t a question of whether or not we wanted to find out ahead of time.  We both agreed immediately: we need to know.  Life is loaded with enough surprises, particularly if you’re expecting triplets.  You’ll remember we calculated the odds and collected guesses from friends and acquaintances.  We had our secret druthers, but we knew that all the prayers and predictions in the world wouldn’t change any XXs or XYs in those little ones’ chromosomal soup.

Carey had her fingers crossed for two boys and a girl.  I didn’t really have a preference, as long as a boy was somewhere in the mix.

We headed back to Magella Medical Group today for the official anatomy scan.  They asked us up front: did we want to know?

Oh, yes.  We wanted to know.

So, the ultrasound tech did her thing and told us, one at a time, what we had.  Baby A was obvious, as was Baby B.  Baby C was a little more stubborn, but the kid finally moved the offending foot out the way and gave us a look.

Anyhow, enough wind-up.  Here’s the verdict:

I guess the Bear family name gets another go ’round.  And then some.

It’s true, the news hit Carey a little hard.  It’s difficult to resist the romance of a little girl… the cute outfits and the the perfume-y, sweet little moments that most every mom-to-be fantasizes about.  It’s difficult to trade dollhouses for action figures, dresses and hair ties for fart noises and broken furniture.  And she’ll probably need to mourn the daughter we’ll never have a little bit… and, I can’t lie, so will I.

But holy cow.  Check us out.  Three boys!  Three sons!  Can you beat that?

It’s time to get to work on the names, that’s for sure.  We’ve been putting it off, but the time for procrastination is over.  Truth be told, I think we’re fairly solid on two of the three.  So far, we’ve got two legitimate first name contenders and a middle name that now may need to be promoted to first name status.  But I suppose it’s all still up for grabs.

Hah.  “The Bear Fellows.”  I can honestly say that, of all the combos, it might be the one I expected the least.  But I guess that’s par for the course at this point.  Because, brother, who knew, I’m now a modern-day Steve Douglas (the TV one, not the guy Lincoln beat).

And I can hardly wait to meet these gentlemen.

Fat

19 Apr

WIFE: It’s really been hurting my feelings lately and I know you’re only kidding, but it’s very hard on me and you should know that.

ME:  What do you mean?

WIFE:  All the jokes about how fat I am. I know what I look like, it’s not funny!

ME:  Honey, I haven’t made any fat jokes about you!  What are you talking about?

WIFE:  You have!  The past week or two especially, it’s gotten really bad.  Like when you said, “too bad you can’t fit into that dress.” That’s–

ME:  Okay, hang on.  That’s not what happened.  You’ve been talking the last several weeks about having a hard time fitting into any of your clothes because of the belly.  And when you  said something about not “fitting in” with other pregnant ladies, I said, “like the skirt.”  It was a comment about the belly, just goofing around!  It wasn’t a “you’re fat” kind of thing!

WIFE:  How is that not a fat joke?!

ME:  I guess I just thought belly-specific comments were okay.  It’s not like you’re letting yourself go or becoming unattractive or something.  Look at you, you’re beautiful!  A big belly is what’s supposed to happen!  It’s good!

WIFE:  Well, it’s hurtful.  I’m thinking of telling Danielle about some of your shenanigans.

ME:  Augh god, please, don’t tell Danielle.  She’ll never let me off the hook.

WIFE:  You don’t know what this is like!  It’s not comfortable!

ME:  Okay.  Okay.  Listen: I’m sorry.  Those comments are insensitive and I apologize.

WIFE:  Yeah, but you’re going to keep making them.  You think you’re clever and you can’t help yourself.

ME:  No, I won’t.  It’s done.  Seriously.

WIFE:  Everything just keeps getting bigger and bigger and it sucks.  My belly, my face, my boobs.  And it’s only going to keep going!

ME:  I know.  I know.

WIFE:  I walk around and the insides of my legs are all chafed and sensitive!

ME:  Oh, chub rub?

Sketch: Flowering Triplets

7 Apr

Sketches of babies have started infiltrating my notebooks for several weeks, which I guess is no surprise.  Half the time, I really don’t know exactly what I’m going to draw when I start and I’m almost as surprised as anyone by the end result.

Anyhow, this was doodled today at the office and, for some reason, it felt appropriate to post.  Not a great likeness of my wife, but I was drawing without a reference, so I guess that’s the way it goes.  Hope you like it:

The Insurance Shuffle

4 Apr

A-one, a-two, a-hinka dinka doo.

April is “open enrollment” month, which is that single month of the year when you can make whatever changes to your policy you want for no reason whatsoever.  Rather than having some sort of sensible rule like “you can’t change your policy more than once in a six month period” or “your policy changes are dependent on the start date of your policy” or even “change your policy whenever you like, we’ll tell you whether it negatively affects your rate”, no.

YOU CAN ONLY CHANGE IN APRIL WE LIKE APRIL CHANGE IT THEN.

Bee bop a-rebop.

The amount an individual pays into health insurance over the course of their lifetime will always be less than the total benefit they receive.

Seriously.
It’s not even close.

“Hi, my name’s Jeremy.  I’m calling about my insurance plan because I know we’re coming up on open enrollment.  Currently, I’m in Elect Open Access and I was wondering if that’s the best policy for my wife and I to stick with.  Thing is, she’s pregnant.  It’s triplets, actually, and that means she’ll probably be hospitalized a while and there’s a chance the three babies will too.  Since we’re headed for this big life change, is there a switch I should be making?”

“Uh.  It’s up to you.”

“Right.  I know.  But could you assist me?  I don’t really understand the ins and outs of these policies.”

“It’s right there on the benefits sheet.”

“Yeah.  But if someone could maybe walk me through a couple of scenarios to see if… er… I’m sorry, can I get some sort of advisement?”

“Not really.”

“Not reallly?”

“I can email you the benefits sheet again.  How about that?”

Slide to the left.  Slide to the right.

Frustrated, I talked to my dad.  I probably should’ve gone to him first, since he actually sells this stuff for a living.  He looked everything over.

“Two things, Jer.  One: I’ve never seen insurance this expensive.  Is this typical for California?  It’s ridiculous!

“I don’t know.  I guess it’s typical.”

“Two: how much of this are you actually paying for?  What’s your employer’s contribution?”

“They contribute $125.”

“Uh huh.  You know what I’m thinking?”

“Is it along the lines of ‘Sayonara California’?”

“You said it, buddy.”

Step-ball-change.

It’s more or less a given that triplets are going to experience time in the hospital NICU.  Probably weeks.  Carey had heard about a special program in California in which the state takes on the financial burden of NICU care for newborns.  Of course, this is all dependent on a family’s income.  And since we’re part of the ever-shrinking middle class, having triplets, it’s very likely that we’re poor enough to need it desperately, but not quite poor enough to receive it.

Rather than messing with CalChoice (the network that networks HMO networks), I decided to start calling the HMOs themselves to get a straight answer on what this is going to cost.

“So, I’m looking here at the benefits and it says ‘Hospitalization Services’ includes ‘pregnancy and maternity care’.  $450 copay per day, with a maximum out-of-pocket of $1,800.”

“That’s correct, sir.”

“Okay, so I have a question on that.  And I apologize for how specific I have to be about this, but it’s the reality of what’s coming up for my family later this summer.  Here’s the situation: let’s say my wife has to go into the hospital for bed rest at 28 weeks.  She stays in the hospital until she’s at 34 weeks, at which point our doctor performs a C-Section and the babies are born.  Triplets.”

“Okay.”

“But there’s a problem, see, and two of them need help breathing and there are all sorts of weird complications.  They’re premature and they need to stay in the NICU for weeks.  Multiple weeks.  Meanwhile, my wife’s recovering from the surgery and on and on.  So, two months after she first went into the hospital, everyone goes home.”

“Right.”

“You’re saying all that… everything… that’s one, single out-of-pocket for us of $1,800.”

“Correct, sir.”

“!!!  Are you serious?  That’s incredible!  Months in the hospital and we get hit for less than $2,000?”

“Yes.”

“That’s the best news I’ve heard in months!  Wow!  Thank you!  We’re definitely switching over to you.  Ah, that’s so great.”

“Glad I could help!”

“Now, is there anything else I should know about that scenario?  Anything I might get surprised by?”

“Well, one thing.  Let’s say the newborns need to stay in the NICU longer than your wife’s recovery.”

“All right…?”

“Say your wife needs a week to recover, but the newborns need several weeks in the NICU.”

“Yeah, that could definitely happen.  That changes things?”

“The day your wife leaves the hospital, we need to start treating the newborns as separate copays.  They’re now individuals, requiring their own special circumstance.”

“No more $1,800?”

“Well, no.”

“What would I need to pay?”

“It depends on how long the newborns stay in NICU and what they need.”

“It’s suddenly a hell of a lot more than $1,800.”

“Well, yes.”

“How much more?”

“Well, let me look up your maximum annual out-of-pocket-for-family.”

“Because we’d definitely reach it.”

“Oh, sir, yes.”

Lean back. Lean back.

So, we’re now in April and I need to submit our Renewal Change Request forms in the next couple of days.  Unfortunately, there is no special “in case it’s triplets” gift basket from insurance companies and it’s all about keeping things as cheap as possible.  I’m looking at several options that all look good, all with different caveats that could turn evil in a hurry.

That California NICU money?  Who knows.  We can apply and see what happens.

Will Carey be in recovery as long as the newborns are in the NICU?  Doubtful.  But it’s possible if she manages to hang on to them for an exceptional amount of time before delivery/surgery.

Do I feel like I understand less about insurance than when I first climbed aboard this mad merry-go-round?  Would I prefer it all stop and take care of itself?  For just a minute?  Please?

Oh, sir, yes.

Cha cha cha!

Contribution

2 Apr

WIFE:  Can you turn that off?  I think I want to go to bed.

ME: You don’t want to watch the end of this?  I think it’s almost over.

WIFE:  I can’t keep my eyes open.  Just pause it, we’ll finish it tomorrow.

ME:  Well, I mean, I think there’s only… okay.  Sure.

WIFE:  C’mon, I’m tired.  I can’t make it.

ME:  I know, I know.  It’s fine.  No problem.

WIFE:  No, what I need you to say is, “oh, honey, of course you should go to bed.  You should get as much rest as you can.  You’re working so hard carrying our three precious little ones around.  They need so much right now and you’re doing all this by yourself.  Whatever I can do, darling.”

ME:  What do you mean “all by yourself”?  I contributed something.

WIFE:  Yeah, but I’m doing this all day, every day for months and months.  Your contribution was, what, five minutes.

ME: …

WIFE: …

ME: Ouch.

WIFE: Ten minutes at the most.

Bump

30 Mar

Any sort of pregnancy chronicle must contain, by law, the requisite “belly progress” pics.  So, full compliance, let’s get to it.

Carey at 13 weeks (this morning):

13 Weeks

OB says, with triplets, 13 weeks is the equivalent of being 18 weeks with a singleton.  (“Singleton.”  That one still sort of cracks me up because it just sounds snooty.  “Oh, you’re only having a singleton?  Mm.”)

Anyhow, latest checkup says everything looks good.  Babies still kickin’.  We’re on track.

Going Public

28 Mar

We’re looking at 13 weeks in a couple of days, which is more or less the close of the first trimester.  And a couple of days ago, I saw Carey and it took me by surprise: “You kind of look like a pregnant lady.”

We decided early on to do the prudent thing and get a whole trimester under our belts before openly telling people our news.  What was a tiny handful of immediate family and a few local friends has started to expand.  We’ve made a few calls, sent a couple of emails, particularly over the last several days.  It couldn’t be helped, we’re starting to spill it.  Up to now, most of the people who know about our biggest life event are strangers we’ve never met who happened across our still-secret blogs.

It’s a little like walking off a cliff.  We know intellectually that whatever happens with these three… all our fears and anxieties and excitement and confusion… has nothing to do with who we do or don’t tell.  The three gnomes don’t care how ready we are, they’re moving forward with their own little plans.  But, even still, with each new person that knows our news, it feels like we’re committing to something a little bit more.

But it’s fun, dropping the bomb on people.  Assuming all goes to plan, it’s our once-in-a-lifetime chance to make an announcement like this, because ain’t no way we’re having any more. We’ve settled into a sort of rhythm with it: Carey and I are beginning to perfect the “hand off.”  If we’re in-person with someone who we feel good about telling, one of us will announce the pregnancy and we enjoy a minute or two of hugs and handshakes.  Then the other will drop the Triplet knowledge and all chaos ensues.

No surprise, nobody believes us immediately.  We’re getting used to slack jaws.  It’s weird, we know.  Those we’re close to have a hard time picturing us going the IVF route and, of course, they’re right.  When we tell people there was no IVF, no fertility help, it makes it all the more incredible.

Carey’s even taken to packing the ultrasound printouts with her as “proof”.  Of course, once or twice, we’ve even heard, “yeah, but hang on.  Jer knows photoshop, right?”

As much as we’re enjoying having friends and families celebrate (and sympathize) with us, we’re also trying our best to treasure these final moments of Our Big Secret being, well, a secret.  We’ve read too many triplet blogs recently to have any illusions: triplets draw attention.  Stares and questions quickly become an everyday part of life.  Not that I’m complaining.  I’m kind of looking forward to fielding questions about our little veggie nuggets. And I’ve done my best to prepare an anticipatory FAQ to help things.

But for now, it’s still, kind of, just the two of us.  And we’re waiting on our beach chairs, watching that wave on the horizon grow taller and greener by the second.

Won’t be long.  $#&%’s about to get nuts.