Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2 years ago today

A new post! Unheard of!! But I had some thoughts rolling around in my head this morning before work and someday, sweet Mags will read this blog and understand her beginnings a little more, so tonight on her 2nd birthday, I'll blog.

2 years ago, AJ, my sister and I climbed in to our car at 3am and headed to the hospital to have a baby. We knew we were having a girl but the next hours and hours and finally birth that would unfold, no one would have known anything was going to go horribly wrong.

I look back on those hours (17 hours) and I often times wonder if I made things up. Did I really puke as much as I remember? Could I barely talk between contractions? Was I really only barely 1cm when they checked me in? But as I think about those moments and hours, they aren't what stick in my mind. The moment that 2 years later, I still get teary eyed over and have been to therapy over is the moment Maggie was born.

That final push, your baby is no longer in-utero and is now a part of this earth, this world. She didn't look right but I had no idea why and my mommy heart just wanted to wrap my arms around her and hold her and make everything ok. But I couldn't.

And for 5 more days I couldn't hold her. I ached. I hurt. I cried. The moment she left one hospital to be transferred to the next was hard but I knew AJ was with her. Soon I would be following behind and that felt ok.

She arrived and AJ was with her till he finally crawled in to my room at around 5am. He had basically been awake for two straight days. I was heartbroken that my new newborn baby was not with me but comforted in the fact she was in excellent hands and we were in the same hospital. Floors and wings away, but the same hospital.

The next day was Monday and we had a multitude of visitors. I was recovering from a vaginal birth and just didn't feel much like walking. I was sort of denying reality by not going to visit Maggie. AJ and others had been down there, but I kept myself distracted.

Finally that afternoon, I was convinced to let Ruth push me in a wheelchair to go floors and wings away to see Maggie. The NICU has to beep you in and then you have to scrub in and they I had to walk back in my own. Oh was that the hardest hardest hardest thing to see ever. Your baby, a million machines, alone in a bed, one nurse assigned solely to your baby because she is so sick and beeps and beeps and whirs and machine noises.

I cried. I wanted to hold her. Kiss her. Comfort her. She laid there naked with a diaper, intubated and fighting for her life. She was on a cooling therapy to help reduce any swelling in her brain. She was cold. She shivered and I cried.

Ruth and AJ's cousin held me and we all cried. My mommy's heart was broken. But I returned to my room and knew I was just floors and wings away.

Monday night was the.longest.night of our lives. We had gotten news from the doctors on her case that this night was either going to make or break the life of our child. Maggie had significant medical things that needed to happen or else. My sister and Tobin can tell you exactly. All I know is that Christy(my sister) woke up early Tuesday morning like at 2am and God prompted her to pray specific medical terms in her prayer. Maggie had to fight. God needed to intervene.

Tuesday early morning arrived and being in a teaching hospital provided for my room at 6am to be full of 7+ various medical people doing rounds that morning and one big emotional break down. I'm sure they have seen it before but why ask how my daughter is if I haven't even heard from the NICU doctors yet. It was messy. And ended with, no news much be good news.

Tuesday afternoon arrived and it was my check out day. How could I now leave the same building as my daughter and drive away? Who does that and how do you do it? Your life line with the hospital is your phone. It's a love hate thing. You keep it close by knowing you don't really want it to ring but don't want to miss it if it does for fear of...

Well, we did it. We packed up my stuff and drove away. We ate dinner, I went to Fred Meyer and bought waterproof mascara and saw Porter and cried. I pumped, crawled in to bed and missed that newborn baby I had just pushed out two days ago. Prayed for her and cried out to God asking Him to be her comfort and peace.

On a quick side note, I had a newborn. I had colostrum and milk that needed to come in so all the while all these others things are happening, I am pumping every two hours. And then once I checked out, I had to go to the NICU to pump and give them my milk so they could freeze and store it till Maggie was off the cold therapy. And you can't stress too much and you have to keep eating and drinking for good milk supplies. But I did at times question why I was doing all this if she didn't live. I had a lot of conflicting thoughts and feelings.

Wednesday was a long day. You can only watch your daughter shiver for so long and the chairs in the NICU are the worst for anyone post partum or not. We tried to pass the time by blogging, being on Facebook and I had a pump schedule to stick too. We looked forward to rounds. We looked forward to visitors. We looked forward to seeing Porter.

The long awaited Thursday finally arrived. Warming day. Anticipation was running high. We were going to get to hold her. She was going to be in our arms today. But things go slowly when one is being warmed. I had spent the previous night in Salem to get a better night's sleep. I got to wake up with Porter, get him dressed and take him to my sister in law. It was a blessing. I knew AJ would be with Maggie and I needed a break.

I returned to Portland and we waited. I had asked a dear friend to come and take pictures of Maggie's first moments in our arms 5 days later. 5 days after her birth!

She arrived and we waited. We went and ate dinner and waited. Finally 8:30 that night, the whole world stopped. Maggie with just a few wires and cords, was in my arms. I cried. What else do you do?

And now two years later, I think back and marvel at all that happened. I marvel at the medicine that happened, I marvel at all the people that stopped in their days to pray for us, to wrap us in their arms, to bring food, give gifts and take pictures. Those that watched Porter and cleaned our house and left us flowers and balloons. Those who gave up days at work to be by our sides. The texts and Facebook messages and comments. The love near and very very far. Our families and friends and even complete strangers. The doctors and nurses. It all still amazes me.

And now in true fashion, Maggie's birthday is today but we aren't having her party until Sunday. Seems appropriate to fully celebrate her life that truly began 5 days later. :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Maggie's 1!

January 16th, Miss Magnolia turned one. We happened to be over at the beach that weekend and got to ring in her birthday with a fun pancake breakfast with friends!

We then celebrated her birthday the next weekend with family and friends and had a blast seeing everyone. Maggie is very social and loved being around everyone. She finally started to crawl right before Christmas and can get around quite quickly now. She isn't quite interested in walking, but I have a feeling once she does get interested, we are going to be doing quite a bit of chasing. She has such a mind of her own but is so cute and adorable, she makes it worth it!

 Cute pink tiny crocs!

 A bath baby!

Giving the baby loves and snuggles!

 Cute Porter-man!

 Cute birthday banners and decorations made by my sister and I.

 Cute Mommy/daughter picture.


Oh, it just breaks your heart.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Another praise...

A few weeks after we arrived home from the Maggie's stay in the NICU we received a letter in the mail stating our insurance company had denied paying the claim for my one night stay at OHSU. The letter stated that it was denied as I did not need to be placed in a higher care facility. Basically, they were saying it was not necessary for me to be transferred and get higher care at OHSU. Generally, if you are to transfer from one hospital to another you would have to get pre-approval from the insurance company that this is a necessity and they would then cover it. Well, in an emergency situation such as we were in the doctors and us all made the best decision we knew. Mom and baby needed to be together. We believe this no matter what. The whole time Maggie was being worked on in the nursery at Silverton Hospital, AJ was standing right along side her. He was transported with her and was with her when they checked her in to OHSU. The only time he left her was at 5am on Monday morning after being awake for over 24 hours! He needed some rest and wanted to be with me. Having a traumatic birth and a baby in the NICU and the mom in recovery has got to be hard on the dad and family. Who do you be with?

Anyways, so my one night stay at OHSU was denied. Not the doctors that treated me, that was covered, the stay, room and board. $2200. Denied. Well, we were floored to say the least. How can you deny the mother who is postpartum, who has just pushed a baby out, who is unsure of if she will live or not, who believes that nursing and skin to skin contact is vital vital vital in the first few seconds of their life. How can you deny that? Even though we couldn't do all that with Maggie, the mere fact that what if she was to take a turn for the worse like she did on Monday night and I was sitting in a hospital bed miles away in another city? How do you deny all this?

So we called ODS and explained our situation and they very kindly told us to submit an appeal. We filled out the form, had our delivering doctor write a letter and we wrote a letter explaining our appeal. We had six months to submit it and about 2 weeks shy of the 6 month date, we sent it off. A week later we got a form I had to sign and I sent that back. Then on Saturday another letter arrived from ODS.

Our denial had been overturned and they stated they would be covering the claim! Praise Jesus! Insurance companies do have hearts after all!

We most likely will still owe some money but not all $2200. FYI, one nights stay at OHSU is about $2200 in case you are price shopping. :)

Again, God has shown himself to us in His way and reminded us He is in control, we just have to place all our trust in Him.

Monday, June 20, 2011

You just never know.

I would have never ever known such a thing was possible.

February 2011, a month after Maggie was born, all the explanation of benefit pages were coming in for my delivery and Maggie's hospital stay. I couldn't keep up with it all fast enough but from the advice of others they said to wait till everything had billed and then see what we owed. We did get one rejection letter from our insurance company that they were not going to cover my stay at OHSU after I was transferred up there post delivery. Everything was covered. We have a plan that has a deductible and then you pay 20% copay to the maximum out of pocket. And then on a few things, they were covered differently, like both Maggie's and mine ambulance rides. So the bills started coming in.

We had a bill from Silverton Hospital, OHSU hospital, OHSU doctors, Woodburn Ambulance and Metro West Ambulance. We figured roughly before insurance it was about $100,000. With insurance, our cost was around $5500. That's a lot of money we weren't really expecting to pay.

But let me know tell you how God works in ways, we can't see.

I called each of the places and asked if we could start paying after I returned to work from maternity leave as our income was reduced while I was at home. They each made appropriate arrangements and I headed back to work in March. I then called each place and asked to set up a payment plan as there was just no way we could pay all of this off. Who has that kind of savings??

We received an anonymous gift that allowed us to pay off both the ambulance companies and make a payment on another bill. I got each account set up and starting paying. Two months went by and it was tight. Each month was to the penny. We were just barely squeaking by and I didn't know how we would be able to do it in the winter months when our heat and electricity bill seems to spike! But we trusted God he would provide and continued on.

At one point when I had called OHSU hospital to set my account up on a payment plan, I mentioned something about how it works to apply for financial assistance that I had seen noted on the back of my bill. The customer service operator asked a few questions and then said she would mail me the application. I received it and then filled it out, got copies of pay stubs and taxes and faxed it back.

Two weeks later, we received a statement in the mail that the balance due had been reduced by roughly $400!! And OHSU doctors bill separately but if you qualify with one, you qualify for the other and reduced our other bill by $700. I was blown away. I had willingly filled out the application but then mumbled and moaned after I submitted it that we would not qualify. We make way too much money, I complained. But I did pray. I asked God that no matter what the outcome, He would continue to provide for us. 

You just never know.

God is faithful. AJ and I decided to close out an old retirement account we had and pay the penalty and taxes on it so that we can pay the remainder of all our bills off except for one. God is good! He has provided for us in so many ways. Maggie, medical insurance, a job for both AJ and I, and now a way to pay our medical bills. My human mind wants to manipulate and try to figure out ways to make things work, when the truth of the matter is, God knows and is taking care of us in so many ways, more than we know.

You just never know.