I had read a lot about how much better a pregnant gal feels in the second trimester, and I'm happy to be part of that majority! We are 20 weeks along and I finally feel like myself again. I've started cooking and sewing again and I am back to my normal sleep schedule. Of course, life isn't quite as easy as it was last summer but I'm so grateful for the extra energy that's come. Here is a little more about what has been going on:
Definitely my favorite thing in the second trimester has been actual evidence that I'm expecting! I got dressed up for a tea party this weekend and Greg kindly took my photo in the backyard. Some days have been a struggle to get dressed, but I've been breaking out the maternity clothes my sister gave me and they make me feel so great! I love seeing the progress with the bump and feeling like I can actually wear maternity clothes now. It's really helped my mood.
Right around the 6 week mark, I had trouble breathing through the night. I would wake up congested with a stuffy nose. I didn't want to take any medication, so we started pumping the humidifier at night. Sometimes we'd add a few drops of peppermint essential oil and that seemed to really help. But as the pregnancy has progressed, it's gotten worse and the humidifier just can't keep up. I found out it's called pregnancy rhinitis and my body is just overproducing. My doctor told me to take Benadryl every night and that's really helped but the symptoms are still definitely noticeable. I'm not crazy about having to take a pill every night for it, but it's been convenient to not have to lug around the humidifier while we're traveling.
I hadn't really noticed the changes in my hair until my co-worker complimented it the other day. She said, "It's just so amazing what pregnancy has done to your hair!" I said, "Really? I haven't even noticed." But since then, I have admired it everyday. It's growing so much and it's thicker than usual. It hasn't been as frizzy and doesn't get oily as quick as normal. It's been really fun to do more braids and other trickier hair styles that my thin hair usually has a hard time with. Just one the perks!
This little topic has been the source of 90% of my stress in the past couple months. Back in the spring, I knew it was time to choose an OBGYN so I found a gal online with fabulous reviews. I checked with both my insurance and Greg's insurance to make sure she was covered. I felt like I went the extra mile to check Greg's insurance, because I thought that it would be helpful in case I move to his plan in the near future. Luckily she was covered by both, so I went ahead and scheduled a wellness exam and I absolutely loved her. She was so sweet and funny and kind, and it was just a great experience (which is usually not what people report at a woman's wellness exam!). I went to her for the first few months of the pregnancy and had a lot of the initial testing done: first ultrasound, blood work, urinalysis, etc. I started getting bills from her office and I paid them without thinking much about it. I just assumed, "Yeah, pregnancy is expensive."
She told me I needed to decide which hospital to deliver at, so we made a decision and then I realized I probably should run it by the insurance just to double check. They told me a few unfortunate things. First of all, they don't cover any of the hospitals where she delivers. Second, even though they cover her a a provider, they don't cover the "facility" she works at. Meaning, all of the testing that was done wouldn't be covered by insurance. Third, because the testing is not covered by insurance, it also won't go towards my high deductible HSA plan, and I'll have to pay out-of-pocket for everything at cost. This was especially frustrating to hear because everything that had been done at that point should have been covered as preventive care (meaning I should have had to pay nothing if it was at a different facility).
I was pretty upset after this call. I knew it meant I would have to change doctors and start over somewhere else. I knew it would mean I would get to make a lot of phone calls to fight my bill. And the whole thing just seemed overwhelming. And honestly, it kind of has been. But luckily I'm rounding the corner on the whole situation. I have a new doctor now at a new office, which is actually closer to my office and I really like her. I'm registered at a hospital that is covered by both mine and Greg's insurance. I have appointments scheduled for the next few months and an ultrasound this week! (Yay! We find out the gender.)
After a month long series of calls and emails and scanned bills with HR, two insurance companies, a case manager at an insurance company, a private insurance consultant, my HSA bank, my past doctor's office, my current doctor's office, and the hospital, I think we finally have come to some understanding. We'll still have to pay out of pocket for some of the work that was done but it won't be as substantial as the initial bills.
Moral of the story: healthcare is complicated. Even when you have insurance, there's so many people involved and you have to figure out everyone and everything that is covered. I've made phone calls about doctors, facilities, ultrasound technicians, anesthesiologists, midwives, and even questions about the lab where they send samples to be tested. It's crazy. It's a huge network of crazy and everyone has their own companies they contract with. Between Greg's dad's visits in the hospital this year and my own insurance woes, I've learned the hard lesson that you have to ask A LOT of questions. And even when I think I'm being annoying or too demanding, my health is in my control and no one else is going to look out for my coverage. Tough lesson to learn and I'm sure I will continue to learn it.
We've figured out which birth classes we want to take and registered for those. Some of them are really long, full day courses and the thought of being in a hospital classroom all day sounds rough to me. I thought Greg wouldn't be super into it, but he's been really awesome about the classes and has motivated me to buck up and get 'er done. We'll be doing a full day class all about labor signs, the actual delivery and postpartum care. This class is supposed to teach us everything we need to know about making decisions for a birth plan.
The second class is a half day course all about what to expect as a new parent. I think we're most excited for this one. It will go over the stress of having a newborn and postpartum depression, and then all of the practical things about suddenly having a child in your home: sleeping, bathing, diapers, how to hold them, choking, CPR, etc.
The last class will be all about breast feeding.
That's had a little bit of insurance drama as well. My health insurance company is based in Nevada and they offer a lot of these classes for free, but only in Nevada. I didn't think that was fair so I called and asked that my comparable classes be reimbursed and they said no. I'm still frustrated about the lack of fairness, but Greg has wisely counseled me to choose my battles.
Both of us have been trying to make more time for our hobbies. We know that our personal time will be diminished in the next while, so we've been getting at our projects. Greg always loves to go dirt biking and do maintenance in the garage. We're also getting our car re-tinted. And Greg has taken up baking! He's working on a sourdough starter and has big plans for our future bread. I've been working on a new baby quilt and other crafts that have been on the back burner. It's been a fun opportunity to make sure we try to fill up on our alone time and hobby time while we can.
Earlier in the year, I developed a walking habit in the morning. It was awesome. I would wake up almost every day and immediately go for a 25ish minute walk around our neighborhood. Sometimes Greg would come too or he'd go running. We had a family fitbit challenge and it really helped me stay motivated. But then when the nausea hit at the first trimester and I couldn't figure out my sleep schedule with the rhinitis, I got out of my routine. But with this second wind of energy, I've been back out there! We've also been doing some prenatal yoga together and it's been nice to move and stretch and have tailored exercises to things that are safe for the baby. Greg is a trooper to do it with me, especially when they say things like "Now rest your hand at the base of your belly bump, take deep breaths and connect with your child." Ha! It's fun.
We went back and forth for a few months about whether of not we would go on a big trip before February. We always thought it would be fun to go to Mexico because I've never been. Greg went to Mexico with a group of friends in college and really loved it. We also considered the Caribbean because there are a few islands just north of Brazil that are Dutch colonies and they primarily speak Dutch, so we thought that would be super fun and Greg could lead us around. But alas, ZIKA. The zika virus has made transformed our preferred warm weather destinations to not be viable options. The OBGYN doctors have been pretty instructive about it and Greg's grandma past away from the West Nile Virus about 10 years ago, so mosquito safety is something we're very serious about in our family.
We finally settled on something so totally different than what we initially planned... we're going to New England! We'll be flying into New York City (Greg has never been) and we'll get to see my sister Emily, who is going to Columbia there. Then we'll be driving through Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts until we arrive in Boston. We'll stay there for a few days before flying home. Greg's favorite season is fall so I'm really excited for him to see the New England colors. We're pretty pumped!
All things considered, the second trimester has been great. I feel like me again, but with a bit of an extra load and anticipation for the future. I'm so excited to find out the gender this week and I think it will make it all a bit more real. To be continued...