Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Up to speed on the "Lil'un"

As I mentioned in my first post, I am expecting a new little bundle of joy (and a few bundles of poopy diapers) in early December. I'll probably be writing much on this topic, as The Domestic Zoo will also serve as something of an online diary about my pregnant life.

Up until now, quite a bit has happened, and as much has not happened. On the 28th of June, I learned I was pregnant at the Pregnancy Help Center. Let me tell you, the place is awesome. Free testing, free ultrasound, free classes, and if you're active enough there, you earn points that can be cashed in for slightly used hand-me-down clothes, toys, etc. Not bad if you're on a tight budget. Not to mention, the people there are extrememly nice all the time and full of tons of information.

While I was there, I also had an ultrasound done to help determine how far along I was. Let me tell you - that was quite a shocker. 15 weeks pregnant, and never had a clue. Sure, my husband and I joked about it in passing, but never really paid it much merit.

You may be wondering how I could be nearly 4 months pregnant and not know it? Easy. For starters, I've never had a regular cycle. I could go months without one, and think nothing of it, except that I had escaped the wrath another month that so many other women must endure. Believe me, it was a blessing.

Second of all, I had been working from home for a short time due to financial and vehicle situations. Since I design web sites, working from home was an easy option, but also a very non-active activity. Sitting behind a computer while getting up only for food, drink, pit-stop, and bed - not very healthy. So I started to put on a little weight. Only, that's the excuse my husband and I used. It was also a good excuse for why I was so unnaturally tired. No exercise = no blood/oxygen flow = no energy. Made perfect sense.

Third, I never had morning sickness. Another blessing, though all my blessings came at a cost. They masked the truth quite cleverly.

Fourth, the famed "irrational moodiness" also had a very logical explaination. We both had a huge stress over our heads. Wondering where we were going to live. The house we were in was not only a money pit, but the people we were 'buying' it from, never filed the deed. In layman's terms, we paid rent for a year, when we thought we were paying mortgage. So much for 'private financing' and 'for sale by owner.' So when we tried to legally purchase it, the previous owner got psychotic, and kept threatening to take back her house. We actually tried to have a house built, but that fell through. So we were faced with 'renting' again, or keep trying for the money pit. Our options were less than grim. Luckily, we had some knights in shining armor come and rescue us from our plight. My parents ended up buying a brand new home for us, and we're paying the mortgage. When our credit is fully restored, or at least recovered to an acceptable level, we'll buy it from them and build our credit further. It was a quick fix, but the timing couldn't have been better. We're now in a massive 4-bedroom, 2-story, 2-car-garage house with huge yards. Couldn't be more perfect for a family. But all that stress, did have us both at our wit's ends more than a couple times.

Back the the Pregnancy Help Center: Besides being super friendly (and offering free services!), they also gave me quite a bit of info on where to get extra help. They even helped fill out paperwork to apply for the state's Pregnancy Medicaid, as well as numbers of physicians, etc.

Medicaid. There's a wonderful topic. Since neither my husband nor I have insurance, (my company is too small to afford it for their employees, and he's a contractor, so he has to get his on his own - we just hadn't got to that part yet due to bills and such) I'm pretty much on my own here for health care. Unless I can get Medicaid, which will pay for pretty much everything, as far as I know.

So I filled out their paperwork. No problem. I faxed it over a week later. (Would have done so earlier, but with puppies pooping, cats puking, hungry husbands, plus getting over the shock of being pregnant, it just took a little longer than I expected.) Two days after I faxed it, my husband missed getting to the phone in time, but caller ID had said it was the Medicaid office. Great! They received it, and things are moving. We thought.

I tried to call them back, but their phone just rings, and rings... and rings, or if you're lucky, it kicks back to the automated menu where you get to try all over again. Try different selections, and none of them go where they're supposed to. Yaay Goverment Employees! They rock.

So a week after faxing their forms over, I visit them in person. Hah. That was an adventure! The address, when put in any map program, sends you in the wrong direction. So after 20 min. of backtracking and exploring, I finally find the place on the Other side of the freeway, about 1-2 miles away from where the map says they're supposed to be. Hooray. I found it. Now I wait. I wait for some old lady behind a glass wall to help 2 people in front of me. That was another 20 min. (I failed to mention that in the middle of driving around, the lil'un decided it needed more room, so chose to lay on my bladder.) Standing there, afraid to sit down and possibly lose my place in line, with the incredible urge to visit the lady's room, I finally make my way to the old lady.

She was about as helpful as a watch that can't keep time.

She couldn't tell me anything. She was suprised I had recieved a phone call that soon. She couldn't find me in their database. She couldn't let me talk to anyone that might actually know anything. She did remember my application though, and revelled that they had finally made copies of it (they needed to make two copies, one for Medicaid and one for Food Stamps - hey... I applied for everything... I'll let them tell me what I can't qualify for.) So it took them a whole week to make copies. Well this strikes confidence in me. So when I continue to needle her for more information, her reply was: You'll have to wait for someone to mail you something. You can call and check on your status, and I'll even give you an extention number, but we never answer our phones except to take maybe one or two calls a day. (Just to give you an idea, they must have had six phones in the front area alone, ringing off the hook, never letting up once!)

So I left there angry, frustrated, and helpless.

I called their corporate number, and they couldn't find me in their system, and appologized - but appologies can't help me.

So every day, I anxiously await Something in the mail. Four days later, I get a large manilla envelope. Hooray! Hope at last! I opened it up, and got a rejection notice for two of the things I applied for. Luckily, Medicaid was not one of them. However, what didn't come, was the much-anticipated "appointment" with a case worker. So today (a week after my last visit to their helpless office), I visited them again. I got pretty much the same routine, though when I showed them the paperwork they sent me, the woman (different than last time) curtly told me they didn't send that information. Then she said it looked like an absentee form. Then she said again that it wasn't their paperwork. When she tried to use my SSN to look up my status, she had to type it 4 times to get it right. When I asked to talk to someone else, she flatly said that wasn't possible - though she did inform me that there were about 500 cases amongst 2 case workers. When I made the comment to hire more, she laughed at me, and told me the government wouldn't do that any time soon. When I expressed my frustration with their broken system, she 'politely' told me that "It used to be worse. Instead of three weeks to process an application, it used to take five or six" Wow. That made me feel so good.

So I called my husband, filled him in. He was slightly (enter sarcasm here) unamused. He said, "Hey... call Planned Parenthood! They're always advertising health care for pregnant women and stuff." Well, that sounded as good an idea as any, so I did just that. My answer from them: They don't offer prenatal care at all, and I should apply for Medicaid. Wow. Great help there.

So I emailed them a nasty letter about false advertising. That actually did make me feel better. Well, that... and a good hormonal cry of frustration. :)

But, not all of this has been a bad experience. Shopping for maternity clothes has proven to be a most enjoyable experience - at least, after I found a maternity store. Until then, it was almost as stressful as dealing with Medicaid. We went 'malling' and walked the entire mall, and just when I was about to give up forever, and just wear my husband's clothes - the Motherhood store stood out like golden arches of salvation! I grinned and went inside. Not knowing what I was looking for, I wandered aimlessly to the first rack I found. I was very curious how their sizing system worked. I was expecting some complicated method of size plus how many months preganant, etc. I about cried for hormonal joy when I saw the fine print on the price tags: Purchase clothing in your original pre-pregnancy size. I thought to myself, "Self! I can do that!! That's EASY!" From that moment on, the whole store was fair game, and the game was certainly on! I managed to keep the spending just barely under my husband's guidlines. But the clothes not only fit, but they were hella-comfortable, and looked really good. They weren't the stereotypical jumpers, rompers, and elastic fake jeans, or shirts with ducks and bunnies on them - nor were they the super-stretchy skin-tight t-shirts with the big arrow pointing down that read: Baby. This was stuff I could wear to work and outside, and not feel like a clown.

Yeah, I went back the following week. Had to get new bras too. Evidently, I jumped a size up in every direction. My husband is very happy at this, by the way.

Luckily, I haven't been craving the strange stuff, like pickles and ice cream - but I have been craving a few things I don't normally enjoy but maybe once every 7 years or so. Lately, I've been loving the baked potato. I normally hate them because they're too dry and bland. But the last few weeks, they've been my food of choice.

Now, if you've endured my ramblings this far, you've probably been asking a few questions. "Boy or girl?" "Do you have a preference?" "Have you thought of names?"

Boy or Girl? Don't know yet. They say you find that out at your 20th week (that's 5 months for those that wish not to do the math.)

Do I have a preference? Yup. It's gotta have at least 10-11 digits. 10 if a girl, 11 if a boy. That's my preference. Although, there is a tendancy on my dad's side for the first child to be a girl. It's been that way in about every known family member on his side so far - including me, since I was his first (and only).

Have we thought of names? In passing. I'm waiting to find out if it's a boy or girl before I start getting too attatched to any name in particular. Though, boys' names would be relatively short work for us, girls might take a bit more haggling. Either way, it won't be too hard.

Well, that's a good start on catching you up to speed on the last few exciting weeks of my pregnancy. I'll keep you posted as things progress.

Until next blog...


D.B. Echo said...

See what happens when you hold off blogging for so long?

Domestic Zookeeper said...

Yes well... (insert raspberry here)

Deva said...

It has begun!


Domestic Zookeeper said...

Indeed it has, deva. >=)> Just wait til I get to the picture part.

she travels said...