My $110,618.02 Birth Story

my $110,618.02  birth story

After seeing this story about a man’s $55,000 appendicitis operation  I thought it would be good share my story too. Clearly, serious things must be done about our healthcare system here in the U.S.

My $110,618.02 Birth Story…

I wasn’t planning on having such an expensive birth. In fact, I was all set to do an all natural med-free birth at a birthing center. My baby and my body though, had a different idea of how things would go down.

It’s taken my a little while just for me to be able to wrap my head around the events of the birth of our baby boy, Henry. I keep finding myself having flashbacks and new memories keep popping into my mind. In a way, I’m been grieving the loss of the birth I had hoped for and have been coming to terms with the way things ended up playing out. Even though the baby’s birth didn’t go the way I had hoped we’re so thankful to have a healthy, happy baby. While I’ve had to work through the events I’m grateful to be on this side of it healthy and strong. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through.

At 7:30am on the morning of October 31st, when I was exactly 39 weeks pregnant, I started having contractions. The pregnancy was super uneventful, apart from some horrible morning sickness in the very beginning and apart from having my feet swell up so much so that I thought they were, for sure, going to be 2 sizes bigger, forever.

Since the pregnancy was uneventful and since I was healthy there was no reason for me or the midwives at the birthing center to think that I would have anything but a normal, healthy labor and delivery.

When I called our doula to tell her about the contractions she recommended that I rest as much as possible and to be sure to drink plenty of liquids and to eat. I followed her instructions and went right to bed. I was able to rest through the contractions and knew from the birthing classes that I had to preserve as much energy as possible in this early stage of labor.

By 10:00 pm things started to intensify, and throughout the night I was throwing up a lot. Anything I drank, and anything I ate would come right back up.

Around 7:00 am our doula came to our house and after a call to the birthing center we were told that we could make our way there. I was not excited for the 15-20 minute ride to the birthing center because I calculated that I would have at least 5 contractions on the way there. How was I going to get through those? As I hung over the back seat powering through each wave of contractions, I remember looking at people in the cars behind us making their way to work, and I wondered if they wondered what in the world I was doing.

When we arrived at the birthing center I was so relieved. I was so happy to finally be there after laboring at our house for so long, and I knew that if we were at the birthing center we’d get to meet the baby soon; I was thrilled about that.

When it was time for the midwife to check my dilation I was ready to hear that I was pretty far along because of all the work and pain I had been through but I soon found out I was anything but. Because of the vomiting I had become dehydrated, and because I was so severely dehydrated the contractions weren’t as effective as they should have been. I was a mere 1 centimeter dilated, and I was devastated to hear that. The midwife tried to reassure me that the contractions weren’t for nothing because I was 90% effaced, and she proceeded to hook me up to an IV to start getting me hydrated.

After 3 hours at the birthing center and barely any progress in the dilation department we were sent home to rest. Again, it was confirmed that car rides and laboring women don’t go well together.

Around 4:00 pm my contractions were back at being around 3 minutes apart so we all got back into the car to make our way back to the birthing center where I continued to labor until 10:00 pm.

Throughout the 24 hours my contractions would be in a regular pattern and then they would become irregular then regular again. It was an exhausting process on all fronts: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

We were given a couple of options. They were: 1. Go home and try to rest then come back again 2. Try to do natural labor progression methods to encourage dilation at the birthing center. With that option we were given the warning that we had to be prepared to last another 6 to 7 hours and that I would also have to be ready to possibly push for another hour or two on top of that. Lastly, we were given option number 3: Go to the hospital, get an epidural so I could try to get some rest and then continue the labor “naturally” after that.

We decided to go with option 3 to get an epidural and some rest. I was disappointed to be leaving the birthing center but knew it was the best choice given the situation and options.

When we arrived at the hospital around 10:30 pm the night of November 1st I didn’t have any idea that it would be another 24 hours before we would get to meet our baby.

Once the epidural was administered I was able to sleep. I remember thinking that the epidural was amazing, and while I wasn’t able to leave the bed, I was shocked that I could still move my legs quite a bit; I wasn’t completely numb like I had anticipated.

One thing after another kept happening so to try to make an already long story a little shorter I’ll give the abbreviated version of events. In addition to still being very dehydrated, I ended up having to get two epidurals because the first one wasn’t working properly, I developed a fever, pulmonary edema, an enlarged chamber in my heart, and fluid was filling up in my lungs, though they didn’t know that at the time. Also, the baby was in a transverse position, with a face presentation, and he was also a huge baby at 9 pounds, 5 ounces, something else we only found out after the birth. Thankfully the baby was doing well despite all the issues that came up so things never elevated to an emergency.

By the afternoon on November 2nd, we made the decision to break my water to try to help things progress. I was feeling hopeful when I got up to 8 centimeters but then I stalled there for 5 hours! Yes, 5 hours.

After being at 8 centimeters dilated for 5 hours the doctors started throwing around terms like, “Failure to progress”, and they told me that we needed to start talking about doing a c-section. They said I had no other options, and that my body wasn’t going to dilate anymore. I was completely devastated. I’m the last person that I would’ve guessed who would have ended up with a c-section. Every decision we made from the very beginning was to try to have a natural birth so when it came down to having to do a c-section I knew it wasn’t happening unnecessarily, and for that I was very grateful.

The c-section was weird. The room was really bright and cold. They told me not to move or twitch and they had me under a blue paper tarp. It was all a blur of exhaustion and drugs, and I could barely keep my eyes open. After about 10 minutes I heard about 5 people in the room yell out, “He’s HUGE!” and then the baby was laid on my neck area so I could meet him. He was covered in goo and then transported to the NICU for three different things that all, thankfully, ended up being okay.

When I was first checked into the hospital the nurses put a band on my wrist that had a bar code on it and then before I was given any medicine they would scan the bar code. It sounded like when items are scanned at the grocery store. I just kept thinking, “I wonder how much this all of this is going to cost?”

We ended up leaving the hospital after 4 days (the baby was in NICU the whole time which cost over $9,800 per night!), and a few weeks later the bills started rolling in. Statistics show that the majority of people who end up filing for bankruptcy do so because of medical bills, and it’s no surprise why. If we didn’t have insurance we’d be in the same position of having to consider bankruptcy.

It’s easy for me to think about all of the the what-if’s, and after going through this I have a lot of questions and concerns about our healthcare system. How is anyone supposed to pay a hospital bill that is so incredibly massive? Why is it that other countries are set up the way they are and the United States, despite all of our technology and advancements, are so far behind when it comes to healthcare? How do we as a society let some people fall into the depths of financial despair when they are just trying to keep themselves alive? And, are the costs of the procedures in the hospitals completely inflated because it’s assumed that insurance will pay for the majority of the costs?

I just don’t get it.

Our birthing center birth was supposed to cost us $1,500, and our 4 day, c-section, NICU hospital birth ended up being $110,618.02! Which is a completely disgusting amount of money. Insurance is covering $104, 547.18 so we’ll end up paying around $6,070.84.

A few resources:

  • For healthcare rates: Healthcare Blue Book
  • For support with coping with an unplanned c-section: I-CAN (The International Cesarean Awareness Network and interestingly enough their post today is about c-sections that occur due to “Failure to Progress”.)

 

I’ve got a few questions for you: What do you think about our healthcare system?, Do you think the Affordable Care Act will make our healthcare system better or worse and why?, and if you’ve had a baby where you’re birth plan drastically changed how did you cope with it? 

**Update January 13, 2014

  • I’ve been thinking about this post a lot and don’t think I adequately relayed that laboring without drugs was really, really special. There’s no doubt that it was incredibly intense but it also very doable and manageable. Had my labor not been so long there’s no doubt in my mind that I would have been able to go through with the delivery drug-free. It’s so amazing what women’s bodies are capable of! The experience of laboring with my husband by my side and supporting me throughout it also brought us a lot closer together. It’s such a bonding experience that I would recommend drug-free labor for that reason alone!
  • We are so thankful that we had a doula. In some ways she supported my husband more than me. We both highly recommend having a doula because she was an objective, non-emotionally invested person who was able to help guide us through some of the decisions we had to make on the spot. We were able to have a doula free-of-charge because she needed to volunteer with a family to get in with this doula referral company here in town. Doulas are definitely worth their fees but if money is an issue for you look for a doula-in-training. Most doulas need to assist with a certain number of births before they can be on their own.
  • The above post didn’t mention what we will have to pay to the birthing center for the amount of time that I labored there and for the IV fluids. We are still waiting for that bill to come in.
  • If you’re in the Denver area there is a center that specializes in working with people around the issues of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum issues. It’s called The Catalyst Center, and it’s in the Cherry Creek area of town. They’ll do a free initial consultation to make sure you’re meeting with a therapist that can address your needs. I was disappointed to find out that they don’t take insurance (such a bummer) and each session is $140. They do offer some scholarships of 10% off, and if they have more than 1 scholarship available they will consider combining 2 so you can get a 20% discount.
  • The ICAN group that is mentioned at the end of the post has monthly support meetings.
  • A friend of mine also recommended another idea for support. She suggested looking into a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) group since a lot of those women ended up having un-planned c-sections.
39 comments

39 thoughts on “My $110,618.02 Birth Story

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  1. Christie LeBouef

    Your surprise C section reminds me a lot of mine. And I’m very surprised to learn there IS a support group. I’ve told several people after recounting my birth story to them that I need a support group to cope with it, only half sarcastically. I too had a big baby boy via unplanned C Section (9lb 12oz to be exact). And I too had intended to deliver naturally, although at the hospital instead of a birthing center. I didn’t know about those at the time of my son’s birth. I can certainly relate to your story. As for the healthcare system… It makes my head spin to think about it so I try not to. ;)

    Reply
  2. Natalie

    Dear Anna,

    I am so sorry to hear about this experience. As a regular reader of your blog, I am so happy to have found your awesome site, which is always full of resources on how to enjoy the good things in life without spending a lot of money. I too live in the Denver area, and your story hits home–literally and figuratively–for me. I’m close to paying down the small amount of debt I have left, and after that, my husband and I hope to start saving aggressively not only for a home (someday…) but for emergencies and fun things.

    My best friend had an emergency c-section, and she had a similar experience. What she thought would be an easy, ‘routine’ birth turned out to be a three day nightmare full of painkillers and a severe allergic reaction. She has semi-recovered physically but she is still recovering emotionally and mentally. It has been really hard to see her go through this. As you can imagine, her bills are crazy as well.

    I will keep you in my thoughts as you continue to recover.

    Kindly,

    Natalie

    Reply
  3. Lesley Myrick

    Thank GOD for insurance. Even having to pay over $6k out of pocket is a lot – but that final total is just frightening.

    Glad to hear that you and baby are healthy and safe, and that so much of your delivery was covered by insurance. But oh my goodness, there is something REALLY wrong with the US healthcare system. I’m from Canada (although I now live in CA) and it’s been a huge adjustment dealing with health insurance in the states. I definitely took it for granted growing up.

    I’m giving birth any day now (I’m due on January 9th) so here’s hoping that things go smoothly. I’m fortunate enough that my work offers pretty decent health coverage – for me. Not for my spouse or dependents. My husband and baby will actually be on separate plans that have much lesser coverage and higher deductibles. But it’s the only way that we could afford it with the “Affordable” Care Act.

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  4. Sarah

    Holy crap, that’s an expensive birth. Glad you only had to pay a small portion of the total… but still.

    As far as the Affordable Care Act goes, I think it has done some good things – particularly for states that didn’t require maternity coverage – but it doesn’t do nearly enough to control costs or prevent medical bankruptcy.

    Frankly, they can subsidize premiums all they want, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot if families are on the hook for annual deductibles as high as $12,700. (Yes, that is the deductible for our new catastrophic plan. It was all my husband and I could afford on the New York exchange.)

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  5. Amy

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I had a baby earlier this year and for me, the most physically painful part was healing from the stitches, after having a big baby born via forceps. After pregnancy, labour and delivery, yes, those were the most painful.

    I am floored by the cost of the hospital birth in the US. In the UK, where I live, the out-of-pocket cost on the NHS is zero. My husband and I chose to deliver privately in the end, and the cost (mainly covered by insurance for us) was about $30,000 – at one of the so-called tony, private hospitals. Bottom line, it makes you question what accounts for the vast difference in costs and where all those extra dollars are going.

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  6. Jenny

    I had a similar experience. Although not exactly the same, I went into my labor planning for a natural birth (although at a hospital) and ended with a c-section. I have birth defects in my reproductive system that I knew could have caused problems, but had a completely uneventful pregnancy and thought labor may be the same. I had two epidurals because the first “traveled” up to the top right half of my body. After Amelia’s heartrate continued to drop drastically and my labor completely stalled out at 4cm, I agreed a c-section was best. My sister is a nurse and fortunately was there which helped me feel better about that decision (not quite as defeated). Having gone into it knowing a c-section was a possibility, I think my feelings about my ideal birth not happening are different. I felt defeated at the time – like I couldn’t make it through with my “plan” – but it didn’t take long at all to be at peace with it. It’s what my body and what Amelia needed to get her into the outside world safely.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I am SO glad you’re both doing well! And I am SO relieved to see that insurance paid most of your bills. It’s just horrifying how much hospital stays and surgeries cost.

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  7. Jill

    Anna-
    So sorry to hear about your experience but happy to hear that everyone is healthy. I went thru the same experience 25 years ago this month when my son was born. I had a perfectly normal pregnancy, with some extreme morning sickness, but still normal. After 3 hours of pushing, they decided there was failure to progress but it was too late for a c-section. My son, who ended up weighing 9 lb., got stuck and was without oxygen for over 4 minutes. He went into seizures and his apgars were 0 across the boards. Luckily he was life flighted to a childrens hospital and is now fine. But he spent 2 weeks in the NICU (god bless all of the employees there) He turns 25 this month and I am thankful every single day that his life was saved. As for cost, he cost $12,900 (25 years ago) but thankfully we also had good insurance. I don’t know the answer for the high insurance costs, but I am so happy that we had insurance and incredible nurses and doctors. Also, I went on to have 2 more kids, both by c-section. My doctor said I could have any kind of birth I wanted after my son’s – he was at my command. I know it’s upsetting to not have your natural childbirth but some things are just not meant to be. Congratulations on that healthy baby boy!

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  8. Anna

    I thought my bill of nearly 60,000 was insane! We were sent in on a Monday, 36 weeks along because I had preclamsia. I wanted only an epidural but no other meds. I had my son on Wed night after multiple medications, some made me not even be able to see straight- litterally everything shook in my vision like vertigo. We were there till Saturday. Luckily for good insurance we only paid about $7000. Its crazy how our medical system works. I can only hope it gets better!

    Reply
  9. Dana

    I’m sorry you had to go through that. You are blessed to have a healthy baby. We found out less than a month ago that our baby boy has a rare and serious combination of heart defects. Our time with him once he leaves my womb is unknown. His little heart is so broken. We are going to be faced with some hefty hospital bills from all the tests, ultrasounds, etc. leading up to the birth in March – not to mention those from the upcoming birth, necessary heart surgeries, and lengthy stay at Children’s Hospital in Omaha. On top of the profound emotional and physical toll – we are going to be incredibly stressed financially. None of this is fair. I’m learning that the healthcare industry definitely doesn’t give you a “pass” when you have an unborn baby with life threatening health issues.

    Reply
    1. jim

      Dana,
      I’m so sorry you’re facing this. The only thing I can say is that my SIL had a preemie at Children’s Hospital in Omaha and those nurses/doctors were unbelievably incredible. I mean like they were angels sent straight from heaven. Sending you, hubby and baby our best.

      Reply
    2. Nikki

      Dana,
      Without knowing exactly what your child’s diagnosis is, I don’t know if this story applies but here is a blog about a little boy born with HLHS and a number of other issues. The bottom line about him now is that he is a really cute kid who will turn five in March. There’s a large community of parents who have been in your shoes and would be happy to help as much as they can. There’s a number of links from this blog, too.

      http://grantmeaheart.blogspot.com/

      Reply
      1. Dana

        Thank you for your comments, Jim and Nikki. It feels like a bad dream. I’m just now discovering that I’m part of this “tribe” of heart parents who have been through hell trying to keep their babies alive. The blog about the little boy grant is encouraging as he has a similar complex CHD diagnosis. Heterotaxy is apparently quite rare – and our boy likely has it too. I appreciate your support. I know every mother has different struggles pre- and post-birth – and that things don’t always go as planned. I wish the financial aspects of things were not such a big stressor on top of everything else. My best to Anna and all of you.

        Reply
  10. Tara

    It’s so tough – having this idea in our head of how something should happen – especially something as momentous and anticipated as the birth of your babe.

    But… no matter how you do it, the most important thing is the safety of your babe. Labour is such a small event in the huge journey that is raising your child. And regardless of how you got him out, you carried and grew that baby. You did that. It’s an accomplishment to celebrate.

    As for the $110,000 birth – that blows my mind. I’m Canadian. A birth is covered by our health care program. I have no idea how much it cost to have our girls. I didn’t pay a thing.

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  11. Nalani

    I live overseas in Qatar and they actually have a very good healthcare system. They are building a huge new state of the art hospital that will open later in the year, I can’t wait! We don’t even pay taxes, but the healthcare is essentially free. A normal delivery in the state hospital would run about $30 and that’s with a 2 night stay. If there was a need for a NICU stay or something like that might cost you $100 and this is all without insurance. We have been to the ER a few times for minor things and our only payment is for prescriptions, usually about $3-5.

    We went to a private hospital for both my girls, so my husband could be there (men aren’t allowed in the public women’s hospital). We paid out of pocket for everything, I had an epidural and neither of the girls needed anything special and it cost us $3600. This was for a private cushy room, great food, 2 night stay and a good overall experience.

    I can’t even imagine going back to the US and dealing with healthcare! I’m actually very concerned about it. It is seriously out of control and something needs to happen. It doesn’t need to be like it is.

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  12. Allison

    I rarely comment on blog posts, however a first hand story of the mystifying US healthcare system and a birth story that echoed my own moved me to type (at the risk of over-sharing). I write from Australia and your medical fees seem so outrageous it is hard to believe they are indeed real.
    I have given birth twice and each experience deviated wildly from our birth plan. And despite happy, healthy babies which we know we are blessed to have, I think it is okay to let the disappointment of a failed birth plan and shock of such intimate intervention rest a while with us. Time does soothe, but the sense of rawness and vulnerability stayed for sometime the first time and lingers still from my second labour. It’s part of my story and it’s okay.
    As an aside, the births and hospital stays (and prenatal appointments) didn’t cost us a cent. Our only out-of-pocket expenses were for some GP appointments (around $30 after our Medicare pays for some), and two of our four ultrasound scans (about $180 each). My friends who choose to use private obstetricians end up paying around $6-7000 of which their insurance may pay up to half. Whilst there certainly are faults with our healthcare system, a system with prices so inflated that they force people into bankruptcy or to go without treatment all together seems like absolute lunacy.

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  13. Frambooske

    *delurking*
    That is one scary bill!!! I’m in the UK and whenever I read things like this it reminds me how lucky we are here. We were lucky and had a straightforward delivery, no idea about the costs involved. The only thing I paid for were hypno-birthing sessions out of own choice.
    So glad you’ve got insurance, $6000 is still a huge amount of money, but $110000 feels life ruining to me… scary. Take care!

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  14. Pieliekamais

    Wow…
    I’m so sorry you had to go through all that.
    In both “my” countries, Latvia and Sweden, having a baby is free or almost free, I think. This is ….. no words.
    Thank you also for a well written account. Enjoy your family :)

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  15. Rose

    Wow just wow.
    I had no idea child birth in the US cost so much!
    Thank you for sharing this, truthfully my mind is blow. As Canadian, it is shocking to no end the medical costs in the US.
    Congrats on you and your new family addition :)

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  16. MsT

    Uff. So sorry you didn’t have the birth you wanted. But glad everyone is still in good health. In this country, health is indeed wealth.

    A coupla things about the Affordable Care Act:

    1. At its inception it was always a conservative health plan. It was in fact originated by the Heritage Foundation–a conservative think tank.

    2. Romney implemented the plan while he was Gov. of Massachusetts. I lived in MA during his tenure and thought the health insurance was ok. Better than nothing. My husband and I were young and had no health issues so we didn’t need to have serious coverage.

    3. The Affordable Care Act as it stands now is basically a compromise that puts the American people at odds. It helps with some things but it is not enough when shit really hits the fan. It is a half measure. Personally, I feel President Obama should have gone for single payer health insurance instead. Although that may be a pipe dream given the current state of American politics.

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  17. Karly

    I had great insurance as well, when I had my daughter five years ago. I was still left with a hospital bill I couldn’t afford. I was a single mom with a newborn and a full time student with one semester of college left. My mom went to the hospital without telling me, went to the billing department and told them my story. They completely waived the rest of my hospital bills. The amount was only a few hundred, but it might as well been thousands to me. It never, ever hurts to beg for mercy.

    Reply
    1. jim

      Karly,
      Yours isn’t the first story I’ve heard about going in and telling them what kind of financial situation you’re in. I know a number of people who have done that and have left with little or no expenses. Good for you. Good for your mom.

      Reply
  18. Anna-Marie

    It’s almost (not for births) cheaper to fly to another country and receive medical care. Medical tourism is a a big industry now. I have many medical issues and am planning on leaving the US because the heathcare here is about to go to pot, and I cannot afford to let that happen to me. Socialized healthcare does not work for people with chronic illnesses. I’m planning on moving to Costa Rica in 10 years. I do not plan on returning to the US after I get settled. It’s too bad this health industry continues to go unchecked. Drugs are outrageously expensive, and the “government” doesn’t do anything about it. I’ve lost hope that anything will change.

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  19. Catherine

    Hi Anna, long-time reader, first-time commenter here. I’m so sorry to hear that your birth didn’t go as planned, and I’m happy that you and your sweet boy are doing well. It’s completely normal and healthy to grieve the loss of your imagined birth, even as you fall in love with your baby.

    I had a similar experience with my first son five years ago and was in labor for two days before the c-section, then we spent a total of five days in the hospital because he was jaundiced. Even with good insurance, the bills were shocking.

    When I became pregnant the second time, I had to fight tooth and nail to even attempt a VBAC, and we switched to a higher-cost insurance that provided 100% maternity coverage, just in case of another c-section. That was necessary in the end, though my VBAC attempt was beautiful and healing.

    Thank you, too, for mentioning ICAN. They basically saved my life in those early days when I was grieving as a new mom, and I’ve been active with them for many years.

    Best of luck to you!

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  20. Audrey - TLS

    First of all – how in the world did I miss that you already had your baby boy?!!!! Somehow I was convinced that he was coming in February – major fail from my end. I blame my pregnancy hormones for all the wholes in my brain ;)

    Second of all, so glad to hear you’re all healthy, even though you didn’t get the birth you had imagined. I’ve been blessed with two natural births, and am planning on giving birth with midwives at the birthing center for the 3rd….but who knows how it will turn out! we can only prepare ourselves so much. By the way, did you have to pay your birth center on top of the hospital? We’ve committed to the 5K costs with the birth center and know we’ll have to pay that even if I have to go to the hospital for emergency – what is it like for you?

    And as for the cost of healthcare in this country, don’t even get me started. I love the US so much and have adopted it as my new country, but really, something’s got to be done about healthcare. COming from Europe where you pay nothing for things like giving birth, it still baffles me that a country as great as the US doesn’t care better for its citizens. Something like keeping people healthy is a no brainer, it’s should be a *right* for everybody, we should all be equal in that regard. The ACA is just not enough, the system needs a complete overhaul but sadly I am afraid that will never really happen. Too many big companies playing a big money game here. It’s not even really about the care patients get. I often feel like nobody really has the patient’s best interest at heart. Long vent, this topic makes me so sad. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

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  21. Ellie-Mae

    What the ever loving fuck? I am so glad I live in Australia, I actually got a cheque off the government when I had both my babies, and my hospital stays cost me nothing.

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  22. Edith

    Anna, so sorry for your experience. I experienced the same thing only almost 37 years ago. The one difference is that I was not allowed to labor as long as you before they made the decision to do a section – I also had a drive to and from the hospital with no admission, followed by more time at home. My problem was that my uterus contracted in an hour glass shape, which was basically ineffective. My boy was 9 pounds and 11 ounces. The doctor tried forceps, but couldn’t even get them near his head without injuring me! Thus, we had the c-section. Back then, most insurance companies only carried a “maternity” clause which only covered a set amount on births after paying for the doctor. We negotiated the balance, got it reduced and paid out the balance. They were easy to work with and, although scary and unnerving, was not unbearable. I feel for young moms, like you and others, who end up with such extreme costs for something that should be a natural part of life – continuation of the human race! The healthcare situation certainly has gotten out of hand. Blessings to you and your little one. Enjoy and love him!

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  23. Tanya

    That is shocking to me! As a Canadian, for the birth of my daughters, I went to the hospital, had them (difficult deliveries both times) and went home without paying a dime. I was induced for both, had to stay a day longer with one. It makes me grateful for our system, imperfect as it may be, to know it doesn’t cost us to bring our children into the world. I’m glad you had insurance and maybe one day things will cost less or nothing!

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  24. Marlo

    Let me just start by saying I don’t know a ton about the Affordable Care Act. I’m a pharmacist, so I really ought to know more! What I do know is that the idea behind it is that in forcing everyone to have healthcare insurance coverage, you reduce costs of providing healthcare to people who are uninsured. Uninsured typically use emergency services for minor issues, when they have no primary care person to see. If they cannot pay, this costs the facility money, and drives inflation. Also, by having an open market for insurance where people can choose their plans and insurance providers, there is competition that should drive the cost down for the buyer.

    Not sure any of that will actually work as it’s supposed to.

    I think that there is some tendency among medical billing to bill for as much as you possibly can, because insurance is paying for it, and the facility will get paid the most money that way. But the real dead end is when it ends up being the full financial responsibility of the patient. Such is the way of our capitalist society, healthcare is treated as a business, not a human right.

    But what if medical care were funded all by the government? Would it fall the way of public schools or city streets? Idk. Just my (mostly uninformed) thoughts. I feel lucky to be insured, I’m sure you do too!! Congrats on your healthy baby!

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  25. Viktoria

    Wow. It is crazy to me how expensive health care is in the US! I’m glad you had insurance and only had to pay a small portion. But, $6000 is still crazy expensive to me. I’m in Canada and I’ve had two kids (a third on the way) and never saw a bill for anything! Extra bonus, is in Alberta (where I am) midwives, home births, and birthing centers are all covered now as well – so we have options. After my first was born my husband was diagnosed with cancer (he went into the hospital a week after my son’s birth). I can’t even imagine how we would have coped with the medical expenses if we didn’t live here!

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  26. mariko

    wow, this story is identical to my son and daughter in law all the way up to the c-section. she actually delivered after pushing 7 hours! a 9 pound baby for a petite barely 110 pound mom. and since she was uninsurable (due to her scoliosis a “pre-existing condition”) they got the whole bill. She is one of the healthiest people I know and it makes me sick that no one would insure her. We need to learn something from other countries who have it figured out!

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  27. Lucia

    I moved to the US from a “free health care” country, and I find it ridiculous that one of the most powerful countries in the world doesn`t provide its citizens with any kind of health care. I mean, I pay sooo much taxes here and where are they going? I`d gladly pay one more percent of my paycheck towards health care in order to be able to go to a doctor when needed. I had a pretty bad sinus infection a few weeks ago (nothing to be compared with giving birth…), but I couldn`t afford to go to a doctor and get the proper medicine. It was dragging for weeks while taking all kinds of over-the-counter drugs and drugs sent by my Mom from Slovakia.
    The Affordable Care Act won`t change much. I was very excited about it at first. The company I work for offers a great insurance, but I couldn`t afford it! So no health care for me, and I know ton of people who are willing to pay a fine at the end of the year, because it`s still going to be WAY cheaper than paying for the insurance.
    Sorry for being so negative, but unfortunately, the health care/insurance situation really upsets me.

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  28. Michelle

    Anna!! I am so thankful that you’re ok. This story has completely freaked me out. Also, I can’t believe the teeny tiny was 9 pounds as you are so small. Thankfully you had insurance and only had to pay a fraction of the amount. People who say that they are from “free” health care countries forget that they are paying for it with their taxes. You aren’t wrong in stating that this is a RIDICULOUS amount. Again, am thankful you’re ok.

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  29. Chelle Rae

    That is an insanely high bill! I’m glad to hear you and Henry are well. I also had a surprise c-section. It was my second pregnancy, and my first labor had gone so smoothly that I had no clue what I was in for. They gave me ketamine (sp?) which I later found out is the same drug that goes by the name “Special K” and is a crazy hallucinogenic! So not the way I want to remember my first time meeting my son. It was definitely a trip! In the end, all that matters is that you were both healthy and well, and that you had insurance!!! Phew!

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  30. Michelle B

    Firstly, I am sooooo grateful that I had my c-section in Canada. I had the best care for it I could hope for at one of the best hospitals in the country and my bill was $0. I can’t even wrap my head around your figure.

    Firstly, keep focusing on the outcome rather than the process. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how your son got here.

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  31. Sarah Lorsung Tvrdik

    Thank you for sharing your story, sweet Anna. I’ve read it a few times now as I get closer to my due date and I wanted to congratulate you properly on your beautiful little Henry. Despite things going far from your plans, I am so happy for you guys and am so happy you’re ok. You’re such a cool lady and I know everyone in your life has to be so proud of you for getting through this. Hope you’re snuggling up with your little guy as I type this! xoxo Sarah

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  32. Susanna

    I too had a similar experience 21 years ago. I was allowed to go to 42.5 weeks before I was induced. The next morning after some serious drop offs of baby’s heartrate, an emergency c-section was performed. My babh boy weighed 9 lb and 13 oz. Almost 3 years later I planned a VAC delivery, but ended up with blood pressure issues. After 15 weeks on bedrest, I had another c-section at 35 weeks. Both babies were fine and have grown up healthy. Thank God for modern medicine.

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