Archive | June, 2012

My shoulder

27 Jun

My shoulder is moving in a few weeks. She’s not going far – just to the other side of the bay, no more than 10 minutes by car. But when your shoulder has been 100 feet away for the last two years, 10 minutes seems far. I have cried and laughed on that shoulder.

My shoulder was there when Cooper passed away and we barely knew each other. She was there when I brought Lucy home from the hospital and we were still getting to know each other. She was there when we were broke, thinking about leaving and knew each other well enough to be sad about it.

I was there when she went into labor with her second baby. I was there when they came home an expanded family. I was there when they made wonderful business expansions and life decisions.

We’ve shared chisme and chocolate and New Year’s Eves…parenting advice, beers, and trashy magazines. She brings me warm bread, hot chocolate, and humor [among so many other things]. I bring her leftovers, toilet paper, and insight [or so I think].

Our girls have grown 19 months together – more sisters than friends. Kind of like us.

By the time we return from our trip, my shoulder will have moved. Her little house on the hill will be empty. The neighborhood will feel a little less neighborly.

I know she will still be there, but I will feel a little crooked without my shoulder nearby.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Lost and found

25 Jun

Lost and Found Box

I didn’t tell the landlords when the money went missing.  Even though it disappeared on a day when the only person with access to our house was the cleaning lady.  I didn’t say anything because I couldn’t be certain that I hadn’t misplaced the money.  I didn’t say anything because I didn’t have proof of theft.  I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to be the reason that someone lost her job. I didn’t say anything because I felt stupid for having left the money in a place where it could be taken. I didn’t say anything because we haven’t had a problem in over 4 years.  I didn’t say anything because I felt guilty for having $100 that someone else thought she needed.  I didn’t say anything because I am considered a “have” in a country of “have nots.”  I didn’t say anything because even though losing $100 totally sucks, it’s not my end and it could be someone else’s beginning.

The following week, my earrings went missing – while I was in the room with no one but the cleaning lady.  This time, I said something.  And it wasn’t about the earrings.  It was about the fact that someone else felt entitled to my things. I said something because I decided that if I didn’t, I’d be perpetuating the problem.  I said something because I felt violated.  I said something because I was angry that someone assumed I possessed so much that I wouldn’t notice if I was without.  I said something because I was conflicted about feeling that I needed to apologize for having.  I said something because I was disappointed that she didn’t feel she could ask for help.

I said something and three days later, she returned my earrings.  And now I feel vindicated in my suspicions and saddened by their truth.

Cost of Giving Birth at a Private Hospital in Nicaragua

21 Jun

I’ve received enough inquiries about the cost of giving birth at a private hospital in Nicaragua that I thought it was time to share the knowledge.

Lucinda was born at Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas, in Managua.  To the best of my knowledge, it is the highest quality hospital in the country.  In addition to a wonderful OB department, the hospital also has a fantastic pediatrics department.

All told, we spent $2,200 for an all natural labor and delivery and approximately $1,000 on prenatal care.  I had a very healthy and relatively “easy” pregnancy, without complications.  I am 99% certain that I am missing some receipts from a few check-ups, ultrasounds, etc, so it’s probably safe to round the prenatal care up to $1,200.  This amount also includes some thyroid testing that not everyone will need.  In addition, at Lucy’s first check-up, we also ordered the genetic screening test (the heel prick) which tests for up to 60 possible genetic disorders.  I think that ran us about $250.

As we approached my due date, we were given the option to pre-purchase a Labor and Delivery Plan, which you can pay with a credit card.  Pellas offered 3 options.  Prices are from August 2010 and have likely gone up:

Plan de Parto ($610 for a private room; $500 for a semi-private room)

-1 day in a standard room

-The right to an epidural (note that this does not include the actual anesthesiologist)

-Use of the labor and delivery room

-Neonatal Day (nursing services and a pediatric “crib”)

-Determination of blood type and the Rh of the baby

-Basic medication for the mother and the baby for one day following childbirth

-Hearing test for the baby

Plan de Cesarea A ($725 for a private room; $670 for a semi private room)

-1 day in a standard room

-The right to an epidural (note that this does not include the actual anesthesiologist)

-Use of an operating room

-Use of a recuperation room

-Neonatal Day (nursing services and a pediatric “crib”)

-Determination of blood type and the Rh of the baby

-Basic medication for the mother and the baby for two days following childbirth

-Hearing test for the baby

Plan de Cesarea B ($950 for a private room; $800 for a semi private room)

-2 days in a standard room

-The right to an epidural (note that this does not include the actual anesthesiologist)

-Use of an operating room

-Use of a recuperation room

-2 days of Neonatal care(nursing services and a pediatric “crib”)

-Determination of blood type and the Rh of the baby

-Basic medication for the mother and the baby for two days following childbirth

-Hearing test for the baby

Not wanting to borrow trouble and having a natural birth plan in mind, we opted for the Plan de Parto and were reassured by the admin that if I did end up with a cesarean, they would only charge us the difference between the two packages.

It is important to note that this payment does not cover the cost of your doctors during your labor and delivery.  That price is negotiated between you and your doctor prior to your delivery.  At Pellas, in addition to your OB, a pediatrician is present during your delivery.  We paid $1,550 to our OB who then distributed proper amounts between himself, another OB, and the pediatrician.  I think we paid toward the high end because we actually had two OB’s present – one was my primary care OB and the other was the OB who performed all of the ultrasounds throughout my pregnancy.  Doctors usually do not accept credit card payments, so be prepared to pay in cash.  I do not recommend keeping $1,500, in cash, in your hospital room.  Instead, consider talking to your doctor, in advance, about paying him at your first postnatal visit, which will be a few days after your delivery.  We actually ended up paying in two installments, because it’s not easy to have that much cash around.

Below is a spreadsheet that outlines each individual medical expense, beginning with prenatal testing.

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