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the eric update - day 115: first visit from a home nurse. and kris' hospital bill arrives.

one of the advantages of living in the state of michigan is that it seems to have a fairly good set of support services for preemie babies and their parents. as i've written about previously, in addition to our "regular" insurance, eric also qualified for medicaid since he was in the nicu for longer than 30 days. and he's also qualified for other supplementary support programs that help pay the bills and provide access to a laundry list of services.

in addition to helping to pay the bills our county provides home health nurses that will stop by and weigh him and take his length and make sure we're not falling apart at the seams.

today was the first day the nurse dropped by; she was very nice and kept commenting how great odin looked. it was impossible to not secretly wonder if she's evaluating how suitable we are as parents and scribbling notes about not cleaning up all the dog hair laying around. but all-in-all she seemed fairly harmless and didn't seem like the kind of person who would take odin away for not keeping an obsessively clean abode :-)

note that this is not the same home nurse that will come and administer his rsv shots, so we've got a lot of nurses coming around the house.

he hasn't gained any weight since his last weighin, which could be cause for some concern if it continues to not keep up his weight gains. overall, he's gained an appropriate amount of weight since leaving the nicu, even though he hasn't added an ounce in a week. but if he's still sitting at 6 pounds 10 ounces in another week, we might need to think about nursing him less often since he doesn't get any caloric fortifier if he's not getting a bottle. the lack of fortifier combined with the increased energy that it takes to nurse could be the cause of him not gaining weight.

then again, it might be that he's just in a lull before packing on a few more pounds, so we won't make any changes until we see the results from his next weigh-in.

the home health nurse also measure his length which was about 19.25 inches, which means he's grown over 7 inches since he was born!

the final for kris' hospital stay finally came in the mail. remarkably, we only owe $500 on the $15,000 bill after insurance pays their part! i don't really know how we could owe so little since we have a 10% copay, but i'll take a break wherever i can get it. we still haven't seen a bill for little odin's stay in the nicu, but i'm guessing that it will probably be well over the intial estimate of $1 million USD. luckily, his medicaid coverage picks up the tab for everything that our insurance doesn't pay for, so we haven't had to pay a dime for any of his care.

in some small way we're lucky that he was in the nicu for longer than 30 days and qualified for medicaid, since otherwise we'd be in a world of financial hurt right about now.

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10/27/2004 11:18:00 PM 6 comments


Maybe you've reached your out-of-pocket maximum for the year and that's why the bill was so low? It is strange how insurance claims work though. We just got a surprise bill from the anesthesiologist who did Ethan's surgery in July of 2003. It was the leftover amount that the insurance didn't pay (we have a 25% copay on specialists) Hope you don't get any surprise bills like that.

As for the weight gain, I wouldn't really be concerned. He was gaining at an almost-too-quick rate before, so maybe he's just plateauing. Just remember to feed him whenever he starts showing hunger cues and don't try to keep him on a three hour schedule or anything. Also, the LC probably told you that one-sided nursing ensures that he gets more of the high-fat high-calorie hindmilk. They used to tell moms to nurse from both sides at every feeding, which of course leads to moms switching sides too soon before the baby gets the hind milk. (instead filling up on the more watery sugary foremilk) It is better to leave him on one side until he's completely done and comes off on his own or seems to be ready for the next side. I hope all goes well in the weight gain department. Also, make sure it's the exact same scale he is weighed on every time. Different scales can be off by as much as 10 oz. even if they are supposed to be accurate. Try not to stress over weight gain. Been there done that. If he's generally happy and making milestones and gaining weight over a series of weeks, there is no cause for concern over the occasional plateau. He looks great!!

By Blogger Candy, at 8:04 AM  

Fingers crossed he's just growing in length instead of weight this week and will begin to pack on the ounces again. Kris probably knows this, but she should try to get as much hind milk as possible into Odin. The last milk to come out of the breast has the most fat and calories. She can do this by nursing on just one side per feeding, or possibly by expressing some of the foremilk before he eats. Good luck!


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:41 AM  

It's called out of pocket max! Mine is also $500 per person ($1000 per family) which so much helped when I had a cat scan and the two kiddos had surgery this year!


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:49 AM  

Does he usually get weighed with his diaper on?

By Blogger pumpkinhead, at 2:03 PM  

Reading your archives, e4 was 6#10oz after surgery and 6#5oz before surgery and not having eaten for 8 hours, so perhaps this weigh-in does indicate a weight gain accounting for the water retention after surgery... just trying to confuse you with your own words...

LOL - Grandpa E

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:19 PM  

Count your blessings. We have blue cross, and still ended up with $1,300 out of pocket just putting Max in the hospital overnight when he had breathing difficulties due to bronchitis. Luckily my income doubled that month and I could cover it. Still, I would rather have bought a TIG welder. (smirk)

By Blogger Derek, at 2:12 AM  

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