Wednesday, October 28, 2009

So I had an appointment today with the doctor backing my midwife...

...and the baby is indeed not head-down. She is unstable, meaning she is moving around. As of this morning, she was transverse, oblique with her but by my right hip, head diagonal toward my ribs on the left. Since I'm also 35 weeks as of today and have already gone longer than the odds give me due to a bicornuate uterus we don't have a lot of time to spare if we're to get her head-down.

In her current position, if I were to go into labor right this second, it would be impossible for her to come out vaginally. She HAS to move. Stupid state laws won't allow a midwife to assist with babies who aren't head-down, and the stupid local hospitals won't allow anything but c-sections on babies who aren't head-down. We just don't have the money to ship me off to a state where a breech baby can be delivered vaginally, so we MUST get her to move 135 degrees clockwise. A c-section is just so incredibly risky. The back-up doc agrees, of course, and I trust him to truly want to help me avoid a c-section (he is so adamantly against women being forced into what he doesn't want that he is very, very close to losing his hospital privileges because he won't force women into c-sections for having breech babies and prior c-sections).

So inverse tilting, I got some acupuncturist names for moxibustion, a couple chiros for Webster's breech, and then, if that doesn't work in the next week, we're going to try an inversion. Since the placenta is posterior, this gives an inversion a higher chance of working.

I'm starting to go into denial about the fact that, should this baby not cooperate, I've got as much of a chance of being dead by my next birthday as being alive. At least being in a bit of denial is allowing me to function. The position of my small intestine and the adhesions just plain make a c-section too risky. We thought my intestine was behind my uterus for the longest time.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Busy busy busy

Busy busy busy busy busy. Did I say busy? I'm going to crack if things don't slow down!

Last Wednesday Charlotte was breech. That just confirmed what we'd already figured. Her hiccuping was being felt up by my ribs on the left side, and Cody had found her head up there as well. He's really very good at figuring out what's what in there. So when the midwife confirmed, I wasn't too shocked, but still upset. Just another string in bad news. Breech babies can't be delivered by midwives in this state, and few hospitals will allow it either, meaning forced c-sections (courts orders, if necessary). We managed to get her transverse, and then, thankfully, we think we have her back head-down. This is tricky for someone with a bicornuate uterus.

The septum makes it harder for later-term babies to move around. As you can probably tell, this also makes less room ultimately for babies to grow, which is why I am very likely to deliver a few weeks early. Over 80% of women with bicornuates deliver early, most by c-section due to breech. I have to hold on until 37 weeks. Any earlier and law says it's a hospital birth. I hate state laws regarding delivery of a baby that the state says I can kill up to 24 week of gestation.

I spent some time crying this last week over this. I do NOT want a drugged birth. I do NOT want to be cut open again. I do NOT want to die fro a c-section, which has a 50% chance of happening. Death from the c-section, not the c-section itself. My damned small intestine is adhered to the FRONT of my uterus (which makes for some interesting nights watching my guts move around, which makes me not want to eat because this reminder that my internal system is fucked up depresses me), meaning they'd have to cut through my intestine to deliver. It's a gray, "glued-together" mass that can't be easily separated by even a GI much less an ON/GYN with little or no experience with patients like me.

I hate my system being so screwed up. I hate feeling broken. Deformed uterus, colitis, seizures, fucking hell, can't anything with my body be normal? At least nothing is hereditary, and my medical conditions, aside from uterine abnormality, which is a defect present before birth, are directly the result of either the colitis itself somehow (either treatments or just how it effected me), or from when I was hit by that car. And I would NEVER have gone through with IVF if there was reason to believe there was any chance of passing this on to a baby. We did see a genetic counselor and have VERY in-depth screening and testing done prior to starting IVF.

Still, I can't believe Cody's willing to put up with all of this. When dating, it's so hard to find guys willing to emotionally invest in someone so physically screwed up. It's really easy to find a guy who gets all excited at the idea of sex with no chance of an unplanned baby. But a guy who wants a family, or is willing to accept one may not be a possibility, who knows my medical history and still loves me for me anyway? Well, we were very good friends for a long time before falling in love, so I never felt I had to hide any of my medical stuff from someone who was just a friend. And he got to know me for me. And I got to know him for him. (He was so incredibly respectful through his divorce toward his ex and put the smack-down on anyone who spoke negatively of her because she did nothing wrong, they were simply too young and married because of the wrong reasons. She's a dear, beloved friend of both of ours, and will be considered an auntie to our baby. This makes me so happy.)

Anyway, it does feel like she's back in her right spot. I'm having the pains I had before (mostly), and her hiccuping hits my pubic bone again, and her back feels like it's on my right side again.

Just a little over two weeks to go until she's welcome to pop out. We're still aiming for a home birth.

Also I am wondering how I never knew the awesomeness of sweet potatoes before this past July. Since then, I've been in love with sweet potatoes. Too bad they're so expensive. Anyway, if I weren't so tired, I'd go boil one up and mash it. We've got a couple 1.5lb suckers in the fridge. But no, I'm too tired to go move around. Pregnancy insomnia is different than my usual insomnia. I can easily be awake 36 hours at a stretch or more, only pregnancy insomnia has be feeling physically drained. I need to sleep a bit, then get to the post office today. Stupid post offices around here don't have those 24-hour automated machines, so this means having to get down there between 9 and 5, hard to do when Cody works 8 to 5 most days, meaning getting down there requires going with him to work and driving home so I have the car and can get to the post office. Oh well. Just knock a bunch of errands off the list today after a nap.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This month can end now.

The insane amount of moving the past few nights that's had me grumpy and unable to sleep may have been her moving out of a head-down position. She very much feels breech to the midwife, I felt what she was talking about, and I agree. So I need another ultrasound, and if she is breech and we can't get her to turn (very hard to get a baby to turn head-down with a bicornuate uterus), then it's going to mean a c-section after all. I feel so sick right now.

And so much for live-streaming the birth.


I might have to make one of these bacony heart attacks for Turkey Day this year. Bacon-wrapped duck stuffed in chicken wrapped with bacon inside a turkey with even more bacon. A nightmare for a vegetarian, and maybe enough to kill off all the vegans with aneurysms.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Positive thoughts needed for Cody's step-dad

Ironical enough, Cody just made a blog post lamenting the over-exposure of breast cancer research and how pink ribbons everywhere is desensitizing people to cancer research in general, making people more likely to say "no" right away to any donating to any cancer research at the check-out, etc., and that when it comes to gender-specific cancers (men do get breast-cancer, though rarely enough that this is often thought of as a woman's cancer), prostate cancer gets the short end of the stick, many stores running a week of prostate cancer fundraising before going back to breast cancer.

Well, yesterday his step-dad got the news that he has prostate cancer.

On the upside, he didn't wait forever to go get checked out. He's also fairly young (about 50), so, if he is indeed early-stage, the prognosis is very good.

On the downside, no one wants a diagnosis of anything major, be it a cancer or any disease.

We had all hoped he just had an infection, and were sure that's all it was. Ick.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Let me start this by saying: Cody got a raise. Just enough to bump him into the next tax bracket, not enough to make up the tax difference. This is a negative for us.

We're trying to decide whether or not we should keep health insurance. On Charlotte, absolutely. On us? That's the tricky question. It'll be nearly $5,000 per year through work, with an $8,000-deductible before anything's paid. On top of that, only a percentage is paid. For us, we'd have to spend $12,000 in a year for UHC to cover anything at all.

Adding Charlotte is $1,000 more per year than for the two of us.

Now, exempting the IVF we had, the totals for our medical care over the last five years or so is less than five years' worth of premiums alone. Even counting the midwife UHC's trying to not cover, even covering Cody's possible tonsillectomy (I say "possible," because I wouldn't put it past UHC to try denying that, even though tonsillitis is recurring for him, his only medical problem ever, lucky dog). If we had to pay for all of it out of pocket, less than five years of just premiums. In no year was even spent on our medical care to even touch the deductible, exempting IVF, which is not something that happens out of necessity to staying alive and healthy. If you want to add in the IVF cost, then we're still under the cost of five years of premiums plus deductibles. Only because IVF all happened in one year did we meet our deductible and have anything covered. We are not planning another IVF cycle. Ever. Any further children will be natural, with a chance of as close to 0 as can be for still having ovaries and/or a uterus.

So, since we, medical-necessity-wise, get less out of our insurance than we put in and pay out of pocket, we aren't convinced anymore that it's worth it. This is taking a large chunk of money out of our pockets each more, straining us severely. Starting over again in January, we'll have to pay $8,000 out of pocket before UHC covers anything. If we don't have $8,000 to spend, there's no point to insurance at all.

I know, I know, what about catastrophic events. Well, not only is the chance of those small and care given no matter what in the case of catastrophe, but our insurance has a cap on yearly care anyway.

And the thing I learned about catastrophe the hard way is that not everything is necessarily covered anyway. You may have a half-million-dollar hospital bill and find that $80,000 of that is for uncovered services, or services provided by someone at the hospital who is out-of-network when someone in-network was available. Especially in true emergencies, whoever is nearest and available is the one called to the job. If you have out-of-network coverage, you could find yourself on the hook for 30%, if not 100% of certain services. What's the difference between filing bankruptcy on $80,000 versus half a million? Nothing but the premiums you paid only to go bankrupt anyway. Thank my personal experience ten years ago for finding this out.

I'm thinking that, for us, it might be better to take the money we're pay on premiums for our own insurance and sock that away into savings. With our credit union, it's a great interest rate. And then getting Charlotte private coverage. If our typical yearly medical costs are less than our premiums, and then we'd have to pay a further $8,000, it seems we'd get ahead by saving instead. It's a gamble either way, yes, and there's a much higher chance that we'd spend more money on premiums than we would on care in any given year, which has been the trend.

We have some time to think it over more and decide. Can anyone give us any compelling reasons for KEEPING our own coverage rather than paying as we go from the premiums put into savings? (Again, Charlotte would still have coverage.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

33 weeks!

Today is 33 weeks. I posted this to FaceBook, "Today marks 33 weeks! Just 7 to go until my due date, but 4 until we can realistially start expecting her," and Cody replied, "I feel dizzy." That's just cute. Pictures tonight or tomorrow!!

Baby shower on Saturday. I'm nervous. Lots of people. I get nervous around lots of people. I get nervous going to the grocery store. I think I'm agoraphobic. Either way, more than two dozen people have RSVP'd yes so far.

Cody needs his tonsils removed. Every year he gets tonsillitis, and every year it gets worse. Last year he ended up in the ER twice. It got bad enough to develop into an inner ear infection severe enough to cause temporary hearing loss. So I got him an appointment for tomorrow. He'll have three weeks off when the baby's born, so, if the doc agrees about tonsil-removal we'll aim for sometime when he's off.

I rearranged our bedroom. Cody won't be thrilled that I did it by myself, but I was careful. Not a single thing stayed in place. Problem was our bed was under the window, which is surprisingly drafty given that this place is so new Google Maps still shows the foundation for satellite. But it looks good.

Also that co-worker who was in the accident in New York was supposed to be back at work today, but likely on limited duty. It's going to be too much for him to be out at the bar all day, so here's talk about moving the guy to Cody's position (at his current pay), and maybe moving Cody to the bar for a while. Kind of screwed up if that guy gets paid more per hour to do Cody's job while Cody gets less per hour to do the guy's job. Since the guy is back before the end of the 12 weeks, it's not like they can dock his pay. But if Cody's going to (maybe) do the guy's job, he should get that (higher) pay.

Don't know yet about back-pay. I think his managers here are looking into when the review period ended that this review was supposed to have been done in. He was definitely owed the raise by the end of that period, though whether he'll get the back-pay is in the air.

I'm discouraged.

Heh, nope, not banned from that forum, just told to "respect the rights of others to having as many children as they want regardless of ability to pay for them, even if the only plan is permanent welfare." I really can't stand people who think it's just fine to intentionally conceive babies but to not actually care enough about those babies to take care of them. What a way to promote responsibility. Don't intentionally conceive kids you know you can't afford, especially if you're already living 100% on welfare, don't see that changing, and do what you can to ensure the welfare checks keep coming. And don't get pissed off at me for saying how selfish and irresponsible it is to have babies like that. I wonder how many of them are fine with Octomom having over a dozen babies without ever working for a singe dollar of the money to support them, just planning on welfare with each one.


Have the buttons and buttonholes left to do on the little girl's navy dress. Of course my serger would decide to screw up when I was serging on the Wendy dress, throwing me back a couple days. Of course. Lovely. Well, that's where French seams come into play. They take about three times as long as serging, but look nicer.

Last week or so, there was the woman who questioned if WIC was a worthwhile program when it wouldn't pay for her preferred organic milk and organic brie cheese. This time someone asked:

is it irresponsible to have more kids?
When we can't afford health insurance for the one we have and have to have her on Medicaid?

When we have had foodstamps in the past year and only don't have them now because we made too much money in the past month(by $63, lol)...


Throughout this thread of almost 300 replies (and counting), and from other posts, it turns out she's a long-term welfare recipient receiving full benefits (section 8, Medicaid, etc.), but feels it's within her right to have as many kids as she wants, regardless of who pays.

Some other such stupid comments (not all from that poster:

money is a bad reason to do or not do things in general, i believe.

Oh really? So you'd go out to a fancy dinner and not let not having the money stop you because money is a bad reason to not do something?

I say if you want a baby, have a baby. It's your life and so long as you're not intentionally screwing over someone else to have another child, then go for it.

Oh. Good to know it's not screwing over the workers who pay thousands a year into the system for these people. It's not like working families have to do without basics often so that these people can have everything (some states are even passing out cell phones now to welfare recipients).

Except it IS screwing people over. Many working families could desperately use the money they're paying for able-bodied adults who refuse to work because they want more kids without supporting the ones they have. Many working families can't see doctors, and worry about paying the power bill and heating in winter, because they're having to financially support the kids of people who have them planning from the start to not support them.

, I'd gleefully live on welfare, foodstamps, WIC or whatever else I'd have to do to have one of them. And I wouldn't give a damn what any one on this thread, in this city, or on this planet thought about about it.

As far as I'm concerned, if you can feed him or her and keep him or her from freezing to death, you know in your heart that you'd never neglect or harm your child and you can provide the love and care that s/he deserves, don't let a soul tell you that you don't deserve every single child that God (or whatever higher power that you believe in) has to give you.

"if you can feed him or her..."...except this "you" is not. The taxpayers are. But clearly this person has no problem taking everything she could get, going by the first paragraph.

This comment was followed by a lot of support and people cheering her on.

There are a lot more comments like these, and a lot of support for those saying it's just fine to have kids and let others foot the bill. But I can't access the page now, probably banned by IP for the two comments I did make that were hella harsh, straight-up calling it selfish to conceive a baby with the sole plan for financial support from the get-go being to just go on welfare and make others pay, and saying that if workers have no choice about paying the financial support for the children abled people choose to have without intending to pay for them, then those people should be forced to work, even if it's making gravel. If you're of sound body and mind and choose to have kids, then not working at all, not even trying to get a job shouldn't be an option just because there are others who are working and paying taxes to force to pay up instead.

This is VERY different, however from someone who has kids when supporting them, then come upon hard times, lay-off, illness, etc., and need temporary assistance. That is what aid is supposed to be for. Aid isn't suppose to be used as a means from the start of long-term support. The first is genuine temporary need, and the second is created need that was entirely within the recipient's control.

Here is some common sense:

I guess I find it unfair that someone elses desires to have a child can be fullfilled because my taxes pay for it, yet I can't have that extra child because we can't afford it. That doesn't mean I don't support very temporary social programs, but I do not like the idea that anyone have access to aide and plan on using it when they are making the decision to have more kids or not. Social programs are supposed to be there for people who need it due to the current and temporary circumstances that arise out of things like illness, disability, marital changes or major employment changes. Not because people want to have kids added to a situation that can't support the current ones.

I agree. Cody and I wouldn't have conceived Charlotte if we weren't in a place financially at that time to be able to support her. We wouldn't have conceived her if we anticipated this rough patch we are in right now. We still haven't accepted a penny of aid, nor have we applied. It boggles my mind that people will intentionally conceive children without a plan to support them aside from taxpayer money.

I have known families in this poster's position, wanting another child, but unable to support another, so not having another. It's some sort of cruel irony that many working families could afford a/another child...if they didn't have to pay the financial support for people who have them without planning to support them.

I find it incredible how many people don't think people like this exist, the people who are perfectly happy to sit on welfare as long as possible. In that thread there are even some people who talk about how they make sure to keep income below a certain level by working part time to make sure their welfare isn't decreased. If welfare/section 8/food stamps/etc. benefits are really so paltry, then why are people only too happy to live on it as long as possible, to even go out of their way to make sure to stay on it?

How much longer can the economy really continue to support people who are unemployed BY CHOICE and keep punching out kids? When economic times are tough, there are fewer people working and more people receiving aid, fewer workers having to pay more to support more people. I'm not begrudging those with a genuine temporary need that wasn't their own causing. I AM begrudging those who create their own need and then stand there with their hands out and who don't plan to become contributing members of society until left with absolutely no other choice.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Busy day

O...M...F...G...! Talk about annoying bladder-bumping! You know that sharp, gotta-pee-right-NOW feeling you get when Little One hits your bladder? Yeah. It's 10x worse when the baby's hiccuping and hitting your bladder each time. That's what she was doing a little while ago.

Cody's managers here went ahead and did a review. They managed to get some info finally from his old managers. The review they got from the old ones was just a bunch of number based on nothing, and they didn't even consult with Cody's direct supervisor, the guy who worked directly with Cody every day. That guy's pretty indignant that these managers, who couldn't even always tell which employee is which, would put together a hasty review on someone they haven't actually worked with without any input from the supervisors who so work with that person.

Anyway they had one minor complaint listed that the managers here said they strongly disagree with.

So the gist of it is that yes, Cody should have received a raise based solely on what they did send, and he should have received it before the review period was over, which was months ago. So he's going to see about getting back-pay for the raise he was actually owed which, by the flat percentage that was the raise for that review period (everyone who gets a raise in a review period apparently gets the same percent), this would be a nice little windfall.

And his managers here will be giving him a raise. We won't know for a couple days how much, and it's not so very common for someone so new at a location to get a raise, but they really are trying to do right, and we appreciate this so much.

We went and checked out a house. It's not spectacular by any means, and the backyard needs to be landscaped, but we'd be allowed to do whatever we wanted with it, if we can get it. Painting is fine, whatever, and it would be so nice to get to landscape a yard and put in a garden. It's also got a large, wood play structure. Oh, AND it's 100% animal-friendly. Hardwood floors except in a couple bedrooms, and the garage has black-and-white checkered flooring. Kind of cool. We'll be submitting our apps and everything tomorrow. Fingers crossed. If we can get it, we're out of here November 3rd or 4th. HELL YEAH!

I found a nice little loophole to get us out of the lease here without it hitting our credit. If management won't do anything about the people upstairs, and then try to raise our pet rent without telling us, etc., then I don't feel bad about using this loophole. Besides, they'll have no problem re-renting this unit. The 3br-units here rent so fast.

The insurance company is trying to deny coverage still for a birth center birth as well as for a midwife birth despite these being covered benefits on the grounds that my midwife is actually a doctor specializing in midwifery and that there is an in-network midwife in the area who does births at a hospital. Okay. Let's see. First of all, my midwife is not a doctor. I already verified that with the State of California's licensing board. She is a certified nurse midwife, NOT a doctor. So they are wrong there. Second, the midwife they said I could use only delivers at a hospital, not at home or a birthing center, both which are covered benefits. So they are denying a provider who can provide covered benefits saying she's actually a doctor, which, as I stated, she is not. Third, the hospital-midwife they found doesn't accept patients less than a month away from the window where they're expected to give birth which, for me is the week of November 11th (I'm due December 2nd, but expected to deliver at between 37 and 38 weeks). They're also still claiming that a hospital birth with a doctor is an option.

Fuuuuuuck that. A doctor would try forcing me into a c-section which, thanks to my intestine being adhered to the FRONT of my uterus, would very likely kill me. And any doctor at this point wouldn't be familiar with my medical history. I would have an unassisted home birth before I consented to letting a stranger hack into me to try cutting through my intestine.

So I am filing an appeal and, if they still deny it, I will have no problem whatsoever taking them to court. It is illegal for an insurance company to advertise a benefit as covered (midwives for home-births and birth centers) only to deny covering it in practice. If they state it as covered and there isn't a provider in-network but there is one out-of-network, then they must still cover it. To do otherwise is to deny coverage of a covered benefit. Of the many people I've spoken with at United, about half of them have said this themselves. Yes, I've kept track of names, dates, reference numbers, etc.. They must cover it.

I've got a lot of documentation directly from United that backs me up on this too. I've got a letter where they claim that my midwife is a doctor instead, and that also states that a midwife I can see is at a clinic...that doesn't work with midwives. They are not offering in-network options, and have stated that there are no midwives within 30 miles in-network who provide the covered benefits, but that a gap exception would be extended if I found one out-of-network who would. I've done what they asked, only to be denied.

If they do not agree to cover in writing before Charlotte is born, we will sue them in small claims for the full cost of midwife care as well as for punitive on the grounds of refusing to cover a service advertised as covered as well as for the emotional distress this has caused. Small claims is easier than unlimited jurisdiction, quicker too, and the cap for small claims is high enough to cover what we'd ask for.

Well, well, well...

The old location is now actively trying to get Cody to move back. They're still short four people for his old position. When he left, that shorted them five, though one of those was a girl away on her honeymoon, so really four vacancies. If I recall correctly two of the other vacancies were from people who just outright quit in annoyance at the management. Regardless, they've still got four spots to fill. If, in this economy, in that area, in a tech area that has been his especially hard, they can not get all their vacancies filled, this is really reflective of some problems. Now I don't know if they've brought in new people to fill those spots and others are just quitting, or what, but in Silicon Valley, where layoffs happen by the thousands as jobs are outsourced overseas by the thousands (ffs, I ended up training my own replacements in Moscow under the impression they were to augment my team, not replace me!!), well, this doesn't sound so good.

So this gives weight to our suspicion that they were indeed trying to keep him there, hence all the lying to us about getting the transfer done, it's done, everything's fine, only to find out they'd done nothing and there we were a week away from moving when we found out.

Also they did the same thing to another of Cody's former co-workers when that guy transferred. I just found that out from the former co-worker. I wonder how many others who've transferred had the same or similar things happen.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Work stuff for the Code-Monkey

So. Cody's new managers had to get the district/regional people involved because the old managers were ignoring them, and Cody should have had a review, and by george, they intended to make sure he had the review and gets the raise he should each last spring!

Well. Now the old managers are replying, or sent a reply, as the case may be, that they did do a review.

Only there is no record of one ever having been done. The new managers can find nothing. On Cody's employee record, where there is a spot for the reviews to be posted, there is...nothing. Also the employees must sign off on the reviews as acknowledgment of the review. Only there isn't anything signed off on by Cody...because one wasn't actually done.

So the old managers lied to us and cost us money (by Cody not getting into one of the positions that were open when they were open, forcing him to take what was available at a pay cut), an nearly cost him a job altogether as it was only a stroke of luck that, at the end of his time off, one store just happened to list the position he's on now.

And now the new managers are being lied to as well. Kind of nice, in a sad way, that they're being lied to as well now, since it gives our complaints more weight. Other managers can now back up the dishonesty by the old ones.

Cody's definitely owed something for this.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pics, and wow are things every busy....

So my 32-week pictures, only a couple days late.

This pregnancy has made my scars and such so much more visible. Oh well.

From the front, I still have my normal shape. Kinda. Sorta. Generally.

Let's see. What else. A lot. In a nutshell, the people who live above us are the poster-family for entitled fuckwads who shouldn't have kids. They let their kids run and jump and scream (so much of the running and jumping, so hard it's knocked pictures out of place on our walls and I thought there must have been several kids the first few times, but it's just two), and when I asked them nicely about six weeks ago or so to please not let their kids do that, that I didn't know if they realized how much the sound carried down, they seemed understanding and nice, but it didn't stop.

Wednesday I finally went up there again, and they were hostile and just awful, and I found out the noise complaints about us were coming from them. These complaints made no sense because it is so dead quiet here most of the time. TV is rarely on, no music, dogs don't bark, etc.. I enjoy quiet when I'm alone, and when Cody's home, we still don't care for loud booming sound. The guy upstairs told me straight up if I wouldn't have asked them that, then they wouldn't have a problem with me, but I did, and so they're going to "keep trying to get [me] evicted." They both kept yelling at me that you can't control kids, kids are going to run and scream, it's what kids do, can't control them, I just have to get used to it. Um, yeah, you CAN control them. There's this thing called PARENTING. And today they filed a complaint claiming out dogs have been vicious and aggressive toward them, which is a lie. Not only are our dogs never around them, but these dogs are so submissive to other dogs it's embarrassing. A Yorkshire terrier, of all dogs, had them both belly-up at a dog park. I've spoken with management, and all they can do is nothing. Apparently noise caused by kids is protected by law, or some such crap, to prevent the chance of discrimination based on family status, and regarding the hostility, it's word against word on that one. But those freaks have lodged enough complaints that we are no longer allowed to transfer to another unit. There's so much more that they've done and said that it's become unbearable living here, which sucks, because this is a beautiful apartment and we just don't want to have to move again. But six weeks of complaints non-stop, and now finally finding who it's coming from and that they're dead-set on continuing is just too much.

So we are aiming to find a house by January. Not like we can really afford deposit and all but we have to try. I can't deal with those people trying to cause problems, having to deal with management on a near-daily basis as I've been doing for weeks now. Our baby deserves rested parents who can care for her instead of parents constantly on edge wondering what next.

On the insurance-front, no news really. Have to go through an appeal process with less than five weeks to go before I'm expected to possibly deliver. I'm due December 2nd, but am expected to deliver two to three weeks early. So got to be on the look-out starting November 11, just four weeks and five days from now.

Cody's managers here are pretty pissed. His old managers are still ignoring them, so they've had to take it to the district management to get clearance to do a review, and that may start a shit-storm because his old managers will probably have to account for why the hell they've ignored multiple attempts at contact from the managers here. If they ignore managers of other stores, it's going to call into question their fitness to be managers at all. Who knows what customer complaints they are ignoring. We like the managers here. They are actually taking action rather than being all talk, and they're keeping Cody in the loop, unlike the previous ones who it could take a couple weeks to get them to take two minutes to fill you in on something, and only when they can't get away from having to answer.

So. Insurance, possibly moving, and work stuff. Holy freaking cow.

In fun news, I've got a couple dresses to make, which is always relaxing. First up is a Wendy gown from Disney's Peter Pan, only it won't be like the parks' versions. Mine will be better because it will be more authentic to the look in the movie, and NOT made out of satin. It was a child's nightgown, not a ball gown like the parks make it out to be. Also the cut of the parks' gown is all wrong at the neckline, and in the movie, there are no visible sleeve bands. The gathers, when drawn in the film, concentrate toward the tops of the sleeves as well. So I'm going to make mine like the movie's.

The other is a little girl's navy regency dress. One of my favorite colors. Dark blues, absolutely. White trim, it's going to be adorable.

So tomorrow we'll be having breakfast with Cody's mom, seeing some of Cody's friends he hasn't seen in ages (if they're awake from partying late tonight before we decide to leave town and head back this way), shopping for the supplies needed for the dresses, and trying to figure out how on earth to send invoices with Google Checkout because I want to stop using Paypal. I hate Paypal. I hate Paypal more than I hate eBay, which is a LOT.

Also the worst game every invented is Facebook's FarmVille. I spend entirely too much time on it, like an hour a day or something. But it is good distraction. So good, bad, I don't know. I'm at a level 23 in six days. When I start to feel a lot of stress, into our room I go and off to mess around on the farm. I've even put a sandbox next to my black manor for Charlotte. It's a fun mental escape.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Angry. SO angry.

Our insurance explicitly states homebirths are covered, and if a provider of a service in network isn't available for a 30-mile radius of home, then a gap extension will be covered to the provider of our choice who will cover that service.

Well, after multiple phone calls with the insurance company making sure there are no in-network midwives in the area covering homebirths, and them saying they couldn't find any in-network midwives to begin with, I was told to file that gap extension and to go ahead and start seeing the midwife of my choice who does homebirths, which I did.

As of today, they are now denying coverage for my midwife and homebirth, saying, they've found two midwives at local hospitals, and though they won't do homebirths, I am to see one of them if I want coverage.

NO. Fucking NO. I will NOT go to a hospital where they will, without a doubt, try to force me into a c-section (not getting into it, but this is part of why I decided the midwife-route - no doctor I talked to would let me have a vaginal birth). I will NOT go see someone I've never seen before (presuming they'll even take someone this lat in pregnancy), especially when the baby's considered term in five weeks and I'm expected to deliver within six (despite my "due date"). ESPECIALLY when homebirths ARE a covered benefit under our insurance plan!!

So now, with very little time left, we have to file an appeal and wait for them to decide. If it were to come down to it, we would have an unassisted homebirth over a hospital birth. So far our midwife hasn't shown a willingness to drop us though.

I've got far too much on my plate as it is without adding this to the mix.

32 weeks

Yeah, I never got around to posting the 31-week picture. And today I'm at 32 weeks! I never thought I'd be happy to have a belly. But there's a baby in there! And my gods does she ever kick and stuff. She's more inside than babies usually are, so my belly's not protruding as much as most women this far along, meaning she's right up in there in my rib cage and I swear she feels about to fall out sometimes. As fun as the hiccups are, some of her punches and nudges outright hurt! However I won't complain. A year ago we were ramping up to do IVF, and not long before that, we weren't sure it would even be possible. So all this moving and discomfort just proves to me that she's in there, and I still have a hard time believing it, even when watching my tummy bounce around. And so I'm glad for it all. I'll take the discomfort and sometimes even outright pain for this little girl. It's a much more preferable and tolerable pain than the pain that comes with infertility and aching for a child and not knowing if one will ever happen.

This morning we have an appointment with our midwife. Cody has had to miss the last two appointments due to work, so this will be the first time in six weeks he'll get to hear his daughter's heartbeat Afterward we may meet with his mom for lunch. And then more busy stuff. So much is packing our agendas between now and the 16th.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Regarding the position my love wants back into

One of the guys who is in the position he was in, that he wants to get back into, has been in the hospital for several weeks. This isn't good for that guy, but, and I feel awful saying this, it could be good for us. California's Family Medical Leave Act required companies that fit certain criteria to hold a position for 12 weeks for certain events, and a serious car accident on the other side of the country qualifies. Come another four weeks and they can release that guy's position. Should he recover though and want to return, I wouldn't doubt that the GMs here would do what they could.

Also one of the guys currently in the position (there are several of the title) is considering transferring to another location closer to his home pending the outcome of his own review (depends solely on if the raise will be enough to justify the extra gas spent driving 30 more miles each way and the time it takes and such). I'm placing the odds right now at 35% in our favor of him getting into that position within the next month. It would help soooooooooo much.

If not in the next few week, then that other guy's position in another month or so may be a possibility. It would make far more sense to move Cody into that position than to hire anyone else into it. Why?

Well, to work that position, there is a three-week crash-training period. It's a week of intense self-study followed by two weeks at headquarters in Cupertino (a few people go to the facility in Texas if there are too many people needing to be trained for Cup). Of course the company pays for all of this, for the airfare and hotels and rental cars and food and all else that's needed, plus all the training is paid, of course. It's several thousand by the time all's said and done. Everyone in the world promoted to this position has to go to Cupertino. Cody had guys from flown in from Switzerland and Germany in his training group. So why spend the money training someone else when he's already trained and certified and is in a position that doesn't require this, and he's only not in the position because one wasn't open when we moved?

If his managers can get the review for him and get him the same percentage raise, this will take his pay, even in this position, up to only a few pennies less than he was making before. This would mean we are set. If he can get back into his old position, then that would more than likely come with a pay raise as well, meaning we would be better off than we expected upon moving here.

This was a reply I posted that is about the review part:

The new managers have actually already been trying to contact the previous ones for the info they need to do the review! However not surprisingly, the previous managers have been completely ignoring the new managers' requests. They're still trying, bless them. Raises aren't allowed out of the blue and have to come as either part of a yearly review or the result of moving to a new position (presumably to prevent the possibility of favoritism). Cody actually should have had his yearly review this past MARCH, so is long overdue - that's right, the old managers didn't do his yearly review, and now they're blocking the new managers who are trying to. No one has any respect for those idiots. I won't repeat what people have said about them, but there's nothing about them to respect. They're dragging that store down though. I don't see them being GMs much longer. These new ones, however, are a complete 180 and don't just sit around doing nothing, being elusive, as the old ones were, and they're trying to get Cody what he's overdue for.

So let's hope.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Positive thoughts, fingers crossed, whatever

Okay, so Cody should be getting a review this week since the old managers didn't ever do one as they should have. With review typically come raises. If he gets the typical percentage for his old position, that would help so much that we'd be able to get by. It would also help boost his pay more if he gets back into the position he should have been in, which it looks like one might be opening soon. I'm afraid to hope though.

We really and seriously want to get out of this state at some point. The goal has been by the time Charlotte's 2 years old. Life in this state is like the song "Rent" from the musical of the same name. Everything is rent. Rent rent rent, good freaking luck ever owning without becoming a millionaire or living in the horrid central valley. We still have our sights set toward Pennsylvania. The family I love as my own and see as my sister and brother (though they're married, so brother-in-law?) and nieces, who we consider to be Charlotte's family, are there. We don't need big-city living. We are completely happy being "old folks" and talking plants and basically being boring. There are things we do love about California, like the ocean and palm trees and the family we have right here, but looking at the long-term, this isn't going to be the place for us to settle. We just aren't rich enough, nor do we ever anticipate being, to live comfortably here for the remainder of our lives.


Apparently beggars CAN be choosers. On a forum I've been reading (and am about to quit) a mother asked if WIC is a worthwhile program when it won't cover the groceries she wants. Among other things, she's ticked that organic milk isn't covered, or her favorite cereals, nor are the organic cheeses she wants, and the beans she can get she doesn't want to feed her daughter. She said she'll just have to keep buying these things herself, but that WIC should. Another complaint she has is that appointments can sometimes take three hours, and this is a great inconvenience, though the office is only a block away from her home.

Oh cry me a river, Lady. There are families out there who don't get to buy these things at all, who work and make just a little bit too much to qualify, but not enough to buy any cheese at all, and a gallon of milk has to last the household two weeks (welcome to our world). And she's bitching that the several gallons of milk she can get each month and the blocks of cheese aren't organic, and that the cheese is "the cheap stuff". Cheese that is "the cheap stuff" (but free to the recipient) is better than no cheese at all and a hungry tummy. Can need really be so great if one can be so choosey and three hours (and a block of travel, if such a short distance is traveling) to save money is too great of an inconvenience?

Good god, to put food into out stomachs right now means cutting anything that isn't an absolute necessity. Cable, internet (thank goodness we're close enough to the pool to pick up the free wi-fi), we don't even use the gas to go sit on the beach five miles away. We're considering cutting gas (heating gas, not car gas) because hot water just isn't required to stay alive. Eating is more about just getting something into our stomachs to stave off hunger than it is about flavor or even nutrition. Vitamins are nutrition right now. Our income is just a very small amount over the cut-off for WIC, so we qualify for nothing at all.

And that lady is bitching that the milk isn't organic, nor is the "cheap" cheese. I'd love a tall, cold glass of milk right now, and it's been over a month since there's been any cheese in our home. Milk is for making biscuits, and cheese is just too expensive. Unless mac & cheese counts? I don't think that stuff has any real cheese, but we eat it for dinner, and are glad to have it. Would she turn her nose up if she got mac & cheese for free is it wasn't Velveeta?

Moving again isn't off the table. We moved here because we rusted Cody's old bosses who promised they had his transfer lined up. Recap: The promised that when there were positions open here for his position. We could easily afford to live here in this apartment off of that pay. We found out exactly one week before moving, after ur 30-day was signed, our old apartment re-rented (for more than we were paying), and the lease signed for this place (complex-to-complex transfer meant no new deposit needed), that they had actually done nothing, and that as of that day, there were no positions at all open. We still had to move unless we could buy out of the new lease to the tune of $2,005 and find another place to move into on a week's notice. So we moved without him having a job, and he managed to get one, same company, but a big pay cut. We've been sinking every since.

So we're considering, among other things, moving back up north. We hate the idea of the town we could actually move to. It's not a safe area at all. I know. I was stuck living there for a while. It's an area where you don't ever open your windows. But it's another complex in the chain. We don't know yet how on earth we'd get the money for a moving truck, and he'd also need a job lined up.

If that doesn't work and we have to stay here, then we can't keep our baby. I know, all over the internet people are rejoicing at the heartache this is causing, and those people should be ashamed at their cruelty. But if we can't afford to eat even halfway decent right now, how can I be sure to be able to nurse? If I can't nurse, how can we afford enough formula to not have to water it down?

Hopefully though he can get a raise. Ideally he'd be able to get a raise back to what he was making before somehow That's what he's trying to talk them into today.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Blah blah

I feel so unmotivated to do anything. All I want to do is hole up in our bedroom with the blinds closed, some classical music, and the dogs with me. Cats out in the garage, their kitty palace. Heh, we don't have a garage, they do, with their giant cat condos and all. I'd put them out there, but five of them are curled up together at the foot of the bed sleeping.

I'm just so tired lately. Not much of an appetite either. It's like I'm hungry, but not.

One hell of a week or two

I found out in one day my mom's older sister had a heart attack (I'm surprised it took this long with all her drug use), my mom's step-dad died last Saturday at the age of 63, and my mom was supposed to have surgery to remove a softball-sized mass from her pancreas that could be cancer. I haven't seen my aunt or grandfather in nearly six years, and it's more or less good riddance. My mom didn't get the surgery done after all because Mercy said they didn't have the equipment for it, so were going to send her to Stanford, where they do, only she has some sort of county medical coverage, which pigeon-holes her into only being able to receive care in the county not willing to provide it. So she's out of the hospital now, and she's been ending up back in there every few weeks. It would cost less in tax dollars to just remove the damned tumor than to keep having the ambulance pick her up. Anyone against the public universal health care option should be shot and then told to go get help without their big fancy insurance plans and without their fortunes.

FFS, I've got one of those fancy insurance plans. Our covered a large chunk of IVF and covers everything else as well from acupuncture to midwifery. Having a home birth has a single co-pay of $15. Having a birth at a birth center or hospital has a co-pay of $15 and a deductible of $200. We pay $130 every two weeks for insurance that covers everything. Sure, we're had to fight them to get them to cover certain things they're supposed to, but in the end, it was done.

We're lucky. We know we are. Just prior to this coverage, neither of us had any coverage, and both of us remember well not being able to go to doctors, especially me, as I was hospitalized several times without it and was unable to get medicine I needed. No one should have to be lucky to see a doctor when needed.

I'm not in favor of a lot of social programs as they are. I'm not a fan of 100% supporting people who go off and have kids they can't afford planning to just get welfare for them and plan to milk it as long as possible (anyone who says you get kicked off after two years in this state is an idiot - explain how the hell my stupid genetic-rejects have been on it for their entire adult lives, most of them starting to get checks directly for their own kids as teens themselves). I'm not a fan of protecting people from their repeat mistakes, removing from them the burden of responsibility for their actions. I do not believe having apartments and clothing and food are the types of rights that workers should have to pay for for those who can, but won't, work.

I do believe everyone has the right to be alive so they can go out there and work to try to provide these things for themselves, and I do believe aid should be given to those who are actually trying and just not succeeding. Being alive shouldn't be just for those lucky enough to have health coverage, wealthy enough to afford it privately or afford to go without it and pay out of pocket, or those who have been blessed with excellent health. (I am also both pro-life and anti-death-penalty.) People shouldn't essentially be killed for not being rich. without health, one can't try to obtain the rest of what's necessary. The most basic of basics is life.

I've also been incredibly frustrated. That pay cut Cody got has really taken a bite out of things for us. We moved to a much larger apartment with a very modest increase in rent because he was supposed to have been kept in the position he was in when we moved. So, with all the baby stuff we've bought, and with that pay cut, and with the cost of gas, and the cost of the Floridix I need, etc., we're budgeted down to the penny right now. There's no leeway at all. Well, technically we could say that there is because his parents are willing to help out when we need it, but we really prefer not to.

We'll figure it out. We've already got a budget written out that will get us to the point of several hundred spare dollars by December. It's just frustrating right now that we've both worked so hard and sacrificed so much and, instead of taking a step forward, have taken a step back.