[Part One is over here.]
The Second Trimester
The most painful part of the second trimester wasn’t physical. It was making those damned phone calls…
During the first trimester, my OB had recommended a genetic screening test. It'd let us know the gender of our baby and alert us to any serious genetic conditions like Down Syndrome. She told me it’d cost about $200. Yes! Great! Six weeks later, we got our results. It was a girl (yay!) who was not at risk for any serious genetic abnormalities (PHEW).
Then came the Explanation of Benefits from my insurance, explaining that I’d owe $13,000 for the screening.
Yes, you read that correctly. Thirteen. Thousand. Dollars. Sixty-five times more than the amount I was expecting.
Cue me losing my mind. I blocked off time on my calendar so I could call various entities involved in the process. I called my insurance, the lab, and the OB. They all told me something different. I received bill after bill in the mail, each incorrect in a new and special way. As it would turn out, this nightmare would not end until after the baby was born. Hooray for the US healthcare system.
The concept of a "babymoon" sounded silly to me. For one, it’s a plain dumb sounding word. But also, I don’t tend to be a fan of things that seem overly self-indulgent. I never took an actual honeymoon, for instance. A little escape before baby arrived, though? That seemed like a sound enough idea. We headed to Austin for a long weekend, staying in a nice hotel that we booked with credit card points.
By that point the intense nausea had let up and I had my appetite back, along with a normal-for-me level of energy. The whole time we were there I felt like my “old self." I was able to walk around, eat tacos, go swimming, and otherwise be a human being in the world. I got a prenatal massage in the hotel spa from a lovely nice lady. I drank delicious non-alcoholic cocktails at The Roosevelt Room, which I highly recommended. The Texas heat did get to me a bit while we were outside, but I kept a big bottle of water on me at all times and was good to go.
I was feeling so great that I started getting a little too optimistic. I hadn’t gained weight above my pre-pregnancy amount yet because I’d been so ill during the first trimester. I didn’t have any stretch marks or dreaded hormonal acne. I looked like pre-pregnancy me with a bigger belly. Because of that, I started to think that maybe I’d be one of those enviable women who quickly "bounces back" to their old selves post-delivery. Oh, sweet past Heather, no.