Monday, January 30, 2006

Headaches and Hassles

I got a bill from the hospital in the mail on Saturday for over $17,000.00 for Holland's stay in the NICU, A YEAR AND A HALF AGO!!!!! This is out of the clear blue sky. I checked on it today, and it seems that our insurance company did an audit. They took back the total amount paid, then repaid all except for $16,000 which is now supposedly our responsibility. I sat down and cried when I opened it. Not because I think that we are actually going to have to pay it, but because it is another extreme hassle that we now have to deal with. I seriously don't have time for crap like this. Dealing with hospitals and insurance companies is extrememly stressful. One hand never seems to know what the other is doing. You get different people, with different levels of knowledge, who all tell you different things. At the hospital you always get, "well, I can set you up on a payment plan." No, you don't understand. I don't want a payment plan. I don't want to PAY. I don't owe. Someone made a mistake. PLEASE HELP ME!

Since I am talking about money and hospitals and insurance, I might as well give even more background information. In addition to this new bill, we have been dealing with close to $5,000.00 worth of bills from the NICU days, still unresolved. The insurance company rejected this amount, saying that we had to pay an "out-of-network" co-pay. It seems that two of the neonatologists who worked with H and E are "in-network" and two are "out-of -network." When the insurance company told me this, I thought it seemed ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. They were in-patient, in intensive care, at an in-network hospital. We had no control over who the doctor on rounds would be on any given day. I talked with the doctors in question who agreed with me that the charges were ridiculous, and told me not to pay. They said that the doctors in the NICU are all in the same group and all accept the same insurance. Makes sense to me. Unfortunately, so far, NO ONE knows how to resolve this issue. The doctors say they are in-network, the insurance company says they are out-of network, and the hospital says "we want our money." Why has this become my problem???

To compound matters, consider this... We were told, and have since verified, that in the state of Michigan, all babies in the NICU for over 30 days automatically qualify for Medicaid, regardless of the parents income. While the babes were still in the hospital, I met with a hospital representative who completed the applications for me and sent them in. We were rejected because we were over the income limit. We called FIA, and were told the same make too much money. We called the hospital rep, who said "don't worry, I'll take care of it." So we didn't worry. We had many more important things to worry about. Like whether our babies were going to LIVE OR DIE. I guess we should have worried.

I don't know where to start. I don't know what to do. All I know is that we cannot afford to pay these bills. Even if we could, we shouldn't have to! Someone, somewhere made a mistake. The hospital rep who completed our Medicaid applications for one. Also the insurance company who denied our claim, and the hospital who cannot get it straightend out. Why is this my problem??? I've got babies to take care of people!!! And formula costs $100.00 a week!!!

On the brighter side, those sure are some cute, happy babies. And I LOVE them!!!:)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Another BIRTHday

Happy BIRTHday to Baby Kovach (January 23rd, 2006)! I wanted to post sooner, but I was waiting to hear the what Baby's name would be. Poor Baby still doesn't have a name. He gave mom and dad three extra weeks to figure it out, but I guess he just couldn't wait anymore. Congratulations Jessie and Dave!

So now our big buddy Aidan has a little brother. More competetion for Aidan and Adam to win the hearts of Holland and Eden. They are all adorable and will certainly grow up to be strong, intelligent, compassionate men. I guess it will all depend on which of the three want to live in Michigan, USA, down the street from ME!!!!!

UPDATE (1/26): Baby has a name! Camden Sawyer Kovach. We love you.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Christmas Jammies

Happy BIRTHday Alana Riel (January 19th, 2006)! We can't wait to meet you. Another girlfriend for H and E:) Congratulations Amy and Rod!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Now We're Rolling!

The girlies had an appointment with the eye doctor on Monday. Holland is nearsighted and is going to need glasses. For those of you who know about such things, she is close to a -2.0 in her right eye, and a -3.0 in her left eye. Her eyes are also both turning in again, but very slightly, and not enough to require further treatment at this point. The eye doctor said that there is no "right" time to put Holly in glasses, and she doesn't feel that they are developmentally necessary right now. Holland is mostly interested in playing with her toys and looking at things close up. As she gets a little older she will start wanting to see things further away, and will be more apt to want to wear the glasses. So, we have another apointment scheduled in July, and Holland will most likely get her glasses then. All of this news is pretty much what we had expected to hear. The good news is that her retinas look good, and she is using both eyes equally, not favoring one over the other. And she can SEE. The bad news is that her eyes will likely continue to worsen over the years and she will always require glasses or contacts...until she is old enough to decide if she wants to have laser surgery AGAIN to correct her vision.

Eden's vision is better. She is not nearsighted at this time, but will be sometime in the future and will also need glasses. She probably will not need them as soon as the 6-month appointment, but maybe within the next few years. It would be nice if she could grow into her BTE (Behind the Ear) processor before we have to try to keep glasses on her, but whatever. We just do what we have to do.

Eden's good news is that she has started ROLLING! She has been able to roll from front to back, and from back to front for a while, but it wasn't until last Monday that she figured out she could roll all the way across the room to get what she wanted. Once she figured that out there was no stopping her. She rolled ALL DAY, cracking up at herself the whole time. She ended up crashing and taking a four hour nap later in the day, only to wake up and start rolling again. We are ELATED at this new development. It is so encouraging that she is mobile and able to move enough to get something that she wants. We have also been told that serial rolling is a good sign that she might eventually learn to crawl.

We were at my mom's house when Eden started rolling, and needless to say, Nana and I were both sitting on the floor bawling like babies watching her. She must think we are totally nuts.

I am not ready to concede that there is anything good about Eden's disability, but I will say this... We are certainly learning to appreciate the small things so much more than we would have otherwise.

I want to let everyone know how much I have appreciated your comments on my last post about Eden. Just writing it and venting some of my feeling and frustration has helped a lot. I understand and accept that my feelings are normal and maybe even necessary. I am going through a pretty intense grieving process in learning to accept Eden as she is, and letting go of that perfect image that I had when planning to have a child.

I talked about my goal of getting to a better place where I can be the parent that I want to be for my children, especially for Eden. I have been thinking about this a lot and I have narrowed it down to some specific qualities that I want to possess as a parent of a child with a disability. First, and foremost, I want to be strong and optimistic. I want to instill in Eden a sense of independence and determination. I do not want to feel sorry for Eden, and I do not want her to feel sorry for herself. In order to do this, I can not cry all the time, especially not when I am around my kids. I will do my best to treat Eden as a whole person, as a unique and important individual. I will not allow her to be defined by her disabilities. She may be deaf, and she may be physically disabled, but those are such a small part of who she is. She is SO much more!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Happy Birthday Uncle Donnie!

We love you!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

No, It's Not Getting Easier

It's a new year, and I feel like it's time for a little reflection on the past year, and some projection into the coming one. I wish I could keep a positive attitude, look on the bright side, and say a bunch of things to make everyone reading feel good, but I am just not there right now. (Warning: I read through this post after writing it, and it is really depressing. If you can't handle it, stop reading now!)

Last year was ROUGH. And this year will be ROUGH too. In some ways I anticipate that 2006 will be even harder for me than last year. Last year I got to be naive for a little while. The girls were just home from the NICU and I had high hopes that everything would go fine. Eden's hearing loss was diagnosed in April, then we got the PVL and Cerebral Palsy diagnosis in August. At least I had 7 months to hope for the best. Even after the diagnosis we were still optimistic that Eden's physical disability would be mild. Now that her adjusted age is almost 14 months I am not feeling quite so optimistic.

Eden has such an incredible personality. She is beautiful inside and out and her lust for life shows in her eyes and goofy smiles. She amazes us every day with her determination and sheer will-power. She wants to do so much, but everything is a struggle for her. It really, truly breaks my heart. I am having such a hard time dealing with this. I feel sad and worried everyday. I have shed so many tears and I really don't know how I can go on like this. It's hard for me to talk about, especially because I feel like nobody could possibly understand how I feel unless they have experienced having a child with a disability.

It's interesting how people react when I talk about Eden. It really makes some people uncomfortable when I even say the word "disability." The reality of the situation is that Eden may never be able to walk, and may have to use a wheelchair. I can't live in denial of this fact. I am reminded of it everyday. Based on her adjusted age, Eden should be walking, yet she is not even able to hold her head up very well and cannot sit without a lot of support. Everything is hard for her. Just playing requires so much concentration.

I think it must be especially hard with twins, because everyday we look at what Holland is doing and are reminded of how far Eden has to go. I feel joy for Holly every time she achieves a new milestone, but at the same time it sends me into a whirl of grief over how delayed Eden is. I am so afraid about what the future holds for Eden. I need to be strong for her. I hope that someday I can get to where I need to be to be a good parent to her. My resolution for the New Year is to get closer to that place, wherever it is. If it even exists.

We meet a lot of other twin parents when we are out and about. Those with older kids always say "don't worry, it'll get easier." I don't believe them. And I'm jealous. I want to live in that world where it gets easier.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Happy 2006!

It's a new year and both girls are finally over the nasty stomach bug! It only lasted 2-3 days for Eden, but a full 7 days for Holland. When it comes to sicknesses, Holland seems to get everything worse. On day 4 Holly got a fever so we ended up taking her in to the doc. It was just part of the virus, so all we could do was try to keep her hydrated and wait it out. Poor thing lost almost a full pound while she was sick. That was a BIG deal to us because we work so hard for every ounce! She was up to about 18 1/2 pounds, now she is about 18 pounds. Eden finally hit the 16 1/2 pounds mark.

On New Year's Eve my wonderful parents were sweet enough to watch the girls overnight at our house so we could go out. We went to our friends Liz and Eric's house for a party and stayed the night there. It was a lot of fun. We got to hang out with Auntie Lisa from LA. She bought the girls these Rock & Roll t-shirts. They were mostly for Daddy, who hates that I always dress them in cutsie matching outfits. In fact, he told me that the pink furry outfits from the Thanksgiving post were "stupid.":) Anyway, we both agree that the Rock & Roll look is good on them!

We went yesterday for the girls third Synagis shots to help prevent RSV. They have to get them every month through the winter. Each shot costs about $1,200! Luckily our insurance pays for it. Last month our appointment did not go well. First of all, we had to wait a LONG time. On top of that, it was the first time that Eden was big enough that she had to get her dose in two separate shots. She maybe could have handled one, but the second put her over the edge. She did her famous breath holding thing until she turned blue and her eyes rolled back in her head. It was bad. This time I called the office in advance to tell them the girls' weights so they could have the shots ready when we got there. I also asked for two nurses so they could do both injections at the same time. Eden did MUCH better. She still got pissed and held her breath, but not long enough that she turned colors. It's a funny thing about Eden. She is so laid back and doesn't complain about anything. But she HATES getting shots. Holly cried for a minute, then was totally over it. She's a tough little gal.