Money To Live

January 11, 2012

How much does a home birth cost?

Filed under: babies,family finances,insurance — by moneytolive @ 8:24 pm

Apparently blogging will make me happier. Blogging about parenthood will help me stay connected and feel less lonely. I hope that applies for blogging about finances and family and baby!

My little guy is 11 weeks old, and I’m emerging from the newborn fog (sleep deprivation makes it hard to remember just how hard it is). Eleven short weeks ago, L was born at home, as planned.

So, how much does a home birth cost?

Our insurance covered all of the medical expenses, as they would have with a hospital birth, as well. I’m still getting insurance statements, and I’ll write about the total costs when I get all the statements. So far, the costs of a home birth look much lower than a hospital delivery.

We paid for several things out of pocket, totaling $1495.

  • At-home lactation consultation at 10 hours after birth: $150 (treated as out-of-network by our insurance company)
  • Tub rental $300 (includes set-up and clean-up, which is priceless)
  • Doula $800
  • Postpartum doula $245  (7 hours at $35/hour)

Each woman needs to decide for herself and her family where she will feel safest and most comfortable when having a baby.  For our family, a home birth worked. I felt comfortable in my own home, where I could move around and eat as I pleased (turns out I wasn’t too hungry during labor, though I sent my vegan husband to the store for a rotisserie chicken, which I did not eat a single bite of). After the birth, it was lovely to sleep in our own bed and not have to go anywhere for over a week.

The downside to a home birth, though, is that there was not a steady stream of nurses ready to help us with out new little baby. Instead, I had to call lactation consultants eight hours after L’s birth, and fortunately the second person I called was able to come right over. We had already lined up a postpartum doula who helped us with babywearing, soothing, and bathing.

Part of my comfort with a home birth was knowing that we are one mile away from a hospital. Under most circumstances, it would take 5-10 minutes for an ambulance to get to our house and take me/baby to the hospital. Fortunately that wasn’t needed, but the little baby did need resuscitation, and our midwife was within 30 seconds of calling 911 at one point.

Had we gone with a hospital delivery, our out-of-pocket expenses would have been lower – no tub rental, no out-of-network lactation consultant, and probably fewer hours of a postpartum doula. For me and my family, the expense was totally worth it.


October 16, 2011

Why no posts for so long?

Filed under: babies,family finances,insurance — by moneytolive @ 12:33 am

It’s been a crazy year. While I thought about the blog regularly and drafted a few posts, it had to take a back seat.

As my (financial) life has changed, so will the focus of this blog. A lot more emphasis on family finances because that’s where I’m at now. Over the past year, R and I have sorted out our joint finances, and while I’d like to say we’ve gotten better at talking about money, I’m not sure that’s true. I’ve learned all about home remodeling on a budget, health and car insurance, and how expensive babies are (a little one is due in two weeks).

September 13, 2010

A simple life is … not so simple.

Filed under: home,insurance,simplify — by moneytolive @ 5:00 am

I hope this doesn’t come off as too whiny, but here goes: A simple life takes a lot of work!

Since moving into R’s house and merging our lives (belongings, finances, etc.), I have been repeatedly surprised by how much work it is. We aim for simplicity. While we are definitely on the path to a simple and low-maintenance lifestyle, it is a long path, and the going is slow.

Combining Insurance

We got quotes for combining our insurance policies, and sure enough, we could save money by merging our policies to one account. This seems like a simple plan, and over the long-term it does yield greater simplicity. In the short-term? A huge and not very simple headache. It took more than one month from getting quotes to receiving the final paperwork for all of our accounts. I sent/received 41 emails with my agent, sent in several checks, and received two refund checks (they sent out duplicate bills to us and the bank; despite several conversations on the details of these transactions, they didn’t send out the proper bills). After we are married, we are changing the names on a few of our accounts (adding each other to car titles, etc.), which will mean another round of emails and paperwork with the insurance agent, which should lead to more reductions in our premiums.

Removing a hot tub

The previous owners of our house had a hot tub. R had it winterized a few years ago and never opened it up again. We thought a lot about whether or not to keep the hot tub, and, ultimately, we decided to get rid of it because the annual costs (and time for maintenance) exceed the enjoyment we would get from using it. Getting rid of a hot tub is not the easiest thing to do. R posted it on Craigslist for free, and four people came to look at it. All said they would come back to get it, but no one did. This went on for several months, with no serious takers. We recently replaced our deck, and time ran out for the hot tub. To remove the hot tub before starting on the deck, we had to pay someone to haul it away. The simple hot-tub-free lifestyle cost over $300. We are glad to have the hot tub gone, and we (mostly/ sort of, but that’s for another post) like the deck that stands in its place.

As we make changes, I try to remember that we’re working toward a simple lifestyle. With the hot tub gone, we have reduced the maintenance for the house. By combining insurance, we’ve reduced our total number of bills and the amount we pay in bills. It took many hours to take care of these, but they are now done. While we will check insurance rates every few years, at least all of our coverage is consolidated.

I think the biggest downside to uncluttering/organizing/simplifying is simply the time and mental energy needed to pare down my life. There are big dividends, which make it worth the effort. What I consider the biggest benefit is that it reduces future the need for time and energy in the future. All of those conversations about the hot tub? Yes, while we had many, many conversations, they’re over now. We don’t have to talk about the hot tub ever again.

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