I am of a certain age. I became a grandma 15 weeks ago to baby Edythe. Here is a picture of me the first time I held her. She is wearing an outfit I knitted from the yarn I purchased in Sweden after the 2008 All Together Better Health conference. I’m wearing my Minnesota Public Radio sweatshirt. I must have been trying to send Edythe a message about how all children should behave.
You learn a lot from a baby’s birth. My daughter and her husband unfortunately live a long way from Minnesota. They have taken ownership of their family’s health and their role in it. I was astounded at how many classes they attended to prepare for what we all called “Baby Question Mark’s” birth and for learning to parent together. After only 15 weeks, I can already see the payoff in their preparedness and teamwork. During my era, we just listened to our mothers (remember the sweatshirt) and trusted what the physician told us to do.
Valerie also experienced a women’s health team for her prenatal care and the birth. During her pregnancy, the team made certain that she was examined by every member—midwives and obstetricians—for her prenatal care. She was perfectly comfortable that a midwife would deliver her baby without the assistance of a physician. She and Jeff and the anxious grandparents were prepared.
But it was not to be. At 1:30 am after nearly twelve hours of labor, the parents were surprised when a team of seven health professionals were suddenly in the room for the delivery. Because of complications, the obstetrician delivered Edythe with the team. At nine pounds two ounces, Edythe was far larger than the seven pounds that technology predicted only a few days before—art and science, teamwork and a happy family.
They are into the next phase of parenting and trying to make sense of all of the bills. Her husband is sorting through the fact that the anesthesiologist was “out of network,” as though patients pick their provider during a delivery in the middle of the night. Because of the out of network provider, and because the epidural was administered on April 20 but Edythe was born on April 21, the insurance company rejected paying the bill twice. As Valerie said, “It was like no one had ever had a baby after midnight.” Valerie, Jeff and Edythe experienced both the best in collaborative care and the frustration that comes from our fragmented system—I’ll have more to say about that another day.