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Episode 692, In Which We Hold Our Breath

Posted Sep 23 2009 10:51pm

Did you know that once one falls out of the habit of openly discussing one's vagina and uterus in a public forum, it can be difficult to get back into the swing of it?  Did you know that it becomes exponentially more challenging when one realizes that one's FATHER has commented on her blog, which, by extrapolation implies he is READING at least some of her blog.  As if it weren't hard enough knowing one's mother is reading all...

But talking about my girl bits is really what this whole thing used to be about, at least in part.  So I would feel weird not mentioning recent events.  Disingenuous somehow.

Here we go... (Mom, feel free to skip this one, and Dad, dear god... step away and avert your eyes!)

Some relevant prefacing information:

I haven't been on the "mini-pill" for roughly two months.  There are two causes: 1) There was a time when the $15 copay was literally too much.  Condoms were free (because we already had them) and every dollar counted.  Then, it came 'round to time for my annual physical, and I had no money for the office visit, so I didn't schedule it.  Which meant my prescription ran out.

This was fine because we were both so emotionally and physically exhausted that sex was more of a rarity than ever.  I even got another period - my first since Easter, which was my first post-Caroline.  Once I got my new gig, I planned to set my annual physical, get on a for-reals, full-strength birth control pill, and move on down the road.

(preface over)

Everything was fine and dandy until Friday night, when we experienced a massive FAIL.  MASSIVE, MASSIVE FAIL.  I blame Todd entirely.  It was a case of user error and product malfunction.  Oh, screw it, the condom broke.  "Shredded" was the word Todd used.

Given the relative distance from my period and my "mood" that evening and proceeding days ("randy", one might say - were one British), I surmised that there was a VERY REAL RISK that I might be OVULATING.  Making this MASSIVE FAILURE an even more horrifying event.

Todd and I spent the rest of the night and all of the next day in a panic-stricken, pale-faced stupor. 

Even if it weren't for the fact that we've only just begun to be able to afford groceries, and only just narrowly avoided bankruptcy, and only just scheduled doctors and dentists visits, EVEN IF...

INDEPENDENT HEALTH INSURANCE DOESN'T COVER PREGNANCY!

We cannot - repeat, CANNOT - get pregnant now.  And none of it has a speck to do with whether or not we want another child.  As long as Todd and I are independent contractors, as long as we stick it out as entrepreneurs, we cannot have a baby.

The sort of high-risk, massively tested, watched, measured, and generally freaked-out variety of pregnancies I produce are bank-breaking even WITH health insurance (to the tune of $17K and $4K, respectively).  Without it, it's simply not feasible.

That left me with one option: Plan B.

And lemme just say, thank God for recent commercials advocating the availability of emergency contraception.  Had I not just seen an ad a week before, it might have escaped my rather-dubious thoughts through this whole event.

Because of that commercial, I went on-line, did some quick research, then hauled myself to Target and bellied up to the pharmacy counter with my two kids in the cart to purchase Plan B.  Based on previous reactions to hormones, I was expecting some pretty rough hours of vomiting and headache - which was a fun prospect given I had a party to go to and was in the early stages of a cold.

But to my great relief, I got neither, and felt just fine.  I took the pill early, and it should be about 75-80% effective.  Which is helpful, but by no means allays my fears in total.

In about two weeks I'll take a pregnancy test, and then, assuming it's negative, I'll take another a week later, just to be sure.

After years of praying and doing everything in my power to get pregnant and carry to term, it felt highly, highly unusual to do something in the complete opposite direction.  It also felt weird to stand at the pharmacy counter hollering "PLAN B? DO YOU HAVE IT?" to the tech who insisted on asking me how she could help from the back of their little room.  It felt weird to be in my 30s with two kids and feelings so very teenaged and freaked-out.

I wish this weren't the situation.  I wish Todd and I could have approached this situation from the vantage point of "What would life be like with three kids?" rather than, "This will be the end of us." - all because of health insurance.

I'm not saying the decision would have been different.  I'm just saying we'll never know.  And it's because we cannot buy health insurance that will cover pregnancy on our own - it doesn't exist*.

So for the next weeks, we'll be on pins and needles, praying that we've dodged a huge, huge bullet.  And its such a contrary prayer to the ones I've uttered in the past.  As always, I'll keep you posted.

*on the independent market, you can only find maternity "riders" which limit total coverage to a number that is equal to the cost of the monthly fee (if you do the math - which we did).

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