When You Can Plan For What You Didn’t Plan For.

This morning I woke up before dawn and gently shook my six-year-old daughter awake. In the process, I woke up my son.

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He stood up in his crib (yes, even at three-years-old) and asked what we were doing. I told him we were going out looking for moose. It’s a thing Scarlet and I do sometimes if one of us wakes up early, but we had never taken Des. Recently there have been half a dozen moose sightings nearby, and we were hopeful we’d see one. For Des, it would be his first moose.

I love these moments in which our family’s youngest gets to finally experience something we have all done before.

There was a brief time in which I wondered if these happy occasions would ever happen for us.

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When I went to my doctor for my 38-week appointment with Des, I found out my water had broken, and not only that, it had likely been over 24 hours broken. I had to rush to the hospital without my hospital bag (not yet packed) and my in-laws were in Nova Scotia and couldn’t pick up Scarlet. I couldn’t reach my husband right away, and my parents were four hours away. In truth, everyone was coming towards me, slowly but surely, but I felt panicked and scared. Some dear friends picked up Scarlet to bring her to my house to meet relatives, Cassidy came to my side in the hospital room, and I was induced.

Nothing was planned, and as I soon learned out, we were even more ill-prepared for Des’ birth than I knew then.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug(If we’re being honest, the cuteness in this photo slays me)

During Des’ labor, I spiked a fever. It felt so strange since I hadn’t had a fever in years, or even decades, but I couldn’t stop shaking and shivering. They covered me with a heavy blanket and contemplated putting antibiotics through an I.V. so Des would be protected. There was no time, though, because after not that many pushes, he was here and he was beautiful. Desmond had a high APGAR score and a peaceful look on his face in my arms. I felt like the luckiest mom on earth.

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After two days in the hospital, I was released and he wasn’t. His breathing wasn’t what they wanted (at least 95%) and he had to spend his time in the nursery. His blood work came back positive for an infection, although that later was determined to be contaminated results. The hospital doesn’t have a NICU and can’t take chances, though, and he was rushed to another hospital by ambulance. I’ll never forget the team of concerned-looking doctors standing over my peaceful, dreamy son.

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What followed was a hard week – poking, prodding, expensive X-rays, extensive hand washing, overnight stays in cold rooms the size of closets, hospital food and not really knowing what was going on. He was under jaundice lights at times, and always taking in heavy-duty antibiotics by I.V. They never really did find anything wrong but it was a suspected bacterial infection. They ruled out pneumonia, after TWO x-rays, as well as Bacterial Meningitis and Group B Strep. What they think was that it was something smaller, transmitted through my water being broken for so long, which explains my fever during labor. We may never know what really happened – nothing or a small infection – but he’s been our healthy, happy, beautiful boy since.

life insurance plan

Weeks later, the hospital bills rolled in and they were very expensive.

Hospital inpatient care accounts for nearly 1/3 of United States health care costs. So far, there’s no relief in sight – with the average length of a hospital stay being 4.5 days at a cost of $10,400.6! Even if you do have major medical insurance, it most likely won’t cover every expense covered with a hospital stay – and there are a LOT. There are rising deductibles, co-payments and out-of-pocket maximums. Having a hospital insurance plan means they will pay cash for covered hospital stays, with optional benefits for diagnostic procedures, surgery, ambulance transport and more. When you’re in it, and I mean really in these situations, you don’t stop to think about what things will cost. You tell the doctors, nurses and technicians:

“Yes! Try that! Do that! Anything.”

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It’s fall now and for most U.S. companies, fall means open enrollment season. Open Enrollment Season is a time when workers can review their employer-sponsored benefits offerings and choose the health insurance policies that BEST meet their financial and health care needs. An Aflac survey found that many workers do very little research to learn which plans and products will work best for them, even though selecting the right health care benefits may be one of the most important decisions for the year. Different generations make up today’s workforce, and have different health care needs. Voluntary insurance helps by allowing employees to select voluntary policies to best suit their own needs, and the needs of their dependents. Unforeseen medical events do occur, and many people are faced with increased health insurance premiums.


Insurance is not one-size-fits-all. How do you make sure you’re finding the right voluntary policy for your family?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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  1. Wow what a story! How scary too. Thankfully you are able to look back on this and see that it all worked out all right, phew! Insurance is so tricky. I hate the paperwork too. And yes, very expensive! I was on both mine and my husband’s insurance to avoid the expenses.

    1. Absolutely! It definitely affected me a lot in the beginning and I was a worrywart about every sneeze he had, but we’ve moved past it!
      Paperwork is very annoying.

  2. Oh man that must have been super scary. Madison came at 36 weeks and we weren’t expecting her either. We went in for a routine check up because I was on complete bedrest and was told that her heart rate wasn’t what they wanted to hear. Thankfully I had my military health insurance to cover us. You really do need insurance and while I have no idea about Aflac I’m sure they are just as good!

    1. I’m glad for your military health insurance! Sometimes these babies just come really fast and we were so not prepared. Even 12 days early, which I would have thought wouldn’t have been so dramatic.

  3. That must have been really scary. I went to the doctor after my final doctor’s appointment because my son’s heart rate had dropped. I would’ve kept mine in a crib until 3 too if she didn’t climb out to see her sister.

    1. It never occurred to Scarlet to climb out of her crib until she saw a friend do it when she was three! I was so mad!
      Des is past three and it hasn’t occurred to him yet!

  4. Hi Tamara,

    Thank you for sharing such a heart wrenching story. I cannot even begin to imagine the panic and stress you went through during your labor and the weeks after worrying about baby Des. I am so happy to hear his illness didnt last long and he was able to bounce back.

    thank you again for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much! It was a relief that it was nothing serious, for sure. They really have to be extra careful, though, and were testing him for everything under the sun!

  5. I knew there was a “story” around Des’ birth, but don’t think I had ever known the details. Very scary!

  6. Oh my goodness Mr. Des! I’m glad he got the proper care he needed, I’m sorry you had to go through that. I had a similar situation with my eldest, but thankfully no extra ambulance or hospital needed.

  7. Hmmmm, probably not the time to mention that I was admitted at 22 week for pre term labour risk and put on complete monitored bed rest which resulted in a 5 WEEK hospital stay; private room. Complete with meals, phone, TV and Wifi. And that when I checked out with a baby still safely inside me only to return in 3 weeks to deliver said baby and stay another 3 days (private room again) because it was via C Section…. and then I got the bill: $0.00
    that was for baby #3. It’s not a frequent flyer deal; the cost to have the other two via C section and private rooms was also ZERO. Now normally I would have had to pay for a private room – that is an extra even in Canada. But due to my medical situation the Dr. ordered the Private room which meant Zero.
    It amazes me that it is so expensive in USA. Do any of our recent Presidential Candidates discuss about getting a National Health Care Plan at all?

    1. I want to live in Canada. After all my surgeries in the past six years, our bills are stacked to the ceiling! Deductibles are killing us and the 20% we have to pay afterward?

      I shudder to think about them all…

      I would totally vote for a National Health Care Plan!

      Tamara… I’m so glad everything turned out okay. Such a scary time for you and Des!

      1. Well, we do have taxes of course to help offset all that Health Care. But if I was given the choice of putting that money to say — Defence and making weapons to kill people, OR, being able to help my fellow Canadians? I’d choose the Helping every time. I know we are very blessed up here to have such a system that does seem to be working for now.

  8. My brother had a lot of complications when he was born. First he was blue so he stayed in the hospital for about 2 – 3 weeks after birth (my mom was an OBGYN so she could keep close tabs on him, which was nice for her). And then when my brother was 3 or 4 years old, his lungs collapsed and almost died. He was in the hospital for man, like a month – he went to two different hospitals. He has a scar all the way around his torso due to them cutting him completely open! Scary, right?

    1. Wow about your brother! And your mom being an OBGYN – so awesome. Was she YOUR doctor or did you highly prefer someone else??
      How did his lungs collapse? Sheesh! i’m hoping he’s all good now?

      1. To this day I am not entirely sure if we know why his lungs collapsed… pnemonia? I was so young, I really don’t remember anything other than looking under his hospital bed and thinking I saw a piece of his insides, when in reality it was probably a piece of food from a meal he ate or something – LMFAO!

        AND HECK NO – mom = NEVER EVER EVER my doc! LOL! Not because I don’t tell or ask her everything but… Just cause, well.. Er, um. No.

        1. Ah, pneumonia – that would make sense! Or asthma. Anything, I guess.

          I’m sorry for laughing about the piece of food you thought were his insides!
          And about your mom, I’m laughing. My friend’s dad is a dentist and she’s his patient, but that seems less.. invasive.

  9. Such animportant topic, Tamara. Your story about Des’ birth is so SCARY! I’m happy everything worked out. You’re right to suggest that families make sure their health insurance is up to date and the best plan for their situation. Insurance is one of those things we need to update and change as our live change and families grow. Beautiful photos!

    1. Yup! And every situation is different so at least we have so many options – that range from all directions.
      Des’ birth was really scary. And I had some PTSD about it, but I have worked through it quite well. It’s just that it really affected me back then.

  10. How exciting to go early morning moosing! I had a similar experience after my first born’s birth, but it was my health and not his. Scary and expensive times, indeed.

  11. What a story. He is such a beautiful little being and I am so happy he has grown up just fine. The cost of birth in the US is simply astronomical!

    1. Thank you! He was a beautiful soul at birth. The nurses said he always looked happy and dreamy. Still to this day, but add “shrieky” to that mix.

  12. What a scary time, but I’m glad there was a happy ending! The cost of healthcare is ridiculous, and sadly, in my experience at least, health insurance doesn’t do much to help. Still it’s better to have it than not…

  13. Open enrollment is coming up 🙂 Aflac’s voluntary insurance sounds like a great insurance policy to invest in, because you never know when you will actually need it.

    1. It sure is! You know it!
      And it’s true – it’s the peace of mind of not knowing when you’ll need it and hoping you won’t, but being glad you have it.

  14. Hiii,Scary times do strike sometimes.Sorry to hear that all of you had to go through this but a big relief that everything got.settled. Lovely pics you have posted 🙂

  15. Oy, what a scary start to Des’ life. I can’t even imagine what you must have been going through.
    When I was pregnant with Eve the New York Times’ article on the cost of having a baby (in regards to healthcare costs of L&D) came out. It is insane! It makes you realize how important it is to have health insurance.

    1. I think I read that same article! Depressed me! I’m afraid of a third baby for so many of these reasons, but I won’t let it stop me if the time comes.

  16. Thanks for sharing your story. It brought back memories of my older son’s birth. He was 5 weeks early and had to spend a week in the NICU. It took us a year to pay off the bills. Ironically, he now has AFLAC insurance through his employer!

    1. A week for you too! And in hospital time, a week feels like eons.
      It took us 1-2 years to pay the bills for sure. I still shudder when I see bills in our mailbox, even though things are a lot better now.

  17. You know we’ve had our fair share of NICU time, but I was never concerned for my children’s lives. I can’t imagine how frightening it must have been togo through all those tests and hospital changes with Des. And even though our health insurance is pretty terrible, I’m glad we at least have some.

    1. Right! I know you’ve been in the NICU a lot longer than a week.
      It was just a very scary week in which those doctors scared me a LOT. It was fun to bring him back to them when he was one, though. They remembered him!

    1. Agreed. I’m really relieved we were able to bring home a healthy boy but it definitely made his birth experience NOT a good memory. Thank you!

  18. {{hugs}} All of my births were interesting ( my middle daughter was born in an elevator) but nothing can prepare you for that moment. Glad he’s happy and healthy! I think it was just a couple of years ago we got insurance for the kids. Being self employed makes unexpected expenses a little more challenging!

  19. Des is a little miracle and blessing and so is Scarlett. This is a scary story but all great things life life have a story. I was actually doing research on how much it costs to have a baby and it is a lot! Its great to have Insurance and Aflac can provide a premium to fit each family dynamic

  20. Wow – what an experience you had! I would have been terrified! I’m so glad everything worked out right and it’s just another reminder that insurance is needed even when we don’t think it will be.

  21. I can only imagine how stressful and scary that must have been. Knowing you have good coverage really let’s you focus on what matters in tough moments like those.

    1. It was so stressful and scary, that I can really talk more about it now than I could then. I’m so glad to be way past it but I’ll always keep in mind the unpredictability of life!

    1. Totally solid name. And thank you! It affected my husband differently than it did me, but we got felt the gravity of it. And we both felt so lucky to finally get him home and safe.

  22. Love the photos and am so glad everything worked out. It must have been a very scary time. Having the right insurance definitely makes challenging situations a little less stressful.

  23. Glad everything worked out and you have a healthy/happy baby. Insurance is so important and having the right plan can definitely help ease ones mind.

  24. oh my gosh, I know that had to have just taken your breath away. Reading about it was scary. I’m glad all has been perfect since.

    1. Thank you! I totally appreciated his babyhood so much more than I imagined I would. I also was more of a worrywart, but I’m glad it worked out.

  25. You really never how much you need somethign like this until it happens. We were in the same boat with my husbands illness and multiple surgeries.

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