Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Finances of a Loss

We found out we were expecting quite suddenly. When we started getting used to the idea of a surprise third child we went for an ultrasound and found out there would be a surprise fourth too. We panicked for a bit trying to figure out how to fit 4 small children in our 3 bedroom home. We thought of ways to make our baby gear for one child work for two. I spoke to other twin moms to find out which baby gear items they had duplicates of, I researched the pros and cons of newborns sharing a crib, and figured out a way to get our two older kids into the same room. We started talking about childcare after they were born. Then when the pregnancy began getting difficult we talked about getting childcare while I was still pregnant. We redid the budget a dozen times; trying to figure out how to make this unexpected expense work.

Just as we were getting used to the idea of having twins we got the terrible news that we had lost them. Unfortunately I was so distracted by my grief that we ended up keeping our mother's helper. But in addition to that added expense we had other surprise expenses as well. The medical bills were shocking. The cost of delivering the twins and the following D&C was 3 times the amount of delivering my live son. Our medical insurance covered most this expense, but it was shocking nonetheless.

Then came the difficult decision of what to do with their remains. We could leave their tiny little bodies at the hospital to be dealt with as medical waste, but that didn't seem right. So we claimed our sons and had arrangements made. Some mortuaries, cemetaries and churches will donate their services when an infant dies. Some will give a deep discount as we found with our morturary. But our cemetary actually charged us a double internment fee for burying both of them in the same plot. I found this to be ridiculous as the twins were cremated and took up the same space as as one child would. After all we only had one urn with both of their ashes in it. This wasn't even the charge for the headstone which I have been putting off for emotional reasons.

We purchase life insurance for each of our children when they are 3 months old, as our state law allows. It isn't a lot, just enough to pay for burial costs, mental health care for the family and child care if necessary as I attend therapy, as I believe I will need. But in light of our loss I wonder if pregnancy insurance would be a viable business plan. When we got pregnant with William I certainly wanted to pay for something like that. Chance were that he would be a healthy live birth, but after dealing with the unexpected expences AND the paperwork I just wasn't interested in chancing that again.

I still haven't sorted out the charge for the AFP (Down's Syndrome) screening. I am still recieving bills for it. I had a breakdown about 6 months ago and called the state organization and spoke to some unsuspecting government employee. I yelled and cried at her about having to pay for children who aren't even here, "why have the test if they were going to die." I feel bad for that lady now. And it solved nothing as I recieved another bill in the mail last week, 16 months after their death.

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