Thursday, April 23, 2009

OB/GYN

As you know from a previous post, continuing with my previous OB, Dr. Link, was out of the question. So began my search.

I began with Google searches and found a (large) list of all the OB/GYNs in the area. I randomly picked a couple and wrote down their phone numbers. I also found contact information for the OB/GYN clinic at Vanderbilt and some other clinics in the area with nice web pages. It was rather overwhelming, and I didn't entirely like the idea that I was going to end up with a doctor effectively chosen by closing my eyes and pointing at the phone book page.

I was debating about including the (financial) numbers here, because I wasn't sure it was necessary, but then I thought that if I'm going to put in the effort to blog about it, I might as well include ALL the information because I've shown up in search engine results before, and as a searcher, how helpful is a blog post on the exact topic you're searching if it's just a bunch of vague references?

(Yes, that is ONE sentence. I got skills.)

Here are our baselines: Dr. Link wants $2500 up front. That includes all the office visits and the delivery. It does not include lab work, ultrasound(s) or hospital etc. costs. The imaging place where we had LB's ultrasounds done charges $380.

I called four other offices, plus Vanderbilt.

Option 1 (Vanderbilt) is $9,000 (but that includes the hospital costs (since they ARE a hospital, you know), so it's hard to compare.). They take $500 at the first visit and $150-$200 at each visit after that.

Option 2 is $3,040: $500 at the 1st visit and $100/visit after that. They gave quotes for some of the other costs: $400 for ultrasound + reading (whatever that means) and $500 for labwork (ouch!!).

Option 3 doesn't do OB anymore, just GYN, but they gave me phone numbers to two other places (places, btw, I had found online - nice websites, but no contact info! Just a form to fill out and then THEY would email ME. Nuh-uh, I want to be in control of when I talk to these people!)

Option 4 is $3,300: $1,000 at the 1st visit and the rest due by 28 weeks. That includes one ultrasound (nice! except for wanting 1g at the 1st visit, not so nice).

Option 5 is $3,000, but has a 10% discount if a cash patient: $350 at the first visit and over $300 at each subsequent visit (yikes!).

The five options are more reasonable for our situation than Dr. Link's policy: We'd rather pay-as-we-go than put it all down and hope for a refund.

We decided that option 2 was the best (financial) choice. So I called to make an appointment. In the course of the call, I tried to verify that they were still at X location. "We don't have a location there anymore, we're only in this other city that's really far away now." (no, that's not REALLY what she said, but kinda.) Bummer. I called DH and we discussed (briefly) and decided that the 20-30 minute drive wasn't THAT bad, just because it's a place I've never been before and seems sketchy in my mind. So I made the appointment. Tuesday. At 10 am.

The day before the appointment (so that would be....Monday), a new thought occurred to us: midwives! They're not "doctors" - they don't go through the same type of schooling, so maybe they'd be less expensive.

So Monday morning I'm on the internet, looking up more phone numbers. Since the OBs were all awfully similar, we decided I only needed to call a couple to get an idea. So I picked three (randomly, for the most part), and called. .

The first one didn't answer. Her answering machine message suggested that email would be more effective. I left a message and also sent an email.

The second one didn't answer. I left a message.

The third one answered and the information she gave me almost knocked me out of my chair: $200 at the first visit, $80 at each visit after that; labwork $209, ultrasound $100 (1.5 hour drive though). Wow. Can I say that again? Wow. I made an appointment right then and there (May 1st). Okay, so it's a 30 minute drive. But it's in a MUCH nicer city than that other one. So that makes all the difference, right?

After I made the appointment, I started reading more about midwives, and subsequently home births. I had read some of this information when I was pregnant with LB, but didn't delve too deeply into it. Being a petite size, I wasn't sure I'd be able to deliver, and midwives (obviously) don't do c-sections. But for us in this situation right now, it works out so very nicely. I'm actually rather excited about learning more about midwives and home births. I kind of have a unique opportunity to try something (anything I want!) for these five months, because I'll be starting over when we move. You can be sure you'll be hearing a lot more about THIS these next months. I expect I'll be drawing lots of comparisons, not to say that one is better, but simply how they're different.

The first thing is that the exam room, besides being in someone's HOUSE, looks like this:
I'm actually quite curious about the logistics....do I lie on the bed sideways...? Does the midwife kneel on the foot of the bed...? ....

The other two midwiferies (is that the right spelling?) called back. (well, one emailed). One had similar numbers, but since I already had an appointment with this one, the decision was kinda already made (did I jump the gun on that? Was I too hasty? I just got so excited that it was SO much lower than ALL the OBs!). The other one isn't taking new patients, so THAT decision was already made too.

So, I did not find an OB to go to instead of Dr. Link. I DID find a less expensive option for my prenatals, though, and I'm really looking forward to this new experience.


graphic signature

P.S. On a totally different note, I put some new pictures in the side bar. The others were almost half a year old! Not that DH or I have changed that much, but LB sure has!

2 comments:

Laurie said...

Sounds like you're really checking out the different options and coming up with some good information.

I wish you the best, and I know that God will put you and your baby in the right hands.

I absolutely love the new babystrology widget that you have up! It's so neat!

Love the new pics too!

ehart said...

As long as you had no problems delivering LB, a midwife and home birth should work out very well for you--especially for prenatal. I wouldn't discount the second midwife yet though--you may have a personality clash with the one you have the appointment with.

Good luck! You'll be in my prayers.

Love the pics as well.