You’d think that with two able working adults, you wouldn’t find yourself in financial trouble as long as you didn’t lose your job. I thought that too! Turns out I was wrong! In 2015 I learned how some things turn out to financial challenges beyond our control. We had just found out that we were expecting our first child. It was an exciting time. We had not even shared the news with family or friends yet and things started to seem ‘off’. We soon found that I was unable to work due to these changes happening inside my body. This created an unexpected financial strain on our lives!
I was at the doctor’s office and told them of my woes. I had extreme morning sickness, but it lasted 24 hours a day! I had dizzy spells. I was constantly feeling faint. I was over heating and passing out. I couldn’t even sit up without losing my balance. It was a conundrum for my doctor. She may have thought I was being over dramatic. My doctor said that the sicker a pregnant lady is, usually the healthier the baby Based on this knowledge, I was carrying a gladiator!
I own and run a Wine and Canvas in Sioux Falls, so my schedule allowed me to try and work from home. I also had a great staff that stepped up to help cover my portion of running the business since I wasn’t able to drive. Bad part, I had to pay them to help me. I had to cut into my own salary to be able to pay my employees to do ‘my job’. This was definitely affecting the businesses bottom line as well as my own paycheck!
Tell our Parents
We had decided my health was bad enough and we were struggling enough that we needed to let our family in on our situation. We face-timed my parents as they live 800 miles away in Indiana. They shocked and excited. We followed up our news, with a request for my mom to come and take care of me. She is a retired labor and delivery nurse, so crazy sick pregnant ladies are kind of her specialty.
We then made a dinner date to tell my husbands parents. I started feeling ‘off’ while riding in the car to dinner. I was trying to keep it together! I was getting hot, and faint. We no sooner told his parents they were going to be grandparents and I fainted. I was out long enough for them to call 911 and get an ambulance there to get me to the hospital. So the moment of excitement turned to terror in less than 60 seconds. I was out cold, dripping in sweat, and covered in my own vomit. It should have been embarrassing, but I was unconscious, so it wasn’t.
I took a ride in the ambulance and got hydrated and baby was just fine. Because of my extreme morning sickness, I was dehydrated and needed a couple bags of IV fluids. This helped, but further solidified that I could not drive, could not be alone and was pretty much ‘disabled’ by my pregnancy. We had seven more months to go! What were we going to do!?
Luckily We Were Covered
I learned we had some coverage for the events that occurred, but we weren’t covered enough. We had Colonial Life accident insurance. This means they would reimburse us for some of our out of pocket medical costs for the ambulance ride and the emergency room visit. It would have also covered part of the hospital bill, had I been admitted. Luckily I was not admitted. I believe we got reimbursed $200 for the ambulance ride and $150 for the ER visit. While $350 didn’t help pay my mortgage it did help cover the out of pocket expenses that were not covered by my deductible or my medical insurance.
There were two Aflac policies that I have had in the past, but I did not have during this time, that would have been very helpful for our financial situation. If we had Short Term Disability (STD) coverage during this time, it would have helped bridge the financial gap of not receiving a paycheck and using my salary to pay my employees to run my business. STD only pays out a percentage of your salary, depending on the plan you have, it could be 50% or 60%.
The other policy that would have been helpful, had I not cancelled it years before, was a critical illness policy. This coverage would have helped pay the medical bills that started to pile up from the doctor visits I had due to my condition.
Over a year after my son was born did I learn about another policy that would have been very helpful during my pregnancy. Our homeowners insurance with State Farm offers mortgage disability insurance. This is a great policy offered solely to State Farm customers with a mortgage payment. It is the same concept as disability, but it is less expensive and pays for your mortgage payment while you are unable to work.
Example Coverage: $1,000/month benefit, 90-day elimination period
- Husband: $14/month
- Wife: $15-20/month
While our mortgage is a little higher than $1,000 a month, this would have been very helpful in our financial situation.
No one wants to be down and out and having to deal with insurance companies or medical bills. Whenever I filed a claim, they were promptly paid and had a straight forward processing system.
During this whole ordeal, we also encountered a water heater going out on us! Luckily we had the home warranty that came with the purchase of our home from a few years earlier. I had not let that coverage lapse. I placed a call for service and the serviceperson came out, saw we needed a new water heater, ordered our replacement. In the same day we got our new water heater installed and we only had to pay the service call fee of $75.
While these unforeseen circumstances were exhausting, the incidents that were covered by our insurance policies made life a little easier. If I kept the coverage for the other policies, we wouldn’t have had to put as much on credit cards. We were lucky that we were able to make ends meet and that I had a healthy baby. My gladiator is now almost two years old, and healthy as an ox.