The Cost of Having a Baby

The Cost of Having a Baby

The cost of medical care is always hot topic and I don’t like money being taboo, so I figured I would share the expenses we incurred having Baby T.

(Related: read about how we got ready for Baby J for under $350.)

For the record, the only complication I had with Baby T was that my water broke at 38 weeks before any contractions or dilation (and not in a subtle way either – just like in the movies where the woman is just minding her own business one moment and standing in a large puddle the next).

My contractions had to be induced with IV Pitosin. Even with the assist, it took almost 30 hours from when my water broke to actual delivery, so I also needed IV antibiotics (commonly used if delivery takes longer than 12-18 hours after membrane rupture).

We had a private “delivery suite” with a view of the mountains at the only hospital in our town, which happens to be largest hospital for 2 hours in any direction.

We had done an intake call, filled out paperwork, and had a video tour of the unit beforehand, so that we would be as ready and comfortable as possible when labor started. They had also asked for our birth plan (I didn’t have one other than “get Baby T out please”) and any advance directives for my healthcare needs (slightly depressing, but I appreciated them asking).

Birth plan board: "Baby boy!" written in
This was on the wall in my hospital room. I stand by that birth plan.

Our “suite” looked very much like a large hotel room. Many of the less-pleasant items, such as the crash cart and barf bags, were tastefully hidden. The giant surgical lights were recessed in the ceiling, to be pulled down when needed – you wouldn’t even notice them unless you were looking.

Perks included a nice en-suite bathroom, a birthing tub if desired (we declined), a labor ball (tried it, didn’t do much for me), unlimited in-room dining (the food was quite good), on-demand movies and TV (we watched both new Jumanji movies), a mini fridge for you to bring snacks from home or store take-out, a couch-bed for my husband, AND everything needed for Baby T after he arrived so that he literally never left our sight.

And frankly I can’t say enough good things about the doctors, nurses, and staff who took care of us. It actually felt like a hotel experience. Five stars all around.

As mentioned above, I was on an IV for about 30 hours before delivery, and we stayed in the hospital an additional 24 hours after that. So we spent 3 nights there in total. And I insisted on having Baby T’s heart rate monitored from the minute we got there, because I had lost so much amniotic fluid and he was still up so high that I was convinced he was stuck and needed a C-section (he did not).

We also elected to have an OB monitor the whole thing (vs a midwife, which is typically less expensive) and to have an epidural (which incurs the costs of an anesthesiologist and is more expensive than having no epidural).

We elected to pay for every recommended test and evaluation for Baby T, and to have a visit from his future pediatrician, which you’ll see reflected in the fees for his services.

Baby T in his incubator shortly after delivery.
Baby T just a few hours old, and excited to be on the outside!

We have very standard insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield. Because we were not aware we could get pregnant, we did not have any supplemental pregnancy insurance or benefits. We had not hit any of our deductibles before heading into the hospital for delivery.

Here’s what we paid out of pocket:

Bill from the hospital for my services (including my epidural): $2,144.48*

Bill from the hospital for Baby T’s services: $3,237.05

Total hospital costs: $5,381.53

Bill from my OB’s office for in-hospital services: $2,857.65

Bill from Baby T’s pediatrician’s office for in-hospital services: $448.33

Total costs: $8,687.51

*After some research, I found the average out-of-pocket cost of a vaginal delivery in a hospital in the U.S. to be around $2.6k. Average for a C-section seems to be around $3.2k.

I did talk the hospital down slightly on out-of-pocket costs by offering to pay in full. All our bills were paid with our Blue Cross HSA funds.

I’m not saying it’s a bargain, but you can easily spend that much on a week at a nice resort, or on fancy phones and a year of cell service for a family of four. Plus, this was all tax-free money, since it was from our HSA.

So with that perspective in mind, and considering the very sophisticated and personalized patient care we received, I feel like it was a pretty decent deal.

Sleeping baby being held.
Baby T at 2 days old.
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