We hear and read a lot about the costs of having a baby. Heaven knows that I've written my fair share about baby costs. From the actual event to all the supplies involved and the expenses after the fact, there are all sorts of costs that can come with having a baby. But what about when you're going through the actual birthing process?
It seems like there is often a gap in baby cost articles when it comes to this aspect. There are the costs of preparation and events leading up to the baby being born, and there are the costs after the baby is born, but what about the time during the actual birthing and immediately thereafter? As I was sitting in the hospital, just after the birth of our second child, I began to consider some of the costs of our time being in the hospital during the birthing and the days immediately following the birth of our baby.
For both of our babies, we had a three-day stint in the hospital. Thankfully, both babies came on a Friday, so time off was not a significant factor for my wife, but for me as a self-employed individual who tends to also work on the weekends, it certainly cut into my productivity. And seeing as I have no paid vacation time, lost time equates to lost money. Not only this, but in both situations, my wife was on maternity leave for an extended period after birth, which as a dual income family, cut our income during that time by about a third. This was doable since we'd planned for such a decrease in income in advance, but it was a factor with which to deal nonetheless.
Parking, Gas and Food
Trips back and forth between the hospital can add up during the birthing period, especially if the hospital charges for parking like our most recent hospital did. Thankfully, I ended up staying at the hospital a large portion of each day my wife was there. Thus, I avoided trips back and forth, and since the hospital was only about 7 miles from our home, gas costs didn't add up significantly, but they were still present.
With parking at $5, whether I stayed one hour or 12, I ended up paying $15 in parking for the birthing, and probably $10 on gas driving back and forth. Had I made more trips though, these costs could have easily doubled or even tripled during those three days. I also made sure to eat before I went to the hospital and take along snacks that kept me from having to pay for hospital food or leave the hospital grounds in search of fast food (which would have resulted in higher parking and food costs as well).
Higher Utilities…and Don't Forget Prescription Costs
Our first child didn't seem to mind cooler temperatures; however, he was born in the summer, so this really wasn't a factor. Our most recent child though really doesn't like it chilly. And while we tend to keep our home in the mid to upper 60s during the winter, we're going to have to crank up the thermostat a bit more this winter to keep her happy, which in the Chicagoland area can add up to increased utility bills.
And of course, don't forget those prescription and medical supply costs for mommy and baby once they get out of the hospital. There are pain killers and other items for momma, and while baby hasn't needed anything yet other than vitamin D supplements, such costs could be just around the corner. If nothing else, we stockpiled a few bottles of baby acetaminophen and infant gas relief, which are nice items to have on hand if or when they're required by an unhappy baby.
So it can be important to bear in mind that just because baby is being born or even out of the hospital, it doesn't mean that the birthing related costs end there.
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