Reflections On How Times Have Changed: One Baby Girl: $114.03, Please

On what promises to be another sticky, uncomfortable day in early May, a thirty-year-old woman goes into labor. She has a toddler at home so she knows what to expect this time around. She is relatively calm as her labor progresses and she and her husband drive to The Hospital for the Women of Maryland at the intersection of Lafayette Avenue & John Street in Baltimore, Maryland. In an uncomplicated birth, she delivers a baby girl at 6:06 a.m. 

Later that day storms and heavy rains finally crack one of the most hot and humid early May days the area has experienced in years. The local paper reports that the mercury collapses nearly 40 degrees dropping into the 40s overnight.

Two days later, the woman carefully reviews the bill before she checks out with the baby and her husband. The bill totals $114.03. There is a balance due of $20.50 which the hospital will refund in approximately one month. 

Yes, of course, the woman giving birth is my mother. And, in the present, on May 13, 2018, Mother’s Day, I am flabbergasted by what seem to be infinitely reasonable charges for my birth. But to put it in perspective, the cost of a gallon of gas in 1954 was 22 cents, the average cost of a new car  $1,700.00, average monthly rent $85.00 and a movie ticket 70 cents.

Equally shocking is that she was actually in the hospital for a couple of days after delivery. So not Kate Middleton! My, how things have changed! Of course, lots hasn’t changed like having babies. All you mothers know what that feels like.

Here’s hoping your kids express gratitude for all you do and have done for them. I wish I’d appreciated my mother more when she was still here.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there!

Reader’s Invitation: I’d love to hear any reflections evoked by this short piece.

2 thoughts on “Reflections On How Times Have Changed: One Baby Girl: $114.03, Please”

  1. Nedra Weinstein

    A short one and still sweet. I often retell the birth of my son as although happy ending had some trauma in it as he was hospitalized for 2 weeks to receive antibiotics for condition called pleuroinfusion- fluid in lung cavity. I was in ward with him sleeping on cot and trying to breastfeed as well as having delivered a large baby – 9 lbs 7 ounces – which leads to uncomfortable situation for those that know. I remember I checked immediately with the post to make sure all was covered by insurance and I talked with Becky who said yes! Relief! I remember the power of the good nurses that make you feel good snd the power of the impatient nurses which make you feel bad. But I do remember caring doctors and a medical system that did right !

    1. Wow – Nedra! I did not know this about Mitch’s birth. Also didn’t realize he was such a large baby – yikes! It does make for good stories, however, doesn’t it? Caring medical professionals rock, for sure – and make all the difference in the experience when we’re usually at our most vulnerable. Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting. I appreciate you and your consistent and thoughtful responses.

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