After spending about 20 of my first 21 years in Illinois, I moved out here to New England eight years ago this month. I was ready for a change of scenery, an adventure. Six months later, I met M, and the rest is history. Now I live in the ‘burbs in my four-bedroom Colonial with my husband, two kids, and a dog. I’ve mentioned my internal conflict about whether or not to return to Illinois someday, but in general, I’m pretty happy here in Massachusetts.
There are things, of course, that I do not like about this crazy state. The roads, in particular. They’re neither parallel, nor perpendicular. They curve and twist and change names with alarming frequency. Not that you’d know about the name changes, since there are no legible street signs. I don’t mind semi-aggressive driving, but the fact that turn signals are viewed as a sign of weakness is a problem for me. While there are plenty of nice individuals here, people as a whole are a lot less outgoing and friendly than the midwesterners I grew up with. And don’t get me started on the lack of good Mexican food.
But there are plenty of things I really like. The seasons, the scenery, the history. Liberal politics and marriage equality. The fact that you can drive for two hours and be in three states. I really am digging the fact that Massachusetts has a rate of twin births 34% higher than the national average [some people don't think this is a good thing, see my post today over on How Do You Do It? for my response], and that my twin club has well over 200 members. And I love that we have awesome health insurance.
I know, that’s a weird thing for me to write about, but just roll with it.
In Massachusetts, they recently passed a law that requires all residents to have health insurance, and nearly all employers to offer it. I think this is a good thing, though I’m sure some people resent it. MA also has good laws about what insurance companies are required to cover. For one, we have among the most comprehensive insurance for fertility treatments in the country, as MA requires insurance companies to cover it, including IVF (hence, in part, the unusually high rate of twins). Prenatal and maternity care is great, too. I barely paid anything in co-pays for my entire pregnancy, delivery, and hospital stays for all three of us. MA also requires health insurance companies to cover a minimum of 48 hours in the hospital post-vaginal birth, and 96 hours post-c-section. If everyone is doing well and wants to go home, some doctors will discharge you earlier, but I felt no pressure at all to leave.
I had no idea this wasn’t the way of the entire country until my niece was born last week. Mom and baby were doing just fine after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, but why does that mean they were all but booted out the door 24 hours after she was born? Literally, she was born around 5pm, and they were out the door by 6pm the next day. My cousin, who lives in the same area, apparently had the same experience a few months ago when her daughter was born. I know some people hate being in the hospital, and want to get up and go as soon as possible. Not me. Sure, I had the surgery to recover from, and babies in the NICU, so that contributed to my lack of desire to leave. But seriously, in the hospital, you have professional help! You have nurses, wonderful nurses, to help you get up and out of bed, to help you in the less dignified moments, to help you take care of this strange new being that you’re supposedly responsible for creating and now raising. You have lactation consultants! The early days of breastfeeding can be so hard, I can’t imagine being at home and on my own after barely a day. You get food delivered to you! I know some hospitals have a bad reputation, but mine had pretty darn tasty food, and I was even able to order from a menu!
Thankfully, my new niece and her parents are doing just fine, and my stepmom is out there being as helpful as she can, while trying to walk the fine line and not be overbearing. But still, and extra day of nurses wouldn’t have been such a bad thing, in my opinion.
Didn’t I tell you? Practically perfect in every way… I can’t wait to meet her.