Imagine this scenario:
You’ve just had a baby via c-section. The nurse places your baby on your chest for some skin-to-skin. You gaze into your newborn’s eyes, amazed that you finally get to meet this person who you’ve been growing inside you for the past nine months.
“Errr, that’ll be $39.35,” the nurse says.
“I’m sorry, what was that?” you say.
“I’m going to need $39.35 from you,” she says.
“For what?” you ask.
“This. The skin-to-skin time. It costs $39.35.”
“I just had a baby pulled out of my abdomen. How about you pay ME $39.35, you cheeky cow?” you say, because that’s the only reasonable reaction to such a stupid charge.
This is essentially what happened to a couple in Utah. The mother gave birth via c-section, and when they received their itemized bill from the hospital, they noticed a $39.35 charge for ‘skin-to-skin after c-section’.
(Their full bill, by the way, was over $13,000 – and apparently that’s pretty cheap. According to Truven Health Analytics, the average bill for a natural birth in the US is around $30,000 (£24,000). That rises to $50,000 (£39,000) for a c-section delivery. Yet another reason why I’m so grateful that I gave birth in the UK, where having the Popple cost me f**k all. Thank you, NHS.)
The father thought the charge was funny and posted a photo of the bill online, and the internet basically blew up over it.
Most people were shocked that a mother could actually be charged to hold her baby after giving birth, because…well, what else are you going to do with the baby? The doctor is going to need to put them down somewhere, and the mother’s chest seems like a more logical place than, I don’t know, the floor or something.
However, some people defended the charge. A social media user called firedoc wrote, “What isn’t free is the extra nurse who has to sit by a drugged up mom who is undergoing major abdominal surgery so she doesn’t drop the baby,” not considering the fact that supporting the mother after birth is THE NURSE’S JOB, and they don’t deserve a $39.35 tip for doing it.
The skin-to-skin bill highlights how crazy hospital charges have gotten in America, and the couple’s reaction (amusement rather than anger) shows just how accustomed people have become to paying them. Being charged to hold your newborn isn’t normal, and having to pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of giving birth is obscene. Pregnant women have enough on their minds without having to worry about whether they can afford to get their babies out of their bodies.
American mamas, you deserve better.