Introducing Eggy

M and I are pleased to announce that we are expecting a baby boy this fall. We have nicknamed him “Eggy” – it means baby in Korean. As you know, you cannot exactly plan when you become pregnant. Honestly, we were not sure if things would happen au naturel due to my age so IVF was a possibility. Luckily my current job includes 3 cycles of IVF as a benefit but it is still not 100% covered. I know many ladies who have spent a small fortune on getting pregnant. So here are a few things I have learned, financially, about trying to get pregnant and trying to plan for leave and childcare:

  1. Insurance coverage: Make sure you know what your insurance plan will cover and not cover and what deductible you’ll need to meet, if any. Even if your insurance says “maternity is covered,” it may not cover all the tests. My costs: $40 (co-pay for the first visit only) is what my total out of pocket costs will be, including the delivery. This assumes I use an ob-gyn within my health system (I am) and that I deliver at one of their hospitals (I plan to).
  2. Maternity Leave: Think about how long you’ll want to take for leave and what leave, if any, will be paid. This is a highly personal decision, but I have yet to meet someone who said they took too much time off. Unfortunately, paid maternity leave is not the norm in the U.S. If you have unpaid leave  at least you’ll have approximately 9 months to save up for this. My leave: I get 6 weeks paid leave (at my base salary) or 8 weeks (c-section). I can also use unused vacation. I will have at least 2-3 weeks of unused vacation to get to at least 8 weeks paid. I am taking at least 3 months off. So that means at least 1 month unpaid, possibly more. Since I only really need ~60% of my take home base salary, this won’t be a huge burden on us and we will have more than enough saved to cover this unpaid time.
  3. Maternity clothes: Unless you only wear stretchy pants and dresses, you’ll need at least a few staples. I do wear scrubs a few times a week to work so I did not have to buy a whole new work wardrobe. Gap Maternity is pretty inexpensive and I was able to use a 20-40% off coupon when ordering online. It also helps that it’ll be mostly warm weather during my pregnancy so I can keep wearing dresses.
  4. Baby stuff: I am totally cool with second-hand everything. And due to space limitations of an NYC apartment, we definitely do not want too much “stuff.” Between a baby shower, a very excited grandmother-to-be, M’s sister’s hand me downs – we should have most of the basics for almost free. I have even scored a free Mamaroo and Ergo carrier already. I won’t be shopping at baby boutiques for clothes.
  5. Post-partum help: If you don’t have family around you may want to look into outsourcing certain things (clean and cook, etc) so you can focus on mothering. Baby nurses and night nannies are common in NYC – definitely a luxury – but a savior when you’re sleep-deprived. Post-partum doulas are also a great idea, especially for first time moms, to show you the ropes, help you ease into breastfeeding (most are breastfeeding certified counselors), and help you take care of you while you recover from delivery. The U.S. is a bit strange in that moms are expected to recover and go back to work ASAP. Too bad there aren’t any post-partum spas here like Korea. My plans: M will take 2 weeks off to help. I’m planning on hiring a post-partum doula for a few sessions for the above reasons. After 2 weeks, I’ll be with my mom for a few weeks – letting her carry out a Korean tradition of taking care of a new mom. Slightly modified as I’ll be able to shower :).
  6. Childcare: This blog is geared towards female professionals, so most of us probably won’t be stay at home moms. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the cost of childcare! The going rate in my neighborhood is ~ $17/hr for a nanny. At this time, I prefer having a nanny for the first 6-12 months after I return to work. The convenience of someone coming to us vs. one of us packing up the baby and walking to a daycare (at least a 10-15 min walk – won’t be fun during winter). Also, babies and kids often get sick in daycare and although M’s work is more flexible, we don’t want to deal with that. Right now, we are planning to have a nanny for 40 hours a week over 4 days and my mom for 1 day a week and for backup. We are *gulp* preparing to spend at least $3,000 a month in childcare. Unfortunately, daycare isn’t much cheaper and with the convenience and flexibility of a nanny, this was a no brainer for us. After 6 months or so, we will reassess.
  7. Saving for college: It’s never too early to start saving for a little one’s college. You may recall that I started a 529 last year in anticipation of starting a family. I get a small state tax break for funding one so it was a no brainer to get started.
What does all of the above mean for our finances overall? We have been working on downsizing our budget over the past several months. The main impact this will have on us is that I will need to put extra payments towards loans on hold. Thankfully, I refinanced most of my loans to a low fixed rate for a 5 year term and will likely pay them off in 5 years and not less. I’m ok with that. We’ll still continue to max out our tax-advantaged retirement accounts and should still be on target with our financial plan. I found this book really helpful in creating my Eggy registry: Any other financial considerations for a mom-to-be? Comment below.]]>

18 Comments

  1. Annette on May 3, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Congratulations Bonnie! Motherhood will be lifechanging…in a good way!



    • missbonniemd@gmail.com on May 3, 2017 at 8:21 am

      Thanks!



  2. Mrs. Picky Pincher on May 3, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Congratulations on little Eggy! You’re going to do wonderfully! 🙂



    • missbonniemd@gmail.com on May 3, 2017 at 11:06 am

      thank you!



      • RocDoc on May 3, 2017 at 11:51 pm

        Wonderful news! Congratulations! The nanny sounds like a cozy, comforting plan.



        • missbonniemd@gmail.com on May 4, 2017 at 6:32 am

          thank you!



  3. Alicia on May 8, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    Congrats. I have one thing to add because it happened to me and a lot of my friends despite my lengthy research both in NY and Los Angeles. Often even if your OB and hospital are in-network, the anesthesiologist may not be. They would be the ones to do the epidural which is obviously optional but in case of a C-section, definitely not an option. I got a $2000 bill for my epidural which took all of 10 minutes to place. I argued with the insurance company with 2 appeals, got them to cover a small amount then negotiated with the anesthesiologist billing department, stating I wanted a physician discount. I think in the end I ended up paying like $500 out of pocket and spent many hours of my time. Not sure how to avoid this since most of them just straight up do not contract with insurance companies. Just an FYI for you and your readers.



    • missbonniemd@gmail.com on May 14, 2017 at 7:20 am

      Good point! I am fine on that point personally (I just need to use my in-network hospital), but have heard what you described happen to other ladies.



  4. Physician on FIRE on May 14, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Fantastic news!

    Kiddos aren’t cheap, but they’re worth every penny and then some. Hope all goes well for Eggy, you, and your growing family!

    Best,
    -PoF



    • missbonniemd@gmail.com on May 15, 2017 at 6:42 am

      Thanks PoF!



  5. westcoaster on July 17, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    Congrats! This is a great adventure.

    I think you’ve totally nailed the financial basics of parenthood here. Great resource.

    We’ve really been split on the nanny care vs daycare decision. Something that ultimately influenced us more than we initially realized is a fantastic read called “bringing up bebe” written by an american journalist mom raising a child in France and compare/contrast the Parisian way of bringing up kids with the NYC way. While daycare can be stigmatized (particularly in medschool) as a hotbed of viral vectors, the author makes a compelling argument for the early socialization of daycare. We are a 2 physician couple that takes in house call. While the lack of flexibility sometimes leaves us scrambling at the end of a busy day, for us daycare feels like the win.

    Now that our child is a little older, I’m also realizing that parents with nanny’s devote huge amounts of space and cost/resources to play rooms, nanny activities (zoo memberships, painting classes, music classes), that are otherwise also covered by the daycare. We initially thought daycare and nanny were about the same price but now that I see the amount our peers spend on nanny related services (not to mention nanny taxes), this ends up favoring daycare.



    • Miss Bonnie MD on July 18, 2017 at 6:23 am

      Thanks! I *just* read bringing up bebe and LOVED it. Totally spoke to me. Since this post we have decided on daycare (if we can get off the 1 year waiting list on time). It’s actually a lot cheaper since I feel strongly about paying a nanny on the books.



  6. GYM on August 31, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Congratulations on the new baby Eggy! I have a newborn and boy does the help sure help!! That’s great that your mom is going to take care of you post partum. I felt like crap postpartum for about 2-3 weeks then afterwards you feel close to normal. Is it Korean tradition to not leave the home for 30 days too (it is in the Chinese tradition, or try not to leave, or at least not have cold water showers or showers).



    • Miss Bonnie MD on August 31, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      Yes 30 days as well. But I won’t be adhering to the strict rules :).



  7. Thrifty Pants on September 24, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Congratulations, Ms. Bonnie and thank you for sharing!

    How, how are you able to “get away” with only a $40 co-pay? On this topic, what is your take on HSAs for those who are still at the stage of planning a pregnancy? (any situation in which it would be inferior to a traditional split-copay plan)

    Thank you.



    • Miss Bonnie MD on September 24, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      I work for a very large hospital system so as long as I get my care through them, pretty much everything is covered. Def a perk! I’m not an expert on HSAs, but you’ll have to run the #s and see which plan will be cheaper. I had an HSA choice for this year and didn’t do it intentionally because everything is pretty much covered under this plan.



  8. The Frugal Physician on August 21, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Congrats and thank you for the great advice!



    • Miss Bonnie MD on August 21, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks for stopping by:)



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