Giving birth is rough, but the light at the end of the tunnel is that moment when a new mom gets to hold her baby for the first time. But for one Reddit user, that moment came with a fee. Redditer halfthrottle posted a photo of an itemized hospital bill with the caption, “I had to pay $39.35 to hold my baby after he was born,” and sparked instant outrage on the thread over the crazy costs of giving birth.
The photo shows the various charges the couple incurred for having their baby, and just below the fee for her C-section delivery, there is a charge for “skin to skin after C sec” at $39.35. It’s far from the most expensive aspect of giving birth, but come on, a healthy mom should get to hold her healthy new baby without delay. Plus, there’s evidence to show that skin to skin contact immediately after birth has a host of benefits for a newborn, including helping the baby to bond with it’s mom, be less stressed, and have an easier time with breast feeding.
Luckily, Redditer FiftySixer, who is a labor and delivery nurse, was on hand to explain that the charge isn’t completely uncalled for.
“I didn’t know that hospitals charged for it, but doing ‘skin to skin’ in the operating room requires an additional staff member to be present just to watch the baby,” the user wrote. “We used to take all babies to the nursery once the NICU team made sure everything was okay. ‘Skin to skin’ in the OR is a relatively new thing and requires a second Labor and Delivery RN to come in to the OR and make sure the baby is safe.”
OK, this does kind of make sense. After all, the mom did just have a major medical procedure.
FiftySixer continued, “Because the Mom is still being closed up after the delivery. She is anesthetized from the chest down, and may feel faint, or nauseated. Someone needs to be there to make sure that the baby doesn’t slide off of her chest onto the floor, and to pick up the baby if she starts feeling unwell.”
It’s certainly possible that not all hospitals would follow this exact procedure and charge patients for the baby-holding time, but at least the fee has a little more context. And apparently, halfthrottle, the baby’s dad, said that he and his wife have no hard feelings about the experience.
“The nurse let me hold the baby on my wife’s neck/chest,” he wrote. “Even borrowed my camera to take a few pictures for us. Everyone involved in the process was great, and we had a positive experience. We just got a chuckle out of seeing that on the bill.”