How did you overcome $ issues to have a Homebirth? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 53 Old 11-20-2003, 01:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Seems like we have a few threads started on how $ issues keep people from having homebirths. I think $ is the most commonly cited reason that people don't have homebirths. Here is a thread about how people have or are planning to overcome their money issues to give birth at home.

How did you come up with the $ for your homebirth?

What other alternatives to a full cost midwife paid homebirth did you consider?

Do you feel you made the right decision for you and your family? Why?

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#2 of 53 Old 11-20-2003, 02:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I might as well reply.

With my first pregnancy, I borrowed money from my family and friends to pay my midwife. They let me pay them back when I could. A year after the birth of my son, I finally got my insurance to reimberse me 100% (DISPITE THEM NOT COVERING HOMEBIRTHS. They did cover prenatal care and postnatal care that was billed to equal my midwive's fees). I was able to pay back my relatives and friends in full. It was certainly worth it. I had the birth of my dreams. I was treated with love and respect throughout my prenatal care, labor and post-partum. My child was not subjected to tests, separation or handled roughly. I pushed him peacefully into my husbands hands, dispite complications that would have ended in a C-section had I been in the hospital or birth center. I slept in my own bed, with my own husband and my own baby within a couple hours of my son's birth. Yes, I made the right decision to ask for help from my family. I also made the right decision to persue my insurance company. I would have opened up a credit card to pay for my homebirth it was so important. I would have sold my car. I would have stayed home and had a freebirth. I was thankful that some of the family members I approached were able and willing to lend me money. But, I would not have drawn the line there.

With my current pregnancy, money is much more tight than it was with my first. This time, I'm only working a few hours a week, as opposed to full time and the midwife's fees have gone up to $2900. My husband and I switched insurances to coverage for 80% of out-of-network providers. Again, the insurance does NOT cover homebirth, but they do cover prenatals and postnatals. I worked out a deal with my midwife for her to not charge me, but instead write up bills for my insurance company and wait for them to pay. I made up a billing plan for her to follow and I submit them to my insurance. I call my insurance and make sure it's gotten to the right place. I keep on them. I'm making sure they pay her so I can have the birth at home that I want. This is actually easier than my last birth, because I don't have to find relatives to borrow money from.

I should also note, I really think freebirth or unassisted childbirth (UC) is a wonderful option. When $ is the ONLY issue, UC is not the ONLY answer, but it is something to consider.

The sacrafices I have made (pride, time, energy, stress, debt) to have my children at home has been repaid to me 10,000%. I know that I have made the right decision for myself and my family. I feel home is the safest place for a child to born and for a mother to be made and that is worth more than money to me.

May your heart lead you the right decision for you and your family.

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#3 of 53 Old 11-20-2003, 01:31 PM
 
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With our first birth we went to a CNM that really, pardon my french, screwed us over. She required a $750 deposit, eventhough she accepted insurance. Our insurance paid 90/10, so we should've gotten our deposit back, we never did. And unfortunately I ended up in the hospital having a cesarean. The only reason we didn't have a homebirth was that we lived in a very tiny apartment and I would have virtually no room to labor in, I regret that one because the day I gave birth to my daughter it was beautiful outside, so I could've labored outside, which I did before going to the birth center.

With our next child we WILL be having a homebirth. Our midwife is awesome, she takes payments, even trades. She is way more than willing to work with people to allow them to have a homebirth if they want one. I know its probably hard to find midwives like this, but they are a blessing.
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#4 of 53 Old 11-20-2003, 01:41 PM
 
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I'm very very lucky....my mother in law is going to pay for basically all of the care. My family knows how important this is to my and my husband, so it was really a non issue. My midwives take payments and would *like* to have you paid in full by the time you birth, so it's not that big a deal either.

If we couldn't afford it, I was going to find a good CNM for my ob care and I hadn't decided what to do about the birth but I was entertaining the idea of UC.
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#5 of 53 Old 11-20-2003, 02:36 PM
 
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With my first, we were low-income enough to qualify for the Oregon Health Plan. For some reason when you sign up for an "open card" with OHP in the third trimester, they will cover homebirth with a licensed midwife. So that's what I did. I had to drop my private insurance, though, which was a good deal that I wouldn't be able to get again, so that was too bad. But we couldn't have afforded the homebirth otherwise.

With my second, we had inherited ten thousand dollars, which brought our income for that year up to about $24,000. So we were able to pay for the midwife's services out of pocket, although (different midwife) she did offer to trade for things like carpentry or housecleaning.

With my third, we did not feel the need for monitoring throughout pregnancy or labor, and I was not even sure I wanted a midwife in the room with us during the birth, so to pay $1500-2000 just for back-up, basically, seemed a little ridiculous. So we didn't hire a midwife. (I'm fortunate, though, that I have two midwife friends who would have been willing to come help out on a moment's notice, assuming they were able of course.)
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#6 of 53 Old 11-20-2003, 02:49 PM
 
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There have been some very good ideas posted here!!!
We were kind of lucky as well. I just so happened that we refinanced our house in February, taking advantage of the low intrest rates. We took out some extra money for big home improvements and we ended up getting a great deal on our new deck so we had some $$ left over. We are able to pull from that to finance our home birth. We would have put off any other home improvements to pay for this anyway...it just worked out.

Another thing I am doing while pregnant to save money is the "baby fund". I had a habit of drinking a glass or two of Spanish wine, uh daily, which would run me $12 a small bottle, 2wice a week, and a 1/2 pack American Spirit spendy $5 cigarette habit a day as well before pregnancy. Cutting out these vices has managed to give me an extra $250 a month for the baby fund. If you multiply this by 9 months...or 10 if you want to be correct that's around $2500! Our HB is running us $3000.

If you can find a vice (lets hope you have at least ONE!!! ) you'll find that cutting that out can create a substancial savings.

In the end I think DH and I would have taken out a lone or something. $$ was just not a factor at all. We didn't have that kind of doe laying around but we'd find it SOMEWHERE!!!

Amy

Mama to DS1 (4/04) DS2 (HBAC 11/06) DS3 (HBAC 12/08) DS4 (HBAC 1/11). Wife to one handsome hard working DH.
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#7 of 53 Old 11-20-2003, 08:54 PM
 
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We got our $ from the Tax Man! A decent tax refund funded our homebirth, which was ultimately mostly reimbursed by insurance.

It is worth whining and complaining to insurance companies to cover the prenatals/birth...mamas before me must've done that to make my reimbursement hassle-free.

Also--midwives aren't in midwifery for the money! There are payment plans that can be worked out on an individual basis, maybe even something wildly old-fashioned as barter and trade! (Seriously, I know of a doula who traded her services for goods from a crafty pregnant mom!)

Of all the things to stop a homebirth...money? Such a shame. Good luck to everyone who's needin' the fundin'.
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#8 of 53 Old 11-20-2003, 11:00 PM
 
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Well I'm lucky, we live in Fl and homebirth is covered by insurance. But if it wasn't our midwife will make pament arrangments. So we were going to go that route. Luckily we didn't have to.

Hope everything works out.
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#9 of 53 Old 11-21-2003, 03:09 AM
 
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I just made it a priority. I forego all luxuries. Nothing is as important to me as having a homebirth. The amount of our single income is absolutely pathetic, so I simply do not spend money on anything. I buy enough food to survive, I put gas in the car, I pay the car insurance, I pay the rent, I pay the energy bill, and that is IT. I simply do not spend money on ANYTHING else. I don't even have a phone. No haircuts, no movies, nothing. The midwife simply has to be paid. She's up there with the food and the rent and the heat. Everything else is less important and if there's no money left for it after I pay the midwife (which there isn't), that's just tough. It's not in the budget. I just don't get to have "things." There was exactly one little thing I wanted to buy last week that wasn't food and I didn't get to buy it. The money was gone. The midwife was the first person I paid when I got the paycheck.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#10 of 53 Old 11-21-2003, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What a great account of ways you've overcome the $ issue! I think it is amazing how if you want something, you can typically make it happen. It's kind of like what are you willing to do to get it?

I saw a letter in Mothering asking for donatations for a mom to finish school. What a great idea! That's another idea, sending Mothering a letter to get donations to help fund homebirth. I would almost think that would get a bigger response than covering education costs.

I see such enthusiasm and confindence in your decisions to do what you did/will do to get the birth at home you wanted. Yeah! The power of women rocks!

Spark and her four firecrackers.
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#11 of 53 Old 11-21-2003, 07:30 PM
 
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The midwife we used previously was great about accepting payments. We paid her $100 a month, and it usually took us about 2 years to pay her off. She also didn't mind if we missed a month here or there.

Our new midwife was quite a bit more expensive, plus initally she said it all had to be paid by 37 weeks. Dh and I racked out brains to try to figure out how we would come up with it, and there just wasn't a way. I told her we couldn't afford it, and she asked what we thought we could afford, even if it was nothing. I told her how much we could afford to pay before the birth, and how much we could come up with after. She said the amount we could come up with before the birth was fine, and not to worry about coming up with any more.

It is definitely worth talking to the midwife to see what kind of arrangements can be made.
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#12 of 53 Old 11-21-2003, 11:36 PM
 
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We're counting on my husband's annual re-enlistment bonus from the Air Force plus tax returns to cover the midwife/homebirth. We're also going to petition our insurance company to at least pay for part of it, even though they have said that they won't cover it. My mom has also come forward and offered to pay for half of the homebirth, but I am reluctant to accept her offer because she has helped us out financially in the past and then "rubbed our faces in it" when she got the chance. So, one way or another, we will be have it paid. If we weren't able to pay for it somehow, we would have gone unassisted because I truly believe I would be better off at home than in the hospital under almost any circumstance. I am really glad that we are working with our midwife, though, because I think she is great and I am glad to have the support since we have never had an unmedicated birth before.
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#13 of 53 Old 11-23-2003, 08:51 PM
 
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I paid out of pocket for my four homebirths. I had insurance cover only one, my DS born in 1983. It covered 80/20.

The rest I paid for.

You get what you pay for.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#14 of 53 Old 11-25-2003, 07:53 PM
 
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I am soooo very poor right now (our business-the only source of income) is having huge problems. i had given up and realized that even if we got three thousand dollars from the sky we are behind on all of our bills and couldn't afford a hb. After reading this thread i caled the mw, explained the situation and voila! She offered to barter the cost of the birth. Thanks to everyone who responded to this thread. You all made a huge difference in our lives!
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#15 of 53 Old 11-26-2003, 02:06 AM
 
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We bartered for part of the fee (my dh is a web designer) and are making payments for the rest.

DS: 18 DD: 15 DD: 8  angel1.gif 11/10  angel1.gif 4/11
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#16 of 53 Old 11-30-2003, 05:22 AM
 
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We are ttc but starting Jan 1st we are cancelling our HMO insurance (400 a month) and getting basic PPO saver insurance (172 for our family). With the savings of 200 dollars a month we will be able to afford a HB the next time.

Desiree

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#17 of 53 Old 12-01-2003, 09:06 AM
 
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well we saved little by little and cut back on most other areas of our budget to pay for the homebirths. we even sold belongings (like consignment stores, amazon.com and ebay.com). we sacrificed a lot to have homebirths but in our opinions the sacrifices were so well worth it.
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#18 of 53 Old 12-01-2003, 01:38 PM
 
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ITA, you get what you pay for. We made payment arrangements with our lay MW.
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#19 of 53 Old 12-02-2003, 01:33 AM
 
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I just wanted to add that if you have a payment arrangement with your midwife, it might be a good idea to get stuff in writing. I just know of one person who had payment disagreements last minute --- she and midwife and two different ideas of what was agreed upon (when it would be paid). In the end, the midwife refused to continue to provide services about two weeks before the baby was born. Midwives need to get paid -- and I'm not saying who was right/wrong, but I think it is safest to get stuff in writing regarding payment arrangements. Sounds quite formal though.

I will add that I paid more for my hospital birth (paying 20% of the total bill -- insurance covered 80%) than the entire cost of my homebirth which was paid in full by my insurance. I had a different insurance plan, but I was just so shocked at the cost difference. Midwifery care is a bargain!
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#20 of 53 Old 12-02-2003, 04:28 PM
 
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Well, I haven't had this problem, exactly, since we are planning a UC, but we do still need some stuff for the birth. We are quite poor. Dh lost his job when ds was 6 wks old and was out of work for 10 mos. That ended up really increasing our debt load and so a huge chunk of dh's salary goes toward debt--we make a bigger debt consolidation payment each month than we spend on the household budget (not including rent or electric). So finding room in the budget for little things like a mattress cover and chux pads--well, we could have done it a few items a month I guess.

Anyway, dh will be getting a Christmas bonus like last year's unexpected bonus. If it is as good as last year's it will be the equivilant of one paycheck. So I've got a list of all the stuff I want for the birth and the baby, and in a few weeks I'll be burning up the phone lines ordering all my stuff. The awsome part is that my list is really so much shorter than originally anticipated that we will have tons left over. We are trying to figure out how best to spend what'll be left after Christmas presents and new tires for dh's car and a new aquarium hood. Maybe we should spend it on a GOOD cat who doesn't break the aquarium hood over and over!

BTW, last time we owed about $400 after insurance for our hospital birth. We just got it payed off less than a year ago. It was kind of last on our list since we felt pretty sure they wouldn't come reposess ds

Tracy, doula and Army wife and homeschooling mama to A and E
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#21 of 53 Old 12-02-2003, 06:06 PM
 
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Oh thank-you all so much for those ideas! I just called a midwife this morning and she expect the full 1800 by the delivery so we have til then to figure out how to get the insurance to pay for it. We still have to see if they will pay for any of it and go from there. You are all very inspirational. Thank-you!
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#22 of 53 Old 12-14-2004, 11:42 PM
 
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For those of you who managed to get some of your homebirth covered by insurance, can you elaborate on how you got through to them? Did any of you have a CPM or lay midwife who wasn't associated with a medical or midwifery practice, and so couldn't "bill" like a practice would? Did you call the insurance company beforehand and inform them you were doing a homebirth, or did you have better luck waiting until after the fact?

Thanks in advance!
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#23 of 53 Old 12-15-2004, 04:10 AM
 
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I will be having a HBAC sometime in March/April. Until last month we were a 1 income family. I started back to work full time nights so that we can pay our midwife. She is only 1400 if we pay by week 34 or 1800 after the birth. So far we only have 1050 left, but we are giving up everything extra and giving ourselves ulcers in the process. We are so tight at this point that rent bounced this month. :d anyway after reading what some of you wrote I think I will call midwife and talk to her about some kind of deal. Then maybe I can rest my aching feet......ahhhh what a dream that would be.

Kim- Simple livin' mama to 4 great kiddos.
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#24 of 53 Old 12-15-2004, 02:07 PM
 
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What an interesting thread. Thanks to everyone who has already shared how they paid for their midwife/homebirth. I really appreciate the ideas and there were some interesting ideas. I like the idea of giving up some vice or giving up something that's not really necessary in order to fund the "baby fund". I could easily find something to give up in order to fund the fund and then dh wouldn't have to bug me about where the $'s are coming from.

I'd also like to second the question about insurance. Does anyone have any suggestions for "dealing with" the insurance company? I'm not pregnant yet and not even sure that homebirth is for me, but I know that when I was pregnant with my first I was told that the insurance policy covers midwives, but only if they bill through an OB. I doubt a homebirth midwife would bill through an OB, so does anyone have any ideas?

We are lucky enough to be able to easily save whatever $'s are necessary for a homebirth, but it bugs me so much that insurance won't necessarily pick up the tab. With our current policy, we have $0 out of pocket expenses for a hospital birth, a few hundred dollars for a birthcenter, and probably two or three times as much for a homebirth. That is just so backwards that it makes me mad. Sorry, I'm getting off-topic now. Thanks again for the info/suggestions.
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#25 of 53 Old 12-15-2004, 02:26 PM
 
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Well, in essence we're using student loan money to pay for our homebirth. DH and I are both graduate students so we qualify for a good bit of student loans. We figure it's worth it to use that borrowed money now for a good birth experience and pay for it later on. We are paying the midwife out of pocket but her fees aren't too high ($1800 total for services not counting birth supplies which will be altogether another $100 - $200). We have gotten conflicting answers from our student health insurance plan about whether or not the homebirth will be covered so we're not holding our breath but will submit the claim forms after the birth and see what happens. It would be really nice to get that money back (although probably not all of it anyway since the midwife would probably only be covered 50% as an out-of-network provider). What gets me about insurance is that homebirths are so much less expensive than hospital births, so the insurance companies should be jumping at the chance to pay for a cheaper birth experience. I guess there's just still too much opposition to the idea.

Anyway, I hope anyone who wants to have a homebirth can figure out a way to do it. I'm really glad we were able to find a local midwife who wasn't too expensive.
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#26 of 53 Old 12-15-2004, 02:44 PM
 
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My work offers one of those healthcare spending accounts where they take a portion from your paycheck, put it in an account, you submit the invoice and get reimbursed for the service. Essentially it's all out of pocket this way, but our MW is willing to do payments and that's a lot easier on us. So we're working up budgets to make ends meet for the upcoming year. But Kaiser HMO doesn't cover it, so there's really no other way. I got the idea from this thread.
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#27 of 53 Old 12-15-2004, 02:58 PM
 
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this makes me so sad to see the lengths that people have to go to to be able to have a homebirth.

i'm in canada so my healthcare is free regardless of who delivers my baby and where.

our homebirth will actually be cheaper because if i wanted a semi-private or private room in the hospital i'd have to pay for it.

i really really congratulate you all for doing what you believe is best for you and your baby, even though it's an expensive endeavour.
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#28 of 53 Old 12-15-2004, 05:07 PM
 
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The mw we hired for one of our homebirths charged us $700(half what she charged if you had insurance) and we made monthly payments.We also paid for a birth kit and some gas money so all total about $800. It is a shame how much people are being charged.I thought even the full $1400 was a fair amount,but could not manage a 3k birth.Our mw wanted to make hb affordable for the majority.
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#29 of 53 Old 12-21-2004, 04:16 PM
 
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We also did the flex spending thing.

Money has been a little bit of a different issue for us than for some. DH and I are in our mid-30's and both have had good jobs for long time. We both are very frugal in general and have adequate savings. However, homebirth has not been as high a proirity for DH as it is for me. I still think he struggles with paying $1500 when we could have a hospital birth for a tenth that price. He also would be more comfortable with birth in a hospital setting. But he is a person that is very respectful of my feelings and since he knows he isn't the one pushing a baby out of his body he has gone with it. Also he likes/trusts our midwife which helps a lot.
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#30 of 53 Old 12-21-2004, 04:23 PM
 
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Well, Mali is 6 months now and we did end up paying some after. My dh sold plasma to pay it off, 50 dollars a week for going twice a week.

If you want it, you will figure out how to make it work.
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