Wednesday, March 1, 2017

When God parted our own Red Sea

So when Ollie was born, we learned a lot.

Basically, his birth cost us $9,000 out of our own pocket.

It was a nightmare.

Admittedly, this entire process of dealing with insurance, receiving bills in the mail from so many different providers (hospital, attending pediatrician, anesthesiologist, etc) was so new to me. I had never dealt with it before.  Prior to marriage, my parents always handled insurance-related things, and ever since marrying Jared, (gratefully) he and I have never had any major medical expenses.  Just the once a year check ups with our primary care doctors, and those visits were always free.

So to deal with all this was overwhelming, to say the least.

For honestly about the first year of Ollie's life, I was making phone call after phone call to my insurance company, the hospital, the pediatrician's office, the anesthesiologist's office, researching bills, double checking over and over again that the amounts were correct (does a $6,000 circumcision fee from the hospital sound accurate to you?  Well, it is.), researching the internet to understand how insurance and medical coding works, asking friends their stories and advice ("Did your baby cost this much?  What would you do?  Can we compare bills?"), asking my parents questions, and just trying to understand the whole confusing process that can be insurance.  In the end, I came to the conclusion that all the amounts were correct, but because of one frustrating little coding decision made by the hospital, Ollie and I would each be responsible for our own deductibles, and because the costs were so high, we each hit our out of pockets ($4,500 each).

So I spent a while kind of going through my own sort of grieving process.  First being in shock, denial, then being mad, and then accepting.  That was a process of many months.

Luckily, during that time, I wasn't baby hungry.  I was still trying to understand how to be a mother and it was a joyful time but also a hard time.  There are just a lot of adjustments and "first times" and times of trying to figure things out.

But, the dark thought was still in the back of my and Jared's minds.  How in the world were we ever going to afford having another baby?  We just spent a good chunk of our savings to pay for our first born.  How on earth could we do that again?  We couldn't, in all actuality.

However, we knew we wanted to be obedient to Heavenly Father's command to multiply and replenish the earth.  We just didn't know how it would all work out.

I remember talking to my mom about it one day.  I was emotional wondering if Ollie would be our only child.  I wanted so many more children.

What she said to me changed the course of my thoughts.

"Carly, I've been thinking and praying about you and Jared.  I know this must be a time of worry and unsurety.

But.  If God can help Moses part the Red Sea - the seemingly impossible - then He can lead you to the path of finding a way to have another baby."


Then one day Jared came home from work talking about a Christian health share group that his co-worker was thinking about joining.  I thought it sounded like hog wash...a group that shares each other's medical expenses?  And it's not considered insurance?  (But is recognized as insurance under Obama care, and thus is legal, aka you don't have to pay a fine for not having "insurance" when filing your taxes, etc)  Does this really work?

His co-worker, as well as another co-worker and his family, joined Samaritan Ministries (SMI).

Then, Ollie hit 18 months old and I suddenly got baby hungry.  I had finally become much more settled and comfortable with motherhood and I felt like I could handle another child.  It just was starting to feel right.  But how would it work?

In the back of my mind I kept thinking about SMI.  I finally decided to text Emily, one of Jared's co-worker's wives, to ask if I could call and get more information about SMI.  We talked the next day and for the first time in this situation, I felt hope.

Could God really have led us to something that would allow us to have another baby?

Was my faith that strong?

So again, I embarked on another research process.  Over the course of a few weeks I read the entire 40 page SMI guideline book, I called SMI with a list of questions, my notebook became filled with notes, I did lots of math ("Would this be cost effective compared to our current insurance?") I called other SMI members in Florida to get their opinions of it, and just tried to be diligent in my research before we went to God in prayer with, "Is this right?"  In the end, I concluded that our monthly payments would be a little higher, but that the birth of any children would be completely free.


Over time, it felt right.  Through prayer, it felt right.

And so in October of 2016, we canceled our insurance, and joined Samaritan Ministries.

In December of 2016, we found out we were pregnant.

I know God answers prayers.

He helps us part our own Red Seas.