Shelley Ames, Arlington, TX

Total eligible bills
$45,890
Provider discounts
$28,338
Total bills shared
$17,543

In early 2017 my husband, Garrett, and I wanted to have another child. (Our firstborn son, Dakota “Kody,” was six.) We looked for an affordable healthcare option with a good maternity program and were very pleased to learn about CHM. I was specifically interested in an option that would enable me to have a midwife at a birthing center and I was also excited to find a ministry that values the power of prayer as highly as our family does.

In Feb. I joined the ministry’s Gold program. To our joy, in May we found out I was pregnant with our second child.

Though CHM’s online resources were informative and thorough, I called to ask questions and verify that midwifery costs would be shared. It was reassuring to talk to the staff, who confirmed what I had read. (Editor’s note: For more information about midwives and birthing centers, please see CHM Guideline R and the Gold program maternity guide.)

After that conversation I was confident about my personal choice to use a midwife and also felt good that the money we sent to CHM each month was going to help with other Christians’ medical needs.

I was thankful not to suffer any pregnancy complications. However, when labor began in late January 2018, my contractions intensified quickly and caused nausea and vomiting. After 12 hours at the birthing center I was dilated only two centimeters and was completely exhausted.

After considering all my options, I agreed to go to a hospital in nearby Fort Worth. My midwife accompanied me and remained with me the entire time. She and the nurses encouraged me and prayed for me throughout my labor.

Though the fluids and pain medication helped, after another 30 hours of hard labor I was still not fully dilated and the baby began showing signs of fetal distress. Toward the end of the second day—and after many more prayers and tears—I finally consented to a non-emergency C-section.

It was such an emotional time and actually quite moving despite my great disappointment that the birth didn’t go the way I had hoped. Our precious second son, Mason Caden Ames, finally entered the world at 5 p.m. January 26, 2018.

At the time I wasn’t thinking about finances or medical bills, but soon after in my recovery room it occurred to me that I didn’t know if CHM would share the hospital bills in addition to the midwife’s charges.

Garrett and I talked with the hospital’s financial counselor to let them know we’re self-pay patients with CHM. They offered a significant discount if we paid cash before I was discharged, so we decided to take advantage of the discount even though I wasn’t sure if CHM would reimburse us. (Editor’s note: Whenever possible, please contact CHM before paying upfront. See Guideline L for more info.)

Once I got home I called CHM to explain what happened. The representative said there was no need to be concerned because the hospital expenses were eligible for sharing. I then called my other healthcare providers; most of them offered a 50 to 70 percent discount if we could pay within 30 days. We paid them and submitted the bills to CHM for reimbursement.

The total cost of my pregnancy was $45,881. After discounts, the charges dropped to $17,543. CHM sent us that amount after about three months, which I thought was a very reasonable timeframe.

I was and still am in awe that the ministry helped with my hospitalization charges and I think CHM is an amazing program. I thought there would be many hoops to jump through because of the birth complications, but that wasn’t the case and it was a great relief not to experience the added stress of financial worries during an already difficult and stressful time.

I tell everyone about CHM and one of my best friends recently signed up! Thank you, CHM, for helping an expectant mother with some very unexpected costs.

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