As I lay back on the ultrasound table, I felt a peaceful sense of familiarity. Of course, I was excited, but I’d been through this before with my two sons, now five and three. So I knew what to expect at this 12-week visit: my husband and I would get our first look at the little one growing in my belly. Our newest blessing.
The ultrasound tech fired up the machine, slathered me with warm jelly, and turned her attention to the black-and-white monitor. I pivoted my head to follow her gaze. Within seconds, my calm expectations of a routine visit were shattered—in the best possible way!
The moment is forever etched in my mind. The tech leaned into the screen, eyes slightly squinted in concentration. “Well,” she said, in a matter-of-fact tone, “you’re having twins.” She pointed to two grainy images, and typed “Baby A” and “Baby B” on her keyboard.
Tears sprung into my eyes, and a lump of emotion lodged in my throat. Excitement? Instantly doubled. Expectation? Nope, try awe. Twins! Not one little one, but two!
Joy multiplied within me as I basked in the sweetness of God, right there on that paper-covered exam table. You see, I had experienced the heartache of a miscarriage a few months prior to this visit. While rejoicing over the gift of this new pregnancy, my heart still held a sacred grief over the baby I lost.
God saw. He knew. And while two babies did not replace the loss of one (nothing is meant to do that), this news of twins felt like a double portion of joy. An overflowing happiness, to minister even more acutely to my sorrow.
An extra blessing.
The Reality of “Extra”
While overall my husband and I were thrilled, the practicalities of welcoming two little ones to our family soon set in. Two babies meant we would need double the diapers, double the food, and double the clothes. It meant buying another car seat, another crib, another — well, another of all the gear we already had!
Beyond that, being pregnant with twins meant more maternity visits and additional ultrasounds to monitor their development. For me, it meant additional surgical costs since I would need a repeat c-section. In the third trimester, it also ended up meaning a few extra trips to the hospital for stress tests when I thought labor might be starting early. Then, when my beautiful babies were born, it meant double the hospital nursery fees and pediatrician check-ups.
We had been with Medi-Share for about a year when I found out I was pregnant. My other pregnancies had been covered by a traditional insurance company. Looking at the expected maternity sharing with Medi-Share, I was pleasantly surprised. Medi-Share provided excellent maternity sharing, especially when compared to my previous pregnancies. Nevertheless, in short, the medical expenses that I incurred during and immediately after my pregnancy were much more than what anyone originally expected.
With twins, my medical bills turned out to be … extra.
The Relief of “Extra Blessings”
In fact, there ended up being more than $4,000 worth of extra medical expenses that we hadn’t accounted for. At some point in the process of verifying what would be shared and what wouldn’t, a customer care associate reminded me that I could apply for the Extra Blessings Program.
The Extra Blessings Program provides financial assistance to Medi-Share members for medical bills, above and beyond what’s shared within normal parameters. The customer care associate explained to me that these additional bills of ours would be eligible for Extra Blessings, though there was no guarantee we would receive funds.
Because the Extra Blessings Program is funded solely by the over-and-above generosity of Medi-Share members, there may or may not be money available to help us. Or there might be enough to help with some of the bills, but not all of them.
So I applied for Extra Blessings, prayed over it, and let it go, knowing that I had to move forward with hospital payment plans and other financial arrangements at the same time. To be honest, I felt a little stressed; our household budget was very tight. However, my babies and I were healthy and I knew that somehow God would provide the rest.
Then, a few weeks later, an envelope arrived. Inside, I found a check from Medi-Share. It had “Extra Blessings” in the memo line. The entire sum of our need — all $4,027.82 — in the amount line! In addition, a handwritten note from another member accompanied the check. The member relayed congratulations and well wishes. She said she was praying for me and for my two new blessings.
Tears sprung into my eyes and a lump of emotion lodged in my throat. Provision? Instantly fulfilled. Stressed? Nope, try relieved!
I looked up from the note at my twin boys, sleeping nearby in their bouncy seats. Medi-Share had already been great about sharing in the expenses surrounding their births. But here I was, being blessed again — blessed by the overwhelming sweetness of God, displayed through His people.
Blessed with so much extra.
What is the Extra Blessings Program?
The Extra Blessings Program helps with members’ medical expenses that are not eligible for sharing. That might include bills related to pre-existing conditions, excess adoption expenses, or those exceeding sharing limits. The ability of the Extra Blessings program to be there for those who need it depends on the voluntary donations of members who give in addition to their monthly share amounts.
Extra Blessings was designed after the biblical direction to bear one another’s burdens. Gifts are distributed to member applicants who demonstrate a specific need — a financial burden — and all applications are reviewed on a quarterly basis.
Giving to the Extra Blessings program is considered a donation, one that is outside the parameters of Medi-Share membership, and thus, is tax-deductible. If you’re able to donate to the Extra Blessings program (and you don’t even have to be a member!), visit ExtraBlessings.com for more information.
Tax write-offs and biblical stewardship are both awesome reasons to get involved in the program. On a personal level, as an Extra Blessings recipient, I can tell you that the program is so much more than that. It’s a chance to remind someone — perhaps during a vulnerable season of stress or grief or wondering — that God sees. God knows. God is working through His people. Because our God is a God of overflowing goodness.
A God of extra.