Adi turned four years old last weekend! That means four years ago we were in the hospital and I was watching “Finding Dory” while a tiny little newborn was sleeping on my chest, swaddled in a stretchy blanket. The blanket kept coming un-swaddled and so I just re-swaddled it until the blanket had fourteen corners and none of them were attached anymore. It was 3 am and Janice was sleeping. I didn’t dare wake her just so she could re-swaddle the baby. She had done more than her share of work the day before and so I was more than happy to babysit by lying perfectly still on my back and hoping that I didn’t activate the floppy headed megaphone on my chest. I was having doubts as to whether or not I had bitten off more than I could chew. (Related: When God Calls You to Eat an Elephant)
We were planning on having Adi at a birth center. (Related: Introducing Elliot Adrian Snader) It’s a terrific cross between a hospital and a home birth. This particular birth center had beautiful, comfortable facilities capable of handling many situations that could arise yet it still felt very relaxed, welcoming, and private. The midwives (many of whom had been in midwifery for decades) all had admitting privileges to the hospital down the road in case anything really serious happened. Plus, they displayed all the birth costs up front and allowed us to pay off the birth ahead of time as we worked through prenatal care. It was drastically cheaper than a hospital. Good luck trying to get your hospital to tell you in advance what a procedure will cost. All they can give you is an army of lawyers stuttering. They just throw numbers at things.
“Hey, what does an aspirin cost?”
“Who knows? Just say $40. I think that should cover it.”
You might say that $40 is too much for an aspirin but it’s really a moot point because they won’t tell you the price until eight months after you’re home. But don’t worry, if you throw a fit and file more paperwork they’ll graciously charge you only $25 for it. (Yes. I am still a little bitter.)
The only caveat was that a birth center didn’t accept high risk patients. Janice was nearing her due date and so far all was well. We had both attended the mandatory birth classes. As I looked around the room I was surprised to see the standards for being a father weren’t as high as I expected. Some of the people at the class looked like they would’ve drowned in a shower. They avoided that risk by not taking any. But that’s a little mean. All I’m saying is that I was a little frightened by the ratio of responsible parents to parents with their shirts tucked into their underwear. If that room was indicative of society as a whole, this country has a dismal future. (Related: Words Take Too Long)
Two weeks before Janice’s due date we found that Janice’s amniotic fluid was leaking. I can fix most leaks but I couldn’t find the manual for that one. This meant that the baby was at risk for infection, especially since Janice was strep-B positive. Suddenly Janice was a high risk patient and she had to go to the hospital to be induced, right away! We threw things into the car and away we went.
Birth is a scary thing but it’s worse if the mother is all hopped up on Pitocin, a drug used to trigger contractions. I’ve never seen Janice give up before but after twelve hours of active labor (without an epidural), I wasn’t sure if she could pull it off. I’ve never seen a birth before so my eyes were the size of dinner plates as I witnessed Adi come into the world. I know how it works, but how on earth does that work? Anyway, Adi slid out into the world screaming – a healthy baby girl!
We had decided to not find out what whether we were having a boy or girl before the birth. I feel like waiting until the birth adds some pomp and circumstance to the event. Nowadays it seems like everyone wants to know everything instantly. Nine months is way too long to wait! By the time the baby pops out we already have his picture on the fridge, we already threw a party without him, and we went ahead and decorated his room for him. He slides out of the world, yells “Tada! I’m a boy!” and everyone just shrugs. “Yea we know. What took you so long?” Shoot, why not enroll it in preschool while it’s in there? By the time the baby sees daylight, it’ll already be a productive member of society. Of course, we did find out what gender Elliot was before he was born but that was just being practical. We needed to know if we needed to buy new baby clothes or if we could just use Adi’s.
We were in the hospital for two nights after Adi was born. As I laid on the couch in the hospital room the second night, I knew there was a big bill coming. I didn’t have insurance since I had procrastinated in getting Janice signed up. Then she went and got pregnant so it was too late to get the birth covered. This was all compounded by the fact that I didn’t have a lot of money. (Related: The $20 Refrigerator) I wasn’t sure how I could pay for all of this. All the beeping equipment and shouting nurses looked expensive to operate. Nothing makes you draw near to God like uncertain times and I was doing my share of praying that night.
Sure enough, a huge hospital bill soon showed up. I fretted and fumed and thought we were all doomed. Through a budgeting mentorship and God’s faithful provision, the hospital bill is only a memory. We love Adi. We’ve seen such growth in her personality this last year. The decision to send her to preschool was a really good one, proving, once again, that my Janice is always right. Adi is coming out of her shell and learning how to socialize other children who have completely different personalities.
Some people really like babies and complain about their kids growing up. So far, I’ve enjoyed each stage more than the last. (Related: Seven Serious, No Nonsense Tips for First Time Parents)
Adi has been talking like crazy lately. It’s fun to hear her process things out loud. Processing things out loud isn’t always helpful though, especially when you’re playing hide-and-seek. I can always find her because she’ll hide in a closet and giggle loudly until I find her. Not only that, but Elliot always gets tired of hiding before she does so he comes finds me and shows me where Adi is hiding. Not that I really need his help but he’s still eager to offer it.
The thing is that fear is always stalking you. No matter where you are in life, there’s something to worry about. Now I’m worrying about my kids growing up in a jungle. Will there be any husband prospects for my daughter if we’re living in a jungle? If our kids are homeschooled, will any of kids know how to diagram sentences? If our kids can’t diagram sentences, can they ever get anywhere in life? Do I believe in my missionary calling enough that I’m willing to risk my children’s future? At times I look at the bigness of what God is calling us to do and I’m not sure how I’ll ever pay the bill. That’s when I start praying. I suspect it’s at those times that I’m actually most effective at my calling.