Of the world's malnourished children, nearly one in three lives in India, and about half of all childhood deaths are attributable to malnutrition. In India, 1.5 MILLION children die before their fifth birthday because of unsafe water, inadequate sanitation, or poor hygiene. Of every 1,000 babies born there alive, 52 will die before age one. Nearly HALF of all children younger than five are malnourished. - Compassion.com Fall 2010
Before I was pregnant, I didn't really 'get' it. Women get pregnant, have babies, some struggle due to lack of care, some babies live, others don't, it's all in location and access to care. Actually BEING pregnant has completely changed my view on this. The facts remain - but it's a little scary being pregnant. There is someone living inside of you. Often when baby boy is really wiggly and I can look down and SEE him moving, I can't help but think, "omg it's alive!" I WANT him to be alive, but there are just no words to really describe and express the feeling, both physically and emotionally.
Once you're pregnant, you go to the doctor, confirm that there is a baby growing and then set up your next monthly appointment. If you have insurance, you likely won't pay again, but you'll know how much it would have cost because your insurance company will send a statement showing the total charged and how much was paid. At each of our visits so far, the total charged has been about $300, add another $200 for sonograms - we've had four of those (we've actually had five, but one was elective because I'm impatient like that!). The math on that brings us to just under $3,000 and we're only half way into the appointments. When I say you likely won't pay again, I mean that we have not even had a co-pay for any of the visits. I know insurance companies work differently so this is just ours - but the point is that prenatal care is readily available and accessible if you have insurance.
For people without insurance, there are programs through most health departments that will provide routine prevention and care to a mother and her baby.
After our first monthly prenatal appointment it really hit us how fortunate we were to not even have a co-pay ($30) for each visit. Even when we're at the hospital and it's time for baby to debut in the flesh, we'll only pay $150 - total, all things included - yes even anesthesia if it's desired/required. Insurance really rocks.
I promise I'm about to tie all of this together... We have several sponsored children through Compassion International and the plan is, when he's old enough (3), to request information on a little boy with Paxton's birthday. Until then, and with all of the above thoughts in mind, we decided that we wanted to do something NOW. Compassion has this thing called Child Survival Program that provides prenatal care, education, supplements, vaccines, and even income generating projects to pregnant women and women of young babies. It's not a sponsorship program - but a very essential program to the women involved. How could we not support this? It's actually LESS than what we'd pay if we even had to cough up a co-pay each month. It was a no-brainer.
We decided to be surprised rather than choosing a country and we have been assigned to a CSP in India called Upkar. Right now there are about 30 women that receive benefits. We're really excited to learn more about how we are helping them receive better care for their babies! I LOVE that we can do this and am so thankful there are programs that provide such help to women in need. I have WAY more to say about this, but I fear I've lost most everyone by now... if you're still here, I should totally send you a treat! :)
Pastor Letter ~ Dominican Republic
14 hours ago