All tagged motherhood

Over the past six or so months, many of you have followed along and even walked with us on a very painful and very personal journey. In the beginning of June, Trey and I chose to publicly share the newsthat our unborn daughter had screened positive for Down Syndrome earlier in my pregnancy. What began last March as an exciting and "normal" pregnancy rapidly turned into a high risk and unpredictable pregnancy as complications arose. I was eventually hospitalized for nine weeks in order to allow our daughter Alisa the greatest chance for growth, health, and a full-term stay in my womb.

The morning before my induction at 38 weeks, I sat for the last time alone in my hospital room on the antepartum floor. Later that day, our family would fly in to join us as we prepared to welcome Alisa into our arms. Trey would come that afternoon to stay with me for the rest of our time at the hospital. As I searched my heart and feelings, I found myself facing a question that had surfaced many times throughout my pregnancy:

What if God says no?

"Do you have faith that this test could be wrong? Mustard seed faith. That's all it takes."

When Trey and I first received news that our unborn daughter had screened positive for Down Syndrome last May, my obstetrician referred us to a high risk doctor for a level 2 ultrasound. The appointment was scheduled for two weeks later, and during that wait, we experienced quite a range of emotions. We were steadfastly committed to this life the Lord had given us, but we also grieved the loss of that "normal life" and many dreams we had for our child. We learned what we could about Down Syndrome, and we saw many misconceptions fall away to the reality that it wasn't the end of the world as we knew it. We also researched about the NIPS screening test that had told us our daughter screened positive for Down Syndrome. We found hope that, while the diagnostic rate is high, it is not a 100% positive test that she will in fact have this disorder. There are cases of false positives.  

"All three of us agree that you need to be admitted to the hospital today."

Trey and I sat quietly in the tiny sonogram room, listening to the nurse practitioner as she informed us that our MFM specialist and obstetrician agreed with her that conditions had developed to the point of needing continuous monitoring at the hosptial. A sense of numbness and shock came over me as events unfolded. Was this really happening? We received our instructions, gathered our belongings, and made the short drive over to the hospital.

As we walked into the hospital, several thoughts collided in my mind. Will they have to deliver Alisa early? How will Trey manage Kate and all the responsibilities at home? How will Kate do being away from me like this? How will I handle being away from my family? We arrived on the 7th floor to check in. 

"Hello, we were told to come over here..." Trey began.

The voice spoke out of nowhere, catching me completely off guard. I had been communicating with other moms on a private down syndrome support group when one mother's update on her newborn daughter, who also happens to have Down Syndrome, appeared on my screen: "We are now facing the possibility of leukemia." That ugly word stared me in the face, and I recalled reading earlier in my pregnancy that children with Down Syndrome are at an increased risk of developing leukemia. Yes, leukemia.

Leukemia? In a brand new baby? That hardly seems fair.

This morning the sun is rising on a beautiful day. I see its golden rays just touching the trees in our backyard. Birds sing and crickets chirp around me as I sit on our porch, considering the beauty and peace of a new day of life. All the while, what I am writing about this morning stands in stark contrast to this day. It is dark and heavy and ugly, and it steals life from those who bear it. But stay with me until the end because just as the night was chased away by the rising of the sun this morning, so I pray will you find the night chased away in your soul as the light of the Son shines at the end of this post.

My heart wrenched this past week when I watched the videos of two different Planned Parenthood executives discuss the selling of fetus body parts. I was joined by millions of other Americans who watched in horror as the videos unfolded. Honestly, just the reality that these body parts are "recycled" and used at all is horrendous enough, whether or not someone pays for them. I think of our 15 week sonogram with my daughter. When my high risk doctor placed the wand on my abdomen, the screen immediately lit up with her tiny body, kicking and moving in my womb. I watched those perfect little legs moving in motion like she was riding a bicycle, and I was undone with love. Then, I imagine that tiny body being ripped apart or suctioned out or whatever "non-crunchy" method might be used to dismember her, and I cannot go on. It makes me weak in the knees and sick to my stomach. My heart cannot bear the thought of such an end to life.

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

A few weeks ago, Trey and I journeyed with our moms to the high risk doctor's office, where we would receive a level 2 anatomy ultrasound and an echocardiogram of our daughter's heart. With all of the prayer we had focused on this day in the weeks prior, we were hopeful in the Lord for good news. We were hopeful for a perfect ultrasound that indicated that her body is doing just fine, like a baby who is free from any chromosome abnormality.