"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm,
and carry them close to his heart, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11
Friday, April 9, 2010
That awful day in January....
This is an ultrasound picture of Rachel waving to us in the womb. Isn't she so beautiful?!! My heart aches when I see her precious little body and this little hand and feel her kicks. I think of Psalm 139. "you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb..." This was the day we found out that we were pregnant with a little girl. It was also the day we were told that she had multiple abnormalities, and heard words like dandy walker variant, hypoplastic right heart syndrome, truncas arteriosis, missing kidney, heterotaxy etc....... It was so earth shattering to hear the Doctor use these words. And to hear the words "should you decide to discontinue the pregnancy..." On that awful day, I sensed God asking me, "Will you trust me? Will you carry this little girl for me & trust me to do something beautiful? The hurt will be so deep but I will carry you. Will you trust me?" And I said yes. And each day I choose to say 'yes' even though it tears my heart to do so. We don't know the outcome. We don't know how much time we will have with her after she is born. Maybe He will do a miracle and make her broken body whole, maybe not. But we leave that in His hands because we trust His love for us...
I'll try and summarize a bit of those first events in January for you:) At our first ultrasound (4 months along) we were told very little. The technician was very chatty with me in the start but soon I realized that things were not ok. She called two other technicians into the room and they tried to talk quietly but I overheard them saying something about the heart. I was told that another more advanced ultras. would be booked. They didn't want to alarm me but they saw a cyst in the abdomen. (this later turned out to be nothing). I knew they weren't telling me the truth...five days later, I had a Dr. apointment. My usually jovial South African Doctor was very serious. He started with the words, "I am so sorry. It's the brain." A part of the brain was enlarged. This was an indication of possible severe learning disabilities. He also tried to encourage me saying that sometimes these things turn out to be nothing. I left that office stunned once again, trying to make sense of this. The next two weeks went by so slowly as we waited for the advanced ultrasound. This time, Dave could sit with me and watch our little child on the screen move and hear her heartbeat. It was an agonizingly long ultrasound (a few hours). We were then lead into a consultation room to talk with a Doctor. She broke the news to us that they were seeing multiple abnormalities and we would have to come back for echcardiogram to take a look at babies heart. She had tears in her eyes as she talked with us. I was so thankful for her caring manner. At one point, I remember saying "I know I shouldn't think this way, but I can't help wondering if I did something wrong..." And her words have always stayed with me. "No, this was set in place from the very beginning." Somehow those words have encouraged me. God has purposed her and loved her into being. This has huge implications on how we view 'brokeness' but perhaps more on that later!
At the echcardiogram (another gruelling 3 hour ultrasound) we were told that the heart had serious problems. The cardiologist drew a picture of her heart for us (it looks nothing like a normal heart). Since that day we have had more apointments - though none as earthshattering - and they will likely increase as we near the end. I have even begun to look forward to these sessions as opportunities to see Rachel!! Amazingly, Rachel is doing fine in the womb and will only face the greatest challenges after birth. We have opted out of using heroic measures to keep her alive because right now we only see these as prolonging her suffering. At present, we have been told that we may have one week to a few months with her. This is only a guess - our cardiologist has never seen a heart like hers and there are no known documented cases. The first few hours after her birth will be crucial. And, her days are really in the hands of the One who made her!