Wednesday, July 20, 2011


This is Part 2 of our story. 
When life and belief collide:My life-altering decision

We were given a priority appointment with the Perinatologist.  Should we continue on in the pregnancy, he would monitor the fluid in our little babe.   We sat in his office surrounded by medical books and volumes of medical data, statistics,  human knowledge and theory. The bookshelves rose high up the walls and the doctor sat some distance from us.  I felt so small and helpless.
The Perinatologist  warmly told us how our child could likely end up in an institution, maybe wheelchair bound for life, if he ever lived at all.  We took notes, asked questions, and scheduled an Amniocentesis.  There was a glimmer of hope the results of the Amniocentesis would tell us the baby had RH Factor: a diagnosis we could actually do something about.
In the meantime, we sat through a lengthy session with the genetic counselor who worked alongside the Perinatologist.  She pulled out one of the thickest, ugliest  books I ever laid my eyes on.  It was filled with pictures of chromosomes and genetic disorders we never knew existed.  Our eyes glazed in fear as she slowly turned and explained many of the pages.  This is not a book you would enjoy reading, let me tell you!
I was amazed when we left the doctor’s office that day.  No one offered us counseling, no one asked us if we had the support of family.  No one asked if we needed clergy.  We were sent home with a burden of knowledge heaped upon our hearts.  I cried all the way home.
My husband was away on business when I finally received the diagnosis by phone call.  The genetic counselor was on the other end of the line.  Her voice was matter-of-fact as she told me our baby not only had Fetal Hydrops, but he also had a cyst on the back of his neck and Trisomy 21 (Down’s Syndrome).   Without taking a breath, without offering empathy or inviting discussion, she told me she would make an appointment for an abortion.
Instantly I told her there would be no abortion.  She reminded me in her ever-so-cold manner, “Your baby will surely die”.
The Mama-bear arose in me for the first of many times as I responded, “We believe the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.  We will bless the Name of the Lord”.  I hung up and fell prostrate across our cold kitchen floor.  My baby-bump pushed me away from the tile, reminding me of the life inside.  I lay there crying, wailing, spread out in humility for help from my Lord.
I clung to the promises of God.  If I ever believed in Him, then I must also believe in His Words.  I sang quietly in surrender,
“Great is Thy Faithfulness, Oh God my Father.
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not
as Thou hast been
Thou forever will be.”
Jesus quietly asked me, “Do you believe this about me, Bonnie?”  I said, “Yes, Lord”  and continued to softly cry and sing,
“Great is Thy Faithfulness
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand has provided
(Thank you, Jesus.  This is true.)
Great is Thy Faithfulness
(“Will you trust Me, Bonnie?”)
(Yes, Jesus)….Lord unto Me”
My schedule quickly became filled with doctor’s appointments.  We sat before our young O.B. and explained to him the value we place on this life.  A life that was given by God and could only be taken by God.  We needed to confirm his treatment would also place value on our child’s life.   He told us he had never encountered a case like ours or a couple like us, and he would respect and follow our lead.
Due to the labor Fetal Hydrops can put on a baby’s heart, they monitored his heart twice weekly.  God gave me a nurse who was also a believer.  She encouraged me in the faith.  She told me our doctor’s office didn’t know completely how to deal with me, “Why would a couple like that want a baby like that?” was the popular discussion when we left the office each week.
Those kind of comments didn’t really encourage me, they made me feel more alien-like.  But we knew the comment really was based upon watching a young couple trust and believe in God rather than their difficult circumstances.  This was good.
Previously serving as a social worker and volunteering with special needs children, I knew there were more hopeful scenarios then what had been presented to us.  I quickly learned “knowledge is power”, and I began a personal fight to find all of the knowledge I could.  It was difficult to find.  Seventeen years ago I did not have a home computer, access to the Internet, or blogs where I could find someone with a similar story to mine.  I walked the aisles of the bookstores looking for hope from someone who was given a death-sentence for their baby.  I needed to read how someone could still walk through the days of pregnancy.  It was not to be found.
It was crystal clear to me the choice for life was God’s desire for us.    HOW He wanted me to live with this choice was unclear!  I was an emotional mess most days.  One moment I would beg God to take our baby’s life sooner than later.  Moments later I would plead with God to do a miracle and heal our baby.
My husband remained a balanced rock while I called him throughout the day to clear my mind and get perspective.  HOW was I supposed to live each day-the next 6 months of pregnancy-without bonding to my growing baby who would “die”?
I don’t know how long it took me to realize I could ask God that question.  I bent to my knees beside my bed and said, “Jesus, I know what You want me to do.  I just don’t know how I am supposed to do it”.  He reminded me, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)  Do not worry about tomorrow–those things I can’t control.  Don’t create and entertain fears and “what ifs” we may or may not face tomorrow.  Keep my mind on today.
Today–I had a living baby inside me.  Today–he was kicking and moving and growing.  Today–I was pregnant, I was a Mama.  In the midst of any other (normal) pregnancy I would be sewing, strolling through baby departments, knitting.  So I decided I would rejoice in Today!
I went to the fabric store and bought precious baby fabrics for my Anker Josiah.  I began sewing him a baby quilt.  He would play on it one day, or he would be swaddled in the quilt in a baby’s coffin.  Either way, I would make it with all the love and the joy I had for my son.

I bought him the most precious coming home gown I could find.  A Beatrix Potter gown.  It represented life and sweet hope for today.  I hung it from the dresser in our bedroom and I knelt below it often, “Jesus, please fill this gown with our living and breathing baby.  But You know the bigger picture, not my will but Yours be done”.  Sometimes I imagined being the woman touching Jesus’ gown-trusting in the Messiah’s ability to heal.
I began moving on through the hours with enough strength to live for the day.
“Fear not, for I am with you,
 be not dismayed, for I am your God.
 I will strengthen you,
I will help you,
I will uphold you with my Victorious Right Hand!”
Isaiah 41:10
Soon our story would begin to change.
I hope you’ll join me again  for Part 3.


1 comment:

  1. I can't wait for part 3. Hanging that outfit and praying under it reminds me of my Husbands mother, who went out and bought a toddler bed and prayed over it for years...knowing that she had lost her chances to have babies due to ovarian cancer...Love that God of ours!