God has been working in my heart for several weeks, maybe months, to share something amazing that is happening in our lives. I've put it off for various reasons, but I think today is the day.
We learned that we were expecting our 3rd baby just after Rob deployed. I shared the news with him over the phone and we were laughing so hard that we could barely speak. This wasn't supposed to happen. I mean, we were trying to NOT have a baby. But God sent us a baby and we were (and are!) excited. Everything was going along great (other than struggling through a deployment with 2 children while working full time, you know...the small things). There were lots of new changes with this pregnancy. For starters, a new OB. Rowen and Harper were both delivered by my dear friend, Diane, in Virginia. My new OB is wonderful but a few things in our family history prompted him to recommend a high risk OB consult. I explained our philosophy about babies, that nothing we learned about this baby would change our plans to HAVE the baby and he politely shook his head and asked me to please have the ultrasound. I begrudgingly drove to Savannah, had the ultrasound and the genetics consult and everything looked great. Time to move on, I thought. Then I had my "quad screen" which has become the standard of care in modern medicine. It looks at risk for genetic abnormalities and neural tube defects (which is what my OB had been concerned about in the first place). We joked that with a normal ultrasound, it was kind of silly to have the quad screen but he recommended it so I went ahead. He called me 3 days later and said we needed to talk. Our quad screen showed that our baby has increased risk of having Edwards Syndrome. Edwards syndrome is a genetic condition causing a myriad of serious organ dysfunction and less than 10% of these babies live to see their first birthday. He recommended returning to the High Risk OB clinic to discuss amniocentesis. This was in January. Another 3 months before Rob was due home. I remember sitting at my desk at work, barely able to breathe, thinking the thing I needed most was for my husband to be here. I couldn't lose it yet, though--I still had patients to see that day. I just held my head in my hands and bowed down before God. I'm not sure what I said, or if I said anything. Mostly I just cried. I really needed to know what I should do. Obviously, we were going to have our baby, no matter what. But should I have all these tests, both non-invasive and invasive to KNOW whether our baby would be born healthy or sick? Immediately upon praying, a peace fell over me that allowed me to get through the work day. I was able to talk to Rob on the phone that night. We really didn't make any decisions. It turns out we didn't need to. Over the next few hours and days, God made everything clear. I felt him or heard him--I'm not sure which...I can't describe it--tell me everything would be fine and that we didn't need a medical test to tell us that. We declined any further testing because I believed God confirmed for us that our baby was perfect.
I think that was what I needed to believe to keep my head above water in that season in my life. I felt held in His embrace. I have never experienced anything like this--God speaking so clearly and directly to me. I felt like God was moving me to share our experience but I was (and am) hesitant to do so. I don't want people to feel they have to tip-toe around us because our baby may be sick. I had the life-changing experience of having my fears wiped away, but not everyone shares that confidence so I didn't want to worry our family and friends. We are excited about our baby and want our loved ones to be excited, too! Not worried or sad or in flux over what may be. As I explored my hesitancy more, however, I came to see that I was still doubting as well. Maybe I wanted to wait until we had a perfect and healthy newborn to show everyone, "See, we had this abnormal screening but look at our healthy baby!" I didn't want to risk feeling foolish if I had put my story out there claiming that God told me I would have a healthy baby and then have a sick baby. I was not believing the promise God made to me back in January. It's taken us months to process everything and with Rob's support and spiritual maturity I now know that God was promising us that NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, He will come along side us and carry us through. Maybe our baby will be perfect and healthy. Maybe not. It doesn't matter. This is the baby God planned for us, He created and molded this exact baby with exactly us in mind. He smiled as he brought this precious being to life. He knew that this baby would grow us in ways nothing else could.
Today our pastor said that we are changed by believing God's promises. Just the act of believing He is going to do what He promises to do. Even when there's uncertainty and fear, we still believe. I feel so blessed for my faith and my family. Most of all, I'm so thankful for Rob. Going through this together has been scary and amazing and life-changing. We have grown and are growing, both in our faith and in our marriage. And we can't wait to meet our new baby at the end of May!