This is my story about loss, and how The Lord’s grace pulled me through.
His love is a kind that can redeem, restore, and heal everything that has ever been broken. Whatever struggles you may be facing, always allow The Lord’s love to work in you and in your circumstances.
The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
– Job 1:21
Grief has always been kind of a stranger to me.
I was very blessed that I could say I hadn’t lost anyone close to me.
I had always felt sad when I heard of it happening to others, and I had genuine compassion, but I guess because I had never experienced it myself, it just wasn’t a pain that I could fully understand.
When my oldest daughter was around 16 months old, I found out I was pregnant again. My husband and I had just gotten married a couple months prior, and to be honest, having another baby was just not exactly the best timing.
For the first few weeks after finding out that we were expecting, I remember falling into a bit of a depression. I was so panicked, and so overwhelmed about the idea of going through another pregnancy, that emotionally I just kind of broke down. I would lay in bed watching movies, hoping that I could distract myself from the reality that I knew I would have to face. I would get up only enough to take care of my daughter’s needs, but would run back into hiding as soon as I could.
Thankfully that only lasted a couple of weeks. After that, the news started to sink in, and I actually began to get excited.
It was a pretty rough pregnancy physically. I was extremely sick from the moment I woke up, until the moment I went to bed. My iron was also quite low, so I was very weak. I had many times where I was unable to stand longer than a minute or two. Now try adding a very active 18 month old.. I was pretty beat (also bare in mind, I’m not the toughest person out there 😉 )
Well, the end of December rolled around, and I was due for my 20 week anatomy exam (you know, the ultrasound where they check the baby for any health issues). I had been waiting for this ultrasound pretty much from the start. With my first pregnancy I was always so excited when I would get to see my baby. And finding out the gender? Well, that was by far the best part! It never even really occurred to me that the reason they do these exams is that there is a possibility of something not being right with the baby’s health. Maybe it was because I was 19, or maybe it was just never having dealt with it before, but that thought just didn’t cross my mind.
I had done this before a few times, so I was pretty relaxed.
I remember talking to my husband, pointing things out to each other when all of a sudden I could feel a drop in the room. Like what was once filled with joy and excitement, quickly turned dark..heavy. The tech told us that she just needed to go get the doctor, and that she’d be right back. In that moment, I could see the cracks in the walls starting to form.
I kept saying to my husband “something is wrong, they don’t just call the doctor in for no reason. Something is really really wrong”. But he just kept on assuring me that everything was totally fine (he’s one of those blissly naive people.. I’ve always kind of envied that in him).
When the doctor came back into the room, he began to exam the baby himself. I remember those few minutes were the longest I’ve ever felt. And when he began to speak, those walls that had started to crack, soon completely crumbled.
He told us that the ultrasound showed an abnormality in his heart. He said that there wasn’t much else that he was able to tell us, but that we would have to go to the Children’s hospital the next day for a more in depth ultrasound to really get the full answers.
Driving home from the clinic, I remember sitting in the backseat in complete shock, tears streaming down my face. What was supposed to be a wonderful, joyous moment so quickly became overshadowed by feelings of total despair.
As we returned to our house, our whole family gathered around together to turn to the only One we knew who would be able to fix it all. We all held hands, bowed our heads, and pleaded to The Lord that tomorrow would not bring the news that we all were dreading.
The next morning at 5 AM we headed for the hospital. We spent hours going from one waiting room to the next, all the while, trying to distract ourselves from what lay ahead.
We finally were taken back into the fetal echo-cardiogram (a special ultrasound to look at the baby’s heart in utero) exam room. There were quite a few doctors that would continuously come in, take a look at the screen, and then quietly converse with each other about what they saw.
Finally, they were done with the exam, and they brought us into some kind of conference room, where we had to yet again, wait. I think there was about 4 or 5 doctors that came in to sit and talk with us. They began to explain that our baby’s heart had not formed the correct way. The aorta, (a big vein in the heart), was too narrow, which made it hard for the blood to flow through. This caused the heart to pump harder, which in turn, caused a large amount of scar tissue to form.
They told us that the outcome was not good. They said that there was no way that he would be able to live outside of the womb.. they labeled his condition “incompatible with life”. They also said that because of the scar tissue that none of the typical surgeries would be successful.
There was probably some more things that they said, but all I remember is that the conversation seemed to be left with one very big question.. Would we choose to continue with the pregnancy?
On the way home I was very quiet. I was just trying to process all of the information that I had just received. Quite honestly, I had no clue what to think, or even really how to cope. It was like my whole world had just fallen apart. Not only did I have to face this awful diagnosis, but I had to somehow make a decision about how to proceed.
And then it hit me.. The only decision I knew I would be able to make. I believe it came straight from my Heavenly Father because honestly I am not that wise. My answer was this.. There was no possible way that I was going to give up without a fight. I was not going to just surrender to the diagnosis, and just follow the advice of the doctors. This was my child, and maybe to the world there was no point in proceeding, but to me he was so much more than worth it. They may not have believed that my baby would make it, but I knew that my God was bigger than any diagnosis that they could give me.
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
– Psalms 118:8
The next 4 months after that was a whole blur of doctor’s appointments, ultrasound exams, and quite honestly, moments of total brokenness.
I wish I could tell you that after making the choice to choose faith in the most hopeless situation, that everything became all hunky dory.. but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
After the doctors here in Canada told us that there was no surgical option for our baby, we decided to try our hand at the hospital in the US. We made an appointment at the Children’s Hospital in Seattle, and made our way there. They performed a 1-2 hour long ultrasound exam on me, and then gave us their answer… No. Their answer was no, there was no surgery that they could perform to help our baby. In that moment, the faith that I had been standing on quickly began to disappear. I had put all of my hopes into this solution, and when it didn’t pan out, I could hardly take it. You see, my idea of faith was a bit warped. I thought to have faith meant believing that The Lord would follow my plans, but really, faith is trusting in The Lord’s plans.
Before we found out our baby’s condition, my relationship with The Lord was pretty weak. I went to church faithfully, I believed in Him and I even loved Him, but to be honest, I didn’t really know Him. I had never reached a place in my walk with Christ where I had to fully rely on Him, and because of that, I didn’t ever commit to digging deeper into my relationship with Him. I believe that this is where the scripture that says Our trials are more precious than gold comes into play. It’s in our darkest, most desperate moments that we really turn to Jesus, and completely surrender ourselves to Him.
After the trip to Seattle, I was kind of left in a state of grief. Every solution that my logical mind could come up with had been rejected, and now I was left to try and find a new road to take.
There were some days where it became hard to find the will to keep choosing faith. I so wanted to believe that The Lord would come through for me.. that He would make a way.. That our story would be a story of hope, faith, and victory in Jesus.
I would spend hours praying, and imaging how all of it would unfold…
Would he be born without even a trace of this condition, leaving everyone in complete awe?
Would our story be one of an enormous miracle that would lead many people to a relationship with Jesus?
…Or would everything fall apart before my eyes.. would I put every ounce of strength into believing and praying for this miracle only to be left abandoned by my King. To be honest, I would like to tell you that my faith was strong, and that I always trusted in His will, but the truth is, my mind always seemed to fall back into doubts.
I would hear about these amazing, out of this world miracles that other Christians experienced, but I never thought it was a possibility for me.
I knew that The Lord was capable, I just didn’t think that He was willing.
As the months went on, and my due date became closer.. I would spend every day in prayer.. waiting, pleading, begging Him for an answer, or a sign, or anything really. I remember reading my Bible, searching for any scripture that I could find that would give me some shred of hope..
Because of the amount of time I spent seeking The Lord, I began to understand Him more, I started to trust Him and lean on Him. My love for Him grew, and my desire to know Him became deeper. He began to fill me with His strength, and I whole heartily believe that it was His strength that enabled me to get through this time of uncertainty.
But you know, it was hard. Even though I felt closer to Jesus than I ever thought possible, it was still really hard. As much as I wanted to completely trust in Him, I still found myself turning to logic and reason. I would feel this precious little baby kicking inside me, and all my mind could go to was what if he didn’t make it? What if I lose him? What if all of my faith goes in vain?
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.
– Isaiah 26:3-4
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