“Your baby’s heart rate is dropping.”
“If I had a scalpel here, I would cut you open and deliver her now.”
“There may not be enough time.”
At 9:00 am on Tuesday morning, those words rocked our worlds. Tears poured out of Chris’ eyes as I paced the doctor’s office room trying to maintain some sort of composure, while simultaneously searching my brain for an ounce of Truth to cling to. I had a few scriptures I’ve stored away in my heart come to mind, but the song Good Good Father came rushing in. I sat in the doctor’s office singing that song. I rode in the ambulance singing that song. I laid on the hospital bed, scared, surrounded by 4 doctors, 3 nurses, and 2 anesthesiologists singing that song. (And as I sit here still, tears just stream down my face as all of those emotions come right back…ugh, can I blame it on the hormones?)
A routine OB appointment, at only 25 weeks, the day before, turned in to a referral to a specialist. The visit to the specialist the following day turned into two different ambulance rides, two different hospitals, and three days in a hospital room (so far).
So, what’s going on? At just 25 weeks gestation, our Edith has been diagnosed with a level 3 congenital heart block. Basically, her top chambers beat normally, but don’t communicate to the bottom chambers, which are beating at less than half the speed of the top. A normal heart in utero beats between 120-160 bpm. Our girl’s is beating at about 60. This will most likely require surgery immediately following her birth, which we hope to make to 36 weeks gestation.
Being in a hospital room, by yourself, gives you some time to process – not sure if that’s a good thing or bad thing. For me, probably good, because I can tend to internalize until I explode.
I’ve been trying to process what the remainder of this pregnancy will look like.
(It will likely be filled with numerous doctor’s visits, closely monitoring every movement and every heart beat. It will likely be much shorter than we had anticipated. And my plans for a VBAC are long gone – seems silly, but for real though.)
I’ve been trying to process what our Edith’s life will look like as soon as she makes her entrance.
(It will likely mean immediate surgery once she’s born to insert a pacemaker into her tiny abdomen. It will likely mean time in the NICU – been there done that and honestly dreading going back to that place. It will likely mean lots and lots of doctor’s visits. Maybe even some complications.)
What I haven’t been trying to process is “why”.
Why not? Because, really, it doesn’t matter. The better question I’ve posed is “why not me?” “Why not us?” We have been given EVERYTHING we need to walk through this uncertainty with grace and truth. We’ve got this and I don’t question the why. Instead, I am petitioning our Heavenly Father boldly asking that He heal her heart, completely. I trust the team of doctors that are surrounding us. I am SO grateful for modern medicine – without it, our story could look very different. But I also know that the God that holds the universe in the palm of His hand, holds me, my family, and our unborn girl. Psalm 147:3 tells me that “God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” This has become my verse for our girl. We often think of a broken heart as something emotional. I am clinging to the physical promise. My God CAN heal her heart. I am solely focused on doing what needs to be done to ensure that our girl has the best chance for thriving.
If you know me, even a little, you know that I don’t enjoy living in a world of unknowns. We are surrounded by many unknowns right now. We don’t know how long her heart will hold out, and when she will make her arrival. We don’t know what the hours/days/weeks/years will look like after she’s born. We don’t know how any of this will fit in “our budget”. We don’t know what’s going on with my body to create these antibodies that are attacking her heart systems. Unknowns are scary. And these unknowns are particularly scary. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have moments of fear flood my soul.
But I have NOT been given a spirit of fear. I have been given a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind!
I believe that the Lord has been preparing us for this season. I have shared with many of my coworkers that I am in a huge season of not knowing what’s going on. I feel like these, now seemingly minor, unknowns, have prepared me for this. Chris, at the beginning of this week, before any of this came to fruition, shared with me how he believes God is merely asking him to trust Him, no strings attached. Chris’ answer was, “I trust you”. And then all this has happened…talk about a testing of one’s trust. (PS- I am SO grateful that I have such a strong man to walk through this with. He’s a gift to me, and I cannot imagine having to do this without his strength, kindness, and grace beside me.)
It’s an hour by hour process at this point. Each day counts. We sincerely thank everyone for the outpouring of love, prayers, phone calls, text messages, food, flowers, encouragement, help with our animals at home, and visits. I may not have responded to every message, but we’ve seen them all and the love is overwhelming. We feel the prayers. Already, God is answering prayers that we didn’t know would be possible just days ago.
We’re beginning to try to wrap our heads around what preparing for a special needs baby is going to look like. Again, I don’t have those answers. But I know that I don’t have to. And I know who does!
How you can continue to pray for our girl:
- That her body will continue to develop in utero, as close to that 36 week mark as possible.
- That her heart would be MIRACULOUSLY healed. Formed perfect, leaving even the most experienced doctors stumped.
- That Chris and I would trust. Simply trust.
- That any necessary preparations would be taken care of without stress or fear.
- For wisdom for each of the doctors that we are seeing, to know what’s best for our girl.