Hello. Have we met?
I won't even pretend to make excuses for not updating the blog. It's terrible, really. I even missed blogging about Ruby's 2nd birthday, which I think makes me a horrible mother.
And I missed telling you about Charis' first day of school. And Thanksgiving and Christmas. And lots of stuff in between.
But what I really missed the boat on was telling you that we're expecting! Again!
And the kicker of it all is that I'm nearly 32 weeks along, which is to say, almost done. Yep. Expert communicator, I am.
Of course, some of you already knew this, so it isn't news. But many of you who knew about Baby don't know what the past few months have entailed, so I'm going to give you a brief rundown.
First of all, perhaps fewer of you know that this past Spring, we had a miscarriage.
You know, my pregnancies with Charis and Judah were so uneventful, and then my pregnancy with Ruby wasn't--for those of you just joining us, at 31 weeks along with Roo, I had a stent put in to be of some "help" with the kidney stone I'd developed. Shortly thereafter (and linked with the kidney trauma, I think), I went into pre-term labor. At 32 weeks along, we believed Ruby Belle was about to be delivered via emergency C section. Long story short, we avoided the C section, but I was not able to get out of 7 weeks of total bedrest. Ruby was born about a week before her due date, healthy and happy.
When we discovered shortly before Christmas '09 that we were expecting again, my biggest worry was having to endure another kidney stone, which for me, seem to be linked with pregnancy. "Certainly," my Midwife said at my first prenatal appointment, "you've had enough drama with pregnancy! I'm sure this one will be a breeze!" And then we couldn't find a heartbeat for our baby with the Doppler or on a low-tech ultrasound.
Minutes later, I was speeding down the highway to get a higher-tech ultrasound to determine the status of our baby.
The fetus, at that point 8 weeks old, was fine. The heartbeat was a lovely 142 beats per minute. I wept with relief. The ultrasound did find a cyst they wanted to monitor, so I scheduled a follow-up ultrasound a month down the road to check up on that finding.
Just an hour before that next ultrasound, Judah began throwing up. Abe and I had planned to take Judah and Ruby with us to the ultrasound, but that plan was cancelled when All The Sickness began, so I went on my own.
That meant I was alone when the ultrasound technologist told me that she was very sorry, but my baby didn't have a heartbeat. She went to get the doctor as I tried to piece together what had just happened. I wanted to scream and throw things. I called Abe, sobbing, and he couldn't even understand what I was trying to tell him. I begged the ultrasound tech to look again. Were they sure? Could they have made a mistake? They asked if I'd be able to drive home.
I drove home, screaming and sobbing.
At that point in my life, I was not walking with the Lord as I ought to have been. I spent so little time with Him in prayer or in His Word, that at that moment, even though I know He was with me, I was so far away from Him that I felt alone. I was angry and bitter, and remained so for longer than I wish to admit.
The real kicker was that three of my friends were also pregnant, due within weeks of my due date. Sweet. I'd get to WATCH them get to be pregnant and be constantly reminded of our loss. Then, about a week after the miscarriage, another dear friend of mine, with whom I'd shared all of our pregnancies (all three of our kids are just WEEKS apart in age), told me she was expecting.
I shut down. I avoided her, because it was just too painful. I was horribly jealous that she, of all people, would have a baby when I wouldn't. I realize that sounds infantile and horrible, and it was both of those things. But, like I said, I wasn't spiritually right then. I was too wrapped up in my own sinful self to see anything else.
I won't go into all of the specifics of her story, but just a month or two down the road, that same friend, Megan, and her husband found out in an ultrasound that it was likely that their baby girl had Trisomy 18, a chromosomal abnormality that is incompatible with life. As time progressed, that likelihood turned to certainty. She finished out her pregnancy knowing that she would not get to raise that little girl, might not even get to hold her while she was still alive. Unlike me, though, Megan had a peace about the whole thing. That doesn't mean she wasn't sad, but she felt God's reassurance of his protection and plan, and she knew He'd be with them as they walked the painful road ahead.
In short, her response to the impending loss of her child was everything my response hadn't been: she blessed the Lord, and I wallowed in my own misery. She proclaimed His goodness; I locked myself away.
She carried that little girl, Josie, to full term, and delivered her via C section. She and her husband (and their three little girls) enjoyed 12 days with Josie before Josie went back Home to heaven.
In the meantime, I'd discovered I was pregnant again, and, more importantly, I'd gotten back in touch with God. I was spending time in the Word and in prayer. We scheduled my routine 20-week ultrasound for a Tuesday. That turned out to be the very day of Josie's funeral. I called and rescheduled my ultrasound for the following day.
Now, here's the part of the story that many of you don't know.
That Wednesday, Abe and I took Judah and Ruby with us to the ultrasound. It was uneventful, which was a relief to me.
After the ultrasound, I took the kids home for naps. While I was putting them down, I missed a call from my Midwife, who requested I call her right away. I tried to call back, but got the office voicemail saying everyone was at lunch. Just a few minutes later, Abe came home unexpectedly from work. I knew right then that though she hadn't said so, my Midwife was not calling with good news. I knew God had sent Abe home because He knew I'd need some support when my midwife called back.
He was right.
When she called, I turned the phone to speaker, and Abe and I sat down to listen as she explained that they had some concerns about our baby. They were worried that, because of some things they saw on the ultrasound, our baby might have some sort of "chromosomal abnormality."
Keep in mind that just the day before, my friend had buried her 12 day-old baby who'd had a "chromosomal abnormality."
I was in complete shock.
It was a week before were able to get in to see the Genetic Counselor and Fetal-Maternal Medicine Specialist. They interviewed us about our family medical history. They did a thorough, high-powered ultrasound. We waited.
Then they told us that they were noticing some markers consistent with Down syndrome or Turner's syndrome. Those, coupled with my age, made one of those possibilities seem likely.
Abe and I were completely not worried.
Having lost a child already and having watched friends of ours lose theirs, we were a) relieved that this abnormality didn't appear to be life-threatening, and b) familiar enough with God's grace to know that whatever the problem was, He'd walk us through it. I still had occasional moments where the weight of the situation was heavy, and I'd cry. Or I'd start to Google those syndromes and have to walk away from the computer because I didn't yet have the strength to face those things. But by and large, I felt a total peace.
We went in for three follow-up ultrasounds with the Fetal-Maternal specialists, and after the last one, two Mondays ago, they informed us that the baby looked healthy and was growing well. Two of the three markers they'd been monitoring had disappeared. They told me they didn't see any need to follow up with us anymore.
Now, because those markers were ever there, it still means that it's possible our baby has one of those chromosomal abnormalities. But to be completely candid, I have for so many weeks felt God telling me, "It's going to be okay."
I know God well enough to know that "okay" doesn't necessarily mean our baby will be "normal" (as much as any of our other kids are "normal!"), but it does mean that whatever is in store for us and our baby, God has it under control. He will give us what we need to walk that road, day by day. Psalm 139:14-16 says,
"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully
and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in W)">Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them."
So, you see, God knew the end of this story before there was even a beginning.
We ultimately decided not to get an amniocentesis to confirm the perinatologist's suspicions. We felt that it was an unnecessary risk to acquire "peace of mind"--especially when we already felt like we had peace of mind. We are encouraged by the fact that those markers have vanished, and encouraged even more by the assurance that our little one looks healthy. We'd love it if you'd pray for our little one as we count down the days to the arrival!
I PROMISE that, my spotty blogging track history notwithstanding, I will keep you posted on the well-being of our baby. I look forward to posting pictures and sharing the news of the arrival!