Today we went in for baby girl’s 4th ultrasound. They decided to do a “level 2” ultrasound to get some clearer pictures, and to try to get some clear images of her face and brain which seem to be where the biggest concern is.
Last night I was spending time in prayer for her and realized that I have a hard time believing that God really hears my prayers sometimes. Sometimes after I pray for her I’ll think “oh, did I say ‘in Jesus’ name’?” or “maybe I didn’t pray clearly enough, I should do it again” and I will pray the same prayer over again. The Holy Spirit convicted me that by doing this I am taking an Almighty God and reducing Him down to nothing more than an old man who may or may not have hearing problems and/or needs to be spoken to very carefully in order to understand things. This is not my God! No matter how much I fumble through a prayer, He knows the words before I even say them. He knows what’s in my heart, and He knows exactly what my desires are.
I wrote that all to say that instead of my usual broken record prayer, I simply prayed “may Your will be done, and may You give my peace in Your will.” This led to a much calmer experience for me during the ultrasound. I was also so encouraged by a book my dear friend Susanne gave me, called Jesus Today. It’s basically a daily devotion that is written from the perspective of Jesus writing to you, along side of scripture. While I was in the waiting room for the ultrasound I read the pages of this book and felt an immense peace.
On entry I really loved:
When you trust in Me, you take refuge in Me. So trusting Me is much more than a matter of your words; it is mainly a matter of your will. As you go through this day, you will encounter many things that can make you anxious, including some of your thoughts. If you don’t stay alert, anxious feelings can slip into your day without your noticing them. When this happens, you may wonder why you suddenly start to feel bad. Usually, you just ignore those feelings. Or you may try to numb them with food, drink, television, gossip, or other distractions. How much better it is to “catch” the worry-thoughts before they take hold of you. That is why I say, “Be on the alert!” If you are watchful and alert, you can choose to take refuge in Me whenever anxiety comes at you. A refuge is a place that provides protection or shelter: a safe haven. It is something you turn to for help, relief, or escape. I am eager to be your Refuge, and I am with you at all times. Nonetheless, you must exert your will by turning to Me for help. Thus, you make Me your refuge, demonstrating your trust in Me. Blessed-happy, to be envied—is the one who takes refuge in Me.
I was really captured by the word “refuge” and began to really think about what that means. For me it was creating a physical place in my imagination where I go to be with Christ. And I certainly took refuge in Him many times during the appointment.
The ultrasound started off normally, except this time I wasn’t filled with worry. I just lay there staring at the ceiling (I can’t see the monitor with the ultrasound on it, boo for our hospital!) imagining holding our baby on my chest. I imagined what her cheeks felt like, and her back, and her chubby little legs. I just fixed my thoughts on what it would be like to hold my baby and enjoyed the numerous kicks I was feeling (she was trying to kick away the ultrasound probe I think).
After about 20 minutes, the ultrasound tech said she wanted to get her supervisor because she was having trouble getting good images of the baby’s face and brain. NO SURPISE for us! Every single ultrasound we’ve had, she has been hiding or covering her face. And the last ultrasound they had to bring in the supervisor as well. I just sort of chuckled to myself and thought “that’s my girl.” Dave told me that when the tech would put the probe over the baby’s face she would turn away, and when she moved the probe to the other side of her face, she’d turn away again.
When the supervisor came in she continued the anatomy scan, and even turned the monitor so I could see a bit of the ultrasound—yay! We saw her heart and all 4 chambers working. We saw her kidneys and were told they were normal. She said that that baby’s hands and fingers were good and so were her legs and feet (no club feet!). We also saw the spine and abdomen and were told that all was well.
She started trying to see the baby’s face and brain and then suddenly told the technician “page Dr. So-and-so.” Dave and I kind of looked at each other with confusion and he asked her if anything was wrong. The supervisor told us she wanted a doctor to look at the results. I quickly figured out that she was referring to the same issues with the brain and face we knew about and that there probably hadn’t been any change.
I started to worry and feel anxious, but was reminded about taking refuge in Him. So I imagined a place where I could go and just sit at Jesus’ feet. I blocked out the sounds and people around me and just imagined that I was with Him, talking to Him, and sharing my fears with Him. As I was envisioning this my little girl suddenly came into my imagination. She was probably 3 or 4 years old and had curly pigtails in her hair. She sat next to me at Jesus’ feet and I began to tell her how special she was. I told her that so many people cared about her and prayed for her even before she was born. I told her that God loved her so much that He saved her life even when the doctors told us she would die, and He did it all so that one day she would know His love.
I know it sounds crazy, but this was all playing out in my head like it was real, and I felt complete peace.
When the doctor finally came in (yes, this was a party of 3 now) they all stood around looking at the screen mumbling things to each other. It really bothered me how they talked like I couldn’t hear them, and didn’t address me directly. They kept saying how they couldn’t get a clear view of her face (she was facing my back) but them would throw out terms like “cleft lip and palate”, “no nasal bone”, and “central holoprosencephaly.”
I know that all those things should have scared me, but Ephesians 3:20 kept playing on repeat in my head: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” I have asked God to give our baby life, and He is able to to exceedingly abundantly more than that! So basically as the doctors piled on different possible negative conditions I just thought, “Bring it on—just more for my God to heal and display His power. I can honestly tell you that I didn’t feel the least bit scared, nervous, anxious, or upset. I just felt peace and hope.
Tomorrow we have a follow-up visit with the doctor who, thankfully, is a Christian. I know that I won’t be bullied into aborting our little girl, or shamed for wanting to continue with the pregnancy. I know that he will be straight forward and honest with us, and I appreciate that. But I still keep thinking that the doctors don’t have the final say in our daughter’s life. Only God does. They can tell me anything they like, but until she is born God can still work a miracle. Or even if she is born with special needs, He can still choose to give her a long life.
As long as God is there, there is always hope.