Very early on Wednesday, March 6th, I woke up for the first time (since getting Zion’s diagnosis) fearful and weepy. God has blessed me to have a very strong faith. But all believers are going to be tested, refined and pruned, in order to grow. What was the cause of this attack of fear, you might ask? Simply put, it was due to me looking ahead into the future, and trying in my own strength to figure things out now. This is otherwise known as “self sufficiency” – popular and praised by the world, but not by God. And He has been slowly dismantling this behavior in me since I came to know Him. Around midnight, I was bombarded with the following questions in rapid fire…
What if Zion is in the NICU for 3-6 months (like some of these babies I see in my Trisomy group)?
How will I handle being separated from him? (You will have no clue what’s going on with him when you’re not at the hospital Devon… and you know you’re a control freak…)
How will I deal with caring for my kids, my husband, AND traveling daily to the hospital to spend quality time with Zion? Who will watch my kids when my mother-in-law leaves and my husband goes back to work?
If Zion is blessed to come home, what will life look like? Will we be confined to the house (in order to keep him healthy)? If so, how will my other two children deal with that? Are they going to suffer?
Eden will start homeschooling in about a year. How will I handle frequent doctor visits with homeschooling?
As you can see, I was mentally sprinting full steam ahead into the future. It didn’t take long for the tears to start flowing. I woke my husband to reel off my list of questions. He lovingly and gently told me, “I think God is just testing us. To see if we will trust Him.” He was right. I was allowing myself to fall prey to what God warns us not to do. He says in His word:
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.Matthew 6:31-34
The diagnosis for what happened to me that troubled morning is written above. I took my eyes off of “today”, and attempted to venture into tomorrow…and the coming weeks and months. There are some things that are simply “above our pay grade”, and the future is one of those. The future belongs to God. And as my mother-in-law so aptly put it the other day, God in His mercy is so kind to have made human beings so that we CANNOT know the future. Can you imagine what life would be like if we did know what future struggles God was going to send our way? I shudder to think how I might respond…
So I prayed to God to deliver me. I reminded myself of His promises – one being that God already knows everything I will need to care for Zion if he survives. And that God is willing and able to help in my times of need. He has promised me those things. They are mine to claim. My job was to take my eyes off of my circumstances, keep my eyes on God, and simply seek Him every day. I reached out to others for prayer as well. My church community group was there for me. It was also so sweet to be surrounded by all of the mamas in my Trisomy Facebook group, many of them strong believers in the Lord. Their empathy, their words of encouragement and exhortations to not allow fear to set in were just what I needed. You learn in the Bible that fear is actually a spirit. I’m grateful to God for Him rescuing me from fear, because a fearful state is not a place anyone should remain in for long. Oh how I love my Jesus. He always pursues me when I am headed in the wrong direction. He never lets me wander too far off of His path. It makes me think of one of my favorite songs, “Reckless Love”. Every time I hear this song I just weep. This song beautifully puts into words my overwhelming gratefulness to God for snatching me out of darkness in 2012 and for continuing to pursue my heart, to this very moment. I hope you enjoy it too 🙂
Our birth plan also continues to evolve! I originally planned to deliver Zion at my OB’s primary hospital – Bethesda North. This is a smaller hospital in north Cincinnati with a Level 2 NICU. The turning point for us was when I recently found out that they would be able to fully intubate Zion if he needed that help to breathe, but immediately after that procedure they would have to transfer him to a hospital with a higher level NICU for continued treatment (Good Samaritan Hospital). So, this means that if we chose to stay at Bethesda North, and if Zion did need more intensive treatment, that we would eventually be separated. He would be quickly sent away to “Good Sam”, and I would be stuck at “B North” until I was discharged. The answer of what to do was simple, because I didn’t even want to imagine my son and I being in separate facilities, 15-20 minutes away from each other. In addition, my husband and I have been convicted to go more “full intervention” as opposed to “partial intervention” for Zion, so this means that we truly do need to be at the best hospital in the area to treat him, which is Good Samaritan. The good news about this hospital is that it’s even closer to our home (35 min drive), compared to B North (45 min drive). And that is meaningful when you think about potential frequent trips to visit a baby in the NICU.
By the sheer goodness of God, my OB actually has privileges at Good Sam, even though it’s somewhat of a distance from his office and not his main hospital. This means that I can still have my own doctor deliver Zion, so I don’t have to worry about having someone unknown and new to bring our son into the world. This is a HUGE relief for me! However, because I am requesting to have my doctor deliver Zion at a hospital outside of his area, this required a word I had been dreading…. induction. If I didn’t induce and just waited for labor to happen naturally (which was my former plan), the chances of my doctor even being available and getting to me in time (at Good Sam) I knew was slim to none. I spent some time at my appointment this week talking it through with my OB. He was so kind, and wasn’t forcing me as far as an induction time frame, but he was giving me his opinion based on his concerns about my health. Being that I have polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid), it does carry with it increased risks for complications, with two of the more worrisome being: umbilical cord prolapse (where the umbilical cord comes out first = life threatening for baby) and placental abruption (where the placenta comes apart from the uterine wall (life threatening for baby and mom). The chances of these complications happening grows as my pregnancy continues; therefore, because of that he believes that delivering at 39 weeks would be a sort of “sweet spot” to give Zion the most time to grow, while also avoiding a potential catastrophic event. I thought his reasoning was fair and balanced, and combined with the guarantee of his availability that induction provides, I had total peace with it. They would contact me ASAP with an induction date after the doctor got it all set up. A nervous excitement hit me. I can’t believe I’m about to meet my son in 2 weeks!
The next day, I got a text message from a woman in my community group. She’s a nurse, and has a colleague that she knows who happens to be a labor and delivery nurse at Good Sam Hospital. She told me how this woman, Katie, was an “awesome woman of the Lord”, but there was a catch, she only worked Mondays. I thanked her so much for the recommendation, but expressed my doubt that I would have a choice in the induction date. I assumed this date would be primarily at the mercy of my OB’s schedule.
After a couple days (it felt like an eternity) I received my official induction date! Zion was scheduled to be delivered on Monday, March 18th at 9:00AM. Yes, you read that right. A Monday! This meant that Katie should be present the day of my delivery. What a blessing to have a God-fearing nurse scheduled to work that very day we will be there! Only God can orchestrate this – there are no coincidences. It reminds me of one of my favorite promises from God:
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.Romans 8:28
I actually got to meet Katie in person yesterday at a Women’s Night of Encouragement that my church put on. It was so nice to put a face to a name and get to know her for a few minutes before the big day. Last night was actually so encouraging and refreshing as I heard the riveting testimonies from all of our pastor’s wives. It was just what I needed. Here’s a photo of my lovely, God-fearing mother-in-law and I at this blessed event. 🙂
I will close out this blog post with the most amazing thing that God has done this week. It took me a bit to realize this, but Zion’s induction date has an extremely blessed and significant timing. Monday, March 18th also happens to be Trisomy 18 Awareness Day!!! Wow – look at God! What an honor to bring forth a baby on this special day that commemorates his likely condition. I’ve been marveling at this thing that God has done. I can’t help but wonder, “What are you up to God?” Of course, I can’t know the answer now. But as we wait, we are hopeful that God is going to do big things. I can’t wait to see what He has in store.
With love in Christ,
A hopefully expectant Devon