I keep sitting down at the computer thinking that I am going to write about this particular topic - but then I find I have no words. I wrestle with it. I want to document for future testimony what an amazing God I serve and consciously take steps in declaring and living, not in my circumstances BUT in the truth of the loving, powerful God I serve.
Let me begin by saying that during my entire first trimester of this pregnancy, I kept having the feeling that something was going to come up in this pregnancy that would allow me the opportunity to 'walk in the opposite spirit' of circumstances that life would be sending my way. Now I know that most pregnant women worry - about everything and anything with the developing baby. I have asked God for help NOT to do that and doing fairly well at it - BUT to be completely honest - there was a part of me that was still looking forward to that 20 week ultrasound to hear that everything was ok.
Well the day of the 20 week ultrasound arrived. Everything was looking good. We decided to find out whether we would be welcoming a baby brother or sister to the family and found that we would indeed be adding a baby brother :) The ultrasound tech was taking measurements, showed us the heart beat and that everything was looking great as far as the heart was concerned. So far everything was looking good and then the "BUT"...
The "Everything looks great, BUT.... you have SUA." Single Umbilical Artery. This is where for some unknown reason, the umbilical cord instead of being made up of 3 vessels is only made up of2. (A normal umbilical cord has 2 arteries and 1 vein - mine just has 1 artery and 1 vein). Even though this is unusual, it is common enough that it has been seen to occur numerous times by my midwives. They offered for me to go for a level 2 ultrasound, since baby boy wasn't being the most cooperative in letting them get every single measurement. But the midwife suggested that they had been able to measure all the important organs that they would keep tabs on with an SUA baby. That and he was measuring within 2 days of his gestational age. To be honest, all this through me for a loop. And it's kind of weird because nothing really bad had been reported, just something to watch - but growing a baby is an emotional thing. Mind mind was spinning, will my baby be ok? The main thing they were concerned about is if baby boy would receive enough nourishment and continue to grow. So that tempted all kinds of thoughts of what if my baby doesn't grow? etc. The other issue that was found was a low placenta, this too they wanted to keep an eye on.
As I sat there while the midwife went to print out some more info on SUA, my thoughts were in a whirl - do I go for the level 2 ultra sound? Is everything really ok... what does all this mean... When the mid wife came back in, I continued to ask every question I could think of so that I wouldn't lay in bed that night plagued with 'what if''s. Then the midwife made a very interesting comment. It was one of those moments that you know it isn't the person in front of you speaking to you but God himself speaking to you through another's voice. I don't know if you have ever had that happen or not, but it is a wild experience. As I was listening to her speak, I remember thinking - she has no idea what she is really saying to me or that this is really God speaking to me through her. What she said was regarding our decision on the level 2 ultrasound, "If having the level 2 ultrasound would be what brings you peace, then that's what you should do. It's really just a matter of what brings you your peace" WOW. Now remember - God had graciously given me a heads up that I would have the wonderful opportunity to move in the opposite spirit regarding circumstances surrounding this pregnancy. In one sentence, I was reminded, in a powerful way that I had a choice in the moment. I could get my sense of peace form man's invention (the level 2 ultrasound) or I could decide that it didn't matter what it would show anyway, and choose to get my peace from God. We chose at the time, not to have the level 2 done, believe in God's goodness and move in the opposite spirit. Now I know I have said that phrase a number of times in this post... move in the opposite spirit... so what did that mean for this moment? For me it ment moving in the opposite spirit from FEAR. Fear that my baby wasn't ok, fear that things were beyond my control fear that my body wasn't doing what it was supposed to do ... the list goes on and on and on.... So now, here is the chance to say God, my baby is fearfully and wonderfully made, you are his provider, you are his nourisher - lots of baby's are just fine who have SUA. I choose to believe that the placenta will move and that baby will grow just as he needs too. I choose NOT to let any of this steal from me the months of JOYFILLED anticipation for this baby. My prayer was that this "let's watch item" would not make me anxious for the birth of this baby just to be able to sigh a relief of whew that's over - but I wanted to ENJOY this pregnancy with out feeling like a little dark rain cloud was hanging over my head. Then it hit me, the opposite spirit of fear is hope and hope in God does not disappoint, hope is the joyful anticipation of the works of God.
So here it is December... and you are probably thinking oh, she has all the answers everything is great. Well, not exactly. I have now had 3 more ultra sounds. The 2nd one was just to check the placenta and take a few growth measurements. Growth was looking steady (yea!) placenta had moved far enough away in all measurements BUT... 1 measurement was still a little close. AAGGGGHHH. So again, things are looking great, BUT.... another ultrasound was needed in 4 weeks. Fast forward to the next ultrasound.... placenta is way far away from - YEA!!! Growth is looking good, baby is in the 39th%... BUT....here was again- great news ... BUT (can I just say that I am getting really really tired of the BUTS?????!!! Lord, can I just get a definitive answer???!!!) The BUT this time was that the growth of baby's head was lagging behind the rest of his growth. Just something to watch they said. I chatted with my midwife, asking, what does this mean... she assured me that there wasn't anything on the ultrasound that concerned her as far as brain development it was more a concern if baby was getting enough nutrients because of the SUA. Or it could be, baby boy has my small facial bone structure, or it could be that they just weren't able to get a good reading on the ultrasound. The main decision that would need to be made was if baby boy needs to be born earlier so that we can feed him on the outside. But... it meant another ultrasound at 35 weeks.
So, I had my 35 week ultrasound this week. Tuesday to be exact. Baby is still growing, still in the 38th-39th %. Belly measurements are great (means he's getting food) His leg bone was actually measuring a week ahead - baby boy has some long legs (I guess those recessive tall genes that I have are making an appearance) and you guessed it... BUT... his head is still measuring small. So now the midwife and Dr.s have referred me to UVA for a level 2 ultrasound. The best case senerio is that baby's head is so far engaged that the pelvic bones are causing a inaccurate measurement or again, that he has my smaller bone structure. I was hoping to have the ultrasound yet this week... BUT....it is scheduled for next Wednesday.
So what does all of this mean? I don't know. I believe that it is more opportunity to believe that God has everything in His hands. It is for me to continue to walk in joyfilled anticipation of this little boys arrival. it is for me to say "NO!!" to the thoughts of worry, concern, what ifs ,ect. It is for me to look to God for my peace, not hold on by my fingernails until next week's ultrasound to get peace. It strikes me as ironic that here we are the Christmas season - a season of remembering the PEACE Christ was fortold to bring. I feel even more challenged by the Holy Spirit to really 'live' in that peace despite the unknowns for the pregnancy. To speak the life of Jesus Christ over my child, to believe, really believe that God can take care of my developing little boy much better that I can through worry and fear.
If you live close by and are like 'I had no idea this was going on' you're not alone. Up until now, I haven't really told very many people. Not because I am afraid, or that I want everything to be ok before I share the story BUT... ( and this is a good BUT) I have really felt like I have stepped into a new level of peace with everything. With every ultrasound, I was faced again and again with the same challenge... and everytime there has been a upgrade of peace made available to me. I choose to believe that everything is going along as it should be with this pregnancy. I am enjoying this pregnancy. I love feeling baby boy move all.the.time. I am enjoying cute maternity clothes. I an enjoying praying for and blessing my baby. I am enjoying watching Glenn pray for and blessing baby boy. Don't get me wrong, I have my moments of worry, fear and doubt BUT God in an amazing way has just provided so much peace. He has given me so much opportunity to receive His grace, His peace in navigating this whole world of limbo that is this pregnancy while ENJOYING the journey.
Well my level 2 ultra sound was scheduled for wednesday the December 21st and I had my weekly checkup with my midwife the day before. As before we discussed my upcoming ultra sound and my midwife's 'gut feeling' was that everything would be ok BUT... she went on to discuss the possibilities of the 'not quite so ok' outlook. I shared with her that I was looking forward to having some definitive answers come out of the ultrasound....well she burst my bubble by kindly letting me know that there was a REALLY GOOD chance that there would NOT be any definitive answers and that UVA would probably recommend additional testing or monitoring of the baby 2x a week until he is born and that there was a good chance that they would need to induce me before my due date. And that since baby was an SUA baby that if there was any sign of distress durring delivery - it would mean a C-section for sure. This whloe thing puts me at a greater chace for a C-section. Bummer.... goods news followed by that "BUT" again....ughhhhh! Lord help me to find that place of peace you have promised.
Wednesday: Level 2 ultrasound. The tech was super sweet and kindly explained everything she was seeing. Glenn was there with me, and amazingly I felt very peaceful - I didn't even feel that apprehension of "ok, when is the BUT going to come???" I felt very calm and at peace as the ultrasound tech started measuring and looking at every part of baby. What she kept saying over and over and over again was " that looks normal, that looks normal, that looks normal" as she identified each part she was measuring. She did say that baby boy's head was measuring small but when she looked at his brain development, everything looked normal. he informed us that if baby boy wasn't getting enough nourishment, then he (just like we would if we weren't eating) would be thin all over - and our baby boy wasn't thin - in fact he has a nicely filled out tummy (that's a good thing!!) She finished and then had the Dr. come in to consult with us. The Dr. was amazing and so personable - he basically looked over the ultrasound and said the same thing as the tech. He explained that at this stage in the pregnancy, he doesn't get overly anxious if the only thing is the head measuring small because of positioning of the baby. So it was ALL good news. no "if's, and's or BUT's!!" We left UVA praising God for his faithfullness and provision.
Well this week, I met with my midwife today - as she read over the roeport she confirmed what we had understood last week - which was that UVA did NOT recomend any further testing or extra monitoring. Which means - just my normal weekly appointments until baby arrives! This is great news as I am in the middle of moving my store this week and life is just really, really full at the moment. (more on that at another time, as I am seeing God move in great ways and walking in levels of peace that I would not have been able to experience otherwise.)
Below is a note I wrote as I was in the middle of documenting all that is happening... and even toough baby boy isn't born yet - I have decided to go ahead and post his story thus far... I do look forward to what God is going to do through his labor and delivery. But His grace has been so good that I just have to share....
*I don't even know if I will post this today. I may wait until the story is completed. What I don't want is a lot of people coming up to me feeling sorry for me. I want to hold onto the HOPE that within me through the grace of our LORD Jesus Christ!