Thursday, November 15, 2012

With humble thanks

We have been so humbled and thankful for all of the prayers and expressions of love and support since I posted the blog about our baby last week (in case you missed it, you can read that post here).  I'm going to really try to post some sort of update each week, even if it's just to say "nothing has changed, but please keep praying!"  We know that God hears and answers the prayers of His people, and we are thankful for this opportunity we have to share what He is doing in our lives.

We are seeing doctors every week right now, alternating between Colorado Springs and Pueblo.  This week I saw my doctor in Pueblo, and everything still looks as good as it can at this point.  The baby's heart is still beating in what we're calling the "safe" range, growing and developing normally, (except of course for that heart issue that has everyone so concerned), and there is no fluid buildup to cause any concern for the baby's well-being at this point.  The baby is still very active, which is great but somewhat uncomfortable for me!  The doctor was also pleased enough with my blood sugar numbers that I only have to test every other day now.  That is good because those testing supplies are expensive!  I'm still on a very carb-restricted diet, and still trying to figure out how to eat enough food while limiting my carbs.  I've taken it on as a challenge, and I know I can be a little scary when I'm working on a challenge, so my apologies to anyone who is tired of hearing me talk about food and how many carbs are in everything!

So, nothing has changed, but please keep praying!  The cardiologist in Colorado Springs has told us not to expect any improvement, because that's not likely from a medical standpoint.  I guess that means that no change is a good thing.  It means that the problem hasn't gotten worse.  Of course we know that God is capable of anything, and from that viewpoint, we are actually hoping and praying for things to get better.  We are thankful to have such a large network of people praying for this baby, and we hope that God blesses each of your lives as you seek His face and grow in Him.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Unexpected twists

Sometimes life takes a turn you never expected. We’ve all experienced it; we're going along, living and doing and planning for the future and then, “Wha…?” God throws something into the path that shakes us to our core. It could be a major test of faith, spiritual warfare, or simply the result of being sinful people living in a sinful world. No matter the cause or the reason, the way we react to these events shows us, and the people around us, what kind of people we are, and what kind of faith we walk in. God knows these things; these tests, trials, and crises do not happen so that we can prove ourselves to Him. But sometimes, we need to know exactly what kind of people He has made us to be.

If you haven’t already heard the news, I am almost 30 weeks pregnant (that’s 7 1/2 months, if you don’t want to do the math). We haven't said much about it online because we've been having some issues. After our routine 20-week ultrasound, our doctor referred us to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, because the baby had an irregular heartbeat and he wanted to be sure there was no reason for major concern. Over the course of several appointments over several weeks, we learned that our little baby has a rare and serious heart problem known as a heart block. This means that the electrical systems that connect the various parts of the heart are there but not working, which means that the various chambers, particularly the top and bottom of the heart, are functioning but can’t communicate with each other, so they’re completely out of rhythm. It is an electrical problem that can cause all sorts of complications, and will mostly likely require a pacemaker at some point in this child’s life. Of course, before that can happen, we’ve got to get this baby safely delivered into the world, so we’re being monitored frequently to make sure that the heart is still working and the baby is still growing. In other words: lots of visits to doctors in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, lots of ultrasounds, lots of expenses, and the potential for lots of worry.

If you’ve ever been in the unenviable position of hearing that there is something wrong with your baby and that if all does not go well, the baby could die, you may have some idea of what we’ve experienced in the last ten weeks. It has not been fun or pleasant. I freaked out for about a week and was really starting to fall apart emotionally, when God stepped in and we had to have a very serious discussion. I realized that I could choose to spend the second half of my pregnancy as an emotional basket case, doubting God’s wisdom and power, and grasping at anything I could find for help and support, or I could stop just saying that I trust Him and actually trust Him, and lean on Him for strength. At that moment, I decided to trust. It has not been easy. In the weeks since then, we’ve discovered that there are antibodies in my blood that have attacked the baby’s heart and caused this problem. Because I was having trouble with dizziness and other symptoms, I’ve had to have my own cardiology workup. Everything seems okay with my heart, but I’ve also been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, so I have that on my plate (and significantly less carbs, my favorite, on my plate!) as well. It has not been an easy road, and it right now, it doesn’t seem likely to get any easier. Still, there are bright spots: so far, the baby’s heart is working about as well as we could hope for, and everything except that heart problem, including growth rate and fluid level, keep looking good. We have seen some great doctors, and we get to see our little baby on ultrasounds at least every two weeks. And in case you’re wondering, even with all the peeks, we still haven’t found out whether it’s a boy or a girl – really!

A question that we get asked fairly frequently is, “How are you doing?” And I can honestly say that we’re doing okay. We’re not in denial, and we do understand the serious situation we’re in. There are moments when everything gets pretty overwhelming. Still, I believe with all my heart that God is good, He is faithful, and He is great. We feel a little like what Paul described in 2 Cor. 4:8-9, "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." God is upholding us with His strength as we walk this unexpected twist in life’s road. And He has prepared us for this. Over the years, He has blessed me with absolute, unshakable faith in the eternal, unchanging goodness of His character, His love for His children, and His power to work out any situation for His glory and my good. I don’t know what He will do with this situation and this baby, but I trust Him. Greg and I have had plenty of conversations about it, and I know he feels the same way.

So, what do we need? Prayer. If you have a relationship with our God and Savior, please pray that the baby will continue to grow strong, that the heart rate will stay within the “safe” range rather than the “scary” range, and if you’re feeling really bold, pray that God will go ahead and flip that switch to get everything working correctly. We are believing that He will supply all our needs, according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Phi. 4:19). What we don't need: sympathy, excessive hugs, and questions about how things are going. We don't have many answers, but we know that God does.  We want this unexpected twist to become a great story all about the greatness of our God. We will update this blog as we have time and opportunity, but meanwhile we want to thank all our friends for standing and praying with us in this interesting season.