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.


Aunt Jill said...

What honest and wise words, Allison. I am and will continue to pray for you and your husband and especially baby Duke. That precious baby is still being knit together, even as I write this. I am praying for and believing in a miracle. Rob and I have been in your shoes, it is rough but not hopeless when all trust and all worries are placed on God. I am confident that you will have an amazing story to tell all about His grace and mercy. His promise will endure and His joy will be your strength! You've got this, 'cuz He's got you!

Anonymous said...

Allison, you, Greg, Katelyn, and baby are definitely in my prayers! Love you and God bless! If you need anything, please let me know!


SonyaD said...

I strongly believe in the power of prayer and God's power of healing. It is by Jesus' stripes that we are able to claim healing. 2 Peter 2:24. Thank you, Jesus, for completing the miracle in this precious baby!

Ice Cream Lady said...

Thank you for sharing this, your insight is a BLESSING to me, and I believe with all my heart that prayer is the best thing you could ever have asked for.

EmrayCarol said...

Allison, thanks for sharing your life with us. We are all part of the body of Christ and when one part has a need we all look to our Father the source of our strength. We are praying for you, for your baby, and your husband as you walk through this trial - and yes Grandma and Grandpa too.

Emray & Carol

Tiffany said...

Allison, thank you for your honest, inspiring words. We lived in Los Alamos when our daughter, Abbie was we love your family (and Greg's too...). We will be praying for peace, joy, hope, faith, and most of all LOVE..because it never, ever fails.