As he went along he saw a blind man from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who has sinned? This man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man or his parents have sinned ,” said Jesus, “But this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” – John 9 1-3
I don’t know how to begin this post other than yesterday morning felt like i was hit by a truck driving at high speeds. i struggled and wrestled with God, drove home in utter numbness.
I woke up this morning my eyes opened but i didn’t move. praying to God that it was all just a really bad dream and I would wake up just as I did yesterday and my biggest concern of the day was finding clothes that fit. reality slowly started to sink in again that this was no nightmare i can wake up from no matter how many times i squeeze my eyes and reopen hoping by some sort of hollywood magic that it was a nightmare all along.
i’m going to start this off and probably close it by getting on my knees, clenching my hands together as tight as they can and begging just absolutely begging for your prayers on our little goldfish. I know that prayer has the power to change and heal. and i know that power and the gathering of believers can move mountains and work miracles.
that being said here is what is going on.
while i was driving to enroll our baby in daycare i received a call from my doctors office saying they had seen something yet again with the ultrasound of our baby. we have had about 4-5 total so far for various things that ended up being nothing so i wasn’t worried until they told us we were going to be referred to the fetal monitoring specialist in downtown. a bit uncomfortable with this message but still not overly concerned i tried to go on with my day and brush it off as another thing that would probably check out to be nothing. i did have a bit of nagging in my stomach though the term “specialist” just seems so scary doesn’t it?
tuesday we went in to our appointment with our normal doctor and she expressed some concerns about the unknown. they couldn’t see exactly what was going on with the babies heart and the level of ultrasound technology wouldn’t be able to provide her with the answers to tell us if this was of serious concern or not. Please note: this is when a good doctor comes in handy. i told her they scheduled us for may 22 with the specialist. within an hour of leaving our doctors office the center called with a random opening for wednesday at 11am. that my friends, is a good doctor and team.
we got to the appointment early not nervous that much because we’ve been through the ringer like i said a few times with various ultrasound blips. we were called in and brought to a room with the most high tech ultrasound equipment i’ve ever seen. we met our tech and she got right to work. she even gave us a 4-d picture of our babe’s face. of course i burst in to tears. it was the most beautiful thing i’ve ever seen. it made it so real to me that this was a living, breathing beautiful actual baby growing inside of me. and it had joe’s nose which we both picked up on right away.
shortly after that we moved on to the important business. the reason we were there. the heart. originally it was noted that the baby had a dilated pulmonary artery. according to everything my web md husband found it wasn’t the biggest of deals and indeed sometimes corrected itself. within about 1o minutes of the heart ultrasound our tech just said “i don’t like what i’m seeing i think the cardiologist is still here i’m going to try and catch her” and she left. i tried not to freak out and remain calm but that is not reassuring. i’m so grateful for her hustle though because while the first cardiologist was already gone the second one was able to be tracked down earlier than his afternoon shift. we met with a doctor before the cardiologist that explained what they were seeing. basically from a 10,000 foot view, the baby’s aorta is small and the ventricles are not right which made them think it was a pulmonary artery issue. the doctor was very kind and very thorough with us which we were so grateful for. we are not sugar coat it kind of people.
she asked if we had had the genetic test done earlier in the pregnancy. we opted out because no one in our family had a history of any genetic disorders. the risk to me (has a tiny tiny risk of causing miscarriage) did not seem worth it because we have a pretty healthy history. she then went on to explain that 30-40% of infants with this type of congenital heart defect also have Down’s Syndrome. that is when the world went fuzzy for me. i thought i was going to pass out. i didn’t hear much about what came next because 30-40% is a big number. i wanted to throw up, scream, pass out, actually get hit by a truck, and just sob all at once but i just sat there numb. we opted for the non invasive type of genetic test which the doctor informed us is probably a better option for this stage in the pregnancy anyway. and around that time the cardiologist came in (skipped his lunch) (did i mention how grateful i am for this staff’s hustle?) and him and our tech got right to work reviewing the heart again. the cardiologist showed us every area of concern they were seeing and said after this was done he would meet with us and tell us what it all means.
i was focused on one thing, not crying and breaking out into an open sob. i felt like if i showed my emotion cards they might try to “take it easy on me” and not tell me everything i had to know. wither that is rational or not it’s how i felt.
just as he promised we wrapped up the ultrasound and he gave us a few minutes to meet him. the second that door closed we just broke down in sobs. we knew at this point it wasn’t a blip, this was the real deal. and we were going to have to deal with it. i sat there trying to collect myself begging God in my head and heart to make everything ok. just make this all a mistake that makes us grateful. I don’t want to be the blind man i just want everything to be ok and i can be so grateful for miracles elsewhere just not in my baby. not because i didn’t want a miracle i just didn’t want to be the reason to need a miracle. does that make sense? i’m real logically especially with God during trauma.
we collected ourselves, dried our eyes and tried to look as presentable as possible and followed the cardiologist to one of those small consultation rooms. he came in with charts, and books, and information and walked us through what was going on. so here it is.
baby has a condition called ASVD . To see what exactly this means and view charts I attached the link here to CS Mott. the cardiologist was very confident that our baby has a very typical case of this type of congenital heart defect. this surgery has been performed 100’s of times right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The rest of our babies heart looks good with the exception of this “hole”.
The plan is to wait as long as possible after birth to have this surgery but surgery is inevitable. the recovery time is anywhere from 2 – 4 weeks and most children go on to live healthy, normal lives with monthly to yearly check ups.
while this was good news all things considered it breaks my heart. breaks joe’s heart. it’s impossible to fathom that a baby who looks so beautiful and perfect on the screens, that i can feel move and kick has anything at all wrong with him or her.
we are meeting with the team again in two weeks but were also told that we will now be delivering downtown Grand Rapids so we are close to the specialist and best critical care around. Baby will have to stick around to be monitored before being sent home to be home before surgery. this is good news, that baby can come home with us where it belongs for a few months God wiling before we have to go back. The bad news is I have a new team of doctors and my current doctor will no longer be our delivery doctor. this hurts more than i can explain. I was absolutely in love with this care team. my doctor is a wonderful christian woman that i never questioned or doubted. I knew that with each decision she made it was as if it were her own baby. care like that friends, is extremely difficult to find and relationships like that are not built over night. While I am so so sad about that I am so so grateful for the level of facilities, care and specialist we have literally in our own backyard.
now for the genetic test. after this was all done and we wrapped up with the cardiologist and doctor we were sent to the lab to take a bunch of my blood. this method is better for this stage of pregnancy because by now the babies skin cells are floating around in my blood stream and the cells is what they test. we will not get these results for another week or two (max). this is the most troubling of all. we can fix the heart (while it’s so so scary) but if our baby has Down’s Syndrome it is a complete life change for all of us. one that we never thought we would even have to think about. Friends i’m begging you that this test comes back in our favor. I sat there and watched the nurse draw about 4 tubes of blood just praying over each one that it was good and healthy and this was just a big scare to make the surgery less scary.
it was about 4pm by this time and joe and i had not eaten a single thing. we went out for pizza and while it was delicious it had no taste. we sat there numb just staring at each other. we decided to get some prints made of the baby’s 4d pictures that the tech so graciously gave to us. we then went and bought some apple trees to plant and keep our minds busy the rest of the night. my mom came over to talk a bit and we walked her through the day which was therapeutic to talk about.
we went to bed utterly exhausted and both just prayed this was a nightmare we would go to sleep and wake up from. but this is our reality. and it’s times like this that I’m so grateful that I have a God to run to for answers and friends like all of you to help me be a prayer army for this little baby.
i told you in the begging that I was going to beg. so here I go again.
Friends, Family, Prayer warriors, I am begging for your prayers.
pray that baby albers is genetically healthy. that this test is going to come back just fine
pray that if the test doesn’t come back the way we had hoped that God gives us the strength and grace to see his plan and purpose and the strength to take the necessary next steps
pray that baby albers stays in my belly full term. the longer he/she is nestled in there the better surgical results we can expect
pray for the team of doctors that will be working with our baby. pray for their rest, strength, knowledge, guidance and a steady hand.
pray for the strength of joe and i to remain healthy and level headed close to each other and close to God.
pray that someday we can all look back on this and talk about how God has worked an absolute miracle on our little goldfish.
anything else you want to toss in there I would greatly appreciate. Prayer has the power to work miracles my friends and we need you.
i will keep you posted.
joe, abby and goldfish.