The faith of friends

I wrote these words in a recent post:

Where are the testimonies like Job’s? Marauders murdered some of his
servants and slaughtered his cattle, fire consumed some of his other servants
along with all his sheep, another raiding party stole all of his camels and
the servants that cared for them, and all of his children died while dining
together when their house collapsed.

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the
ground and worshiped. And he said, "Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed
be the name of the LORD." (Job
1:13–21
)

My point was that Job didn’t wait for everything to turn out okay before he
acknowledged God’s goodness. That’s a powerful example for those of us in the
midst of trying times.

I recently received an e-mail from a friend at church
who was having some problems with her pregnancy. Her words, while filled
with pain, encouraged me more than I can express. She gave me permission to
publish
the content of her message:

On 9/28 I went for a routine sonogram. Everything looked fine.
Then I was informed that from a previous blood test that my Alpha
Fetal Protein was elevated. That COULD be an indicator for problems
such as neural tube defect (this effects the vertebrae of the spine
where they would not be lined up completely straight). I was told
to have a follow up sonogram the following week.

On 10/05 I went for the
follow up. The spine looked fine and I left
the appointment with peace of mind.

On 10/11 my doctor called me at work
and said that the sonographers
noticed that the ventricles in the baby’s brain were large. They
wanted me to come in for ANOTHER sonogram to check this further. Some babies
have small ventricles, some medium, and some large. My baby may have large
ones simply because I have large ones, or he
could have large ones because of fluid build-up. They wanted to double check
to make sure everything was fine.

Rob and I went for the
sonogram yesterday (10/13). They checked the brain’s ventricles and everything
looked fine. Then, the
sonographer spent a very long time looking at the baby’s heart. We
were told that the left side of the heart appeared to be smaller
than the right side. This could be caused because of a blockage OR
because of some chromosomal defect (such as Downs Syndrome or
others). She had a doctor come in to verify what she saw. He
agreed that the left side looked smaller. He said I would need to
have an amniocentesis. They did it in the office a few minutes
later (fortunately it was not nearly as painful as I had
anticipated).

Although it will take at least a couple of weeks to get the
full
results of this test, we will have some of the results by Monday
afternoon or Tuesday morning (this is when we will find out if the
baby has Downs Syndrome or 1 of 2 other chromosomal defects). The
latter 2 defects we were told are lethal and doctors will advise to
terminate the pregnancy. I already told them that termination is
NOT an option for us in any circumstance. No matter what doctors
tell us, God will decide the fate of our baby. God is greater than
this situation. If He so chooses He could miraculously heal Evan
(that’s what we’ve named the baby). If not, he will equip us to
give Evan everything he needs.

I was told not to go to work today, but
I can return Monday. Tuesday
I will be out again to see a pediatric cardiologist. She will
analyze the test results and perform a fetal echocardiogram. If it
is determined that there is nothing wrong with Evan’s chromosomes
then the problem may be caused by a blockage. If that is the case,
Evan would probably need surgery shortly after he’s born, and
there’s no guarantee that he would survive. There is actually an
experimental procedure that has been done for babies with heart
blockages at a children’s hospital in Boston and one in
Philadelphia. It’s done while the baby is still in the womb. We’ve
looked into it in case we have to go that route.

The hardest part right
now is waiting. Most things with the baby
are normal as of now: the brain, the spine, the heart rate, his size
and weight. That gives me some hope. Many people have also shared
stories with me of how expecting parents have been told the worst
about their unborn children and they end up being born without any
complications. That gives me hope, too. I have to keep in mind the
words of that hymn: "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’
love and righteousness"…not just for salvation, but for all
aspects of life.

This couple’s faith and emotional strength is an inspiration to me. Their
names are Rob and Tara (and Evan), if anyone wants to pray for them specifically.

4 thoughts on “The faith of friends

  1. If it is any consolation, the same thing happened to me 16 years ago. I took the alpha feta protein test and the results predicted problems. Because we had no intention of terminating the pregnancy, I declined further tests, but that didn’t stop the doctors’ offices from calling and telling me that I had to get in for tests “today,” in order to have time to terminate the pregnancy. We trusted God with out very active in-utero baby, and last week we celebrated the 16th birthday of Shannon, who is now 6 feet tall, athletic, a straight A student and an all-state flute player.

    But, on the other hand, my dear neighbor, who also would never under any circumstances terminate a pregnancy, just went through her 5th pregnancy. After my bad experiences with the AFP test, I declined every test I could in my ensuing pregnancies. My neighbor had the same philosophy–”I’ll never kill my baby, so why take the tests?” However, when her 5th baby was born a few weeks ago, he arrived with down’s syndrome. They were totally unprepared, with no inclination that this might happen. She came home from the hospital with armloads of pamphlets and books, and sheets and sheets of instructions. She was totally overwhelmed and in shock. But he is a beautiful baby–maybe just a little smaller and weaker than her others, but absolutely beautiful and fragile and precious. So she just loves him and takes care of him, and each day follows the next.

    We have to trust that HE knows what is best for us–whether we agree or not. And we have to humbly submit to the circumstances He brings and trust Him to create beauty out of them in the end, as he says He will. And in the meantime, we rejoice that He is with us, no matter what we face, and we cling tight to His unshakable hand. (Philippians 4:4)

    A verse that really helps me is Isaiah 50:10–”Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”

  2. I have lifted them up in prayer. As Ruth said, I’ve gone through this myself. With my last child, they thought she had Down’s. My obgyn was a Christian (and he’s gone home to be with the Lord now) and when I expressed to him that I didn’t want to know, in no case would I terminate the pregnancy (he didn’t even perform abortions anyway). He said it’s for preparation. The more you know the better off you will be should anything be wrong with the baby. I had had a friend who’s grandchild was born with Downs and they didn’t know until she delivered. I saw how devastating that could be.

    It took three weeks for me to get my amnio results back. She’s right it’s not as painful as you think it will be and let me tell you, I would take a needle in my eye to give me the peace of mind that the test gave me. The three weeks were hard- because the sample has to be grown in the lab- and that was the quickest I could get the results! I cried and prayed alot.

    Praise God, my fluffernutter is four now and healthy as a horse. Yet, I never pass a child with Down’s that I don’t start to cry and feel thankful. I’ll never look at one the same again. Please pass on a update to us about your friends and I pray for the wanted outcome!

    Tee