Tomorrow we are celebrating our oldest son’s birthday. He will be seven. When I was pregnant with him, things seemed to be moving along smoothly. I had no morning sickness. Strong smells nauseated me, but I could eat whatever I wanted (as long as I didn’t have to smell it cooking!) and feel fine. We made it through the first trimester and felt “safe” to tell family and friends that we were expecting. In time, just like the pregnancy books, magazines, and internet articles said, I started to feel him moving and kicking. I was amazed! Everytime I went to church, people just couldn’t believe that I was pregnant. I didn’t look it at all. I could still fit in my regular clothes, although my pants weren’t very comfortable. I know intentions were good, but it always frustrated me. I wanted to be one of those cute pregnant ladies, not an invisible one! Still, I was thankful that things were going well and a baby would soon be in my arms.
Then one day, it seemed he didn’t move as much. I wasn’t sure, though. Fear is something I struggle with and I get easily paranoid Those pregnancy books, magazine, and internet articles are very informative, but easily fed my fears. So I wasn’t sure if I was just imagining that the baby was moving less, or if he really was moving less. I waited until my next appointment with the OB to bring it up. As I weighed in the nurse asked about movement. I told told her that I wasn’t sure, but that I thought the movement had decreased. After settling me in the exam room I was told to lie still and count kicks. There weren’t many. So they attached the heart monitor. Praise God, his little heart was beating! But it was slower than expected so further tests were done and we learned that the baby’s head was growing, but the rest of him was behind. I was directed to go see a specialist.
That night I went to a women’s coffee at the church. As I walked in the door, a few precious ladies told me hello, hugged my neck, and started down the road of disbelief over how I didn’t look pregnant. I can only imagine what my face must have looked like! I know I tried to smile and hide the pain. I also know that I have never been so grateful for one particular person as in that moment. Another lady walked over, brushed the ladies aside while linking arms with me and walking me away to a different conversation. I don’t know if or how she knew there was something going on. She came from behind me, so it wasn’t my expression! But I will forever be grateful to her for saving me in that moment!
A few days later we sat for hours and hours and hours (quite literally) in the specialist’s office. It’s amazing how just sitting and waiting can tire you out! I was ready for bed by the time the doctor came to talk to us! We learned that Ryan wasn’t getting enough blood. He didn’t know why. One suggestion was that perhaps the placenta wasn’t well attached, so it was difficult for blood to get in. I was told to take a baby aspirin daily in order to thin the blood and perhaps assist in the flow.
We continued on like this for a few weeks, then Hurricane Ivan came through. It appeared that it was going to hit us, then travel north, so we went south to some friends in Orlando. The day that our town was being beated by wind and rain, we were enjoying Disney free, compliments of our friends’ friend who works there! I was pretty limited in what I could do, but enjoyed it all the same! As you can tell by the photo, at 7 months, I just looked a little fat — not like a cute pregnant lady! 🙂
Two weeks later, we were back home. I went to work as usual at the local Christian bookstore. As usual and per doctor orders, I came home for a two hour lunch break which I was supposed to spend lying down. Ten minutes before time to return to work, I got up and stopped by the bathroom. I was bleeding. And I was terrified! I phoned my doctor (go straight to the hospital), my husband (I’m coming right now), and my job (we’ll pray for you and cover you). The next hours were a whirlwind. I thought I was losing the baby. My ever optimistic husband thought we’d come home, everything would be fine, and we’d have the baby in two months. We were both right! Sort of!
I was losing the baby. But after an emergency C-section, everything was fine. Sort of. Coming out two months early isn’t really good for a baby! But by God’s grace and the prayers of many, many brothers and sisters in Christ, this boy began breathing on his own the next day. He began eating soon after. And while we were told to expect to be in the NICU for the two months, we went home with this precious baby 15 days later! Ryan still has struggles and difficulties. His eyes aren’t aligned correctly, so he has no depth perception. He’s incredibly brilliant and taught himself to read at three years old! But he struggles with social and emotional skills. Regardless of the daily difficulties, I am thankful that he is here! And I’m thankful that God, in His Sovereign plan, deemed it right for Chris and I to be his parents. We aren’t the world’s best parents. We often fail. But we love him and are amazed to see him mature and grow. Repeatedly this last year, I have had people stop me to tell me how impressed they are with this young man. Several times I have been told that he has matured so much in the last year or so. I agree! I wish I could say that I have something to do with it! But the Truth is, it’s God at work. HE saved this little boy’s life and HE is the one who is molding him according to His good purposes. I am honored to be a part of it and to be counted worthy to be used, because I know I’m not really worthy!
And I’m thankful that I still have life. I was told by one of the NICU nurses caring for Ryan that if the doctor had not intervened when she did, neither baby nor mom would be here. So many times I have wondered what great things God has planned that He would save that little boy. But then I remember He saved me too! And I remember that I know the answer! His ultimate purpose with all His children is to glorify Himself and make Himself known! To make us into His image that the world would see Him. And there can be nothing greater than that!