Thursday, February 11, 2010

And Now, The Rest of the Story...

I have been waiting since late August to tell this story, hoping for a happy ending.  At 9:36 a.m. this Wednesday, the waiting ended.  Our Sarah gave us some concern at the 20 week ultrasound.  After learning she was a girl, we soon learned that a concern was seen on the ultrasound.  We had a very good doctor that reassured us that what was seen, a choroid plexius cyst, was very small and probably not a concern, and definitely not enough to go for an amnio (which we wouldn't have done-- yikes-- needles!)  The cyst was in her brain fluid (scary) and the doctor had to tell us it was seen due to some mild association with chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down's Syndrome.  However, due to Sarah's growth in utero and healthy organs, it did not seem likely that this was the case for her.  I learned this right before we were to leave for a family weekend over Labor Day.  We decided not to tell our families as not to frighten everyone with this information.  It was hard for the first few days to reconcile myself to the fact that our baby could be  born with severe limitations.  And it was hard not to look at every healthy family with envy and wonder if we would be like them. 

So many things occurred during this season that let me know that God was very much a part of the smallest details of our lives.  As I was going through this mental challenge, I was studying the book of Esther through a bible study written by Beth Moore.  Something Beth said in the video teaching really stuck with me.  She said that many women live their lives rehearsing what ifs, fearful that the bottom will drop out at any moment.  When we say if, we are really saying "I fear."  However, if what we most fear really happens,  God will take care of us.  This stuck with me.  I fear.  I fear a lot.  I worry too.  I fret.  A lot.

So, what I most feared was an if-- my child could have a disability. 

We had our 28 week ultrasound and everything checked out.  The cyst was gone and Sarah's measurements were good.  However,  the if remained.

I've written about Sarah's birth, and when I saw her, I thought the worrying was over.   10 fingers and toes, a full head of hair, a good cry, and a hungry girl.

And a butt dimple.  I wouldn't have noticed the dimple myself until the nurses pointed it out.  A well intentioned nurse let it slip about the dimple before the doctor informed us.  And she starts throwing out spina bifida and folic acid.  Which, I think, would cause the sanest mother to be peeled off the ceiling.  I mean, I freaked out when I found out I was pregnant because I had eaten deli meat, had dental x-rays (with two protective belly aprons), and shame of shames, drank too much sweet tea during my pregnancy!  Not to mention taking Tylenol (which is fine).  But still.  You know.


The second day in the hospital, Sarah has an ultrasound done on her spine.  I don't hear the results until the third day.  The pediatrician does not stop by during rounds and is the last for morning rounds the next day.   The ultrasound seems to indicate that Sarah's spinal cord extends past the 'normal' spot down the spinal column, suggesting a tethered spinal cord, a rare birth defect where the spinal cord is attached to the base of the spinal column instead of floating in the spinal fluid.

Brain cyst in the area of the brain that produces cerebral and spinal fluid.   Dimple on the lower back.  A tuft of hair above the dimple.  A long spinal cord.

IF seems to be turning into reality.

I fear.

But God does take care of me.  Mainly through the prayers of our support system: at church, at work, in our family, and through a network of friends, connected in person or electronically. 

We wait two weeks for the follow up MRI.  Sarah handles the sedation very well.  Our final appointment with a neurosurgeon, is set for the end of February.  Our pediatrician tells us that if the MRI is 100 percent normal, we will get a call.  If not, we will have to wait to discuss the results with the specialist.


I get the call from Jennifer, our doctor's nurse.  I'm sure I'll never forget her name.  What a great call to receive.  No abnormalities are noted.  None.

(Pun: No Ifs, Ands, or Butts about it!)  Couldn't help myself.

IF has become in faith.

In faith, I trust that Sarah will be fine, whether through healing or surgery.

Now, I'll never know if Sarah was born with a perfect spine and all this was precaution.  Certainly, many people much godly than I have prayed for the health of a child and not had their prayers answered with yes.  His ways are truly higher than my ways and for reasons unknown to me, he chose to remove this challenge from our lives.

But I'll never think of the word healthy in the same way again.  Or the word defect.  In a body of flesh, we are all born with a spiritual defect.  Sin.  It's that simple.  Only the saving touch of Christ can make us spiritually well.

And that's the rest of the story!

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