“I don’t care if it’s a boy or girl, as long as it’s healthy.”
So often, this is the go to phrase expected parents often reply when asked what they are hoping for and why wouldn’t it be? Of course your wish for your child is that they are healthy and whole.
But what if they’re not?
One year ago today, our fears were confirmed. Something was very wrong with our baby. Two weeks prior to this, we went in for our anatomical ultrasound. The day before, I vividly remember a conversation I had with my sister, Kate. We were riding in the car and she asked if I was excited to find out what this baby would be. I looked at her and told her what I had been hiding in my heart for months. I told her I don’t think this baby is alright.
With all of my other pregnancies, even my miscarriages, I’d dreamed of who they would be and what they would look like (and pregnancy dreams are the most real, odd and rememberable for me at least). This pregnancy was different. I never once dreamed about Josiah before he was born. At the time, I felt it was God’s way of protecting my heart for what we would find out.
At our anatomical appointment, Josiah moved so much, it was hard for them to see his heart and aorta. No biggie, we rescheduled for a week later to try again. On May 10th, I went back, Dillon had to work. I had our wonderful tech Randi performing my ultrasound that day. The unfortunate part about having your friend be involved in your medical care is that I got to know her well long enough to read her face. She wasn’t allowed to tell me anything, but I knew my suspicions leading up to this appointment were correct. I asked her if I needed to call to have Dillon come over. She just squeezed my hand. I was able to have Dillon be on speakerphone when our OB came in to talk to us. He referred us to Children’s Hospital and they called me within the hour to get an appointment set up in 3 days. I was able to go to the MFM appointment with both my parents where we did tests and ultimately received the diagnosis of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.
Our MFM cardiologist was very blunt in the best way. She told us what to expect and how hard this could be if he even lived. She only asked once if we wanted to terminate. When I said no, she immediately replied with “I will fight for him”. That was one of the most reassuring parts of this process. She said it with such conviction, I fully believed her.
Nothing could have prepared me for what we would face in the year after. The rest of my pregnancy went way too quickly. Where most couples grow more excited as the due date approaches, we got more scared and sad. The minute he was outside of me, he was no longer safe.
Josiah never. Stopped. Moving. Ever. The one time he was still, it woke me from a sound sleep and made me grab my Doppler to make sure there was still a heartbeat because it was so weird for him to not move. It didn’t seem fair that something so alive and full of life would have to fight so hard.
The last year has been the hardest I’ve ever had to endure. It has been a year of unknowns, zero control, and running on empty. A year of watching other heart babies come and go. A year of family and friends having healthy babies and being jealous and feeling guilty for being jealous. A year of watching Anaiah settle into her role as the older sister. A year of watching Rowan blossom into one of the most caring and compassionate people. A year of my husband sacrificing for our family and being steady throughout. A year of heartache and joy intertwined.
They say that God will never give you more than you can handle. I would love to see where in the Bible it says that. In fact, there are many places where it says the opposite:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
He also tells us why:
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
??1 Peter? ?1?:?6?-?7? ?
I fully believe He gave me more than I can handle so I have no choice but to rely on Him, wholly and completely. I hate the unknowns, but I am so thankful that I am not in control.
If I’m honest, I still wish he was born healthy. I hate seeing him have to go through this. I grieve for the life we aren’t living. And that’s ok. We wouldn’t be doing our job as parents if we didn’t want the very best for our children. If we are ever given more children, I wouldn’t care if they were boys or girls and I would still want them to be healthy.
But what if they aren’t?
They are still loved. Still wanted. Still beautifully and wonderfully made. God doesn’t make mistakes. He chose ME to be Josiah’s mother.
And I will fight for him.