The last 11 weeks…
It has been eleven weeks since we found out about our daughter’s birth defect. We have had three additional ultrasounds since the first 20 week scan and each, just as the first, shows a bilateral cleft lip (and palate). I am continuing to be monitored by two Obstetricians, my original that will deliver her, and a high risk OB that is monitoring the baby’s condition. We have met with the craniofacial surgeon at Vanderbilt, we have talked through social media and text to other Tennessee parents that have already walked this path (with this surgeon) and we have accepted what is to come. Can God still heal her, I am sure HE CAN, will He heal her, I don’t know. I am at peace regardless. It is not something I want my child to face, two decades of countless surgeries, one complete to just start prepping for the next, but if that is her path, our path, I have to have peace with that. It seems to be far less on my mind than it was at first.
Instead of a mindset of oh my goodness I can’t believe this is happening, I now feel ok this is happening, what do I need to do to serve my child the best I can through this.
We have had some additional pregnancy complications that are actually far more serious concern and we are trying our best with both OB’s to treat the issues as best we can. The clefts have become almost a non-concern in light of other circumstances. I am scared for my daughter’s life and her health. This blog is about how I fail God and I am certainly failing here. Instead of spending hour upon hour a day praying to Him (although I certainly pray my fair share) I find myself Goggling nonstop, reading about the babies that have died or been still born due to this complication. I spend time on social media scouring support groups for glimmers of hope, and also reading the worst case scenarios to prepare myself that there is a chance we may never bring our daughter home.
I spend too much time in a state of worry instead of spending my time in a state of worship and here is where I am failing Him.
I pray, begging God to protect my daughter and to heal us both. I have a hard time letting go and letting God, I have a hard time accepting that a hard path, a painful path, maybe the path He has planned for me. That is so hard to accept and I certainly fail at surrendering to hardship. I want my life to be full of ease and full of joy, not a hard road full of stumbling blocks…but that is not exactly biblical, God says that the path is narrow, that trials will come, that joy is not ultimately found in this life, but rests in the next with Him.
If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing to give up their lives to follow me. – Mark 8:34
I don’t know about you but I find that passage hard to swallow. It is my natural instinct to fight for my wants, to fight for my children to be healthy, for my husband to be healthy, the thought of losing them and letting them go is one of the most painful things I can think of, but God says we must let go, we must be willing to put Him first, we must give up everything for Him.
I fail Him because I want to say God, here is my life and the life of those I cherish most, I give them to you, Lord…but I fail and I can’t do that, I want to hold on to them and not surrender. Maybe this is lesson I am to learn, to let go and let God.
I have learned the path to parenthood for us is means hardship. I feel like a failure at learning God’s lessons from our struggle to become parents. We struggled for years to have a child, we endured sadness, failure, and pain. The hardship of infertility is something you can never explain fully, it is an experience you just have to go through to understand. At the end of it, when the doctor literally said, I think this is our last chance before you need to make some important decisions about your future and how you will proceed if we fail again, God granted us our prayer, He gave us a precious child. My pregnancy was relatively uneventful and easy with our first, I had all day morning sickness for about five weeks (weeks 8 through 13) and then all was well, I delivered a healthy baby and spent the next two years staying home with her. The road to get her was hard and hurtful and I have never understood the lesson in that, the why did I go through this God, what should I have learned? I feel like a failure for not seeing “the why” in that experience.
The road to our second child has been so different but equally as hard. We got pregnant by surprise, we had no hardship, no failure, just a surprise gift from God. The pregnancy has been hard, the sickness severe, the complications scary, and the outcome not yet known since I still have nine weeks to go. The road to parenthood for us has been a hard one, but I would not trade it for anything this world has to offer. I look at my four year old and I see the most beautiful girl in the world. I hug her and love her and I am so thankful for her. I feel my baby move inside me and sometimes I weep, I fall more in love with her little life every day and I pray please God, please let her be healthy, let her survive and be healthy. The last eleven weeks have been full of tears, more tears than I can remember falling in a long time, it has been full of confusion, prayer, and worry. The last eleven weeks have led me to this day and this writing. I don’t know what the next nine weeks hold. I am praying so desperately for God to keep my baby safe, to protect her and keep her healthy, to keep both of us healthy, I am also trying my best to understand and come to terms that God may have different plans than what I ask of Him, He may have plans that ultimately will walk us through sorrow. Figuring out how to accept that is hard for me, figuring out how to walk through trial and persevere is tough and certainly where I am failing right now in this moment.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4
Here is our daughter that we are praying so hard for. Part of her cleft is visible in this image (her right cleft, which is on the left side of the image).