We had a follow-up ultrasound this past Monday at Maternal-Fetal Medicine. My OB sends all her patients there (high-risk or not) for their 18-20 week ultrasounds. We were thankful to be getting good, level II pictures of little girl. As emotionally difficult as it was to know about Luke's heart in utero, we wouldn't have wanted it any other way. For us, the benefits of having a team put together, being at the best hospital for Luke's arrival, having family prepare with us, all outweighed the anxieties, doctors appointments and unknowns. This time around, we knew we would want to know with this little one if anything was wrong.
At our first ultrasound with the Maternal-Fetal specialists, I was 19 1/2 weeks pregnant. They confirmed what our fetal echo tech thought, that this peanut is truly a girl and then went ahead with all the measurements. Once you've had a child where every ultrasound is a breath-holding, hand-gripping experience, Roger and I found we couldn't quite relax on this one, either. Even though we already knew her heart was a-okay, it was still a tense experience. After 45 minutes or so, and several position changes, the tech let us know she couldn't get a good shot of baby girl's spine because she was all curled up "toes to nose". She assured us this wasn't concerning, that babies love this position in the first 20 weeks, but we would need to come back in two weeks for another ultrasound. We took reassurance in the fact that the doctor never came in to see us or talk with us, but still we couldn't shake our feeling of unease. Both my OB and my sister's boyfriend's dad (who is a perinatologist in Virginia) confirmed that having to go back for further measurements is very common, but honestly, we did not want to go back.
But we did, armoring ourselves with prayer, and God gave us an amazing appointment. Our tech this time was exactly who we needed. She was chatty, talking to us and the baby throughout the ultrasound, and believe it or not, has had three open heart surgeries herself! She was born with transposition of the great arteries and has also had two aortic valve replacements. Right away, we could tell baby was in a better position, and she was able to get the spine pictures out of the way first. She continued taking a few more measurements, and even turned on her 3D camera so we could watch sweet girl rubbing her eyes and waving her fingers. After printing out a few more pictures, she went to talk with the doctor, and within a minute or two, came back in and said, "You guys are outta here!" Sweeter words we have never heard. We rejoiced together as we walked out to the car gave thanks and praise to our God.
If the Lord allows, this baby girl will be healthy. That is our daily, sometimes hourly, prayer.
But what of the families that were also at the Maternal-Fetal Medicine office, who hadn't just received the good news they so desperately wanted? What if our baby's spine had not been okay? What about my dear friends, the Lester's, who lost their sweet Maddie to a CHD exactly three years ago?
I love this paragraph by Max Lucado, answering the question, "Do you trust Him?":
"Scripture, from Old Testament to New, from prophets to poets to preachers, renders one unanimous chorus: God directs the affairs of humanity. No leaf falls without God’s knowledge. No dolphin gives birth without his permission. No wave crashes on the shore apart from his calculation. God has never been surprised. Not once."
I honestly can't say I understand it. But I believe, with every fiber of my being, that God was not surprised when the doctors saw a missing ventricle. And I believe just as strongly that God was not surprised that this second baby has four healthy chambers.
My job, then, is not to dwell in the "whys" and "why nots". God wants me to dwell on this, instead:
"I am the one who creates the light and makes the darkness. I am the one who sends good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things." —Isaiah 45:7
My job, then, is to ask Him to comfort me in the bad times, so that I can be a comfort to others when they are suffering.
My job is trust Him. Our family is on-our-knees grateful for this baby girl's healthy heart, but that doesn't give me license to think we had anything to do with that outcome. It doesn't give me license to forget that every life is in His hands and it certainly doesn't give me license to forget that He wants glory for this girl's life as well as Luke's.