Our Baby’s Diagnosis
On August 11, 2011 we found out we would be having our first child. We could hardly contain our joy and started telling friends and family a few weeks later. I must say that one of the most amazing sounds I’ve ever heard was the heartbeat of our baby during an early sonogram, proving that there was an actual life created by God Himself inside Leeza.
On November 7, now almost halfway through the 2nd trimester, we went in for a routine ultrasound hoping to find out the gender of the baby. To our shock, we found out instead that there are some serious complications in the development of our baby, a rare condition known as body stalk deformity or limb body wall complex. The abdominal wall has not formed and all that should be inside the body is outside. There are also serious issues with the brain, heart, and spine. While this poses no danger to Leeza, it is considered a fatal condition for the baby. The doctors informed us that there is zero chance of survival outside the womb. In other words, even if we choose to carry the baby to full term, the baby would not be able to live past the delivery. As we got back into our car at the hospital that day I remember having the most helpless feeling. We both just sat there in silence for several minutes, unable to process what was going on.
As we got home we soon had to take time out from grieving to think about some important decisions. The doctors had explained that our options would be to 1) terminate the pregnancy early or 2) carry the baby to full term. Terminating the pregnancy now would give us some closure, allow us to move on and try sooner for another baby, and for a lot of people this seems to be the sensible thing to do. In fact, I would not be critical of anyone in our shoes choosing to make that decision. However, after much prayer and godly counsel, our decision is to continue on with the pregnancy. There are many reasons for this decision and I would like to explain a few of them.
- God is the giver of life and the taker of life and we don’t feel comfortable taking a life before God intends. It is up to Him how long our baby should live. (“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” – Ps 139:16)
- Some things are impossible with man, but with God all things are possible (Mt 19:26). Even though science tells us there is no chance for survival for our baby we believe that the God who makes the lame to walk and the blind to see is fully capable of healing our child if He so chooses. However, God is faithful whether He chooses to heal now or not. We certainly have hope, but it’s important to note that our hope is not in a particular outcome, rather our hope is in Jesus himself. So given the fact that there exists a possibility of our Lord healing our baby now, we feel that one decision allows for that possibility while the other eliminates the possibility altogether.
- All throughout scripture we are instructed that the righteous are to live by faith (Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11). Continuing the pregnancy and allowing God to do as He pleases seems to be the course of action that demonstrates the most faith, and the one that we hope will bring God the most glory.
- For those who believe, when we ask for healing, God’s answer is always “yes.” Sometimes the healing comes now and other times the healing comes in eternity. There will be a day when Jesus restores all that is broken to the way He intends, making all things new, removing all pain, sorrow, sickness and death. Therefore we believe that we will certainly see our baby healed, if not in this lifetime then in eternity.
Knowing this news now is simply the grace of God. We would not be able to know our baby’s condition apart from modern medicine and I cannot imagine going into the delivery room expecting it to be the happiest day of our lives and having it immediately turn into the worst. Knowing this information now, as hard as it may be, is grace.
I know this is getting a bit long so I will wrap it up here. I hope to write more later about what the Lord is teaching us through this. While this is a difficult time for us, we are experiencing the grace of God and finding hope through the presence of Christ in our lives. We pray the latter is what you take away from reading our story.
As I close, I’m reminded of a few portions (below) of Ginny Owens’ song “If you want me to.”
It may not be the way I would have chosen
When You lead me through a world that’s not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I’ll never go alone
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
Then I will go through the fire
If You want me to