The Birth of Elijah: The Day God Proved The Doctors Wrong

I was wondering when it was all going to hit me.

I am always a little slow at processing things, partly due to the fact that I am great at coping. It’s a blessing and a curse, really. I can emotionally survive some pretty tough situations, but it also takes forever for my heart to soften and actually feel the weight of what’s going on.

But tonight as I was filling out a few pages in Eli’s baby book, it all came rushing back. As I looked through the multiple ultrasound pictures I have to pick a good one for his book, the seriousness of the ordeal we just survived hit me all over again and I couldn’t stop the tears that began to fall all over those black and white pictures.

I remember wondering if these would be the only pictures I would ever have of my baby.

I remember cherishing each one and running my finger over every aspect of his little frame I could see around my enlarged and cyst filled placenta.

He was supposed to die.

But he didn’t.

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(For those of you who haven’t heard the story, here is the backstory on my pregnancy with Eli.)

On March 31st, Chris and I made (yet another) trip to the OB triage at the hospital because I just didn’t feel right. I almost didn’t go, because of the countless times we had went there and spent 4 hours waiting, only to find out nothing was wrong. But Chris convinced me to, and I’m so glad he did.

The doctor came in after we had been monitored for about an hour and said everything with me looked good, but Eli didn’t. His heart rate was dropping significantly and she said she didn’t want to send me home, but wanted me to stay overnight so she could keep an eye on him.

After several more hours, she came back in our room and told us that he would be delivered either tonight or in the morning, depending on how severe his heart rate kept dropping through the night.

We made it until the next morning, but we were the first to be scheduled for surgery. As Chris and I waited for me to be rolled into the operating room, I felt absolutely terrified. The doctor had spent about 45 minutes with us the night before telling us every possible scenario that could go wrong during the c-section since I had such a rare pregnancy, and she wasn’t sure how difficult it was going to be to get around the placenta to get Elijah out safely. She also wasn’t sure if my placenta would be attached to my uterine wall and if that was the case I would have an immediate hysterectomy. We also were not sure if he would have the genetic issues they had warned us about. So many thoughts raced through my mind as they rolled me down the hallway.

Would Eli be okay?

Would he survive the c-section?

Would he have triploidy?

Would I be saying hello and goodbye to my baby at his birth?

As they laid me on the table and I stared at the ceiling, all I could do was pray and try to breathe. I had read Psalm 91 three times that morning and I tried to recall those truths to mind in the midst of all of the chaos happening around me.

I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!” For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.” (Psalm 91:2-4)

I heard the doctor’s voice from behind the blue curtain, “He’s almost here, Momma!” I instantly burst into tears at the thought of him. “He’s out! He’s out!” I could hear a tiny little cry, and my heart nearly burst.

He’s here. My baby is finally here.

I can’t really describe all that I felt in those moments, except sheer and overwhelming joy. Chris was able to go and take a few pictures of him and as he brought them back to show me, I marveled at just how perfect he was. Born at 30 weeks 3 days, and weighing 2 pounds 7 ounces. The nurse brought him around to me as they were taking him to the NICU and I was able to give him a kiss on the forehead.

 

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Elijah has now been alive for two weeks, and some days I cry from sadness over how tiny he is and how difficult it is to cuddle a baby who is covered in wires and machines that terrify you with their alarms and loud beeps. I cry because he is having to fight so hard to stay alive and struggling to learn things like sucking and swallowing that he wouldn’t have to be learning if he’d been born at full term. Sometimes my sorrow and my joy are so intermingled that it’s hard to know what I’m feeling.

But most days I cry from wonder and joy at the things…no the miracles…that God has done. I watch my baby boy, who was given a 1% chance of surviving, breathe on his own. As I watch his tiny chest move up and down and see his perfectly formed fingers hold on to his paci, I can’t help but remember the words of the doctors who told me to abort him, because he would be so genetically messed up and would never survive outside of the womb.

What if I had listened to them!?

What if I had feared man over God and chosen to end his life because it was “more humane” that way?

Elijah has no chromosomal abnormalities. He is perfectly healthy and normal and whole. He is beautiful, and thriving, and loved. He was so worth fighting for.

I don’t know if all of the things the doctors told me were true, and God completely healed my child and allowed him to be healthy, or if they were completely wrong in their diagnosis, but either way, I am SO glad that God gave Chris and I the courage to make the choice to obey Him and His word and not be swayed by the grim prognosis of the doctors. Otherwise Elijah would be dead.

No celebration over his birth.

No cuddles from his mother, or kisses from his father.

That thought breaks my heart, and lights a fire under me for all of the babies who never get the chance Elijah got. All of those babies who are aborted based on an incorrect diagnosis or even out of convenience for the mother. No child should die based on the opinion of someone else. ALL babies have the right to simply live.

I pray that little Elijah’s life is a reminder to all of us of just how important and precious each and every baby is. They sure are important to God.

 

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works, 
And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)

Why I Didn’t Abort My Baby, Even When An Abortion Would Have Saved My Life

IMG_1004I have been very absent on the blog lately, mainly due to life changes such as moving, traveling and the like. But some of you may not be aware of the latest “change” that has happened in our family’s life.

On January 21st, my husband, sister, son and I all went for my anatomy ultrasound to find out the gender of our newest little baby on the way. We eagerly watched the screen,hoping to catch a glimpse of something that would tell us what “it” was. But I am highly unskilled in detecting anything on those things…I don’t know how they do it!

But to my great delight it was soon announced that our little baby was a BOY!! I had not-so-secretly wanted another boy, so this momma was so happy! When I was 13 weeks pregnant, as I was falling asleep one night I felt the Lord strongly impress on my heart that we would be having another boy, and the name Elijah popped in my head. Now if you know anything about me, you know Bible names are not my favorite. Call me a sinner, but I blame it on my homeschool upbringing…I can’t count the number of Rachel’s, Abraham’s, Hezekiah’s and Jehosophat’s I knew. Okay, so I’ve yet to meet a Jehosophat. Just give it time. (ha) But that name would not leave my mind. So when we found out that our little man was indeed a little man, he instantly became Elijah.

They printed off our ultrasound pictures and handed them to us. “The doctor will be in shortly to dismiss ya’ll.” the technician said as she headed out the door. It was then that things began to change.

She told us that my amniotic fluid looked low and that my placenta had either holes in it or pockets of fluid. She wanted to schedule another ultrasound with the high risk office upstairs the following day.

As we left, I couldn’t help but cry on the way home. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was terribly wrong. Chris tried to comfort me and tell me it was all going to be fine, but being the natural optimist I am, (ha) I didn’t believe him.

The next day, after the ultrasound, a doctor came in, pulled up a chair and put her hand on my leg. The technician grabbed a box of tissues, and sat down beside her. She began to tell me that I have what is called a partial molar pregnancy, where my placenta has a chromosomal abnormality that has most likely affected the baby. He would not make it and the risk to me in continuing to carry him put me in grave danger. The placenta would become cancerous and spread to my lungs, liver and brain.

She recommended I terminate the pregnancy. “You are our main concern.” she said.

My mind reeled with all of the information, but it all came to a stop when I heard those words. I am the priority? You think the best choice is for me to kill my child?!? What about that little life I just saw moving around on that screen? What about him?

I told them that termination was not an option for me, so we needed to look at different options. She sighed, and then began to tell me that this will be extremely risky to me and that I will be monitored closely. The baby might not even make it another day, much less another week.

So with that we left the hospital and headed home; grieved, confused and heart-broken.

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I was so shocked by the support we received from so many family members, friends and complete strangers when we shared the situation. We were (and are) so encouraged by all of the prayers people were praying for us.

But I was also extremely surprised to be asked by family, friends and fellow believers why I did not terminate my pregnancy. “Are you sure?” I was asked countless times. I was also told I made the “brave choice” or “I could never have made that kind of sacrifice.” Itsaddened my heart, really.

I am no hero.

I didn’t make a difficult decision.

I only did what I believe is right.

Here’s how I knew that decision was right: I know my God. I don’t mean this in a self-righteous way. But rather, because I know Him and what His heart is, I didn’t hesitate when it came to making a serious decision.

Yes, I could die. But I would rather die walking in obedience to the Lord, than live in rebellion against Him.

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.” Psalm 139:13-18a

God is forming little Eli inside of me right now. Skillfully creating his every bone, muscle and tissue. And His thoughts towards my little son outnumber the sand! How incredible! So knowing that this is how God feels about the little life growing inside of me, made my decision not to abort him a no-brainer.

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

What a beautiful example I have in the life of my Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for me, and enables me to make that same sacrifice for my son. Because of Jesus’ sacrificial love for me, I am able to love others like that.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

As a disciple of Christ, I am not living for this life anyways. This is not my home. Earth is not my goal. I am striving for the eternal. This perspective, again, made my decision an easy one.

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I hope this sheds a little light on the situation and the decision I made to keep my baby. I am not some saint that deserves praise because I made that decision. I am a human being who has been redeemed by the God of the universe, and because of Him I am able to love like Him. He deserves any and all glory that comes from this.

{UPDATE: here and here}