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07 June 2009

Glad Tidings

On Friday morning at 9 a.m., I silently sat forward in a darkened room, my face bathed in sweat, watching a video monitor, and heard the technician say, "Everything looks really clear today. It looks really good." The doctor came in and confirmed this news for us soon thereafter, and though he wanted one more follow-up just to really play it safe, he said, "Really, I think you can put this out of your minds now." Those words ended one of the most difficult, trying months of our lives.

I struggled for quite a while about when, and how, to write about this, but if you read the Wyfe's blog you know about the ultrasound finding of an echogenic bowel we received back on May 8th. In short, this means the baby's bowel showed up more brightly than normal on the sonogram, and this is a "soft marker" which usually, by itself, indicates nothing. Usually it resolves itself over a few weeks. But that word usually (or often, or most of the time, or frequently) indicates wiggle room, and wiggle room exists because this marker is also associated with Downs syndrome, cystic fibrosis, blockages, and other worrisome scenarios. Though the odds were low, they were about half as low as before, and of course nothing guarantees worry like the phrase, "It's probably nothing; I wouldn't worry about it." So even though we were told that there was no need to drive ourselves crazy over this in the weeks until our follow-up ultrasound, we drove ourselves crazy about it.

It was a month of terrible emotional fluctuations, of internet searches that were more like pleas, of prayers both hesitant and (on a good day) bold, and of many a broken night's sleep. There were days when all I wanted to do was talk out my worries, the way a child keeps picking at a scab; then, especially over the last week, there were days when I couldn't bring myself to mention them even once. A legitimate point we always made to each other was, "Look, it's not like we would love the child any less, and we know people with Downs who are happy and well-adjusted, and whose families have perfectly normal lives." This was all true, absolutely so. But I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a bit of hollowness behind these statements. Many people deal with birth defects, and do so with all the love in their hearts, working through the extra burdens and complications. God bless them. No one, however, wishes for such a scenario.

Certainly, though, there are those who can face uncertainty with a stouter spirit than I can. I managed my way through the last month because I had no choice, and no control. But I did so with white knuckles. It's a hell of a thing to have someone ask you how the baby's doing, or how the pregnancy's going, and to feel you can't offer a convincing smile and a full-fledged "Just fine, thanks!" Then again, who ever promised certainty in this world, either before, during, or after birth? (I know of those who have had much, much worse situations)

We intend now, however, to assume everything is fine, just fine - thank you, Jesus.

And, oh by the way, did I mention it's a girl?

1 comment:

Chandler said...

Unbelievably fantastic and wonderful news! HOORAY is the only other thing I can think to say. I am so happy for you.