“We’re cautiously optimistic.” That is not a sentence we ever thought would be uttered at any point after the initial prognosis.
Three weeks ago we were given some pretty grim news regarding our Phoebe. Her hygroma had grown to be larger than her overall head size. She had fluid surrounding her heart and lungs, which, we were told, would lead to inevitable cardiac arrest. She wasn’t going to make it. We were given maybe 2 more weeks with her.
It’s been three.
Over the past week and a half I have begun to feel pretty good; no more near-constant “morning” sickness. My energy is back. I feel like I was supposed to feel at the end of the first trimester, only I am halfway through my second. Because I have been feeling better, I started to wonder if we’d lost or would soon be losing Phoebe.
And then she kicked me. Hard. And it was awesome.
All of a sudden my heart thought, “Maybe she’ll keep fighting. She wasn’t supposed to make it this far, so what if…?” And then after a few days of making her presence beautifully known, she stopped. I didn’t feel anything again.
This past week we were scheduled to have another ultrasound and, honestly, I thought it’d be the appointment where the wand would be put on my belly and we’d see that Phoebe’s heart had stopped. I wasn’t looking forward to going at all. The thought of moving to the next phase of this trying pregnancy, which would include delivering a lifeless baby, choosing a casket and burying her… I can’t even describe the weight that was on my shoulders when we got to the appointment.
We brought the kids so they’d get a chance to see their little sister, safely in my womb, unharmed and peaceful. Having them there actually helped alleviate a great deal of my stress (which has rarely happened before) and my blood pressure was finally back to my “normal” after many visits of it being much higher than it should have been (apparently I stress internally 😉 ).
When our beloved doctor entered the room, he mentioned with sadness that it had been a very hard day. Nearly all of the patients he saw had very sick babies in their wombs and the prognosis’ weren’t good. That is a very heavy load for a doctor who truly cares about the well-being of his patients to carry. I could tell that he was nervous about checking in on Phoebe, too, and I hoped that it would be a gentler appointment for us all.
The time came for the good doctor to put the wand on my belly. To each of our surprise and joy, he instantly saw a heartbeat, and a very strong one at that. He moved the wand to Phoebe’s head where we saw that her hygroma, just three weeks before being larger than her head itself and stretching down to her tailbone and septated (read: WAY too much fluid/lymphatic system failure), had shrunk substantially. As in, beautifully small and almost gone. The hydrops? That nasty fluid that threatened to send her heart into cardiac arrest? COMPLETELY RESOLVED. The omphalocele? The hole in her belly that oozed her intestines into the umbilical cord? 95% better.
“This is miraculous. I never thought we’d be seeing this with Phoebe… I, uh, WOW. I am cautiously optimistic that she’ll make it.”
The best news we had heard in 3.5 months since finding out she was sick.
Phoebe is still not 100%. There was something that was causing all of these problems, but she’s fighting like mad to overcome them. Her chances of making it to term and surviving are significantly better today than they’ve ever been and for that we are overwhelmed with gratitude.
I have recently been studying the names of God and the characteristics that make Him who He is; so great and mighty and worthy of absolute and all worship. One of those names is “Jehovah-rapha”, the God who heals. And He is. That doesn’t always mean physical healing; sometimes it’s spiritual, which, while intangible, is just as, if not even more important. He has known us from before we were formed in our mothers’ wombs and He knows our hearts and what we need to draw us to Him, be it physical or spiritual.
During the study I’ve read and re-read these promising words:
“‘For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds’ declares the Lord.” — Jeremiah 30:17
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” –Psalm 147:3
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases.” –Psalm 103:2-3
“If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; FOR I, THE LORD, AM YOUR HEALER.” –Exodus 15:26
God is the one who wounds and who heals. There is nothing that takes place that He hasn’t determined ahead of time. He knows the outcome tomorrow of what happens today and HAS known it far before today even came to be. He knows that “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33b) but take heart! Jesus has overcome this world! The grand finale isn’t when we or our loved ones die, though our hearts may tell us it is. No, that is just the beginning.
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But THANKS BE TO GOD! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” –1 Corinthians 15:55-58
Jesus died for sin. He conquered death that we might have life and have it to the full. By choosing Him, we get to fully live eternally. Hallelujah. Whatever the outcome here on earth, for those that choose Christ, eternity in heaven, full restoration and absolute joy await.
Over these last few months we have learned how vital it is to be grateful for “today”, no matter what takes place, because every single day, no matter how hard or easy, is a gift from God. Really and truly a gift, because it’s an opportunity to taste and see that He is good, even when the feelings or circumstances might make us feel otherwise.
When we surrender each day to the One who ordained it to be, letting Him take the control He already has (though we often think we deserve to have for ourselves), we are granted peace even in ridiculously difficult circumstances. Not a peace that makes us feel all hunky dory and oblivious to the hardships we endure, but a peace that gives us the absolute assurance that God is who He says He is and that He can do what He says He will do. He LOVES us <3.
Our journey isn’t over yet. Not even close. We have about 19 weeks left in this pregnancy, should we make it to term and Phoebe’s health could change and decline again at any time, but today? We have today. For that we are thankful.
Thank you so much to those of you who are lifting us all up in prayer. We are confident the Lord hears them and know that your willingness to intercede on our behalf brings Him great joy. We trust that, whatever the outcome for Phoebe and our family, God is good.