March 30, 2011

When There Is Nothing Left but Prayer

"Mommy, Mommy, look what I found in my baby box!"  She bounds into the back room.  Glancing up from my preparations and lesson plans, she joyfully thrusts an image into my hands.  I stare, open mouth, trying to comprehend.  It's an ultrasound picture.  I read the printed date, gestation age, and patient name.  It's from our third pregnancy, our most difficult.  Stumbling backwards, I land in the wooden chair.  My mind reels back the years to another day in March, nine years ago...

"I can't treat you then.  All the tests and levels indicate you'll lose the baby by 13 weeks."  These were the words I heard, uttered by a cold doctor who only saw the statistics, lacking hormone levels, and no treatment options. 

Not one test indicated a viable pregnancy.  It was immanent, he had told me, that no matter what medicines I took, no matter how much time spent on bed rest, I would miscarry in a matter of weeks.  There was nothing to be done, and the bleeding had already started. 

Yet, earlier, the ultrasound had shown a heart beat.  I had seen our third child's tiny heart pumping.  I knew there was life.

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13

I sighed, and called my husband.  We prayed.  It was all there was to do.  It was all we had left.  When we finished praying, we were at peace, confident the Lord would sustain this pregnancy.  Our faith was confident and bold.  No human reason or test pointed to any positive outcome.  Yet, we believed. 

We called family, friends, and church family for prayer.  Voices lifted to heaven for me and our unborn child. 

During that time, no one really knew what to say or do.  A meal was delivered.  I had no appetite, but needed to eat and feed my family of four.  We ate the meat, vegetables, and the bread.  Another meal followed.  Another helping of meat and potatoes, and bread.  Always bread. 

The Bread of Life, Sustainer of Life.
Meals delivered to our door, and prayers to the throne of God.  

The count down began.  We were praying for a full term baby.  Science, the doctors, the world, said it was a wash, a done deal, there was no reason to hope... 

The days were filled with child tending, housework, and prayer.  Days turned into weeks, and the bleeding stopped.  By thirteen weeks, amazingly, I was still pregnant. 

"We have no explanation..." our new doctor told us. 
We knew otherwise. 
It was by God's grace.

The following months were a journey through darkness with only a candle of hope and faith.  One day, I was shocked by electricity.  Another, I fell down the basement steps.  Through it all, God sustained the unsustainable. 

At exactly 39 weeks, the longest I have ever carried a child, I went into labor.  By evening, our baby was born, taking a breath of air.  The breath of life.  A first cry was heard, and the tears began, our tears of gratitude.

We did the only thing we could think of, we prayed, a prayer of thanksgiving.  Then, we named.  Giving her a name that forever holds the testimony of life each time it is said.  With each utterance, her name telling the world how she came to be part of our family here on earth, through His sustaining grace...amazing grace...pure grace.

"Mommy, I can tell where I am," her voice breaks through the thoughts swirling in my head.  Her finger points to the ultra sound image, "Am I in your tummy?" she giggles as she asks.

Slowly, I inhale, and nod.  "Yes, you were."  I hand her the image and she turns running out of the room.

Looking back, I am in wonder at the gift of faith he gave us during that intense time period.  In the face of insurmountable evidence to the contrary, we believed.  It was truly another gift from God.

A note about the doctor - we ended up selecting a different doctor before 13 weeks elapsed.  Our original refused to treat me.  And consequently, in the end, he refused to see the miracle unfold...
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