Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Fourth, part 2

If you've been keeping up with this blog for a while, you may remember a post entitled "The Fourth." That post was all about a long conversation I had with one of the doctors in my OB's practice where he was explaining all the reasons why women terminate their pregnancies. When I asked him how many women he had seen NOT terminate a pregnancy when given a poor prenatal diagnosis, he told me three. And I resolved to be the fourth.

Last Wednesday, we had an appointment and the OB I typically see wasn't in. So, we saw him instead. My "regular" prenatal appointments are typically uneventful... just taking my weight, blood pressure, listening to Isaac's heartbeat, and discussing my questions. Isaac's heart was beating strong in the 150's!

At this partiular appointment, I didn't have a lot of questions. Most of the ones that can be answered at this point, have been. We discussed the findings from my most recent ultrasound, in particular the short umbilical cord. I also asked how all of the doctors were going to be made aware of the details of my delivery should I go into labor before the date of my c-section. This is where things turned interesting.

While discussing how to handle this, the doctor wouldn't drop the fact that, "most pregnancies like this wouldn't have gotten this far" and how "the first thing the doctor on call is going to wonder is, 'How is she still pregnant?'" Truthfully, if that's the first thing they're wondering rather than how to get the right medical staff at the right place at the right time so that my delievery is safe and Isaac is well card for, then I am beginning to wonder. Let's just say that :)

Anyhow, he talked about how most women would have already terminated the pregnancy as soon as they found out about the cystic hygroma or the omphalocele(which, I already knew from our previous discussion). He then asked me point blank why we didn't. And I froze. I was caught so off guard and to be honest was a little intimidated by his strong mindset. I didn't give the answer I wanted to... I wanted to tell him about my faith and about how it's God's decision and not ours. Instead, I told him that we simply don't believe that's a viable option unless my health was in serious jeopardy.

He discussed, anonymously of course, other patients he's seen who are alcohol and drug abusers and how he wishes those patients wouln't continue their pregnancies because of the horrible situation in which those children will then be raised. I did press the choice of adoption, and he simply wrote it off by saying that "these women would never give up their babies." There was one consolation in the conversation and that was this: he said that he's talked to many pregnant women who have said, in theory, that they would make this same choice that we've made, but when push comes to shove, they don't. He said that he noticed that we are actually doing what we said we would do. I was glad that he at least noticed that our conviction isn't empty.

In the end, I just felt incredibly persecuted by this doctor... like I was being belittled for my choice and receiving an "I told you so." No one likes an "I told you so," and it is excruciating in this particular context.

I thought a while about what made his reaction so difficult for me, and I think it's this: the outcome could be different. God could, and maybe still might, choose to intervene and make Isaac healthy and whole on this side of heaven. And I can't help but wrestle with the fact there are people, like this doctor, who would be witness to God's work and couldn't help but think more about Him and who He is. Yet right now, I feel like the answer is no.

And so it's tempting to ask the "why" question... Why are You letting this happen? Why are you not choosing to intervene, when all of these people watching would bear witness to it? Why did You choose us to be the ones to bear this cross?

I try not to go there too often, because I may never know.

I've mentioned before that I've found a lot of comfort and strength in corresponding with Angie Smith (whose husband, Todd, sings in Selah) and in reading her blog. Angie and Todd found out when Angie was 20 weeks pregnant that their daughter, Audrey, had several medical conditions that were fetal. She was born in early April, and passed away a few hours after birth.

Recently, Angie wrote this in her blog:

And because I know Who, I am willfully unconcerned with why. I know that God will use this for good, regardless of who may have intended it for evil.

This just spoke to my heart, mostly because of that word willfully. In a situation like this, you can't help but ask why. And I believe that a certain level of that is healthy, because we need to be able to wrestle that out with God. He can take it. But, there's a point where there has to be a conscious, willfull decision to let God be who He is, and to simply trust in His decisions even if we never know why.

So as we continue to press on, we thank you for continuing to walk with us and pray for us. Would you please pray for this doctor, that he would not be so desensitized that he sees these babies as so disposeable? Would you please pray that God would convict his heart of the fact that when he is talking about a fetus, what he is really talking about is a person... designed and created by God?

Thank you for continuing to pray for a miracle for Isaac, for our strength as we go back to work and deal with the added stress of middle school students, and for our hearts as we wrestle out our questions with God, but learn what it means to be willfully unconcerned with why as we seek to just trust in Him.


Kristi said...


I hardly know what to say except thank you for your unwavering example of faith. I have written you a few times to tell you how much God is using you to bring comfort to me.
You have tremendous faith, but you don’t pretend the pain isn’t also there. Because our situations are so similar, I feel like I can relate to you so well. I am a teacher too, and started back at school this week. I have very strong moments, even days. Other times, I am so sad, I just sob. Yet, I know God IS in control. He loves us and has a purpose for Isaac’s life and the life of our Matthew.
Since our son was also diagnosed with a cystic hygroma and an omphalocele, we were told the same things you were. It was so depressing to see the look on the radiologists' faces and read online that almost all in the same situation chose to terminate. The message was clear: there is no hope, why not end things now? But, deep down I knew this was not God’s plan. He ordained his number of days. We were going to let Him decide.
According to statistics, our Matthew shouldn't make it past the 20th week. I am now at week 19. I so cherish every kick and wiggle I feel. Like you, I pray for a miracle, but cling to the loving God that created him and I pray that He will be glorified through Matthew’s life, no matter when He calls him home.
I hope you don't mind, but I am going to put a link to your blog on my blog today. I believe your words can help my family and friends understand more fully what we are going through.

I still pray for you every day.

Daddy Dale and Mommy Jen said...

Thank you so much for sharing your true feelings. I too have written a few times. However, today's posting really hit home! You are a very strong woman and doing what is best for Isaac. God is powerful and you have seen from many others that he can do wonderful things! We think about you everyday and as always, you are in our thoughts and prayers! Thanks again for taking the time to really speak out. It is unbelievable how some people, including those in the medical profession can try and trust our judgement. HOwever, I guess that until they have experience something similar, that they really don't know. They only have past experience to base it off of, which is not fair! Enjoy the rest of the weekend....
Thinking of You,

Taylor said...

I'm so sorry that this doctor said these things. As if you weren't already huring enough without his insensitivity. I never felt pressured to terminate by any of the doctors who saw me... I would have crumbled if I had. Your strength is amazing. You are a WONDERFUL mommy who is obviously in love with her son! Isaac is a lucky boy!

I'm praying for you. I'm praying for healing if God so chooses to do so. I'm praying for peace if He says no.

I'm also praying for you as you go back to school, especially since you are starting at a new one. I'm praying that God will continue to use you in the blog world, but also in the interactions with various people in your life... that you will be able to point others to His goodness and glory, even in the midst of intense pain.

I've walked your shoes. My heart breaks for you.

michelle said...

You've made the right choice no matter what anyone says to you. Life is NOT disposable and we CANNOT play God without being judged for it. Remember that. We will ALL be accountable one day before the Mighty King, whether we believe or not. Love you.

BarnStar said...

I read your blog often, but rarely comment. I just wanted to say that I am continually amazed by your undying faith. You have been so strong that I can only pray God will intervene and perform a miracle for Isaac. I think of you often. ((big hugs))

Monica said...

Reading your post tonight brought back so many memories of our own experience...we were told by our doctor that nothing good would come of our pregnancy and we should terminate...start over. Hayden, our son, is 7 years old this sister-in-law was pregnant two years ago with my niece and from almost the beginning of her pregnancy they found out she had serious medical conditions that almost guaranteed her baby would not make outside the womb and was advised to niece, Maddie was born at 27 weeks and she will be a healthy 2 year old this year...

I continue to pray for a miracle for you...I can't tell you how much we'd be rejoicing with you...but however God decides the outcome to be--I can tell you that Isaac's life has already made a lasting impact... Thank you for your faithfulness and thank you for allowing us to be apart of your life. I will specifically pray for this doctor as well.

Kristin (kekis) said...

I'm sorry that doctor seemed so crass. While he probably didn't show it, I'm sure he was amazing (and maybe baffled) by your strength. Even if you didn't witness to him, your strength is your testimony. As Angie said in her blog, "My Jesus is the same as He was before I walked into this room ..." THAT is why you're still carrying your beautiful son. You know that your Lord is on your side no matter what you face.

I continue to pray for you, Spencer, Isaac, and your families. You all need to be blanketed with prayer now that school is starting & the unknown that the next couple of months offer. Stay strong, Stacy. And if/when it's time to be weak, know that we're all here for you.

Angela said...

I'm so sorry you were made to feel that way about the decision that you guys have made. (Which, in my mind, wouldn't even be a question.)

I pray for you often and can only be reassured that God will help you in every single area that you need. I recently gained comfort by reading Psalm 138. Verses 3 and 7 especially. (I recently blogged about it.) It's amazing how God can teach us the same lessons over and over yet in fresh, new ways. I just love that.

Tracy said...

God had used you in many ways to inspire so many people, myself included. I don't comment often but I do think about you almost daily and pray for your family.

I hope and pray that God gives you a miracle this side of heaven. I pray that many people are touched by Issac's life and the love that you have for him.

AngelsAmid said...

It makes me so mad he treated you that way :( what a jerk face.

I'm praying for you and your family and thinking of you daily

Cathy said...

We will continue to pray for miracles, stress related to your jobs and peace in your hearts. The dr. is an issue that make me so angry. I have sat face to face with drs with the same mindset. You are such a good witness. Praying you continue to be. Annabel has been on this earth 3 1/2 years and I can't imagine if she were terminated when told she was T18. I am sorry you had to encounter this. I am sincerely praying for the best team to be on call when Isaac enters this world.

Laura said...

This Dr will never forget the fourth woman who made such a courageous decision to carry a baby she knew was going to die. The impace sweet Isaac will make on his heart will effect many generations. I will continue to pray for strength for you as well as courage to walk each day. Praying you will know how tight all 3 of you are being held each step of the way.

Anonymous said...

What an idiot of him to talk like that to you. It's his and the other Dr's job to know exactly what to do for you and Isaac when he's ready to deliver. He must have been having a bad day or something. That's all I can possibly think of. Don't blame yourself and the choices you've made!

Anonymous said...

Not to be harsh, but aren't you being as judgemental as the dr was to you about women who do decide to terminate their pregnancy for medical reasons?

I am one of those women. My husband and I made the choice to terminate based on our faith in God.. that he would be there to accept our daughter with open arms. She would have lived a short amount of time (a minute? a day?) and would have suffered from her first breath to her last. We could not, as her parents who loved her, let her suffer like that. The choice was agonizing, and still is. But we didn't do it for any other reason than we thought it was best for her. The difference between a woman who loses her child through miscarriage or at birth is that the world waits to console you. For a woman who loses her child because of her choice, the world waits for you to justify it, to judge it, and then decision if it is a good enough one to merit condolences.

I don't know... it's difficult either way... But I would never pass judgement on someone who chose to carry their child to term, but it's perfectly acceptable to judge women who make a different choice. I honor and respect what you are going through, I know how incredible difficult it is for you and I pray for you by name daily and I will continue to do so.

Sheila said...

It seems clear that this dr will never understand your choice but as the other poster said, I don't think he will ever forget you either. You have made an impact on him just by following through with what you decided long ago. Still praying for you, Spencer and Isaac.

alihutch said...

Of course, you do realize how important and hardworking Isaac is, even though he hasn't even been born yet, right?
He is making that doctor think, and maybe realize that he doesn't have all of the answers...I am sure your appointment has been on his mind all weekend...
Isaac is also working hard to strengthen his mom and dad's faith and marriage, for when you get through this together, you will get through anything...
And think of all the joy you have experienced, feeling him inside of you...
He is inspiring people that you have never met, and maybe never will. He is bringing some of us to our knees...
That's a heavy job for your little "thumbs-up guy."

Kirsten said...

You are in my prayers daily. Thank you for being a light as you walk this difficult road. Isaac is a blessing to so many and his legacy is being written even now. God's plans are so much bigger than we can fathom. I'm sure your little boy is making you very proud as he touches so many lives.


Michelle said...

I just found your blog tonight. I just wanted to say, I will pray for Isaac. I am happy that you have chosen to continue your pregnancy. I have friends who have a precious little 6 month old boy who were told they should terminate b/c 3 specialists told them that the baby was not viable due to a skeletal dysplasia. They went back 5 weeks later and got an totally different outcome. So, God does heal and miracles do happen. Who knows who will get them and who won't, but they can't happen if there is no receiver their to receive. God Bless your family.

Huntsville, AL

Crystal said...

I just randomly stumbled upon your blog and your story has really touched my heart. I'll be praying for you and your family, especially your son. God is sovereign over every life; may He continue to bless yours, your husband's, and your son's.