Here I am again, looking at the all too familiar walls of the Children's Hospital at MUSC. Last night I realized how ironic it is for us to be here looking for answers. Last May we did the very same thing. I will never forget the excitement as we rolled into Dr Frederick's office for our 20 week ultrasound. We couldn't wait to find out if our little blessing was a boy or a girl. What we didn't expect was to leave the ultrasound room and sit down in the exam room to be told that some concerns had arisen from the ultrasound. Something appeared abnormal with the heart and the thickness of the neck seemed abnormal.
Dr Frederick told us that this could be nothing, but it could also be a sign of a problem with the baby. She recommended that we go back and do the testing that we had opted out of previously that would show us our risk for things such as Downs. The ultrasound tech had also recommended another ultrasound at Maternal Fetal Medicine where the scan could be more precise. Dr Frederick told me that the lab work should be back in a week and not to worry. An appointment was made at MFM.
When I received a call from Dr Frederick personally only two days later I knew something wasn't right. Bryan and I stood by the phone in his office with her on the speaker phone to hear her tell us that the lab work showed we were at a much higher risk of downs than normal. She spent 30 or more minutes explaining things to us and just caring for us. At my age, a normal risk would have been 1 in 300, ours was 1 in 50. She told us over and over again, "that's 49 chances that he doesn't have Downs." Unlike what I have heard from many parents of children with Downs, what followed was, "don't worry, we will make sure you have every resource you need. Downs is something that can be managed and there are many resources available to help." Never once did she insinuate that we should consider anything besides continuing the pregnancy and preparing him to thrive in life.
This was a lot to take in and it was followed by many fears and tears from Bryan and I both. We kept the information to ourselves. We wanted to know for sure and educate ourselves before anyone else knew and started questioning us. The next week we started seeing the doctors at MFM. Our first visit didn't show any concerns on the ultrasound, but the doctor told us that he couldn't argue with the lab work and suggested an amniocentesis. Dr Frederick had discussed this possibility with us. We knew there were risks, but we also needed to know. The Lord had brought us this far and I felt certain that He was going to protect my baby through this.
We spoke with a genetic counselor and she told us that she would get in touch with us with the results. She gave us some general info on Downs and let us know about resources she could connect us with if he indeed had Downs. She also mentioned in passing the option to terminate. I felt sick to my stomach that someone would think we would even consider this. I realize by law she had to tell us this and I appreciate the fact that she told us everything available to help us before that was even mentioned.
With all of this weighing on our hearts and minds we knew that this could very well be the last "normal" summer of our lives. We wanted to get away with Reese and enjoy focusing on him for a while and just have fun with him. At this point we still had not told anyone what was going on. I desperately needed to get away and clear my head. Where better to do that than my favorite beach, Isle of Palms. A friend, who didn't have a clue what was going on in our lives, had reserved a house in IOP for her family and was not going to be able come. She offered us the house for a week and off we were.
To us this was a place to come for time to focus on our family, seek the Lord for answers, and clear our heads. In God's providence, that was a pattern we had no idea He was setting for us. Just like our December and February stays, we are here in Charleston again for answers and I am clearing my head with plenty of time to focus on the Lord.
My first trip here was in August of 2001 when Bryan and I arrived on IOP for our honeymoon. Who would have ever guessed what a significant role this place would continue to play in our lives. It's amazing to see how God weaves things into our lives. Things that can seem so insignificant become so amazing when you look back at His providential hand.
I'm praying that this stay brings us the answers we need just like it has so many times before. God is faithful and I trust that He is going to provide. After typing all of this, I just read the verse of the day that was emailed to me and yet again, the Lord provides:
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 NIV
Join me in earnestly seeking Him for Brinkley's answer!