About eight years ago, I went to my obstetrician for a routine ultrasound. It turned out to be anything but ordinary. The technician found calcifications under the baby's diaphragm and near her bladder. I then went on to see a specialist and found myself in a room with a genetic counselor telling me that my baby might have toxioplasmosis, or she might have "meslisfdjalsjidsafj" (Yeah, I never did learn what that one was.), or she might have Down's Syndrome. The general consensus became that was going to have Down's.
I refused to have an amniocentesis. At the time, the miscarriage risk was 1 in 100, and I was just coming off of two miscarriages. I was not risking another one. The specialist made the mistake of telling me that if I did not have the amnio, I would not be able to terminate as I was already at 20 weeks. I went off on a tirade and will not disgrace myself by repeating the things that I said since they were, er, a little less than nice. The gist of it was, God gave me this baby and only God would take her away from me.
So I set out of that doctor's appointment determined to learn what I could about Down's and how to care for a child with Down's to help her live as fulfilling a life as possible. I always thought that I could not have a special needs child -- I didn't think I had the patience; I didn't have the strength. I had even convinced myself that I had lost my two other babies because there was something wrong with them, and God knew I couldn't handle it. But immediately, this attitude changed. I was determined that I would find the patience and strength to raise this baby as well.
During my first two pregnancies, I would talk to the babies all of the time. Jayla would flip when she head me talk -- even when I was reading aloud to my classes which made my students watch my stomach more than they listened to me. This time, though, I could not talk to the baby. Every time I would try to tell her about the things we were going to do or about her big brother and sister, I would find myself praying over her. I had an hour commute to work, so for two hours a day I would pray over the baby -- every day. I did get some strange looks from other drivers because I was "talking to myself" but that was irrelevant. I pleaded with God that He would heal my baby, or if that was not His will, that He would give me the strength, knowledge, and patience to be the best mother to her that I could be. My main prayer was that I did not want her to suffer physically, emotionally, mentally, or socially. I knew the cruel world she was being born into, and even in utero, I desperately wanted to protect her.
Close to the end of my pregnancy, my doctor told me that it looked as if everything was going to be okay. And on August 11, 2005, Emma Grace was born... perfect. When our pediatrician came in and told me all of her Apgar scores and details, I timidly asked, "What about Down's?". Dr. Klein looked at me startled and said, "There's no sign of Down's. Why would you ask that?"
I believe with all my heart that God healed my baby. I saw the ultrasound. I saw the marks that weren't supposed to be there. I also saw the changes in her ultrasound as we progressed in the pregnancy. And I certainly saw her perfect little baby girl body when she was born.
I promised God that I would to my best to honor Him and His healing blessings by raising my little girl with the superior goal of introducing her to His kingdom. I even gave her the middle name Grace because it is by His grace that we have her. I dedicated her at our church and I set out on a path to introduce to her God and His mighty powers.
This past Sunday, Emma told me that she thought she was ready to ask Jesus into her heart. We went into her room and sat on her bed and I walked through the plan of salvation with her again. Then she prayed and asked Jesus to forgive her of her sins, to be her Savior, and to give her eternal life. I then prayed over my little girl and tearfully thanked God that He had called her to Him.
Next week, Emma will be baptized in the same church that I was baptized in when I was 7. Thirty years after my salvation was made public, Emma's will be as well.
Yet, i'm not done. Actually, I'm just starting over again because I am now tasked with teaching this sweet one how to follow Jesus and live a life for Him in a world that is NOT about Jesus or His kingdom. Thank goodness God is always by my side.