I am getting worn down. Weathered. Anxious. Weaker. God is wearing me down through the process of this pregnancy, but ultimately in a good way. I think due to the difficult circumstances in my life and the fact that I don’t wear my emotions on my sleeve, people think I am a strong woman. God knows differently. I try to be strong, not crying in public when I know it will make people uncomfortable or tell them things they don’t really want to hear when they ask, “how are you doing”? I would rather not deal with other people being awkward with my pain and pretend that I’m doing just fine. I may not be able to keep that up much longer. I want to be transparent.
As a sonographer with all day access to a high-tech ultrasound machine, I have been scanning Cora everyday. It helps to see her cute face. However, scanning Cora everyday has led to more anxiety lately. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been keeping a close eye on how much oxygen she’s getting from the placenta through the umbilical cord. I explained in an earlier post that she has an extremely short cord and is basically tethered to the placenta; in addition to that, she is very small for her age. It’s hard to explain, but the numbers that measure oxygen from the cord are elevated. This basically implies she is not getting the “normal” amount of oxygen, probably due to her small size, probably due to her abnormalities (organs being on the outside)and probably due to her short cord. The blood flow could eventually go from the normal direction (placenta to Cora) and reverse its path (from Cora back to the placenta). This will definitely mean Cora is not getting adequate oxygen. Once this happens, the risk for loss increases dramatically.
After noticing the change last week, I pulled one of our doctors into a room to ask if they would deliver her immediately if there was reversal of flow in the umbilical cord (this is the route we take for low-risk pregnancy). She told me it probably wouldn’t help Cora to be delivered this early and it definitely wouldn’t help me. The only question we needed to ask ourselves was if we wanted to hold a live baby. The umbilical cord isn’t the deciding factor of delivery, but it could indicate she is in distress. If she was in distress, I could choose to have the C-section and be delivered to hold a live baby, but even that isn’t guaranteed. She may not survive delivery with all her complications. I could choose not to deliver and wait. Wait to see if she dies. That was it, the tears started to flow. I haven’t thought too much about Cora passing before it was time for my C-section. She could pass before she’s delivered and I could go into a C-section anytime knowing I won’t be delivering a live, breathing baby. It was definitely a kick in the teeth.
Needless to say the last couple of weeks, I have been pretty quiet about these concerns. I’ve noticed that I haven’t been praying as much lately, nor thanking God for anything in my occasional prayers. I also haven’t desperately pleaded for Cora in my prayers like I used to. I haven’t given up, just discouraged. I’ve been focusing on the fact that we may never come home with Cora and it makes me angry, frustrated and anxious. I think God understands these feelings because He feels them too for Josh, Cora and I. Two weekends ago, I went to church in a funk; even the worship songs couldn’t lift me. God spoke to me through JD Greear’s sermon series on Elijah entitled “Something Better”. JD said “If dependence is the objective (which it always is with God), then weakness is an advantage.” It is ok for me to take a break and mourn the possibility of loss, to realize there may be no miracle for Cora and to just be angry. It is ok for me to have moments of weakness and it’s even better for me to share these moments of weakness with others. Cora may not make it to the shower I’m having with family and friends at the end of June. She may not make it to the maternity pictures I scheduled with a friend in July. She may not make it to August when I have my scheduled C-section. My plans may not work out, but God’s will. I don’t want this experience to be based on how strong Josh and I are, because we are so weak. You may not notice, but I cry a lot. Usually alone in my car, apartment or ultrasound room but always silent and always in control. This may change. I’m finally feeling the weight of what God has placed in our lives. God is in total control of this situation. I have no control over anything, especially not Cora’s outcome. God is making me weak so He can use me.
JD used a passage of 1 Kings in his sermon to explain that God has power over death and any earthly need, but that He has a bigger agenda than my need. My need is to have Cora with me, so that I can enjoy her as a blessing from Him on this earth NOW. Many Christian pastors and churches focus on suffering as punishment for lack of faith or prayer. Many times God does bless us through worldly gifts, but sometimes it’s through death and weakness. God saved us through His Son, whose last image to this earth was of extreme suffering. That was God’s GREATEST gift to His children. Paul says in the Bible to rejoice in our weaknesses and that’s what I’m doing here. I’m not trying to focus on my pain merely to be morose. I want to focus on my weakness to show God’s power. If you have no cross (suffering), you have no resurrection (ultimate Hope). I know this pain is temporary and God may choose to produce a miracle through Cora, but my faith in Him isn’t conditional. Even if He saved Cora’s life now, she won’t live forever; it’s a temporary fix. Knowing God is better.
Please don’t focus on just the good things in life; you can miss that pain produces beauty and hope. Pain can be a very GOOD thing to experience, as it can most definitely strengthen any faith you possess. I say this after my mom passed to cancer and throughout this experience carrying Cora. You can praise God through the storms in your life, He encourages it. It shows others HIS glory and not yours. I can’t say it enough, the only reason we are getting through each day is Christ. Period. The end. Below are both of JD Greear’s sermons and a prayer request list. I HIGHLY recommend watching both videos. It will strengthen and encourage you.
This is week 2 of the sermon, which is the basis for this post. It’s 50 + minutes, but I promise you it is WELL worth an hour.
This is actually week 1 of the sermon series, which also touched my heart deeply. Again it’s 50+ minutes, but JD is engaging and funny and will keep your attention I PROMISE:
1. Please pray for strength for Josh and I. It’s harder to come by as time passes and we get closer to August.
2. Please pray for the upcoming meeting with neonatalogists, surgeons and palliative care (probably scheduled for sometime next week). This isn’t something any parent wants to do, but we need to make our desires for delivery known.
3. Please pray for ultimate transparency. This is incredibly out of our comfort zone, sharing all this with the world, but I feel it aligns with God’s plan for Cora’s story.
4. As always, please pray for ultimate healing for Cora’s body. She is surpassing everyone’s expectations to make it this long. Healing for her body may mean multiple surgeries and many months here on earth, or immediate healing in Heaven.
Others turn God into some kind of genie that will always heal and bless if you just show enough faith. And that works until it doesn’t, which is why I know a lot people in churches that preach that message who have lost their faith because God lets their son die and they said, “But I did everything right! I named it, claimed it; confessed every known sin; thanked God in advance for the answer,” and he still died. True faith is what you see here: they come to God with submission and humility, unanswered questions, but knowing God is full of compassion. If you know the true God, you will have a humble faith. You believe that God cares, that he can and wants to heal—that he’s good, full of compassion and love; but you are humble enough to trust him if he doesn’t. -from JD Greear’s sermon series entitled “Something Better”