So often we go through life with the feeling that we are in control of our lives- especially in having children. Even the term “birth control” comes with the implication that we are in control of when and how many children we will have. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” For me, this most recent pregnancy and birth has been a great reminder of how God is in ultimately in control, and his plans for us are beyond our imagination.
Below are a few of the ways God revealed himself to us throughout this pregnancy:
Last May, when Filipe and I found out we were going to have baby #3, we were both in shock. It wasn’t something we had planned, but as reality set in, we were confident that this baby was part of God’s plan for our family. Although I had complete peace and assurance that God was in control, it took most of the summer for me to mentally and emotionally grasp the reality of our family’s future.
Then in September we went had the ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby. In the middle of the ultrasound, it was clear that it was a boy. We were quite surprised- part of me just expected a girl. It wasn’t that I didn’t want a boy, but since we have been in “girl mode” for so long, part of me thought it would just be easier. I was excited, but part of me was a little nervous- raising a boy felt like a monumental task and I wasn’t sure I had it in me.
When the ultrasound was over, the technician called another doctor in to talk to us. The doctor told us that there was an isolated Choroid Plexus Cyst in the baby’s brain. (Click on the link for details.) Basically it meant there was an increase risk of the baby having downs syndrome (or a disorder of the like). Everything else about the baby looked good and that given my age and a few other factors, the likelihood of something being wrong was small, but they were responsible to tell us. Also, this type of thing is only present in the baby’s brain between 16-24 weeks so it’s not harmful nor does it have any long-term effects on the baby (they have no idea why it shows up)- it just raises a red flag.
I shocked myself at my response to the doctor- I wasn’t upset or scared. I was completely rational while talking with the doctor. (Filipe, however, had to leave the room because he almost passed out!) I was given the option of amnio (if you don’t know what that is, you can look it up), but the thought of that makes me want to pass out, so I told the doctor, “no thanks”, and that we would just continue as if everything was normal. So that’s pretty much what we did.
When we got home all the “what ifs” started flooding my mind. At first I didn’t even want to look it up on the internet because I was afraid of what I would find. But after about a 10 minute battle I opened the computer and started researching. I was actually quite pleased with what I found. One of the articles said the risk was 1 in 300 babies could have something wrong, BUT to do an amnio (a standard test to some people) there was a 1 in 250 chance that it could cause a miscarriage. Reading that was enough peace of mind, and after that day, I didn’t do any more researching.
Also, I knew that to get through the next 4+ months I had to take control of my thoughts and feelings. After a few days of prayer, God gave me complete peace about it all. I was confident that this baby was God’s plan- no matter if something was wrong or not. Aside from praying about it, the other way we got through this uncertain time was by not talking about it. We mentioned it to a few people, but talking about it only created more fear and worry in us- not to mention cause others to worry for us unnecessarily. Filipe and I didn’t even talk about it again after those first few days of finding out. I can honestly say that I did not stress or worry about it throughout the rest of the pregnancy. Was it in the back of my mind? Yes. Was I worried? No.
I was so excited on Wednesday, the 20th, when I started having consistent contraction, but the next day, the baby turned breech. I got frustrated and scared. Up until then I had been so focused and so at peace with whatever situation we would be faced with, and now was another reason to put our trust in God and just let Him be in control. Over the weekend, God spoke to me through one of the Psalms.
Psalm 25 : 1-2, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. I trust in you, my God! …No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced…vs. 21, “May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you.”
On Monday, January 25th, we went to the doctor to see if he was still breech or not, and thankful, he was in perfect position. Efraim was born completely healthy, and for that I’m so thankful. Filipe and I finally talked together about the potential problems during our stay in the hospital. We were both thinking about it, but we just didn’t want to feed fear to each other so we never did. Every time Efraim was tested, we both had the thought, “what if this is the one that shows a problem with?” I don’t know if those thoughts are from Satan or just our own uncertainties, but God kept reminding us that He was in control.
Efraim is such a gift from God. I have no more fears of inadequacy about raising him- I’m thrilled about it. He is just what our family needs. Looking back over the last 9 months, things were not smooth and easy, but I’m so thankful for the journey and all God taught us along the way.
Stay tuned- tomorrow I’ll post the details from the labor and deliver room.