When There Are No Words, There is Emmanuel

 This is not what I planned on writing this week. And this is definitely not what we planned for our lives and the life of our unborn baby. But through all the pain and the tears, and through the lack of good words to say, we hold on to one of Scripture's many promises: God is with us.

This is not what I planned on writing this week. And this is definitely not what we planned for our lives and the life of our unborn baby. But through all the pain and the tears, and through the lack of good words to say, we hold on to one of Scripture's many promises: God is with us.

All we want is some Burger King. {A Whopper Junior with fries, please.}

We go to the hospital thinking we will quickly get our 20 week ultrasound, find out the gender of our baby, and celebrate over our splurged fast food meals. {Also relishing the fact that only we will know before birth whether Baby Pat is a “Patrick” or “Patricia.”}

But that’s not how it goes.

We quickly get our ultrasound. But then we wait. We wait a whole, grumbling hour in the cramped ultrasound room. Wait, as the clock tortures us, telling us we will not have time for Burger King before Husband has to get back to work.

The doctor finally enters the room and shares the news we aren't expecting to hear:

“The baby is not developing as it should…”

“Its growth is three weeks behind…”

“The brain has too much fluid; its bones are too small…”

“The umbilical cord has only two vessels instead of three…”

It’s one of those out of body experiences where you swear the doctor is talking to someone else about their baby and you are just a fly on the wall, not sure how you got there in the first place. All of the sudden I don’t care very much whether or not I get my Whopper Junior with fries. And all of the sudden I feel nauseated.

Especially when the genetic counselor enters the room to give her bit.

“With the information we have from the ultrasound, this looks like a chromosome abnormality…”

“There are two different types of genetic tests you can get…”

“One test can give you quicker, more thorough results, but there is a 1 in 500 chance it will cause a miscarriage…”

“The other is a simple blood draw…”

“The latest you can terminate a pregnancy in the state of Illinois is twenty-four weeks…”

Now I really feel like I might throw up. This world is so screwed.

We go home. We cry so much our heads hurt. We lift ourselves up off the floor just enough to get Toddler supper. As we watch Toddler run around and laugh, I feel I've learned a more personal definition of the phrase “ignorance is bliss.”

“But Lord, we wanted this baby so much!” The question that has haunted me for months comes back for another round:

Am I enough for you? Even if your dreams don't come true? Even if your life doesn't always turn out the way you hoped? Will you still be satisfied in Me?

We go back to the hospital the next day for a blood test that may give us answers as to whether or not this is a chromosome abnormality. But this is just to tell us why this happened, not to offer any ways we can fix what has happened. Results take 7-10 days. {March 11-14}

"This could possibly be Trisomy 13 or 18, or a different chromosome abnormality..."

"There is only a 1% risk for parents to have a second child with the same chromosome abnormality..."

"The bleeding you had at the beginning of your pregnancy is completely unrelated..."

"Nothing you did or didn't do caused your baby to have this..."

"The blood test will tell you the gender of the baby..."

We don’t have any answers beyond that. We only wait and see.

But as long as our baby’s heart continues to beat, we will continue to hold on to hope. We take comfort in the fact that our God is a God of life, no matter how long we are entrusted with the life of this child.

The truth that sucks the breath right out of our lungs is that this baby might not be entrusted to us for very long. Our baby’s heart is beating, but things don’t look good for its future here on earth. Even if our child lives through a full term pregnancy, its life systems probably won’t be able to function for an extended amount of time outside of the womb.

And it’s in this situation, and so many other kinds of heartbreaking situations we all experience in life and death here on earth, that there are no words to say.

There are prayers to pray. There are tears to cry. There is pain to share. There are casseroles to make. {And from the bottom of our hearts, we thank all of our family and friends who have shared each of those with us.}

But what we also thank God for is that even when our hearts are breaking and there are no words to say, there is Emmanuel.

Our friend drops off dinner less than three hours after she finds out the news. She says, “I am not eloquent, but this is what has been on my mind since Christmas:

 And they will call him Emmanuel – which means, “God with us.” {Matthew 1:23}

“God is with us. I know that. You know that. And He will see you through.”

God is with us.

Even when I get on my computer and see the list of boy’s and girl’s names we have been arguing over the past four and a half months. Even when Toddler waves and says "hi" to my swollen belly. Even when I still feel those gentle flutters inside of me. Even when I wonder how I will work up the gumption to wash the dishes.

Even as we are forced to wait through the next months to wonder what will happen and when it will happen. Even as we hope for a miracle, but also fall down to our knees in submission, gritting our teeth to pray: “Thy will be done.”

Emmanuel. God with us. No matter our circumstances, He will see us through.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. {Psalm 34:18}

No matter what you are going through. No matter how much it hurts. No matter anything. You can ask the Lord: “Are You with me? Are You enough for me? Even if my dreams don't come true? Even if my life doesn't always turn out the way I hoped?”

He answers: I Am.

Grace and Peace, and oh, so many tears,