Every day an adventure. Today's adventure was going to one of the leading heart hospitals in Japan(didn't know that) for an ultrasound by their top OB/GYN Maternal Fetal Specialist(didn't know that part either). I was expecting a thorough ultrasound, but not by the Big Cheese. In a few of my ultrasounds on base, baby girl had a dilated renal pelvis. It can be a soft marker for Down Syndrome. Can I just tell you how refreshing the referral paperwork was?
Complications: advanced maternal age.
I feel like that may have just been a space filler. Maybe it was one of those electronic blanks that doesn't allow you to move on until something has been typed in. Other than that, it was a pretty short referral.
(this picture has nothing to do with anything. Except maybe to prove that I'm still youthful and posts are better with a picture. Mr. Simon took it at the beach last week and there's something about that peek of a bump that I love.)
After talking with a few friends who were referred off base for similar reasons, I was reassured that it would all be for nothing. But if I'm honest...
I was worried. Maybe not worried so much as concerned. The thoughts didn't consume me and I didn't twist my hands in fear, but in my quiet moments, wondering and imagining, yeah...I was worried. My brain tried to tell my heart that it wouldn't make a difference if my baby was less than perfect. I would like to think that, but sometimes I am an incredibly shallow person. Would it make a difference if this baby girl that I've waited so long for was born with a genetic disorder?
The thing about being a Christian is that sometimes you're forced to put your beliefs into practice. The whole faith thing we tout. Trusting in God's sovereignty. God is good, all the time; all the time, God is good, we say. And it's awesome on Sunday mornings in the safety of a building full of like-minded people. Christianity sho is easy when there's money in the bank, everybody's healthy, life is good. What about the times life isn't good? When life is uncertain and heartbreak could be just over the horizon? What about when you've heard the phrase, "It doesn't look good?" and you know you could hear it again.
God doesn't owe me. He doesn't owe me a cushy life. He doesn't owe me wealth and prosperity. He doesn't owe me a healthy baby.
I know plenty of people who are more righteous than myself who have had really terrible things happen to them. Horrible divorces, sick kids, tragedies they had no way of preventing. But a Holy God could prevent it all, right? An all knowing, omnipresent God could totally stop all the bad things. He could mend marriages. He could heal the sick. He could make all the babies be born healthy. And I've heard testimonies of how he has done all of those things, but He doesn't always. Why? How could a loving God _____? Why would anyone serve such a tyrant?
As to the Why? I don't have any super theological answers other than: He doesn't have to. If He prevented all the bad in the world, he would have to put an end to every human on the planet. There is also the fact that He gave us free will. We humans live up that free will to the fullest extent. Another thought is that there's this verse in the Bible that talks about how it rains on the just and the unjust. If God's blessings go outside of the boundaries of the Church, why wouldn't we expect the same for the crap of life?
I also had another epiphany this week. When thinking about children, specifically. Satan seems to go for the children; he gets to us through our children. It occurred to me that that has been his evil plan since the beginning of time.
Attack the Son because he couldn't get to the Father.
Except Satan didn't anticipate the Deity of One particular Son. And it's because of what that Son has done for me that I am not owed a thing. As I was driving this morning, before my appointment, the lyrics from one of my favorite songs hit me right between the eyes.
"He split the sea so I could walk right through it. My fears are drowned in perfect love."
I asked God to please let that be my anthem today. I asked Him to please spare me from having to swim in the sea of a child with any kind of physical abnormalities. My prayer was answered with the second line. My fears were drowned knowing that no matter what, God is on His throne. He cares more about my holiness than my happiness.
Off to the appointment, Sean and I went. We followed our interpreter and were led into the exam room shortly after we arrived. I had an idea of what to expect because a friend recently went through the same exam for the same reason. I started to sweat a bit when it wasn't at all like she described. She was a bit earlier in her pregnancy, so they did a few different things with her. I was pretty chill at the beginning of the ultrasound, but the Doctor didn't give a "Hm" or an "I see" or anything. There was no small talk. I did ask pretty close to the beginning, "Is 35 considered advanced maternal age in Japan?" I was totally expecting a, "No, that's some crazy crap Americans came up with to guilt people into having babies young."
Instead, he said, somewhat enthusiastically, "Sou desu ne!" I could've done without the enthusiasm, Bub. The way he said it means, something like, "Absolutely!"
He was completely silent throughout the rest of the ultrasound. He measured a bazillion things and printed out a ton of pictures. That was what freaked me out the most. My friend didn't get any pictures, so I was wondering what on earth he was printing so many for. The last five minutes of the ultrasound, I started thinking about that phrase, "It doesn't look good." I really, really didn't want to hear that phrase again.
Finally. FINALLY. He said in perfect English, "Ok, I'm finished." The short version, no sign of Down Syndrome. Her nasal bone and humerus measured properly. Her ear placement was fine. Her head measured right on target. Basically, he looked at every marker for Downs and dismissed them. Her kidney is slightly dilated, but still within normal range and all of her plumbing seems to work as designed. He did say, "The connection between the kidney and the penis..."
I was like, we're done here. I am doubting every word that is coming out of your mouth. Back the penis train up and let's have another look. As it turns out, he meant bladder. He just got his English mixed up a bit. :)
I was so thankful for a good report. As I type this all out now, I do wonder if I'm only able to say all of the above because I got the result I wanted. I would like to think I've been through the refining fire in the past and am more trusting for it, but I know God's not done with me yet.
As for today, I am thankful for a healthy baby girl. I am praising God for His peace that people were praying for lil ole me. Strangers on the other side of the world that called on His name on my behalf. I am continually humbled by this life's journey.
God is good, sou desu ne!