this past week, greg and i made a majority of the funeral arrangements for our baby boy. as difficult and emotional a task as it sounds, we actually felt quite a peace about it all. neither greg nor i even shed a tear during the process, although several times i felt like i was close. there was one moment, as we sat in a very cold room surrounded by displays of urns and coffins, that as the funeral director casually described how they would pick up our son from the hospital and bring him back there, i almost lost my composure. otherwise, i felt very strong; protected from the devastating grief and pain that we could have experienced in this situation.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." ~Isaiah 41:10
"My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." ~ Exodus 33:14
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." ~ Hebrews 13:5
i also had a heightened awareness of jonathan’s little jabs and kicks while we were there. i did feel a little guilty about planning a funeral for a baby who is very much alive. i know it must be done, but it was like he was reminding me the whole time, “but mommy, i’m still right here with you!” i wish i could tell him that everything we are doing for him is because we love him.
later that evening, i received an email from a friend. she had passed my car on the road as i was turning into the cemetery entrance, and though she wasn’t even sure it was us she saw, she felt led to pray for us right then and there. as i read her message, i was blown away, and finally, the tears came. i truly believe that God planned for her to pass me at that very moment so that someone would be praying for us while we were there. i know our strength during that time was not something we could have mustered up ourselves. again, God had provided, and had gone before us.
"I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking to me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!" ~Isaiah 65:24
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints [Christians]” ~Ephesians 6:18
yesterday, we had a somewhat uneventful doctor's appointment. no ultrasound this time, so no baby measurements to report. jonathan is still moving around quite a bit and his heart rate averaged 137 BPM while we were there. oh, and i have gained 10 pounds in 2 months! that's 13 pounds total now, at 25 1/2 weeks. there is no doubt our little guy is growing. i don't blame all the weight gain on him, but he DOES like chocolate, something i couldn't eat at all while i was pregnant with kate.
we also discussed the birth plan/ jonathan's care with our doctor. right now, from what we know of jonathan's complex heart abnormalities, if he is born alive, we are only going to provide "comfort care" for him. this means that we will just make him comfortable and love on him during his final minutes or hours. the other option is to submit jonathan to multiple open heart surgeries beginning moments after birth. i have done quite a bit of research on this, since we are (obviously) completely responsible and accountable for making decisions for jonathan's care if he is born alive. apparently, there is not much of a chance that jonathan would survive such a surgery after birth (as little as 5%) and even if he did survive the surgery, he still faces many more difficulties and surgeries from his other major organ abnormalites that we currently know of. we certainly don't want him to suffer, and we feel that submitting him to any sort of surgery would risk his comfort and possibly shorten his life instead of lengthen it.
needless to say, it has been a difficult week for us to have to discuss these type of decisions for our child. please pray for us, that we would be granted wisdom in making the right choices. please pray for our doctors, nurses, and other medical staff, for wisdom and sensitivity in their care and interactions with us now and in the future as we head towards delivery in the next 2-3 months. also, perhaps in caring for jonathan, that maybe their hearts would be changed in someway. please also pray that God will continue to provide all the grace and strength we need daily in order to be thankful for what we have been given, and to surrender any grief or pain to Him who promises peace in return.
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:6-7