Thursday, October 4, 2012

Meet Sophia Grace

"No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." 
 Romans 8:37-39

     About six months ago i was sitting in my living room when i received a text message. It read "Please pray for my co worker. She's pregnant and found out the baby is sick. She is considering terminating the pregnancy." I put the phone in my lap in my heart sunk. At the time I was about 22 weeks pregnant with our latest child and couldn't imagine the fear that that woman must be feeling. Looking to send a reminder to others, I clicked on Facebook and "updated" my status. It read "Who's report are you going to believe? When doctors and tests and results and statistics are rearing their ugly head, who's promises are you going to claim?" I kept clicking the "post" button on my phone, but it wouldn't post for some reason... Soon we were packing up the kids and heading to church and my "status" was forgotten. 
     The next day we all woke up early, packed up the kids and headed out for the anatomy scan of the baby. We were so excited to find out if it was a boy or a girl! Soon we were all in the room, looking up at the monitor, anxious to find out."Would you like to know the sex?" "YES!"  "...Its a girl." I now had two boys and two girls and my heart was happy. The scan continued along with the sonographer showing us where the belly was, and the heart and so on. As she made her way up the baby's body, I noticed she was focusing a lot on one certain area. She was pressing harder and harder into my belly and squinting her eyes as she stared at her screen. Me and my husband shot a look at each other, kinda confused.... "Is everything ok?" I asked. She zoomed into the baby's face and said "Do you see that gray line there? That usually means a cleft lip has formed. I think you should continue this scan at our high risk office." She took the monitor off me and started cleaning up quickly. I was in shock. Utter shock. There are no words to explain how i felt in that moment. We were escorted into another waiting room so we could talk to my OB and find out where to go from there. 

     Sitting in the waiting room, among other woman and their belly's, was me, my husband and our 3 children playing on the floor. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I put both of my hands on my face, looked at my husband and all I could say was "This is bad. This is really, really bad." I just buried my face in his shoulder and sobbed. See, for those of you who don't know, we have been around the block a time or two with doctors and therapists with our boys. I had more knowledge than I care to have when it came these things. I knew all about genetics and testing, and I was well aware of what kind of road we were about to walk down. We met with my OB and she stated that the ultrasound tech was concerned about a few things... It felt like some one had died. I cant explain it. In a second all the joy I had in me seemed to just exit my body. 

     It was a few days later I met with the high risk doctors and they did their own scan. Upon completion I was told that they could not see all the chambers of the heart, a portion of the spine, or whether or not her palate was in tact. It was confirmed that she did indeed have a cleft lip and an amniocentesis as well as blood work was highly recommended... I agreed completely out of fear. Never did i have this kind of testing done while pregnant with any of my children. In fact, I wasn't even sure if I believed in these kinds of things...
      After the testing was done I met with the genetic counselor there in the office. Her first question was if I was going to continue along with the pregnancy. "Of course" I said, baffled. There were a lot of words that came out her mouth after that but I don't recall very many. She just began to nit pick at every little thing in me and my husband all our children... What seemed to be every failure and discrepancy... What was deemed not the "norm" and below average... Can I tell you something? Inside I was screaming mad. It felt so unfair. I wanted to know where the list of all the good things was and when do we pull that out? Instead I was handed a list of statistics and the likelihood of things to come. She was sure that the testing was going to come back and link every detail  together. Looking for some glimmer of hope, I asked her "Is there a chance that my oldest can can have a chromosomal defect, and his brother have sensory issues and this baby have "whatever," just because?" She replied "Sure, it does happen." So then I asked her why that happens. She shrugged her shoulders and said "Bad luck, I guess."

     For about a week our house was silent. Don't get me wrong, the kids and the noise were there, but there was no meaningful words said. No eye contact made. Just a heaviness that filled our home. Eventually, one night, after all the kids were in bed, me and my husband met in the living room and finally tried to form words about our little Sophia. The burden was so weighty that we outwardly started to cry out to God. It was the kind of prayers that come from shear desperation. Where your face is a mess and you cant hardly breathe. When the prayers that are not so pretty sounding. It was that night I was reminded of the week prior and the words i typed on my phone. Like a light was switched on in my head- "Who's report are you going to believe? When doctors and tests and results and statistics are rearing their ugly head, who's promises are you going to claim?" It was prophesied over that we would be tested. That He was still Lord over this situation and this child. With these words I flipped-flopped from being comforted, to angry, to begging for God to take all of it from me... To reading stories of his mighty miracles, to recalling the countless times God intervened on behalf of my children... to believing that this was a lost cause and I was cursed, and me and my family we people of "bad luck."

     Three weeks following that very first ultrasound would be the week that the genetic counselor would be calling with the results. The results came in a series of three tests with three different results. The first call from the office came in, CLEAR. A couple days later the second call, NOTHING SHOWN. And a few days later the final test result came in. This time it was actual genetic counselor called me. While my hand was shaking, she informed me that the last test came back completely normal, that they could not find any genetic abnormalities linking her to any type of disorder or syndrome.... You would think that wave of relief would wash over me. But it didn't. It never came. Tears just started to well up and I didn't say anything. The counselor said "Mrs. Terei, this is great news! Why don't you sound happy?" Choked up, I tried my best to convince her that I was, when in fact all I could hear was her diagnosis of "bad luck." That we must simply have bad luck. Like a curse. Or maybe a punishment.

     Ever since the initial high risk appointment, we followed up with an ultrasound about every 4 weeks. As each appointment went along, we were given an even better report than the last. Suddenly, every chamber of the heart was there, the rhythm was great. Spine? That must of been an oversight, cause a month later it looked good. And three months later during a scan they were almost 100% sure that her palate was completely intact. And even in receiving those answered prayers, I still ended every ultrasound with me asking "But still the lip? The lip is still the same" I was told over and over that the lip was what it was. That it wasn't going to change. I was obsessing over it night and day. I would pray "Ok God, now if you could just take this from me as well..."

     2 weeks before my due date I went in for my final ultrasound. When i had met with my ob a few days prior she told me that she didn't think it was necessary for me to go to the final one. But the day came, i just wanted to go one more time to see if anything had changed. So at 38 weeks I went in for my final ultrasound. We didn't get to stick around that long. The ultrasound showed that there were signs of distress and off to labor and delivery we went. I had never felt so much anxiety about having a baby like I did with her.

     Sophia Grace Terei was born Wednesday, September 5th at 9:20 am. She was 6 lbs 11 oz and 19 inches long. My smallest baby. She is perfect. Yes, she born with an isolated cleft lip. Yes, I am still struggling with that.  Yes, this story is not over yet... There are many details I could expound on, and maybe I will another time. 

     Its very obvious I struggled with the report the doctors had given us. I don't know if it was because I already knew the things I knew from previous experiences or because this was a child that had yet to be born and it all seemed so out of my control. Maybe both.... I struggle with the term "bad luck," one that really carried zero meaning prior cause I don't believe in luck. I believe in purpose. But for some reason I hear that phrase all the time now and something in me tries to rise up. I am going to throw caution to the wind and tell you that I am still struggling with many things, but I am pushing forward. 
     I guess in all of this I just want to say, that I am overwhelmed in knowing that I have a God that will not abandon me during my weakest moments. He knew prior to this time, to this season and these tests how i would respond. And in spite of that I believe he healed Sophia miraculously from the things that were in her initial report. To God be all the glory. It is true, just the faith the size of a mustard seed.... that literally was all i had. And mountains still moved. God could have healed Sophia's lip in the womb if that was his plan. But He didn't. It wasn't because I doubted, but because He has another purpose for this. So, more to come. Thanks for reading :)

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