"What? Really? Ok..." is all I could say.
The neonatologist had wheeled our new baby boy out of the delivery room a short time before because he was struggling to keep his O2 saturation up. They wanted to put him in an incubator and get him stabilized. Once I was cleared to leave delivery and be out in a recovery room they would take me to see him before heading to my room.
As they wheeled me into his room in the NICU I was numb, or maybe I was just in survival mode. This was not what we anticipated and even still all of that is a complete blur. The next thing I really remember with clarity is sitting in room 6019 and thinking about how completely unnatural this all felt. I felt empty, as if I had lost my baby. Michael was with me but I felt so alone. I should be nursing. I should be staring from my bed at my newborn son. I should be listening to his squeaks and grunts. But instead he was two floors down being cared for by strangers.
Thirty-two weeks prior to that night we had found out that we were going to have another baby. It was just 2 weeks after the sudden death of my father. We were shocked at the news but it seemed that God had known the perfect time to bring new life into our family. We immediately knew his name would be John, after my dad. And Isaac seemed fitting because it means laughter, and that's exactly what I did when I found out I was pregnant again. His name was decided within the first 24 hours of finding out we were pregnant. If it was a boy his name would be John Isaac-God's gracious gift of laughter. No girls name was ever even discussed.
My pregnancy was textbook except my morning sickness was worse than any other pregnancy, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until I was 16 weeks pregnant. Other than that it was completely normal. I went for my ultrasound at 18 weeks and we found out it was in fact a boy. The sonographer did all of her anatomy scans and told us that everything looked wonderful. She just kept saying over and over "beautiful, he's just beautiful." No indication that anything was wrong.
We opted not to have a 3d or 4d ultrasound since insurance doesn't cover it and I wasn't overly impressed when I had one with Victoria. We also opted not to have the genetic testing because I wouldn't have made any difference. I have gone back and forth about that decision but honestly I feel like it was best for me. I would have spent the rest of my pregnancy worrying and researching, and I probably wouldn't have been able to enjoy my pregnancy like I did.
The rest of the pregnancy was great. No issues at all. I just enjoyed feeling life growing inside of
me and was really looking forward to meeting our new little man. On January 31st I had contractions
on and off all day. We really thought that John Isaac was going to grace us with his presence in January. But then the contractions spaced out and February 1st came. There were no real contractions
until about 3pm. Then all of a sudden they were strong and getting close together. Michael came home and after a quick call to the hospital we were off. When we got there I was 4 centimeters and in active labor. That was it, we were getting ready to meet our son.
Labor and delivery went exactly the way I wanted it go and before we knew it John Isaac was being put on my chest. Within a few minutes things began to change. They took him from me because he wasn't getting pink, but everyone kept reassuring me that everything was ok. They started giving him oxygen but after a while they decided that they needed to take him to the NICU to get him stabilized. As they took him out of the room I was confident that everything would be ok. I wasn't worried about him at all, just resolved that they were doing what needed to be done to make sure he was ok. After a little while the OB that delivered John Isaac walked back in and sat down next to the bed.
"Your son has some markers of genetic abnormalities. They are going to be testing him in the morning. In the meantime, he is going to need to stay in the NICU so they can watch him."
Wait...what? After a completely normal pregnancy and a textbook labor and delivery I was not expecting all that would happen over the next few days.
I ran through all the emotions that night. Fear, anger, sadness, guilt...and then all over again. The emotions overshadowed the joy and excitement of the arrival of our sweet John Isaac. I just wanted to hold and nurse me sweet baby boy. But after running through all the emotions more than once I settled on PEACE. "Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
The peace that surpasses all understanding. It is a peace that can not be explained. A peace that can only come from God. I wish I could say that I haven't struggled, but I have. I have no idea what the future holds but I can have peace because I know the one who holds the future. It was not my plan to have a son with Down Syndrome, but God knew and He has a plan. His ways are nor our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. And God is no less God today than he was three weeks ago when we thought John Isaac would be born completely healthy.
Psalm 139 says "
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them."
God doesn't make mistakes. John Isaac was created by God and for God to bring glory to God. He has a plan and a purpose for John Isaac just like he does everyone else. I feel blessed to be a part of this little boys life and I look forward to watching what God has in store for him. Our sweet John Isaac- God's Gracious Gift of Laughter.