The best of blessings: Schaeffer’s birth story

ImageMe, the day before I was induced with Schaeffer Jo

Image

Schaeffer Jo and me, shortly after being delivered via C-section

Inevitably, this time each year, my thoughts drift to our greatest blessing–and the wonder that she’s here.

It wasn’t long after my diagnosis with epilepsy that Griffin and I sat in the office of a hematologist (Physicians specialized in hematology are known as hematologists. Their routine work mainly includes the care and treatment of patients with hematological diseases, although some may also work at the hematology laboratory viewing blood films and bone marrow slides under the microscope,), just one of my many new ‘ologists’, awaiting the results of an extensive blood panel that had been done after my supposed-TIA. We had arrived expecting very routine news, nothing of significance, and what we received instead–that we would likely never have children of our own–was shocking.

I remember leaving the doctor’s office, wondering when the rain would stop pouring. We had just begun to conquer a life-long neurological disease, and now this.

It wasn’t but a month later that everything changed. I was pregnant. With the shock came overwhelming fear and the grief from knowing there was no way my body was healthy enough to bring a baby to term.

The evening we found out, my OB brought over a list of the potential birth defects we were facing. Clef palette, spine a’bifida , missing/shortened limbs, kidney malformation. The list went on. There were many tears–and little joy. I couldn’t help but feel that epilepsy had stolen another piece of life from me: the joy of pregnancy. Instead of calling family & friends, we were silent. We went to doctor’s appointments and researched. I obediently took my fistful of medication daily, rarely keeping food down.

Thankfully, my pregnancy continued. We were elated to find out we were having a little girl! A daughter.

Neither the sickness or the frequent appointments decreased, and my doctors began to become concerned about my size. My belly stopped growing. My appointments were increased to three times a week with stress tests and weekly ultrasounds. Still no growth.

Finally, at week 37, Griffin and I intervened. We sought the opinion of a perinatologist. With much persuading, we finally found one that would take me in my very pregnant condition. With no growth from week 32 or before, we were anxious and grateful for the opportunity to give Schaeffer the best care.

Upon arrival at the new office, they ordered another ultrasound which confirmed our fears. She was tiny. My body was no longer able to give her the nutrients needed to feed her, and she was failing to thrive. The doctor diagnosed her with IUGR (inter-uterine growth restriction) and decided to induce.

The next 24 hours were a blur–my body did not progress and Schaeffer could not tolerate contractions. Eventually, I taken in for a C-section, and our perfect and totally miraculous daughter was born.

In all of this, we take nothing for granted. We’re grateful for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who cared for me and Schaeffer. More than anything, it is impossible to deny the sovereignty of a Creator who lovingly made Schaeffer and protected her from the beginning.

Schaeffer: you’re our greatest gift & joy–and you’ve taught us to never say never.

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