First, out with the good news: the preliminary results of the amnio showed no chromosomal disorders. Our daughter does not have trisomy eighteen!
She went on to explain the other tests that I will be getting. She also talked about tests I could do after the child is born. That is to say, she acknowledges that my child is a child, and she is hoping to help me prepare and plan for the birth and afterward.
Last night we decided what to name out daughter. With Lily, we always knew. I am Elizabeth. My mother is Elizabeth. My grandmother and great-grandmother were both named Elizabeth. So, she would be Elizabeth. Her middle name is my confirmation name. Her nickname is short for Lilibet. The newest addition to our family will be named Sarah Catherine, (Katherine?) unless it turns out, that all four sonograms in the past week are wrong, and she is a not a she, but a he.
Lily has been taking care of Sarah, as best she knows how. This morning she covered my belly with her favorite blankie. "Sarah is cold." Then, pulling the blankie down a little, "No, no, no. Not over her eyes!"
God always listens. He also knows us better than we know ourselves.
One of the things that these past few days have revealed to me is that a strong faith does not look the same in all people. (Obviously. The big news today, at least according to my Facebook news feed, is that this Saturday the world will end. Apparently, there is a truck spreading this message across the country. I think they are crazy, but if it gets people thinking and talking about morality and mortality, it is not all bad.)
At first, my inclination was to keep all of my worries regarding the health of dear little Sarah secret. It is not that I thought it was something to be ashamed of, so much as something which would unnecessarily worry my family. Soon, however, both Josh and I felt like we needed prayer support. We wanted an army of prayerful loved ones lifting our daughter up. So we each asked a few friends. It was not long after that that it began to feel less like protecting those who did not know and more like keeping things from people who would want to know. So, we told our families.
That was actually a good deal harder than talking to doctors. Doctors, though they are the ones bringing the worries to the surface, are answering my questions. In relating the doctors' worries to the family, we had to be the experts. We had to answer the questions. We had to face sometimes tearful concern. This repeated relation made worries bigger.
On the other hand, we immediately felt the shelter of prayer.
Each person that we talked to had different advice. Whether it was based on experience, faith, rationality or just plain common sense, the advice was enormously varied. We learned a lot about the people who love us.
"God does not want suffering for his people. You just tell the devil to leave your daughter alone, in the name of Jesus."
"So many families hear dire predictions like this one. Stay skeptical."
"God never gives you more than you can handle. Whatever happens, trust in the Lord and his plan for your life and your daughter's"
"The doctors told me the same thing. My daughter is perfect."
"I do not have advice. I will keep you in my prayers."
"What can I do? Do you want a day off? I will take Lily. How can I help?"
From the very practical offers of help, to the very faithful pronouncements, we were embraced. Our own take was to avoid predictions, good or bad, and to keep an open mind. We trust that God knows what He is doing, even if we don't. Isn't that always the way with children? Parenting is almost universally overwhelming. Who is this person and how is it that I am called to give her the love and care she needs? Am I able to know what she needs, never mind whether I am capable of providing it? It is always exciting to meet a new child. No matter how much you think you know, you do not know what to expect. We remain excited to meet our tiny Sarah this Autumn. We look forward to whatever surprises God has in store for us through this tiny gift.