Dear Family and Friends,
After a very emotional week, Sara and I are writing today to enlist your prayers for our pregnancy. Prior to Wednesday’s routine ultrasound, ours was considered a “low risk” pregnancy. Based on what they saw, we’re now being followed by a obstetrician, a peri-natalogist, a pediatric cardiologist, a geneticist, and possibly a pediatric neurologist. With all the doctors’ visits we’re facing in the coming months, we are so grateful to live only a block from their offices!
First, the good news- the ultrasound revealed that we’re having a girl, and already appears to have Sara’s button nose! Unfortunately, it also showed three major “red flags:”
-lymphatic fluid building up under the skin of her neck (called a cystic hygroma)
-a small gap in between the forming halves of her cerebellum (called vermian agenesis)
-a very small, improperly formed aorta (called aortic coarctation)
Together, these problems suggest the possibility of a “chromosomal abnormality,” caused by extra, or missing genetic information. We are undergoing analysis of the amniotic fluid to examine this possibility. If one is found, the chances that she may die prior to delivery become much higher. Regardless of the chromosomal testing outcome, the most serious of these defects seems to be the aortic coarctation. If unchanged from the current state, our daughter will undoubtedly require urgent open-heart surgery in the first hours to weeks after being born. Repeat ultrasounds and an MRI in the months to come will help clarify the risks.
If anyone is interested in the medical nitty-gritty, feel free to poke around the internet. But please don’t share your findings with us; we are working hard enough to take our thoughts captive and to keep our minds from running-away with the “what ifs.”
Psalm 139:14-16 says: "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be."
We believe these words to be true despite the roller coaster week we've had. We serve a God who creates all life, sustains all life, and does ALL things well. God is already carrying us gently during this time, sustaining us through the prayers and support of our family and friends. We're asking you to pray as you feel led, but also for several specific things:
* God has begun to knit our little one, and we believe he may not be finished yet.
* Pray that God will heal her heart (the left side and her aorta is too small).
* Pray that the cyst in her cerebellum will not be found upon 2nd ultrasound.
* Pray that God would shrink the fluid collections and cause her lymphatics to work properly.
* Pray for wisdom in communicating this information to my "bosses," as I may have to take extended paternity leave rather than the 2 weeks vacation already scheduled. This will be a BIG burden on my colleagues, and so we need favor with them.
* Pray that both of us would continue to bond with our little one, face our fears with strength, and know God's grace in the coming days, weeks, and months.
Finally, we are also exercising discretion in spreading the news about our daughter’s health problems. Careful timing is required at the hospital and at ALCF where many people know about our pregnancy. Please use this same sensitivity, as neither of us are ready to walk into a throng of well-wishers at work or church.
We are grateful that we have such friends to turn to during times like these.
Matt, Sara and Baby Girl H.