Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Changing My Perspective

At my two-week post-op appointment on Friday, after a "everything looks good " (surgery-wise), we got a copy of my file to take home. I was a bit hesitant to read it, but I did - page by page - for about an hour (needless to say...it's LONG). It made me realize something I guess I haven't allowed myself to consider: Samuel was never going to live. (Not from a medical standpoint, anyways). Despite having to look up many (many) of the words in the reports, I realized as I read that he was up against too much. Page after page has words and phrases that indicate just how bad things were. The words "grim outcome" and "fatal" are used often and much. The many effects of his condition were listed out and the list was much longer then I realized. Nevertheless, in almost every report beginning in November, each different page and doctor makes some reference to the fact that "[baby] is still growing and developing, despite the grim prognosis". (My favorite line includes the words "even making breathing movements"...my baby was a fighter!)

To read my file is to know that God truly gave us a gift when he gave us eight months with Samuel.

This doesn't suddenly make it ok with me that he died. I will never be ok with that. What is does, however, is give me a new perspective. One where God is not a God who doesn't keep His promises, or who misleads us with the words in the Bible, but one where God is a loving and merciful God who knew the outcome but allowed us to have some more time with our little love. I got to look in my baby's eyes and tell him how much I loved him. Daddy got some very special one-on-one time. I have hundreds of beautiful photos of my special boy. Those things are a gift that we may not have received if God was not at work in the situation.

I was talking with a friend last night and she helped me remember how at our very first Rochester appointment, after the specialist had confirmed Samuel was very sick, the nurse had given me a page of miscarriage symptoms and told me to call her right away when I noticed them. The key word here is "when"...not "if". From the notes in the file and the words we were told that day in November, it's very clear they did not think Samuel would live for even days more. But our God is a loving and powerful God. He knew we needed more time. He knew how special the time we would have with Samuel would be for us (and many others). So He gave us five more months to love him. Five months of joyful anticipation and deep unending love. Despite some bad days (who wouldn't have bad days all things considered...) we mostly had great days filled with so much happiness. We felt him move, we watched him grow and we were confident he heard us love on him.

So what does this all mean. Well, it means God has given me a glimpse of why I have felt some peace. It means I can praise God for being merciful to us. It means I can realize that Samuel was a miracle. His very short life was a precious gift. The list of things we did with him and for him in those five months is long. I even think, if he had died back then, we would have had to deliver a lifeless baby and would have never known what he really looked like. I would have never seen his eyes and his soft hair. We wouldn't have gotten any of the photos we have of him. (They are so incredibly special to me.) It would have always felt like I was cheated out of the pregnancy. But God changed all that. He knew we needed more time and He said "ok". (Yes, I do whole-heartily wish He would have said "ok" to a life-time). For now, God has given me a tiny glimpse of the "why". I'll take it.

Side note: some old hymns have been going through my mind lately. We have gotten away from using them in church, but the messages in them are often so true and to the point. What great reminders of the simple truths of the Bible. (If you ever get a chance to hear the story of the author of "It is Well with My Soul", Horatio G. Spafford's life, it's absolutely amazing.)
  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.
    • Refrain:
      It is well, with my soul,
      It is well, it is well, with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  4. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
  5. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
  6. And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.

  1. What a friend we have in Jesus,
    All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!

    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
    Oh, what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
  2. Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful,
    Who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness;
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
  3. Are we weak and heavy-laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
    Take it to the Lord in prayer!
    In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
    Thou wilt find a solace there.
  4. Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
    Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
    May we ever, Lord, be bringing
    All to Thee in earnest prayer.
    Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
    There will be no need for prayer—
    Rapture, praise, and endless worship
    Will be our sweet portion there


  1. I love this. God is still God, and he is still good. Something my midwife said to me the day we learned that Hannah had died was that this is a very small part of the picture. We can't see the whole thing, but God can.

  2. The morning after we were told that our baby had " a condition not compatible with life" I woke to the song It Is Well With My Soul running through my head. I couldn't stop singing it, I looked up numerous versions and took comfort in the lyrics. I chose to have this as one of the songs for Quintons funeral.


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