Watching Jesse's little hands as they turn the pages of one of his books, I feel that I am witnessing a miracle. Reflecting back to March of 1995, when I was 20 weeks pregnant, we experienced a trial that could have had a tragic ending.
The doctor, a renowned expert in the field of high risk pregnancy, told me that my baby showed three strong indications on the ultra sound suggesting Downs Syndrome. I felt like the walls of my world were crashing down around me.
I was 37 years old and was being pressured to take the amniocentesis test to confirm, or maybe disprove, what they had found so far. I declined, not wanting to explore this any further. They continued to disagree with me. Their only good argument was that I would have the option to terminate this pregnancy if the diagnosis was confirmed. I adamantly explained that I didn't consider terminating an option.
They called me at home later and persisted, "Mrs. Smith, you should reconsider, and quickly, because we only terminate pregnancies up to 23 weeks." I was 20 weeks. I had stated my position at least three times already. I found the whole situation to be shocking and a betrayal of my trust in them as medical people. I had respected this hospital, as I was employed as a nurse there up until my pregnancy. Now they talked to me about taking my baby's life who I had already watched on the ultrasound as he floated around and sucked his little thumb.
I separated myself from the hospital that day, intending to birth him at home with a midwife. But I couldn't shake the fear that was born in me that day. Neither could my husband. Our marriage was already at a stress point, due to other unresolved issues from the past. This pregnancy had added more stress and I worried that this situation could be the breaking point. What should have been a joyous experience became a heavy burden I didn't know how to bear. I wondered if we would have to deal with it as a broken family. It was a fear that my husband and I could hardly talk about.
Eventually, I began to yield to the gentle reassurance of the Lord telling me that everything was going to be all right. I was never able to completely "shake" what the doctors had said, but I told God, "I'll love this child no matter what the outcome."
Jesse was born July 21st, 1995, after a long, 40-hour labor in the same hospital since I never dilated past 6 cm at home. They had their team of pediatricians waiting as they expected a baby with major problems. He didn't have Downs Syndrome. He didn't have any problems, expect for those caused with their birthing methods - another whole story in itself.
I needed to be reminded that man doesn't know everything, and that it is God we need to trust.
As I experience the joy of watching my two sons, eight-year-old Nicholas, and Jesse, now almost two, with my husband miraculously at my side, now closer than ever, I realize that these miracles can't happen without us making the right choices.
Old Hickory, Tennessee, USA