Looking back it's amazing to me the things that God orchestrated and ordained that we are so grateful for now but could never have planned it to happen that way then....... Here are just a few!
* Conversations- Early on in this pregnancy God brought some intense conversations into my life with others that really made me seek out what I believed when it came to God's Sovereignty in Pregnancy and also in Life and Death situations. I had not looked at these conversations as instruments that God used to drive me to search out truth in specific situations but as conflicts that left me in self pity. Oh, that I would trust God in each and every relationship and conversation! He knows what He is doing and uses others to refine and sanctify us in ways that we alone can not accomplish because we are prideful.
* Gender- Our desire to know this child's gender. We could have been content not to know, but both of us were dying to find out and thus went to Prenatal Peek!
* Prenatal Peek - they let us come back 3 different times weeks apart from each other which isn't really their policy normally but each time (we even had 3 different ladies) they had compassion on our quest for the gender of our child and told us to reschedule a few weeks out and they'd re-scan. We had already decided that after the third scan we were going to give up the quest if we didn't find out... but that was the one where that sweet nurse discovered and alerted my OB to the omphalocele. I seriously don't think that we would have ever known otherwise.
* Hanging up- The receptionist that hung up on us at our first specialist office. Both of us had our doubts about the staff we had been placed with at the first perinatal place we went to but never thought we had any other option. They treated us like we didn't know what we were talking about and really never respected our desires to fight for this child's life regardless of what the outcome would be. But it wasn't until Dan called to request something and ended up getting hung up on because of a misunderstanding. We were confused emotional expecting parents yes, but we just felt like no matter what, getting mad and hanging up on a patient was unacceptable. So that began our quest for a new team of Dr.'s
* Connections- Our friends that were nurses and friends who had experiences with medical professionals in the area.
I put out a call for help in finding the right medical help and SO many people were helpful and instrumental in getting us into the great amazing staff at UNC Chapel Hill. We even knew WHO to request and what to expect from them. So helpful! Thanks friends!
* Patience - Because we didn't know what this baby was it really helped me not spend a lot of money on clothes that would never be worn. It made me delay a lot of purchases that I might have had to painfully return. (a lot of people have asked me if I had to return a lot of stuff and if that was hard and GOD really was kind in that we really just had bought or had been given the bare necessity or timeless investment pieces and it was all things that we LOVED and will Lord willing use again!)
* Amnio- When we asked about getting the amnio on week 36 and deliver on week 39, our OB had suggested just moving it to week 37 and testing the lungs and possibly delivering then.... At first we were excited at that idea but something just didn't sit well with me about it and after really thinking through it we decided to stick with week 36 for the Amnio. Well we had results in 24 hours (which even the hospital acknowledged was rare) and we knew our baby was trisomy free and we knew then that Asher was going to be our firstborn son!!! This is why that is so important looking back.... if we had waited till 37 weeks we never would have had the amnio and thus wouldn't have known that it was a boy we were expecting and when Asher was delivered because of the omphalocele rupturing during delivery and the spinal/lower body issues the Dr. told me that they couldn't have been able to really tell me his gender that day. I couldn't have imagined holding my child not knowing what name to call him or her and even now I shutter to think of it. We were given a whole week to rejoice in our son by name and to really celebrate him!
* Time - Because of when God chose for Asher to come we had an amazing medical staff and had several believers who I believe really impacted my whole experience of giving birth and going through the c-section. (It was a really hard c-section and I hated it but they made the difference and were SO wonderful!)
* Day of Delivery- Because of when God chose for Asher to come we had people/family at the hospital right away! God even worked out for members of our families to come in from out of town just a day or two later... and had so many elements come together for that to happen. We are so grateful for the sacrifices and time that our families made to be a part of this time and the special touches that you put on his memorial and burial. We'll never ever forget that.
* Awareness - Because of our journey of this pregnancy and because of so many dr.'s not giving us much optimism we had really already began to open our hands to this child and really were trusting God to give or take away... This child was His to do with as He pleased. Not to say that we are happy with what He chose or that we were ready to lose Asher, just that we had a vivid understanding at that time of the realization of God's Sovereignty in this situation. We knew that God was the giver and taker of life and that our hope wasn't in the medical staff. So when we were told that Asher wasn't going to live... we still had hope and had open hands with which to offer our son to a Mighty Strong Hand that would also hold us as we cried and suffered.
* Gifts - the night before Asher was born we had a little get together with friends to celebrate Asher's coming. (little did we know he was on his way that next day!) And we were given several things that are now precious useful things in remembering his life. Aunt Brittany gave us a little bag with an outfit that ended up being the outfit that I had ready for the hospital the next day and was the perfect outfit for Asher.... any other outfit would not have worked with what situation we had. It was so timely and I can't imagine what we would have done without it. God knew! There were certain other small gifts that were given as well in different stages of pregnancy that really were all the more special as we were able to use them in the small time we had with Asher. (so many of those things people had said, I just had to pick this up because I thought of you! Often they were random gifts...or so they seemed, but God used them in big ways! Always remember that when God brings someone to your mind when at a store!)
* Sunday - God planned that on the hardest morning of our lives as we would have to hand off our child to be taken away that SO MANY (I can't emphasize how many and how vast) bodies of believers were gathered together and lifting us up before the throne of grace. Thank you Body of Christ for praying that morning for us. My tears are flowing as I imagine God's view of that morning as He was so near and close to us in that small hospital room and yet so HUGE and Omniscient that He was working in hundreds of bodies of believers all across America flooding them with His spirit as they prayed and worshiped! What an Amazing God!
Open Door - When Dan and I discussed where to have a memorial service we knew that Open Door Baptist Church was the only place we could imagine having such a personal service. It's where Dan and I developed our friendship and where we were married. It's a busy growing church and we knew that having such a service last minute would be a challenge but that day was open and they were amazing to serve us in ways that I will forever hold close to my heart.
Programs - My sister was married earlier this summer and actually had changed her wedding colors mid- planning. So due to this change she had a ton of Paper Stock in Asher's colors that she had bought for that but didn't use that she was able to be make into Asher's amazing memorial birth announcement! She told me that in such a short time that we had to plan everything that they never would have been able to get a hold of those materials in time had she not had them already. We were so blessed. And blessed to have had her ability to make those for him, They were perfect and so special to have to give others as his proud parents.
Treasuring Christ Church - Our church body. TCC is a Raleigh church plant and has only been a church for 3 years. We have been down here from the beginning and at times it's been tough, we went through a time where we wondered if we had what it takes to be a part of a new church in a needy downtown area, to really commit to a church that takes covenant community and accountability seriously. Thankfully our church loved us and challenged us to stay. We are so grateful for so many... really countless ways in which TCC has ministered and blessed our personal walk with God, our Marriage and now our family as we morn our little one. They are faithful to make sure that we remain faithful, hopeful and ever learning, worshiping and trusting in a Big Sovereign God who is the Comforter and Author and Finisher of our Faith! Thank you Church Family! We love you.
So, Where was God in all of this you may have wondered? Please wonder no more. He was there and He was not silent nor sleeping. We serve an Active and All knowing God who will never cease to bring me humbly to my knees by His works and by His love for me in even the littlest aspects of my life. Lord, Keep me on those knees and dazzle me time and time again for Your Name Sake!!