The morning of our baby’s in utero brain MRI I woke up refreshed and well rested…which seems polar opposite to how I probably should have been feeling. But, my prayer experience from the night before gave me a “peace that surpasses all understanding,” and I was beyond grateful for that.
If you’ve ever wondered if you’re claustrophobic, go get a brain MRI. You’ll find our really quickly. The machine I had to go into made me feel like I should be an astronaut for NASA or something. The machine was a creamish color and long and narrow with a curved top, not leaving much room to move, which I guess is kind of good because I was actually told not to move.
I had to lay down in this machine for what I’m guessing was about 45 minutes because I was able to say three Divine Mercy Chaplets (which typically take about 15 minutes to pray). Of course I couldn’t bring my rosary in there with me, so luckily I’m really good at counting to ten with my fingers. I later remember my OB asking me “So, how loud was it?” To which I responded “Um… I don’t think too bad.” “REALLY?! I heard that machine is awful!” I think I was so transfixed on my prayers that I didn’t have time to think about much else.
I don’t recall much else from that day, only that we had to wait several more weeks to get our results. More waiting. More praying. More trying not to worry (yeah, right). We found out our results in the beginning of April. My brother and sister-in-law were coming into town to celebrate her birthday and I remember telling my brother we would be finding out the results from the MRI that week, so depending on the news, we may or may not be up for socializing.
The day of our follow up appointment, I was so nervous. My stomach hurt. I was going to the bathroom frequently (and not just because I was pregnant). My heart was racing, palms were sweaty. I tried praying for peace throughout our waiting, but for as many prayers I prayed and handed our situation over to God, that many times I took my circumstance back, and tried to worry my way into making things “okay”. It didn’t work.
Our doctor walked in and his face did not give away one way or another what the results showed. He started small talking a bit, which I cut off rather quickly and asked…
“So…what’s the deal? What did the MRI show?” Shoot it to me straight, doc. I don’t have time to waste. I’ve been waiting months for this moment.
The MRI did confirm that our baby would be born with ACC. It also showed that the gray matter on the outside of our baby’s brain was fully formed- PRAISE GOD! Whatever our baby had, it wasn’t going to be fatal. He or she was going to make it. I was going to have the chance to hold, snuggle, and kiss our sweet little miracle! I cried happy tears, and of course stopped at my favorite local ice cream shop (small twist cone, please!) to celebrate.
As far as genetics were concerned and any other syndromes, we would have to “wait and see” and run tests once the baby was born. But, I could live with that. Other than the ACC, our baby’s brain was okay. I was on cloud 9. You know you’ve been through your own personal hell when a major diagnosis of your baby missing a part of his/her brain is suddenly a relief because nothing else is wrong. Perspective.
With our good news and renewed spirits, we decided we would attend my sister-in-law’s birthday party. It was to be a surprise, so we drove downtown early to get a good parking spot that wouldn’t give us away. And here’s where God intervened in a powerful, undeniable way once again.
Since we had time to kill, we got our toddler out of the car and let him run up and down the dark red brick sidewalk. I smile as I remember how his little legs with quick tiny steps would cause his hips to sway back and forth like he was trying to balance a hula hoop while he walked! Gosh, he was cute! We were talking and watching our oldest “run” up and down the sidewalk, when around the corner came two young women and one wildy energetic dog. And what to my wandering eyes did appear–my long-lost-best friend from grade school who I hadn’t talked to in years!
I shouted her name and she and her friend attempted to redirect their K9 in our direction. With a few stern shouts and pulls on the leash, they were able to persuade the pup to come our way. We smiled, gave a hug and…
“Oh my! You’re pregnant! And is he yours, too?”
With a laugh and smile I said, “Yes!”
We introduced each other to family, friend, and dog and started to chat a little. I not seen this friend in ages (she had more tattoos than I remember her having in 8th grade ;), but God knew we needed to cross paths again. You see, she had been on my mind to reach out to because as far back as I can remember, she had been working with children with disabilities. One of her cousin’s was born with CP, and growing up, I remember her being so attentive and loving to him when he would be over at their house. And then through out middle and high school, I remember her being really involved at Munroe Meyer Institute. As far as I knew, she was still involved there and could maybe be a good point of contact for us. I thought perhaps she might know more about what our baby had or where to even begin looking for childcare.
I brought up our situation and explained a little bit of what was going on. It felt so much more natural to bring this up in person versus sending a random Facebook message to her out of the blue (which I would have done if I had to, but this was much much better).
“It won’t be easy, but you are going to be a great mom to that baby,” she told me. And for whatever reason, that gave me so much confidence.
By this time, the dog was getting restless, and the tacos they had come down to get for dinner weren’t going to order and eat themselves, so we exchanged numbers and promised to be in touch. It was April. Our baby was due in July.
“Please keep me updated. I want to know everything,” she told me before the dog whisked her away (I honestly don’t know how her arm wasn’t dislocated by this point).
I couldn’t believe what had just happened. We NEVER went downtown for anything. Of all the times. And all the places. This was divine intervention. I had no idea at the time how this brief encounter with one of my besties from the 90s was just the beginning of rekindling a friendship. I had no idea the incredible impact this was going to have on our baby and our family. I had no idea the amount of guacamole, cheese and crackers, wine, and long conversations were in store for us.
What I did know was that It felt like God was reaching down and giving me a big hug, reassuring me that He would be placing the right people in my path every step of the way.