Wednesday, April 28, 2010

His Beautiful Face

Yesterday, I had my four-week follow-up ultrasound. I was smiling and happy walking in to my appointment. I suppose I caught the nurses off guard because they were shocked to see me there alone. They were asking me how I was doing and if I brought anyone with me. I always feel like a celebrity when I go in there; the nurses are very personable.

I explained my emotions to the nurses. I let them know that there are a lot of people praying for us. I told them about this blog. I told them about giving it all to God and how joyful and peaceful I've been ever since. They told me that I am so lucky to be able to really accept this and be joyful right now. According to them, most women can't reach the state I'm in right now; especially not a mere month after they receive the kind of news I have received.

I do know that I am fortunate. But I am not "lucky" to feel the way I do; I am "blessed." It is because of all the prayers being said on Caleb's and my behalf that I am joyful and strong. I am blessed to have so many people who truly care about me. More than that, I know that Caleb is on a mission. It brings me peace to know that he has a purpose. The strength that he has brought to us is inspiring hearts and even helping people remember how to have faith and how to turn to the Lord in difficult times. Caleb has already established an army of "prayer warriors", and they are under his command. ;-)

The ultrasound results were just as we expected...the brain is the same. The heterotopia isn't growing or changing. His head size is still perfect in proportion to his body. His body looks absolutely normal in size and shape. He is nearly 2 pounds now. It is amazing how beautiful he is to sweet little son.

The doctor was trying out some new software with the ultrasound equipment so I got some really awesome pictures. This was the first time I've had ultrasound pictures that were superficial. Instead of black and white photos that look like X-ray, I got photos of his face that actually look 3-D. He looks like his sister!

We will continue to persevere in our prayer and our hopes for Caleb's health. I am, however, staying grounded with the expectation that Caleb will have the handicaps that I was told about. In my mind, this doesn't mean I have given up hope, it just means that if things are better than expected, it'll be a nice surprise for me. Either way, I will love him just the same.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Caleb Dances

There is no denying it...Caleb loves to boogie! Maybe he is only using two limbs; maybe he is using all four. All I know is that the child cannot sit still.

I have read and been told that babies are most active between 24 and 30 weeks. Being that I am now over 25 weeks, I am not surprised that I feel him. I am, however, surprised that he flips around so much that at times it almost makes me sick! I don't remember feeling this much movement when I was pregnant with Imola.

I guess I'm a little surprised that I feel him moving so much because I am aware of his abnormalities. I wouldn't expect a handicapped baby to move this much or to have movements this strong. I can actually see my belly move when he kicks! That doesn't usually happen until well into the third trimester.

It has to count for something that Caleb is moving so much. It makes me happy when I feel it because it makes me feel like he is just like any other baby. But then I remember that he is not just like any other baby...he is special...he is Caleb. I don't want him to be like any other baby; I just want him to be himself. Caleb, the swing-dancin' lad!

In two days I will go in for yet another ultrasound. I will get to watch him dance on a TV screen once again! I can't believe that I am actually okay with going to this appointment alone, now that I know there are so many people with me in spirit. Besides, what news are they going to give me that is worse than what I've already heard? I guess I can say I'm not afraid anymore.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Myriads of Angels Surrounding Me

I cannot believe how many people are praying for us! My family, friends, coworkers and acquaintances have been passing the word about Caleb around and there are countless numbers of people praying for us. We literally have people praying around the country and around the world! It touches me to know that even strangers care.

I have estimated just the people I know of who are praying and it has to be over a thousand. Imagine the angels that surround me as I carry this precious child. It is no surprise that I have found strength, joy and many mouths and hearts have asked God to give me these gifts? I feel like a lighthouse, beckoning those in darkness. I feel like I can't contain my joy! I want everyone to know this feeling.

Those of you who are praying...please don't stop. You are carrying me through it all. The comfort I have found in knowing so many people are praying is unreal. And I can assure you that your prayers are being answered. I am aware that I will need to keep this spirit of strength and hope throughout the rest of this pregnancy. I have another three long months to go, and after that, the future is uncertain. The closer we get to the time when Caleb will arrive, the more stressful it will be. Now is not the time to say, "Oh, she's fine! I'll pray for something else now." Please continue to remember us in your are doing a world of good!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Keeping the Faith

It began to get easier...the commitment to faith and trust. At times I could feel myself being pulled into the mindset of despair, but it wasn't that difficult to pull myself right back out again. I was always conscious of it when I felt it coming on, and that helped me to not let myself give in. It wouldn't have been fair to Caleb.

Now, I hav
e always had the Catholic Church in my life. My mother is a woman of great faith and she tried to teach us as children that we should always give everything to God and let Him bless us as he chooses. She has always taught me to respect life from the moment of conception and because I understood and embraced this at a young age, I have always been unconditionally prolife. Not in a judgemental way, but with compassion and love for humanity.

Let me just say that it is easy for a woman to be prolife when she has never had an unplanned pregnancy or been pregnant with a handicapped child. Don't get me wrong...the "choice" of abortion was NEVER an option for me. I especially can't imagine making the choice to abort a child after you have felt him move inside you. What I am saying is that I actually found myself in a position that would cause many a woman to consider ending the life of her child. For once, I got to see it through their eyes. I cannot describe the pain in my heart when I thought of the women who have chosen death over life. How devastating and sorrowful it must be to feel that there is no other choice.

I have spent many hours imagining what it would be like for these women who feel like abortion is their only option. I have been blessed with such a strong faith that I know I will make it through whatever the future holds for Caleb, but what about the women who don't know faith? The women who have no strength? How terrifying this world must be for them? It is difficult to imagine.

This idea of what "choice" means for women like me just reconfirms my prolife stance. This cross that I have been given to bear is ultimately making me a better person and giving my life a joy it never had before. There is a blessing being bestowed on me now; one like no other, and it is because I choose Caleb. I know that these same gifts are awaiting every woman who chooses life. Sometimes it's just difficult to accept them.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Amnio Never Lies

I called the nurse practitioners back on Tuesday morning. I had to leave a message and wait for them to call me back, but I was determined to get my amnio results. Luckily, I didn't have to wait long for them to return my call.

It was such a relief when the nurse informed me that the amnio results were in and everything came back normal. Whew! I couldn't believe I had let myself imagine the worst just the night before. She told me that it was routine to have a genetic counselor meet with anyone who was pregnant with a child with congenital abnormalities. She said that the counselor would discuss the potential of this situation repeating itself in my life or the life of a family member, however, from what the MFM doctors knew, they felt this was a fluke and was not related to genetics.

I had to call Andy immediately to tell him that we didn't have to worry about Caleb's condition being passed on again to another child. It was wonderful news because I knew I wasn't done having children; my heart was too big to not share it with more sons and daughters.

Once again, peace overcame me and joy filled my heart. I knew my son would live to be held in my arms! I knew that I would take him home from the hospital and we would live our lives with the joy of having him with us. I didn't expect him to be healed by another miracle, but I knew that it wasn't out of the question. I was okay with whatever God would choose to do with our lives. I was determined not to let go of my trust again.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Newfound Joy

I woke up for work on Monday morning. I woke up with an immense peace and joy that I had never before experienced in my entire life. Yes, I did think about Caleb. No, I was not in a state of denial; I simply couldn't find an ounce of despair in myself. I was amazed at this feeling. It absolutely was surreal to me.

One thing I have never mentioned in my previous blogs is this awesome sign that God had given me. At several points between the Thursday I had the consult with the neurologists and the Sunday I had surrendered my sorrow, I had distinctly smelled the sweet scent of incense. No, it was not like the cheap incense you buy and burn in your was the incense they use in Catholic churches for special occasions. I'm sure that many of you know what it smells like. Some people dislike it, but I love the way it smells. That scent has always made me feel like that is the way Heaven smells. The incense is used to symbolize our prayers rising up to the heavens in a cloud. I love to imagine my prayers rising to the Father in that cloud of sweet-smelling incense.

I knew in my heart that God had sent me this fragrance as a sign that He is with me. The first time I smelled it was in the parking garage at Rush as my mom and I waited for the elevator. I asked her if she was wearing some new fragrance or deodorant. I hadn't smelled it in the car on the way there, but it was so strong to me just a parking garage of all places! She said she couldn't smell whatever it was I was smelling. It seemed strange to me then, until I smelled it again the next day when I was praying the Rosary. I smelled my rosary beads and there it was again, and that is when I realized that it had to be a sign.

Throughout the course of the day I had passing thoughts of Caleb. I had been asked a few times about how I was feeling and if everything was okay. The truth was that everything was as okay as it could have been at the time. I felt like I was just a pregnant lady, eagerly awaiting the birth of her son.

When I left work I checked my voicemail and I had a message from a nurse practitioner at Rush. She informed me that she had scheduled an appointment with the genetic counselor following my previously scheduled ultrasound in a few weeks. That is when I realized that I still hadn't gotten the results of the rest of my amnio. It was after 5PM and I knew I wouldn't be able to reach the nurses until the next day.

I let myself lose my trust and I began to panic. Why would a genetic counselor need to meet with me if there wasn't something wrong with the chromosomes? I went home and began researching X-linked chromosomal syndromes that pass from mother to son. I let myself run away with it and I began to imagine that Imola, my daughter, carried a syndrome that she would one day pass to her son. I began to imagine that I wouldn't have any more children for fear that I'd have another son and I would once again pass this horrible defect on to a child.

The internet provided me with terrifying mental images of the chromosomal abnormalities of my future children. I read of a syndrome that passes from mother to son and usually causes the baby to die in-utero. If the mother is a carrier, her sons have a 50% chance of getting that gene. I began to ponder the fact that my mom only had 3 living sons out of 14 pregnancies; 2 of them ending in miscarriage and the gender was never determined. I remembered that my mother only had one brother out of a family with 6 children and I knew my grandma had lost a few babies. I suddenly realized that there could totally be an unknown gene floating around my family and I would never have known.

All at once, I realized that I wasn't trusting in God's Will. I realized that I had let go of my trust as soon as I let myself worry. I remembered that I had made a commitment and I needed to stick to it. I never before realized that trust isn't something you declare at one point and it sticks around forever; it is a decision that you make every day of your life. It is a commitment that you make and it is something that you have to work on in order to keep it in your life.

I can honestly say that as soon as I made this realization, I decided once again to let God take it from me. I consciously began to pray the prayer of Divine Mercy. I opened my heart and once again, He came in and took away the fear. I went to bed that night knowing that everything was going to be okay, no matter what the amnio results were.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Divine Mercy Comes from Only One Place...

For those of you who are not aware, the Catholic Church celebrates a feast day called "The Feast of Divine Mercy." This annual feast day is always celebrated the Sunday after Easter and it began through St. Faustina Kowalska, who was a nun with tuberculosis in the early 20th century. St. Faustina was blessed with visions of Jesus. He came to her delivering messages and she kept a diary of everything He said. The Church read and approved of her diary and declared her a saint in 1993. The reason she is responsible for the Feast of Divine Mercy is because Jesus repeatedly told her of His infinite Mercy and assured her that it was available to all who ask. There is a one-line prayer that we say to Jesus of Divine Mercy and that is this, "Jesus, I trust in You." Short and simple.

The reason I am telling you this is that I have always been a believer in Divine Mercy and I have always participated in the special services the Catholic Church offers on this feast day. As usual, Andy and I went to the church that was celebrating this feast and we participated in the special prayers, worship, Penance Service and finally, the Holy Mass.

Throughout the entire service I was thinking of Caleb. I was praying and asking God to have mercy on him. I was extremely emotional and fought back tears at many times during the celebration. At one point, I felt like Jesus was speaking directly to my heart. He was telling me that His mercy is available and He is ready to pour it like rain, down on our heads, down on Caleb. But He told me that I must first offer Him all of my suffering. He told me that unless I open myself up and truly have complete trust in Him, He cannot offer me the mercy I ask for.

I never realized until that moment that I really hadn't given everything to Him like I thought I did. I had been praying and asking God to give me the strength to accept His will. I had been asking others to pray for me to have this strength as well, but I suddenly realized that unless I surrendered everything to Him and whole-heartedly believed that He would take care of Caleb and our family, what good would all those prayers be?

So with every drop of sincerity, I prayed that prayer, "Jesus, I trust in You." I repeated it over and over in my mind and my heart. Suddenly, it was like a river opened up in me and everything I had inside poured out. I felt Him take everything from me; all the pain, fear and sorrow were gone. I walked out of that church feeling new and different. I felt only joy and no pain. It was incredible!

For those of you who don't is true. You may think I am lying, or crazy. You can think that if you want. But all I can say is that if you truly give Him a chance, God will absolutely change your life, your heart and your soul. I say this now with conviction because it happened to me. He makes all things new...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Aftermath of a Figurative Hurricane

I surprised myself by my ability to make it through the work day after learning the news. I had typed an email to our family that described the situation and filled everyone in on Caleb's prognosis. After I sent out the email, I printed it on a piece of paper so I could take it with me to work the next day. The last thing I wanted to do the day after learning my son would be severely handicapped was to repeat the story over and over again to all my coworkers. I knew it would be easier to just let them read about it and pass the paper to whoever else wanted the details.

One by one, my coworkers came to my cubicle, consoling me as best they could. Many of them were crying; all of them were offering to help in any way they could. I sat and cried in silence as I let them embrace me. I told them all that there was no way anyone could help me besides listening to my agonizing story and praying for a miracle. Let me just say that I never knew how amazing all the women my department were until I experienced their true care and concern regarding my crisis. I learned of their generosity, their faith, their strength and most of all, their compassion. True friendship comes through situations like these.

It was a difficult day, but I was happy to be surrounded by a blanket of comfort, and I was glad to be given a large load of tasks to complete as I knew that would distract me from my emotions. Throughout the long hours of that Friday, Caleb's prognosis began to settle in me. I wasn't "okay" with the news, but I was managing to swallow it down into the pit of acceptance. I even found myself laughing at times throughout that day; never forgetting my grief, but somehow allowing myself to put it aside and smile.

That evening, my daughter brought me more laughter. Over the course of the weekend, my husband and I discussed how our life together would change in the future. Through my tears I sorted it out. I let myself grieve once more. I let myself prepare for what I knew was to come; this road ahead was certain to be filled with struggles, fears and tears. But somehow, I managed to see with clarity the potential for joy. It was a distant thought; one that I couldn't quite imagine, but I knew it was there. I knew that God would get me through this as long as I turned to Him. I just needed to find my trust.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Sword of Sorrow Pierced My Heart

Let's just say that I was becoming all too familiar with the route to Rush University Medical Center. I had travelled this path many times in a short period of time and at this point, I could almost do it on auto-pilot. My mom and I partook mostly in mindless chatter during the 1 1/2 hour journey, but she didn't succeed in calming my nerves.

After waiting for a good 30 minutes, we were called to the room where they were holding our private conference. We were introduced to a room full of people. There were three nurse practitioners, one social worker, a physician liaison, the neuro-radiologist who read our MRI scans, a neurologist to help with interpretation, and the hospital chaplain. I was told that the neonatologist would be in a while later to discuss the role he or she would play.

We learned through this consultation that Caleb has 2 different issues with his brain development. He does, in fact, have a significant cyst in the center of his brain. The cyst in and of itself does not appear to be a problem as there is no blood flowing into it. It isn't growing or threatening, it just simply is present. The problem, however, is that it is present in place of another part of the brain. Caleb is missing a part of his brain called the corpus callosum. According to the neurologist, there is no way to fix it and there is no chance of it developing now. What is done is done.

The other major issue with Caleb's brain is the there is severe deformity in the left frontal lobe. The brain is made up of tissue and the entire left frontal lobe has a mass of tissue called a heterotopia. This is really just a mass of excess tissue that shouldn't be there, and as a result, it has overtaken the healthy cells and brain tissue on the left side of the brain. There are no other parts of the brain that are missing; just this mass that is preventing proper growth and function of the left side of the brain. The doctors couldn't say why this had happened, they could only promise that there was no way it will repair itself or go just is the way it is.

Unfortunately, the doctors couldn't give us a guaranteed outcome of what these abnormalities mean for Caleb, but according to similar cases they have seen in the past, they were able to give us the following prognosis: Caleb most likely will have severe difficulty with speech and he may never be able to talk. He may also have issues with hearing and sight. The left frontal lobe controls the right side of the body so he may be paralyzed on his right side or have problems controlling that half of his body. He most likely will never walk. Because the left frontal lobe and corpus callosum both participate in cognitive skills and intelligence, Caleb is not expected to be able to reason or be capable of higher-order intelligence.

The most serious issue is that the absence of the corpus callosum and the presence of the heterotopia will most certainly cause Caleb to have a seizure disorder. The neurologist pretty much guaranteed us that this is absolutely going to happen. He is concerned that Caleb will not only have seizures, but because of the significance of the abnormalities, he may have uncontrollable seizures and a lot of them. These types of seizures do not respond well to medication and can ultimately cause damage to the healthy half of the brain.

We were told that in the future, we will be having another consultation with a neurosurgeon and a neonatologist. If the seizures are extreme and don't respond to treatment, the neurosurgeon most likely will want to remove some of the mass on the left side of the brain. This surgery, if it happens, would most likely be performed within the first days of Caleb's life and potentially may decrease the frequency/severity of his seizures, but it does not have a 100% success rate. He would spend months in the hospital following the surgery.

I cannot say how difficult this news was for me to swallow. I only know that unless you are a parent who has received news similar to this, there is no way you could even begin to imagine (nor would you want to imagine) how devastating it is for a parent to discover that her child would live with challenges like these. As of that day, I could honestly say that I finally knew what it felt like to truly suffer from a broken heart.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Patience for Patients

It was Wednesday afternoon and I still had not received a call from the radiologist. Being as panicked as I was, I decided to call the maternal-fetal medicine specialists to find out what was going on. I ended up leaving a message for the nurses to call me back.

Shortly after I left my message, a nurse called me back with the news. To my dismay, she informed me that they did have the results, but she wasn't sure what the implications were for the abnormal discoveries they had made. She also told me that the radiologist saw some things that they weren't aware of before. So, of course, I immediately began to freak out, imagining the worst...whatever that may be.

The nurse ultimately refused to give me the reported results and she suggested that I come in for a meeting with the neuro-radiologist, neurologist and neonatologist instead. Fortunately, there was another patient who had a meeting arranged with these doctors at 9AM the following morning. I was told that it usually takes up to weeks to get these three doctors together in the same room. She apologized for the short notice, but there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity for this meeting. I knew I would be allowed to take time off work to go, so I agreed to meet with the doctors at 10AM.

When I called Andy to tell him about the meeting, he immediately said there was no way he could make it to that meeting due to his heavy load at work. I knew he wanted to be there, but part of me didn't care who went with me; I'd go by myself if need be. I quickly made arrangements for my mom to come with, for moral support and potentially to drive me back home in case the news left me too disoriented to drive.

For the remainder of the day, I allowed myself to imagine what news I would be given in regards to the findings. I began to imagine that the MRI revealed uterine cancer and that I would likely die unless they treated it immediately. I imagined that there was some other problem with my own anatomy. I imagined that Caleb's brain abnormalities were accompanied by other severe and life-threatening abnormalities that failed to show up on the ultrasound. What could she mean by "they saw some other things that they weren't already aware of"? Once again, I knew it would be a long and difficult night with an abundance of nightmares and terrifying thoughts.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Calm, Cool and Collected

Tuesday morning I was once again en route to the Rush University Medical Center. I had recruited my sister to go with me just in case I received some bad news when I went in for the MRI. It was extrememly difficult for my husband to know he wouldn't be able to attend any of these appointments with me, but his guilt lessened when he learned that I would always have someone lined up to go with me in his stead.

I had managed to make it through all of my family's Easter festivities with a relative sense of calm. I had decided to be as accepting as possible and hope for God to have mercy on my son. I had fantasized that a miracle had taken place on Easter and Caleb would have no signs if any abnormality when I had the MRI. I had allowed my imagination to run wild.

As we entered the clinic we were informed that the fetal MRI equipment was working that day. At least I knew I hadn't driven all the way up there for nothing. Just moments later, I was being led to the registration area once again, and then on to the MRI center. I began to feel my nerves flaring up, but I reminded myself that I had to have strength in God's will. That meant I shouldn't be afraid...but I am merely human.

We sat in the MRI waiting room for what seemed like an eternity. There were a few other people in there with us and I remembered that I had been warned about emergency MRIs having the priority over scheduled appointments. I am normally, for the most part, a patient person, but considering the reason I was having this MRI, I was just anxious to get it over with.

I ended up getting in the "tube" more than 1 1/2 hours after my scheduled time. I was prepped for the scan with headphones, instructions, several blankets, and some scanning device that resembled a blanket precariously balanced on my abdomen. The technician informed me that the scan would take longer if Caleb moved during the process. I knew I would be in there for a while since it seemed as if he never wanted to cooperate during medical tests.

When people describe MRI tubes and say how extremely tight and scary they are, they aren't lying! I couldn't believe how tight it was! I closed my eyes and tried my best to forget where I was, but to no avail. Not long after being put in the "tube" I decided that I would pray the Rosary to keep my mind off my nerves. I didn't realize that I would be interrupted every few minutes with breathing instructions. I had been told that when they were scanning I'd have to breathe out all my breath and then not breathe for approximately 10 seconds. I didn't know how difficult this would be, nor did I expect to have to do it repeatedly for the entire hour I was in the MRI tube.

Just as I had suspected, every time the technician began a scan, Caleb would begin his jig. I ended up praying and asking God to make him sit still so the MRI could be completed in a timely manner. But Caleb just kept on dancing! When I was finally taken out of the "tube," the technician laughed as she told me that he really wasn't sitting still at all. She said that she didn't even think they got any scans worth studying and they had gone through the entire sequence twice! This was not comforting news.

My sister and I were told that we could finally go home. I was happy to hear that the radiologist should be calling me either later that day or, at the very latest, the following day. As calm as I was trying to be, I was still a wreck and I wanted the results immediately. I hoped that I would get that phone call soon, but I also hoped that the results would somehow be miraculous.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Let's Hope It's a "Good" Friday

Friday morning finally came and my mother and I were headed back to Rush to have my fetal echo and fetal MRI. Two nights earlier, I had received the news that the first part of my amnio had come back with normal results. That meant that Caleb would not have the chromosomal abnormalities of trisome 13, 18 or 21. As much as this would put most mothers at ease, it didn't do much for me. What this news meant to me was that my son had issues with his brain development, but they weren't related to those chromosomes. It didn't mean that they weren't related to one of the other 20 sets of chromosomes; it didn't mean that he would be okay.

As I drove, my mom was telling me how proud she was that I was so strong. She told me how she wished she could have had that spiritual strength and trust in God's will when she had given birth to my sister 7 weeks early. I noticed that everyone kept telling me how strong I was, but it didn't make me feel any better just made me feel like they were glad they weren't the ones in my shoes. I never resented their comments, but I felt numbness to their words. What they said didn't mean much to me. What meant a lot to me was that they were praying.

We arrived at the hospital and we were ushered to the registration desk. I was given my written orders for the tests I would be having and we were led down to the MRI area. My mom wrapped her arm around me in the waiting area. She assured me that God was in control and there was no reason to be afraid. Just minutes after those words came out of her mouth, the staff member who had led us to the MRI area came in and told us that they were having problems with the fetal MRI equipment. She told us that there was an engineer looking at it and we should just go have the fetal echo first. We were hoping that by the time the echo was completed, the MRI equipment would be fixed.

Before I knew it, I was laying on a table in a small, warm, dark room. I was waiting for the echo to begin. The technician was a kind woman who spoke to me about her children and grandchildren as she performed the test. We discussed what I knew of Caleb's condition and what I was hoping for as a result of the tests. She told me of her granddaughter, who had been diagnosed with a brain abnormality in-utero and was born healthy. For the most part, we were making small talk to try to get my mind off the situation.

I could feel Caleb moving during the test. He never wanted to be still when we needed him to be. The technician had told me it would take a long time if Caleb didn't cooperate. I was hoping that he'd calm down, but he was once again dancing his Irish jig.

After just 30 minutes, the study was complete. I was thrilled that the technician was able to finish so quickly, and I waited anxiously as the cardiologist reviewed the findings. My mother joined me in the exam room, and we didn't have to wait long before a smiling female doctor bounced in the room. She introduced herself and delivered the news that the findings were excellent. She assured us that Caleb had no heart abnormalities and we would never again have to come to the center for congenital heart abnormalities.

As much as I wanted to be happy with this news, I couldn't be. I had been told that the referring doctor didn't expect Caleb to have any heart abnormalities, and that we were just doing the echo as a precaution. I had set myself up to believe that this test would come back normal, so if it hadn't, I would have been devastated. I thanked God that Caleb had a good heart, but I was still afraid for his brain.

My mom and I were approached by another staff member shortly after we received the results of the echo. She came bearing the news that the engineer was still working on the MRI, and we could wait another hour or so to see if he'd have it up and running. She couldn't guarantee that it'd be fixed that day, but since we had come so far, we might as well wait a little while and see. We decided to grab some lunch in the mean time.

We were disappointed an hour later when we were told that the engineer had to order two parts that wouldn't be delivered until the next day. My mom and I realized that we had no choice but to reschedule the MRI and come back another day. It was Friday afternoon and we were told that the next available appointment would be on Tuesday morning. I quickly agreed to come back at the appointed time and I knew it would be a difficult weekend.

It was Good Friday. We were hoping to go home with good news and I guess we did in some ways. My husband was furious when I called him to tell him of the MRI situation. I explained to him that if God had wanted it to happen that day then it would have. I was amazed at my ability to remain calm and accepting.

Sadly, we would have no new information on Caleb's brain abnormalities to share with our families as we gathered together for Easter. We knew we would be anxious all weekend, but I also knew that somehow, God would allow me to still experience a peace-filled Holiday in spite of it all.