THE News

May 24, 2010.

John & I sit in yet another ultrasound room. Yes, it has only been five days since our last one. I could not bear to wait one month until we knew what was going on with baby Lovell #2. I decided to take matters in my own hands, after all, this is our baby & I felt if something wasn’t quite right it would be better to know now rather than later.

Once again, an ultrasound tech with a poker-face. Must be a pre-requisite for working in ultrasound. I lay staring at a flat-screen tv scanning every inch for a possible problem. Yet, I can’t see anything but a squirmy baby sucking his or her thumb & kicking every time the ultrasound probe comes near. Hope fills my heart, and I think just maybe everything is ok after all.

I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I’m handed an ultrasound picture of our baby, & told “it’s a girl!” Yet the joy in those words is overshadowed by fear of the unknown. Finally, the doctor comes in, sees my expression & tears, and offers what I’ve been waiting to hear.

The news.

We are told our baby girl will be born with spina bifida-a fairly rare & complex defect in the spinal cord. The doctor explains he can’t see the actual lesion on the spine,  but he’s sure of the diagnosis. While my mind shifts into shock & survival mode, the doctor proceeds to tell us of our options-terminate or surgery.

My thoughts are scattered during this time, but somehow I have peace in the middle of the chaos. I know God has prepared John & I for this. I know God is still knitting this baby girl together. I also know that although it feels like I have been serving a God who’s just dropped the proverbial ball on our family, I am in fact serving a God who intends this baby’s life for our good. I know He is intentional about what He creates, it was His hand who formed her tiny spine & it will be His hand who works out His purposes for her good. And ours.

So surgery it is.

Overall, her prognosis is good. The problem with the spine is on her sacrum, which is good news, meaning she should be just like any other kid with just extra doctor appointments & a few bumps along the road. But really, whose life doesn’t have some bumps along the way?

We decided a lot easier with this baby what her name will be-Zoe, which means “life.” John & I believe Christ came to give us “life to the fullest,” and that’s what our prayer is for Zoe. I am reminded of the story of the man blind from birth, & the disciples who asked Jesus who sinned that caused the man to be blind-he or his parents? And the sweet response I love & believe holds true for Zoe is this, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, […] but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” John 9:3.

I know God is always at work around us. I also know He sometimes chooses some very odd ways in our human opinion to make Himself known to His people. After all, this is the same God who chose a manger for His son’s crib & cattle to welcome him into the world. Who am I to question what God chooses to do?

Zoe will have surgery after she’s born at Vanderbilt University to fix the spinal lesion. Our doctor is confident she will walk & that our biggest hurdle will probably be potty-training which may come a little later than normal. We are praying everyday that God continues forming Zoe just as He wants her-in His image, that He protects her, that any complications can be minimized & that He prepares us to be the parents she & Faith both need. We’d love for you to join us in this prayer for our daughters!

BTW….here she is at 19 weeks!


6 thoughts on “THE News

  1. Hillary, I know the Lord has great plans for Zoe. I do know the feeling though, it was my husband and not my child. And I can only describe our experiences as being kicked in the chest with cleats! But He is seeing me through and He will you and John as well. I love you!

    I think this scripture is to the point!

    “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. ” Jeremiah 29:11

    While Rick is gone, I am not harmed, hurt yes, harmed no and I do have a future and God is in the front and center of it! And all will be revealed in His time!

  2. Myra,

    Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses. I believe it with all my heart. I know it must be a struggle for you-I lost my dad very unexpectedly to a heart attack when I was 18, & I still remember watching my mom go through it all. Her faith did & still does amaze me. I know God will use this time in your life to bring you closer to Him, and He will amaze you at how He carries you through this. I used to tell my mom after my dad died that every day we get through just brings us one day closer to seeing dad again. Rick is probably having the time of his life right now! It’s just tough for those of us who still have work to do here! I love you as well & my prayers are with you!! You are doing GREAT! Thanks for all your support & prayers as well!

  3. Hillary an John….I can honestly and 100 percent tell you this. I have been in your shoes. Hillary the next thing I want to tell you “It is not your fault!” You will have doctor’s tell you that it is due to lack of folic acid. This is a bunch of bologna! My second child Makayla was born with Spina Bifida. She had a mylomengicle. I was at my five month appointment and was told there was something wrong and that I had to go to Huntington to see a specialist. Things will be difficult I can say that much, but your belief and strength in God will help you so much. I can only tell you that the doctors only know half of what they will tell you and the other half they make up as they go. Zoe is blessed to have two loving parents that will be strong for her and love her unconditionally. I can only say that if you have questions or just a ear to listen that will understand and know the emotions that you are going through, I am here. I can’t tell you that I am sorry, because then I would have to be regretful of my daughter, and that I never will be, but I can say this…”God gives special kids to those he knows will take care of them and love them like no other!’ and remember this also, “God never gives us more then we can handle!” My Grandfather told me this when I was pregnant with Makayla. I don’t think that truer words have ever been spoken. He got to see her one time after she was born and then he passed away a month later. I take his words and his love for God with me everywhere and I make sure that Makayla knows that she is special, not because she has SB, but because she is loved more then she will ever really know. Again, if you have questions, please feel free to ask.

  4. Hilary and John – Your strength is a blessing and God given. I know you know this as well as anyone, but we are promised that we will never be given anything that we cannot handle WITH GOD’s HELP (people always forget that part!). It has proven true in my life as a mother, over and over again. All of you will be in my prayers – big sister Faith too! With love, Mary K.

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