The doctors in the high risk practice are skilled professionals.  We have come to trust them over the past nine months.  I will never forget the first visit in which they were trying to determine if Leah had placenta accreta.  The doctor, whom we will call the Headmaster, said, “If I were a gambling man with a dollar, I would bet ninety cents that you will develop accreta.”  As the weeks wore on, I now realize if I were a gambling man, I’d gladly take Headmaster to Vegas!

His medical insight proved to be frightfully accurate.  As the ultrasounds progressed, it became obvious that the accreta diagnosis was not going to go away.  We prayed, we asked our church to pray, and we asked our friends and family to pray.  God, in His wisdom, had already decided that the accreta was not going anywhere.  Leah was ordered to come in twice weekly for monitoring.  Leah got the assurance of Samuel’s development every Tuesday and Friday as they strapped monitors observing his heart rate.

Ultrasounds were given a two week intervals and it seemed, at least to Leah and I, that every new ultrasound brought a new issue to worry about concerning Samuel.  The calcium deposit was never mentioned again, but this did not mean that Down’s Syndrome (DS) was off the table.  Samuel measured in the high percentiles for most of his body measurements, all but the length of his femur, which as you guessed is another soft marker for DS.  A small nose is considered a marker for DS, and wouldn’t you know—Samuel would never allow us to get a nice photo of his face.  He threw his hand in the way at every opportunity, avoiding our attempts at a good photo like a celebrity shunning the paparazzi.  As you can imagine, there were many questions that remained unanswered.

Leah and I discussed having a test done to determine if God was giving us a baby with DS.  Eventually we decided against it because the most accurate test had its own risks.  We did not know what God had in store for us, but we were going to face it by faith.  If the markers confirmed DS, it did not change the fact that our son was growing each and every day in Leah’s womb and we were looking forward to meeting him.  After all, Samuel was our gift from God, even if he came packaged different than most children.

Leah was allowed to continue working and she did so each school day.  Fatigue was really becoming a problem as the weeks progressed.  I took on more and more responsibility at home to accommodate her exhaustion.  We just lived life.  Apart from me picking up more chores at home, there was little change in our overall routine.  We had two other children that were in need of care as well.  They were aware that a life was growing in Mama’s tummy and they were excited.

By twenty-four weeks, our daily routine was unremarkable.  I awoke early and helped Leah prepare for school by making her lunch and defrosting her car during the cold winter months.  My morning helpfulness will create more problems for us, but I’ll get to that later.  Once Leah was off to school, I fed the children, had morning devotions, and prepped them for preschool.  When there was no preschool, I kept them during the day mixing work and family when necessary.

The evening schedule was established as well.  The children ate dinner and took a shower in the early evening.  We would have family devotions, reading a Bible story to the children and having family prayer.  Daniel and Ellie were often sweet and sympathetic to Leah’s fatigue, asking God to, “help Mama and Baby Samuel.”  After they were tucked into bed, Leah typically prepared herself for bed, becoming more and more exhausted each day.  I would help Leah into bed, almost tucking her in as we had just done with the children.  And she always asked the same question before I prayed, “He is okay isn’t he?”

At first, I tried to deflect the question with humor or sarcasm.  Both have served me well as perfectly functional defense mechanisms in the past.  However, she was not to be discouraged and asked again, “He is okay isn’t he?”  I did not know how to answer because for once a snarky comment was not going to be sufficient.  I eventually said, “Yes, of course he is.”  I was lying.  I was lying to myself more than I was lying to my wife, but I was lying.  I had no confidence in anything and I was saying yes because it helped me cope with all the uncertainty around me and it gave a sliver of hope to my wife.

I had come to a crossroads in my life.  There was this spiritual road that was branching in two directions.  There was an emotional road there as well.  I had come to the fork uncertain of where I was headed.  I knew where God wanted me to go, but I was hesitant.  As I stood idle, unwilling to make a decision, God brought something else into our life that would eventually change my perspective completely.