From the moment I knew I was pregnant with Redmond, a sense of dread and unrest came over me. I spent the first two weeks after that positive pregnancy test praying desperately for God to intervene in whatever was wrong. I gave Him my permission (as if He needed it) to take the baby if there was something terribly wrong. I waited for a miscarriage. I could not shake the sense of dread.
After two weeks of crying out to God, I felt His presence one morning like a soothing balm pour over me. My hands flew to my belly and the words that came to me were, “Life and health, joy and peace.”
Peace came then. Even though fear and dread tried to return, I comforted myself with those words.
Despite the assurance I had, Redmond's birth was traumatic and we learned soon after birth that he had Down syndrome. He was very sick and the first 34 days of his life were spent in the NICU with him as one of the sickest babies there. During a time when I should’ve been the most anxious, I was fairly calm. Through all the difficulties of those early days, I was most often calm and quiet. I was aware of the storm raging around me, but I kept my peace.
I did have to sort through what was numb denial, what was actually happening, and what might happen in the future. God might have promised me life and health, joy and peace, but at that time I was facing sickness, fear, and sadness.
When fear tried to take me over, I had a husband like a rock, standing firm and telling me it was all going to be okay. I had a sister and mother helping me laugh and letting me cry. I had a daddy fasting and praying for us. He reminded me that I found strength and felt God’s presence in music. Thanks to his prompting, I turned on the praise music and sang my heart out.
Every morning while I got ready to go to the hospital, I sang. When I pumped breast milk for 20 minutes every three hours, I listened to praise music and sang. I sang over my son. I sang praise to God. I couldn’t concentrate to read the Bible much. I barely had words to pray. But I sang and sang and sang.
When I listened to the words of the doctors and nurses, when I got my eyes off Jesus, fear snuck in. I’d find myself staring at objects, trying to figure out if I was crazy for believing that my baby would be okay, if I needed to accept reality and stop living in denial. But I had this peace that he’d make it through.
I submitted myself to God's will and waited to see what He would do. I asked my friends to pray because I couldn’t. I allowed the Holy Spirit to intercede for me with those groans I hear so much about.
Romans 8:26 – 27 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the word of God.” (NKJV)
I knew that if God did not spare my son, He would give me the grace to get through the loss. The thought horrified me, but even in the worst moments, I knew that God would walk me through it all. I was not alone.
Knowing so well that God owes me nothing, that any loss I face is nothing compared with the trauma of His own son’s death, I relish even more, savor, and bask in the beautiful YES that He gave me. Every day we have with Redmond is a gift, and these days the gift is a healthy and thriving little boy who gets into everything and has a mind of his own. Praise the Lord!
If you're interested in reading more specific things I did to deal with post partum depression, anxiety, and PTSD after Redmond's traumatic birth, including all of the miraculous ways that God healed him (and me), please check out my book: Looking Up When Life Looks Down: Shattered Dreams, Medical Miracles, and Restored Hope - available in paperback, e-book, or audiobook.
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