Racked with Despair
In December of 2012, my husband and I were very excited to find out we were expecting our second child. The pregnancy seemed to be going very well until I had a routine ultrasound performed at 3 months. My doctor called and informed me that our baby had severe facial and brain malformations that were most likely due to a chromosome disorder but an amniocentesis was needed.
This devastating news was a complete shock and I was barely able to tell my husband. Waiting for a diagnosis was the hardest time of my life. Racked with anxiety, despair, and sadness, I finally laid on my bed, looked out my window and told God I could not do this on my own. He would have to take over. It was a complete surrender of my circumstances to God and a full reliance on his divine providence.
After a couple of weeks of waiting, we were told Michael had Trisomy 13, a randomly occurring genetic disorder, generally considered “incompatible with life.” Severely affected by the extra chromosome, Michael was given little chance of surviving the pregnancy and if born alive, only live a few days.
My husband and I were very saddened by our son’s fate but we wanted the birth of our child and hoped for the chance to meet him. The remainder of my pregnancy was filled with a sense of peace, in that I knew Michael was a child of God and that we were honoring God’s plan for his life. Psalm 139:13 carried me through my time with Michael, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
At 35 weeks pregnant, Michael was not doing well in utero and a cesarean section was scheduled two days later. Our son was delivered at 2:01pm with no heart rate but within a minute, his heart starting beating and did so for the next 33 minutes until dying in his father’s arms at 2:35pm.
Even though I had 5 months to prepare for Michael’s short life, his death was devastating to me. My peace and trust in the Lord disappeared, even to the point of doubting the existence of God. My pain brought me to question why God would create such futile life and if so, why he would even care about just one person. My desperate yearning for heaven to exist for Michael’s sake made me fear it was only a figment of humanity’s imagination to console us in the face of inevitable death.
As I battled these thoughts of fear, doubt, and just bitter aloneness in the universe in the weeks after the loss of Michael, God broke through my conscious in a way that I was able to know He was not going to let me fall into unbelief. I was able to rest in His presence and be comforted by just “knowing” He is there, in control, and cares for His children.
My husband and I chose Michael’s name four months before his birth. The name Michael translates in Hebrew into “Who is like God?” After Michael’s death, I grasped a much deeper understanding of God and our lives in relation to Him. God giving and taking my son allowed me to truly see how we are the creation of a great Creator and that we were created for much more than just life on earth.
As I continue my journey in this life, I will know God is present in all of our days but ultimately, we are destined to dwell with Him in eternal paradise. Michael’s life revealed God’s glory by “fix[ing] our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)