Glowing Skin, Beautiful hair, and the best attitude ever describe my second pregnancy. It was a welcome change from my first pregnancy which had been wrought with terrible morning sickness.
At 20 weeks the doctor ordered a routine ultrasound. My son, Kalel, was hoping for a sister and I remember the look of disappointment when we learned he would be welcoming a brother.
The comic book encyclopedia was our source for baby names. I love super heroes and with Kalel being named after Superman himself we wanted an equally creative name for this baby. We selected Jorel Xavier, a fictional character also from the comic book Superman. I anticipated the next time I would see my baby boy would be the day I delivered him.
At 26 weeks, however, I jumped at the chance for a second ultrasound at HCC Coleman College. My brother worked at the college and I was glad to sign up to be a patient for the radiology students. There were half a dozen students present for the “photo shoot.” Pictures. Pictures. Pictures. Jorel proved to be very photogenic in the womb and beyond.
Two days after the ultrasound I received a call from my brother. Even though he remained calm, I sensed the concern in his voice: “The Dean of the Radiology Department had looked over my images and expressed concerns.” I called my doctor and she immediately scheduled another ultrasound.
After imaging and a follow up at 27 weeks, it was determined that my unborn son had hydrocephalus, a brain condition often referred to as “water on the brain.” The clear, water-like fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord was unable to drain from his brain. Pressure from the fluid may cause damage and in order to compensate the head grows larger in size.
Once diagnosed, things grew hectic. Transferred to Texas Children’s Women’s Pavilion, my husband and I met the team of doctors who would monitor and perform surgery on my son’s brain just days after his birth. While meeting with specialist after specialist, we heard all the “worst case scenarios” in hopes to prepare us for a lifelong condition. No cure exists for hydrocephalus.
What did this mean for our family? What did this mean for my sweet Jorel who had yet to take his first breath? How was I to find joy through the fear and anxiety? What had I done? What could I do? Where are you Lord? More importantly who are you in the midst of this? Is this really something you have let happen? It was such a dark and confusing time.
As the day of Jorel’s arrival approached, we surrounded ourselves with our loved ones and church family. We believed for a miracle. In Jesus’ name we boldly asked for Jorel to be healed in the womb. I knew upon his arrival that our anticipated healing had not materialized. Jorel looked different and a room full of professionals rushing around provided enough clues to this fact. The size of his head increased so much that the skin and skull did not properly form around the brain tissue, exposing a portion in the back of his head about the size of a golf ball.
Our son radiated beauty along with the sweetest cry. My eyes filled with tears as I looked at the most perfect of creations. I wondered once again why God had chosen this path for us.
We had prayed for instant healing, but after Jorel’s birth we experienced blessing one hundred times over by seeing God’s glory daily.
Jorel’s first surgery was just three days after his birth. Based on our talks with the doctors, we expected to be in NICU for at least a month. My husband and I forged a friendship with the baby and family across form Jorel in the NICU. Both babies’ surgery occurred on the same day and I held that mother and she held me as we wept and prayed in the waiting room.
As the days passed my husband returned to work and I stayed at the Ronald McDonald House. Little did I know that this would be a mission field and I a missionary! God allowed me the privilege of being His hands and feet as I put my arms around hurting people longing to see the mercy and love of Jesus. I prayed with people and listened showing them that I cared; showing them that God cares. I was a light in a place and at a time that was so dark.
Two more surgeries followed. My plan was for Jorel’s healing. God’s plan was to grow my faith and stretch me in my walk with Him. It was for me to receive from Him so I could give to others. It became clear to me that His ways are higher than ours.
The chorus of a popular song says:
‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise Blessings by Laura Story
The blessing of Jorel has been sweet. His smile, even after brain surgery, awed the nurses and doctors. In fact, his smile brings joy to everyone around him. I thought that Jorel’s healing would have been a miracle. It would have been. Instead, God chose for Jorel himself to be the miracle! Filled with the joy of the Lord, he spreads joy, love, mercy and grace to a lost and broken world.
Jorel’s name means “God will uplift” in Hebrew. God has indeed uplifted me through the blessing and miracle of Jorel. God showed me that even in the darkest places of life, I can be a light for Him.
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