May 15, 2011

Recently, Mary Fortkamp, president of the SW Nebraska LFL chapter #341, sent us a wonderful story of life and hope. Mary wrote,

“My friend … gave me an e-mail one day about her friend, Allison Neumueller [from Houston, Texas], who was on bed rest because her baby was in trouble … she asked if I could ask for prayers … and to share her friend’s story to as many people as possible, so the power of prayer could be used. God is SO GOOD!”

A Journey of Life

Last week, two different doctors, in two different hospitals, on two different days, reading two different ultrasounds came to the same conclusion. PPROM. I had never even heard the term before, but it is an almost certain death sentence for a baby at 15 weeks, and puts the mom at great risk as well. What it means is the membrane around the baby ruptured, and that all of the amniotic fluid leaked out. The ultrasound confirmed that I had NONE. Without amniotic fluid, the baby cannot develop lungs, so delivery at any time is fatal. 

Scott and I were devastated. We had just had a miscarriage in June, and we were overjoyed to make it to the second trimester. We had finally announced it to our church, our family, and our friends. Then this.

I was told to be on complete bed rest pending certain labor. I had to take my temperature 3 times a day to check for infection. If infection went undetected for any length of time, it would kill both the baby and me. The doctor suggested termination because of the risk to me, and the 0% chance for our child. I refused termination, knowing that I would carry the child until God saw fit to take it.

The darkest day of our lives went by. I requested prayers from every source that I could think of. The next day, the Lord started sending people into our lives to minister to us and build us back up. We found out that we had made it on prayer lists as far away as Pennsylvania and Atlanta. I received e-mails from people I didn’t know and people I hadn’t talked to in several years. The most touching e-mail I received was from a girl I had gone to high school with. She had lost her baby boy 40 minutes after birth. She knew at 17 weeks that she was planning a funeral as well as a birth, but instead of living in despair and depression, she used her story to proclaim the glory of the Christ. It was as if the Holy Spirit were speaking directly to me.

That is the moment that my prayers changed. Instead of being angry with God, I started praising Him. I understood that life is His alone to give and to take away. I finally hit my knees to tell Him that the child was His, not mine. He loved my child more than I am capable of, and if His plan required taking my child in order to grow His Kingdom, then I was willing to give it to Him in peace. It was the most difficult prayer I have ever prayed.

A couple of days went by. I spent them on bed rest, researching when death certificates are required in Texas and what the protocol is for burying children at 16 weeks. I was facing giving birth to a live baby who would begin to die in my arms as soon as the cord was cut. I tried to prepare myself for what the child would look like that early, so that I wouldn’t be shocked during the short time that I would have with our child. I remember worrying the most that its papery, translucent skin wouldn’t be able to withstand even my gentlest touch.

I was scheduled to see the high-risk specialist on Tuesday. I came armed with questions about hospital policy regarding delivery of a dying baby and burial. My husband and I prayed that we would get through the horrible conversation.

We started with a tech that was taking measurements on the ultrasound. She knew our situation and was acting really funny the more she stared at the screen. We asked her what was wrong and she told us to wait for the doctor. We were already expecting the worst, so we waited patiently. All of the sudden, the doctor came running into the room. She had been watching the ultrasound in the other room and was all excited about the “good news”. We were so confused until she pointed out that the dark patches around our baby were amniotic fluid. A LOT of amniotic fluid. It was a perfect ultrasound! DH and I started laughing hysterically. How could this be? She called in another specialist to take a look. Both doctors said that they had never seen anything like this. PPROM doesn’t heal that fast, and it doesn’t heal that easily. She said that I was the first.

Today I went back to the OB who had initially given us the bad news. She checked and the baby is still doing fine. She said that she had never been part of miracle like this in her practice. The nurses all came in to hug me and celebrate the news. Science had given the baby zero chance, but God has always been bigger than science.

My husband and I are still incredulous. I knew that God COULD heal the child, but I didn’t know that He WOULD. He doesn’t always. I’ve known too many wonderful people who God did not choose to heal. I actually even felt a little guilty because I am so not worthy of any of this. But God works according to His plan, and we see through the veil only darkly. I don’t know why He chose to move in my situation, but I trust His will.

I still have 24 weeks to go in this pregnancy, and they will seem like the longest of my life. We don’t know what caused my water to break in the first place, and we certainly don’t know how to prevent it from happening again. But I know that God is with me. He has a plan for this child that is much bigger than anything I could have planned, and He is faithful to see it through, whatever the outcome. Please continue to pray for us. We know He answers prayers.

By the way, we are having a boy! His name will be Isaac, because although we were willing to give him up to God, God has not demanded this sacrifice of us. Praise God!!

“Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things, who, O God is like you? Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again” (Psalm 71:19-21).

Here is a follow-up to the story:

Allison and her Husband, Scott, had Isaac on July 28, 2010, with an UNCOMPLICATED pregnancy that went to FULL TERM. Isaac was born 7 lbs and 10 oz and is “a sturdy boy.” How awesome is God??!! They are living each day to the Glory of God! An anecdote about HOW powerful prayer is, Allison asked her friends to pray that she went full-term and wanted to go the whole 42 weeks, but, by the 39th week, she had to BEG her friends to STOP praying she went full term because she was sooooo ready for the baby to be born! In fact, when her friends did indeed STOP praying for her to make it all the way to the 42nd week and had INSTEAD asked them to pray that she would give birth THAT week, at the end of the 39th week, she DID have Isaac!! Amazing. God is SO good! This is proof that he indeed hears our prayers and gives us what we need. Again, Thank you!

Mary Fortkamp