We were 20 weeks pregnant with our fourth baby. This was the momentous ultrasound, the moment we’d been waiting for, when we’d find out if our son would get his wish for a baby brother or if we would welcome a third beautiful baby girl into this world.
With nervous anticipation, we sat in the waiting room, the pounding of the machinery renovating the building doing little to calm our jitters.
Finally, the ultrasound tech called our name. I settled onto the exam table, my husband next to me holding my hand in the dark room. The sonographer smeared the cool jelly on my bulging belly. Black and white images appeared on the screen in front of us as she moved the wand over my stomach, naming and measuring body parts. The moment of truth…
“Those are definitely girl parts,” the sonographer said confidently, circling the telling part of the image on the screen.
After confirming her surety about seven times, a burst of love filled my heart. Another girl. Our son would be devastated. I had no idea how room arrangements would work in our 3-bedroom house with three girls once the baby outgrew the nursery. But we were having another precious little bundle of pink. How could I not rejoice?
My doctor entered the room. She and the sonographer studied something on the screen, discussing it quietly. “Your placenta is partially covering your cervix,” my doctor explained, pointing to the grey image. “It’s called placenta previa.”
I’d heard of that. I knew enough to know it wasn’t good. “You’ll need to take it easy,” she continued. “Nothing more strenuous than normal walking.” If it hadn’t moved by 28 weeks, we could face the risk of bleeding, early labor, and a C-section as early as 34 weeks depending on the health of the baby.
She assured us that there was a good chance the placenta would move; we just needed to be cautious just in case.
“Stay off Google,” she said before she left the room.
I’d had three textbook pregnancies and deliveries thus far. Pregnancy was my friend (mostly). Even before this news, I’d been fighting a little voice saying, “When is it my turn? When will my luck run out?” Sometimes I felt like I’d dodged a bullet – three times – but one would hit me eventually (I recognize the theological flaws with those statements; they floated into my head nonetheless).
With each pregnancy, my sense of realism increased. I was well aware that things can happen, things do happen, and things could happen to me. My best friend is a NICU nurse. We also personally knew families who had lost an infant or child. Child loss was not a distant reality; we weren’t so naïve to think it couldn’t happen to us.
Chances meant nothing to me. None of us know if we are the 99% or the 1% until it happens. Statistics don’t provide true reassurance. We would have to put our trust in something greater.
My husband and I decided that her middle name would be “Faith.” We needed faith to believe the placenta would move. And we needed faith in the goodness of God no matter what happened. Our prayer was that God would build our faith through this, and that whether we birthed a healthy baby at full term or joined the ranks of those who have lost a child, or anything in between – we would have faith in Him and worship him.
Seven weeks later, the follow-up ultrasound revealed that my placenta had moved clear out of the way! Baby girl was healthy. We could proceed forward with a normal delivery.
I didn’t realize then, nor did I realize for months later, that the entire trial with the placenta previa was for one thing: so that we would choose that middle name as we prayed for the faith to respond in worship to whatever may come. Faith was the point. Literally.
We thought we were asking for faith to respond in worship to a C-section. Bleeding during pregnancy. An early delivery. Bed rest. Post-labor hemorrhaging. Even child loss.
Instead, God was preparing us to respond in faith-filled worship to things we didn’t see coming. He, in His faithfulness was tuning our hearts to sing His praise even if.
Even if my friend’s baby passed away hours after birth just a month after our baby was born.
Even if I had breast cancer (I didn’t, but it took three ultrasounds and a mammogram to be sure).
Even if my dad didn’t survive a severe hemorrhagic stroke (he did, but it was life-altering nonetheless).
Even if my dad never gets out of the wheelchair.
Even if the fabric of my family of origin unraveled.
Even if the marriage of someone close to me fell apart.
That’s just scratching the surface of the things that transpired in the months following her birth.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, ESV)
When we chose her name, we didn’t see how the story would turn out. But we chose faith.
We don’t see the complete healing for my dad’s body.
We don’t see the reconciliation for the marriage of someone close to me.
We don’t see the restoration of all that has been broken in the last year.
We don’t see the resurrection of my friend’s baby.
…In this life.
But we choose faith.
Faith that God is good. Faith that healing, reconciliation, restoration, and resurrection WILL come to pass in the next life. Faith that God is at work. Faith that God is providing what we need to endure the challenges set before us today. Faith that God will provide what we need for the challenges we will encounter tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.
Today, my sweet baby girl turns one year old. When I look at her in all her cheeky, chunky sweetness, with her toothy grin and her bright blue eyes, I am reminded of her name. Of why we chose her name. Of how God’s faithfulness is wrapped up in this little ball of joy. Of how we had no idea we would need such a tangible reminder to have faith, but He did.
What’s in a name? Sometimes, literally, it’s faith.
Happy birthday, sweet baby girl. May you always have faith in the goodness of God, and may your life be a beacon for others to see Jesus and respond in faith.