Wednesday, July 18, 2012

On Being Still

"I think we're in a sales office", I uttered to my husband when she briefly walked out of the room.

"We are", he mumbled, shaking his head. He's a salesman, after all. He knows the drill.

I believe her title was, "Genetic Counselor". But, she was selling something.

I am what they refer to as "Advanced Maternal Age". Having turned thirty-seven just a few months ago, I landed in this category that for some reason, causes me to furrow my brow. Advanced Maternal Age? I don't quite know how this is possible when the last time I checked, I was in my mid-twenties, but alas, the professionals have labeled me and here I am.

When our new baby reached twelve weeks, we were sent for our second ultrasound. It wasn't until we arrived at the office that I realized the correct terminology was "first trimester screening." Perhaps I'm naive, perhaps I'm just buried under a pile of children and laundry and didn't bother to research how this appointment might be different from the standard 12-week ultrasound I'd always had - you know, now that I'm in granny panties - but it was only minutes into the conversation before I realized that we were in unfamiliar territory.

"For $450-$600, we have a new groundbreaking and non-invasive test where you can find out with virtual certainty if the baby has any chromosomal defects. Or if the baby has Down Syndrome. And, that can help aid you in a decision to terminate the pregnancy if you so choose."

Terminate the pregnancy? What?

I'm certain I sat there utterly bug-eyed with my eyebrows raised to the ceiling and a look of horror on my face as she rattled off the list of "options" available to us. Because what I was hearing was "leather seats, a sunroof, and an extended maintenance warranty" that surely we'd be unwise not to purchase. Full of disclaimers, of course. "We can't really guarantee..."

For convenience and peace of mind, of course.

Peace of mind. For $450. Really?

Can real peace of mind ever be purchased when talking about an unborn child? Is it even for sale?

The visit ended with us declining any tests or "options" aside from standard maternal care, and we headed into our ultrasound.

I don't know what I was feeling. I suppose something like a combination of worry, fear, and uncertainty. I don't remember feeling that with my other children.

"I'm worried", I whispered to my husband.

He squeezed my hand and smiled. What would I do without him?

And, then - I looked up on the screen.

And, saw this:


And, as if our little one knew that I needed some reassurance, this little baby of ours waved at us with his/her tiny little hand.


I closed my eyes and cried: Lord, help me to trust You. Please don't let fear and worry rule in my heart. You are the Giver of Peace. You. And, only You. Help me to trust You.

And, He brought to mind His words that have echoed in my heart and mind every day since.

Words that are the source of REAL peace and assurance.

Words that cast away fear and uncertainty as the Giver of Life weaves and knits together the child He's chosen for us:

"Be still, and know that I am God."


  1. We had the same experience. Awful. Thankfully, the counseling Doc picked up on my disbelief that we were in this conversation. He said, "I wouldn't recommend doing any further testing that would cause you to worry." I stated that I had faith and a belief that what ever we were dealt was what our family was meant to have. I was so thankful for his "non medical/sales" approach. That baby that my "advanced maternal age" created is now a 14 month old toilet splashing, dishwasher door climbing healthy baby boy (3rd boy :).

  2. Sarah,
    I was the grandma at kindergarten (all those young inexperienced mamas with their cute little butts!), but the now 16 year old beauty born to this advanced maternal age Mama all those years ago was, and is (except for that total depravity thing) perfect. Enoy your pregnancy and good for you for being a witness to God's goodness in your life.

  3. I love this post. I do have a child with Down syndrome. It's heartbreaking to me that 90% of babies identified with Down syndrome during pregnancy are aborted. You are in the minority to chose as you did!

    But you are right - peace of mind really isn't for sale. For my typical children or my one with Down syndrome. :)

  4. As mothers, don't we think of enough reasons for anxiety without someone trying to talk us into worrying more? I'm so glad my doctor knows before he even mentions the optional tests that I'll decline (not that I'm pregnant) to have them done. I pray your faith remains strong and that all goes well for all of you. :)

  5. You do not know how much *I* needed this today, SS.

    Thank you.


  6. It breaks my heart to say that I had the same experience. My OB gave me the same sales pitch at a routine visit, and being 28 I'm not even considered high risk. I signed the paper stating that I declined all testing, then proceeded to leave the office shaking with anger. That's MY CHILD they're talking so flippantly about "terminating"!! I'm MOMMA and I'm going to love and cherish him or her no matter how many extra chromosomes God in His sovereignty allows to be present... because as you reminded us we are simply called to be still and know that He is God, and that's what truly brings peace! Thanks for the sweet reminder today!

  7. My dr was much more considerate thankfully. She knew I would not terminate it was something we discusses before I even got pregnant. She offered the tests so that if there was a risk we could better prepare for the care of the child, if we wanted to. I was thankful for that because though I would not terminate the pregnancy knowing in advance that this child would need more care, more money, more dr visits more whatever helped in our planing. She looks like she is going to be fine and our insurance covered the tests (otherwise I would not have bothered) but I can totally understand why the presentation and the phrasing would be very very upsetting.

  8. It's so interesting, Sarah, but it doesn't surprise me. In the adoption world, we are given an exhaustive checklist of what "special needs" we would accept in an adoptive child. Shane and I just shook our head. Isn't this more of the same. As a culture we idolize the "perfect" and forget that God sovereignly blesses us with imperfect children, whether they are typical or have special needs. We left our checklist open, because we were trusting that God would bring us the baby He had specially designed for us. When we got the news that the agency had a baby for us with Down Syndrome we were surprised that even from the Christian community, we received comments like, "Do they have to know right away?", "Have you really been praying about this?". Shane and I felt like if Knox came from my womb, we would never even consider terminating. Why would that be ok for an adoption. We were confident that God would equip us to give Knox the love and home he needs. Praise God that He grows us through our children, and the children He gives us have been perfectly designed for us :)

  9. Unbelievable, but yet not really. When I was pregnant with my kids I declined the AFP test because regardless of the results we were not terminating the pregnancy.

  10. The verse you wrote is so meaninful although it has a much different meaning for me. A few years ago my son-in-law was in an explosion and was burned over 85 per cent of his body with 3rd degree burns. He was not expected to live. The Lord taught me to "Be still and know that I am God". I wanted him to live for my daughter and their son. However, when I saw what he would have to go thru for recovery I could hardly ask him to recover. But thru it all God led so to believe that He is God and He is in control. (Chip did live - had 50 some surgeries and is holding down a full-tme job today. Scared? yes Grateful? Yes And their marriaged is better than ever!) I'm so glad that this same God is there for you and your family.

  11. I'm sorry that your genetic counselor was so insensitive. I'm entering the 9th month of my first pregnancy and I'm high risk. We've had some complications, but never, ever has anyone (OB, genetic counselor, reproductive specialist) ever tried to present genetic testing in this way. We are thankful that our insurance covered any extra testing that was recommended, but our medical professionals treated us with respect and helped us understand that the purpose of the the test is to PREPARE for any special care our son may need. They never, ever mentioned termination. I'm happy that I've been treated with respect during my pregnancy and that our doctors have been so encouraging.

  12. The "world" does not understand -fearfully and wonderfully made-. They teach that we are just a bunch of cells evolved from animals but we know much better. God doesn't make mistakes. That little child you're carrying is another of God's blessings! I love his (or her's) little wave.

  13. oh I just LOVED those ultrasound pics! thanks for sharing them.....I am in love with him/her already!!!!!
    He/she is such a gift.....
    Keep looking to our Sovereign God for peace. Love you my dear sis in Christ!!! Miss u like CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. I love this post! And it baffles me to think of "advanced maternal age" at 37, that's crazy! My mom's 4th and final child was at age 34, I think she wanted another but the drs told her that it wouldn't be wise at "that age". She always declined those tests. I was never offered those tests but I would have declined them too. Be Still....I love it =)