Womb to Tomb // Dignity of the Unborn

You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know. My bones are not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me unformed; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be. Psalm 139:13-16

“Not enough amniotic fluid? What does that mean?”

One more complication in an already difficult pregnancy, combined with a difficult
time of life, is what it meant.

My husband Ed was a U.S. Naval Officer. At the end of his tour at sea the year before, I bought us a house in our town of Virginia Beach. When he returned, we chose colors, tile and carpet and watched the build of our new home. It was a dream come true. The deployment was behind us and so would be Navy housing.

I was pregnant by the time the move date arrived, Ground Hog Day. Though I was ecstatic, my pregnancy was a threatened miscarriage. Packing a house and moving in cold and rain added to my stress. Still, despite my tears along the way, we were happy that our five year old and next child would live in a beautiful neighborhood.

The threat of a miscarriage was gone soon after our move, but then we learned that Ed would be heading out to sea after Easter for seven to nine months, not stationed on shore as expected. I cried then and even more when deployment was moved from Easter Week to Holy Week. Up to the moment we tearfully hugged at the pier, I hoped for the miracle of someone rushing up to him with papers in hand, shouting, “Lieutenant Wills! Your orders are changed, you’re staying on shore!” That miracle never happened.

My anguish over the doctor prescribed by insurance had been buried just under the surface of my emotions. It now rose. I didn’t have confidence in the military health care system. And I dreaded the drive to the hospital, while in labor, through that horrible Newport News tunnel. Now that my husband wouldn’t be making that drive with me, my fears multiplied.

Sometime in June an ultrasound revealed that I didn’t have enough amniotic fluid. In those days, the belief was that most assuredly the baby had kidney failure, or, at the least, was missing a kidney. The news hit me as the final blow to any sense of reason.

I begged and pleaded with my doctor to release me to civilian doctors. The rules said such a change could only be made at the first appointment of the pregnancy. My tears and trauma prevailed upon the powers that be to bend the rules. Three weeks before my due date, I registered at Virginia Beach General Hospital.

The new doctor and I discussed the amniotic fluid issue.“If you had been our patient from the beginning we could have taken care of this.” “What do you mean?” I naively asked. “We could have done something but now you’re too far into the pregnancy.” Only years later did I realize the horror he referred to. By now I cried everyday. Not only did I miss my husband more than ever, I was overwhelmed with anxiety for the health of my child.

On the day before my due date, I woke up in serene peace. My tears ceased. A bubbling sense of joy sprung from my inmost being. That day was my last regular doctor appointment. Everything looked the same. We decided if the baby did not start her arrival herself, I would be induced in 10 days. I hummed and smiled through the rest of the day.

In late afternoon, my mother telephoned. “Where have you been? I’ve been calling all day!” she practically yelled into the phone. Fortunately, the tone of her voice told me she had good news.
“How are you?” she asked quickly. “I’m absolutely wonderful. I woke up with such peace. I have no idea why, but it’s great.”

And then she shared her news. That early morning a mutual friend watched a show hosted by a Christian organization in Virginia. The evangelist felt the presence of the Holy Spirit nudge him to share a message over the air, “There’s a young woman – a local woman,” he said. “She is expecting and has been very worried about the health of her baby. God wants me to tell her that her child is healed. All will be well. There is no need to worry.” And then the man added, “Wait. I think I know her name. No,not exactly. But it’s something like…Charlotte or Shirley.” Our mutual friend leaped to her phone and called my mother, “I know this is meant for Cheryl!”

Then I understood the peace I had allowed to cover me that day. Whether he healed my child as I carried her within, or there was never a reason for concern, I did not know. What I did know is that he had “knit her together in my womb.” That message reminded me that God’s hand was on my child and that whatever the outcome, she belonged to him.

Peace continued to rule my days right through a rough delivery. But on that day I held a beautiful, completely healthy and whole baby girl. And she has grown to be a lovely woman. When Rebecca was four months old, her father returned from deployment. When they met, she held his gaze with bright eyes that looked deep into his soul. She knew he was her Daddy.

“Wonderful are your works, O Lord.”

To Jesus, through Mary- Cheryl Ann Wills

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