Thursday, January 26, 2017

Our Journey Through Fetal Medicine: Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29:11
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

An oldie, but a goodie. Sometimes we like to look deep into scripture to find a verse we did not know before. Sometimes we just need the comforts of the familiar ones. This week I've needed the latter and just wanted to be reminded that God has the plans for us.

On Tuesday we went to the fetal specialist here, and we were surprised to find that AnnLouise's right kidney is a bit enlarged. We've never seen this before. Her left kidney has always taken the brunt of the fluid retention, so with both kidneys dilated it was a shock to us. The doctor showed it to us, but he said several times it was nothing he was too concerned about at this time. While her left kidney has some scarring, her right kidney does not.

I still left...worried. We have 6 more weeks to go; what will happen during this time? My mind has thought of a thousand things.

The specialist also said that the MRI showed the ureterocele is not there anymore. They only see scar tissue of what at one time appeared to have been an ureterocele. I told him I was disappointed with the urologist at this point, because we saw him several weeks after the MRI and even then he said his first likely surgery to perform was going to be the removal of the ureterocele. Since she does not even have one, I feel like everything the urologist said was bogus. Honestly, I feel we wasted a lot of time and money to go to Houston on the 28th if he wasn't even going to look at her chart.

I know once she is here everything that can be seen and done is totally different. I'm trying to be patient for that. But at this point we've been given such high hopes by the urologist, and apparently he has no clue what is going on with her. I am glad we chose to go to Houston for the delivery, though, since it was the recommendation of the urologist that we could deliver in Midland because "what she has is not even that big of a deal."

And you know what? Once she is born, it might not be a big deal. I wish, however, he would not have told us this without actually knowing what she has. I feel like a cruel joke was played on us.

Naturally I left the appointment this week pretty down on the whole situation. I'm nervous for AnnLouise, but more than that I was just kind of...pissed...that no one seems to be on the same page. Maybe that is asking too much since I have no idea what goes into it, but I am pretty bitter toward the urologist at the moment.

So there I was sitting at the dining room table sulking for myself when one of our priests called. He had just gotten word of a family whose baby was stillborn, and he was asked to do the funeral. He wanted to talk about what got us through that time so that he could have something to say to the parents. I immediately started digging out books, cards, phone numbers. I was yet again blown away by the love and support we have been given this whole time. It took me back to the place we were in this fall when our outlook was funeral planning.

A couple of things came to my mind. The first was a revelation for me individually: I need to fight for AnnLouise, of course, but we aren't that far removed from a moment when our fighting was much harder and our outlook much grimmer. To open back up the book that described what holding my dead baby would feel like, I opened back up my heart to those emotions. That is the saddest I've ever been in my whole life. I wasn't mad at anyone or mad at God. I wasn't blaming anyone. I was just sad. My heart bled for the parents who were now enduring this.

The second was a revelation for me as a friend: even when it seems things have gotten better as in our case, things can still be hard. Just because we received a miracle does not mean we don't have really hard days or diagnoses that are easy to swallow. I am in no way saying that because someone has made me feel that way...I'm saying that because I know for sure that in the past when someone has had a rough patch and things started to get better, I kind of just quit praying for them. Instead of helping them all the way through the dark, I helped them perhaps get to the outskirts of the shadows and then thought all was glorious and I moved on. As friends, we all need to be better than that. And I needed that reminder.

As we have been dealing with this, we had an unexpected bombshell drop. Last Monday I was trying to get in a nap when Cash tried to call then texted to call him. He rarely does this while at work (read: never), so I called back immediately. I heard him shut his office doors and knew that something great or bad just happened. But he was still at work with a work cell phone, so I knew he hadn't been fired. (In the oil industry you always know the day may come when it is you, especially with $50 oil.)

I'm still shaking my head in disbelief. He informed me they had just received word the company was selling. The press release had just gone out within the past hour, so the whole industry was learning of the shock. He wanted to talk to me before I saw it on the news.

After the shock came sadness. As one of the last original wildcatting companies out there (not that they wildcat today--they are just run like the good ol' days--and we love it), it is extremely hard to imagine a world without the old guys who built the industry. That is probably the hardest part for me to digest. Cash has had 10 great years there, but he is still one of the younger ones since a lot of them have spent their entire careers there. They effortlessly have a culture that other companies spend tens of thousands of dollars a year trying to emulate but can't. Cash loves his job. He loves his co-workers. He loves his boss. I've never known anyone who loves getting up for work everyday (or 3 in the AM when a rig calls) as much as he does....and as much as he has for 10 years.

My heart breaks for him that while other great things are in his future, this company will soon become the past. The ranch parties, deer camp, fly fishing in Wyoming, tequila shots in the board room, the high ranking politicians walking through their many memories he has there that few in our generation ever got to experience. We are blessed that he has had the best 10 years in the industry, but we are sad knowing that chapter is closing.

The past two weeks have been filled with changes we never dreamed up. We are always on guard during AL's appointments, but we did not expect a company sale. I've had moments where I've been reminded that things can always be worse, yet I've definitely had my moments where I just sat down and cried. It seems like a lot right now. It is a lot. But just as God has known our plans all along, He still knows them. And He is out in front leading the way for us to walk in the path He so lovingly is paving for us. So the comforts of Jeremiah 29:11 have been my heart song for the past 10 days. I wish I had something profound to say, but all I have for you today is that God is still there. We aren't sure about the future with AL, but God is. He knows her plans. He knows Cash's plans. He knows our family's plans. And He plans to give us hope and a future. That's all I have today is that verse, but today that is all I need.


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