It was the 18th week of our pregnancy and it was the big day—the anatomy scan. We already had four, one-hour long ultrasounds to look at our new son. Each one brought more questions, more grief and few answers.
The ultrasound tech placed the warm gel on my still small belly. Deep breaths in, the squeeze of my husband’s hand and our boy up on the big screen.
She gently took us through everything she saw. She was trying to be encouraging, but the fluid in his abdomen was still there and now there was fluid around his heart.
She showed us his bladder and pointed out the keyhole shape of it. Okay, we thought- it must be a posterior urethral valve. It was one of the theories the doctor from the week prior brought up. This week, the bladder not only held a different shape, but also had hole in it.
Oh no- something else wrong.
She finished her hour-long picture session and walked out of the room. My husband and I sat in silence waiting for the new doctor, who we were sure was about to bring us more woeful news.
The doctor made some small talk with us as she tried to feel us out on where we were with keeping the pregnancy. She then confirmed our son did in fact have a PUV. Then she started talking about his kidneys. She must have been going off of the previous week’s reports, because she started talking about bright spots.
That’s when the ultrasound technician spoke up, “I didn’t see that.” The doctor reviewed the images and her solemn attitude started changing. She didn’t see any signs that indicated kidney damage. The ultrasound technician then prompted her to look at the bladder.
She confirmed the hole and said, “I don’t know if you’re praying people, but this hole in his bladder may be an answered prayer.” The broken bladder was protecting his kidneys.
It took a doctor to remind me of the power of prayer.
Of course I had prayed in the four-weeks leading up to this scan. I prayed angrily. I knew God could take this away from us, so why hadn’t He? Every prayer was returned with a worst ultrasound from the week before. Why would today be any different?
In my pain and pride, I started to doubt His goodness to me. I knew He was good, but between our rough Down syndrome diagnosis, an open-heart surgery, a miscarriage and now this—was He good to me?
He said “No” to so many prayers in the past and “Yes” to those close to me. Was I destined to live a painful life alongside my children? Had my writing and following some how made my family selected to endure trial after trial? Was I the cause of our suffering?
Just like our first doctor who theorized week after week, I theorized day after day. Not on the science behind our baby’s condition, but on the nature of the one who created him.
I theorized instead of leaning on Him, instead of loving Him through the storm and remembering that my circumstances do not define His love for me.
And He knew what my skeptical heart needed. If I had a different doctor, one who would never had brought up prayer being the reason for his broken bladder, I would have questioned whether this was truly a miracle. I mean, if He was the reason for healing our son—why not heal all of him?
But the hard truth is this: I will never know the answers to some of the deepest questions in my heart this side of heaven. So, I’m trading my theories in for hope. My hope is in Him.
This post is part three about my high risk 4th pregnancy that was diagnosed as a posterior urethral valve. Read part one here (discovering a problem on a 14-week ultrasound) and part two (waiting on amniocentesis results) here. Read about my 3rd pregnancy that ended in miscarriage and my second pregnancy that was a Down syndrome diagnosis.
Where we are now: The amniocentesis came back negative. Since week 18, we have had three ultrasounds. The fluid in his abdomen is down and the fluid around his heart is gone. His bladder has created a “pop-off valve” of sorts, which for the time being seems to be further protecting him. If things stay the same, we will not need fetal surgery. In fact, at our 20-week scan, a different doctor said she hoped that as he grows, and his urethra grows, that his condition will improve. But she also confirmed that surgery after birth is still imminent. Another doctor at week 19, told us that there are three kinds of PUV’s- our son does not have the worst, but she said it’s unlikely he has the best case scenario because it was detected so early on the ultrasound. We are in no doubt a much better place than we were a few weeks ago, but we are also not out of the woods. Although the surgery is a simple one, there are potential complications and he is at a higher risk for kidney issues after birth or later in life. We will be seen about every 2 weeks, now. They will keep a close eye on his amniotic fluid level, which will be crucial for his lung development. I have had low amniotic fluid late in my last two pregnancies. We crave your prayers for our son.