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The Story of Hope

One year ago, my whole world came crashing down around me.

September 21, 2010
It was just like any other Tuesday morning, I got Peyton up and ready for Mother’s Morning Out, then went to Barnes & Noble to hang out for a little bit before my doctor appointment. I was very excited and fidigity while I waited impatiently for the minutes to pass before leaving for the office. That was the day we were to find out whether we would have another girl or have a boy to join our family. To pass the time, I was on my FB app and saw that my friend, Donna, was in need of a new cell phone, so I was texting her about the one I no longer used and made plans to get together with her the next day. Then it was time to go meet up with David and head to our appointment.

We were both very excited. David really wanted another girl, I didn’t mind either way. Although, Peyton was already a daddy’s girl, so I did kind of want a moma’s boy.:DThe time came to go back to the ultrasound room. I don’t remember her name, but the tech was really sweet. When she got started, the tech asked us if we wanted to find out, “YES!” So she started looking around, making sure everything was going good. David actually saw that our baby was a girl and said it first. Then the tech took a bunch of pictures and I noticed that she was looking at the same two places for a long time, but I had no clue what they were. I just figured she was being thorough. Our tech gave us our pictures and had us wait for Dr Wheeler for the rest of our appointment. We waited an unusual amount of time, and David had to get back to work for meetings. I figured Dr Wheeler was just busy with other patients, so I told him to go ahead and go back to work and that I’d call him after I left.

After waiting in the exam room for about 45 mins, Dr Wheeler came in and said “we need to talk”. He told me that my baby girl was doing good, they just had some concerns. He said that a normal umbilical cord has 2 arteries and 1 vein, our baby had one artery and one vein. This by itself is nothing major. He has delivered plenty of healthy babies that had this issue. Dr Wheeler said that his main concern was that there was a spot on our baby’s heart and they didn’t know what it was. It could just be light reflecting back through on the ultrasound, but they just don’t know. And it would be best if I went to Birmingham to have a more extensive ultrasound preformed.

Okay, so I’m 20 weeks pregnant, by myself, receiving this news. Of course I lost it and cried my heart out. But I had to pull myself together enough to make an appointment with Dr Gonzalez in Birmingham and go pick Peyton up from school. Then I can cry some more. They made my appointment for 2 days from then.

So I got in the car and called David. I felt horrible for him, to this day he is still beating himself up for leaving that appointment to go back to work. He cancelled all his upcoming trips so that he could go to every appointment from here on out. Then I called Leah. Let me tell you, this woman and her family have been such a blessing to me and my family. I love her so much. She agreed on the spot to watch Peyton for us while we went to Birmingham (2 hours away!). Then I picked Peyton up from school, took her home and just held her and cried.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Peyton and I went to Ardmore to see my friend, Donna, so I could give her my old cell. I tried to act as if everything was normal. It was nice catching up with an old friend. Then I went to my home church and talked with Brother Steve. This is one of the most Godly men I know, I truly love him and his family, they mean the world to me. I knew that at this pint, I needed Bro Steve, needed to talk to him and to start praying hard for this unborn child.

Thursday, September 23, 2010
David and I left Peyton in extremely loving and capable hands and went to Birmingham. We had no clue where Brookwood Medical Center was, or what to expect. Once we found the office, we had a 2.5 HOUR ultrasound. It was dark, cool, and quiet, I couldn’t help dozing off every now and then. Finally Dr Gonzalez came in and told us that “according to these measurements, your baby has Down’s Syndrome. If it’s not Down’s, then it’s something closely related. I’m very certain that your child will have some form of genetic defect. We recommend an amniocentesis.” Then he proceeded to tell us that there were 3 spots on her heart (still don’t know what they are), and the blood is not flowing the right way in and out of her heart. Dr Gonzalez explained all the risks of the amniocentesis: miscarriage, infection, bleeding, etc. He asked if we wanted to go ahead and do it right then, wait a little bit or at all? David wanted me to do it, I said no. To me, I don’t care. If God wants me to have a child with disabilities, that’s fine. Who am I to disagree with God? He does NOT make mistakes. But David wanted me to do it because he wanted to mentally prepare himself. We talked about all this on the way home.We decided that my fear of needles will have to be pushed aside to find out for sure what was going on with our baby. The verse, Jeremiah 29:11 came into my heart: “For I know the plans I have for you, : declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

“Hope.” I said.
“Our baby girl should be named, Hope.”
“Hope Lilliana. I like that. Hope it is.”

The next few days were a blur. I was numb and prayed constantly. Even though David was uncomfortable (he’s shy and private), I started telling close friends and family what was going on. I just needed people to lean on and pray for Hope. There is definite power in prayer. You may not think so, but God hears you. He may not give you the answer you want, but He does give you the answer you need.

We decided to go ahead with the amniocentesis. I called and made the appointment for the following week.

Thursday,September 30, 2010
We went to Birmingham for the amnio. I actually had to have David pull over, I was so nervous I was sick. Then we had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory before going in for the procedure. I remember laying on the table with tears streaming down my face and Dr Gonzalez hadn’t even come into the room yet! He tried to have me relax by telling me jokes, but I was too scared to move, I didn’t want them to poke Hope. The procedure only took about 5 minutes. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt at all. They said it’d be 24 hrs for the preliminary results and about 7 days for the complete results. So we waited. And waited. And waited. I am NOT a patient person, but I’m trying. The office was supposed to call Friday afternoon. They NEVER called! Now I had to wait until Monday, and believe me, I called them bright and early! “I’m sorry ma’am, let me pull your results up.” More waiting. “Oh, everything came back normal for the preliminary tests.” That’s it? Really? That’s how you tell me? Oh well, Praise and Glory to God! We still had to wait a little longer for the complete results, but right now we had  a little comfort knowing that Hope did NOT have Down’s. But we were still concerned about the mysterious spots on her heart, the blood not flowing the right way in and out of her heart, and her umbilical cord.

The rest of the results came back (again, I had to call because they didn’t call me when they were supposed to) and everything was normal. PRAISE GOD!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010
We went back to Birmingham for another ultrasound to check out Hope’s measurements and heart. This was another 2.5 hours ultrasound. When the tech looked at the heart, she was amazed at what she saw. Yes, there were still 3 spots, but the heart had healed itself and the blood was now flowing in and out properly! Call it what you want, baby growing normally, it would have healed on it’s own anyway, but I say it was all God and His will that healed my baby’s heart. This was the last time we saw Dr Gonzalez. Now we wait about 16 or so weeks until Hope is born to find out what the spots are.

We decided to be induced. We set the date for Jan 26, that way I get my doctor who knows my history, the NICU staff, and Dr Israel (neonatal/pediatric cardiologist) could all be there. Well you can plan all you want, but God and baby will always decide for you!:DI went into labor at 2am Tuesday, January 25, 2011. When were settled into our hospital room I started asking (ok, more like demanding) for Dr Wheeler. But I was told that he was not the doc on call and I’d have to settle for whomever that was (turned out to be Dr Rushing). Then I told the nurses between contractions about Hope’s heart and that the NICU and Dr Israel needed to be present. Again, turned down. I’d have to wait until Hope was actually born to check her out then call the NICU or not. Hope was born at 628am. Her color was great, her breathing was normal, and they didn’t hear anything abnormal with her heart. No need for the NICU or Dr Israel.

Friday, January 28, 2011
We went to see Dr Israel in his office. We waited about 10 minutes. He did an ultrasound on Hope’s heart for about 2 minutes. There was not one single spot on her heart. We were told that there were 3, we saw them for ourselves when we looked at the pictures! This was the day that everything felt real. Our baby was truly healthy. We’ve been praying and hoping and now it’s really true. We have a beautiful and healthy baby girl.

I wanted to share our story because I thought that it just might help someone else. Everyone goes through rough patches. It’s how you handle it that makes the difference. I’m grateful that our story has a very happy ending. David and I, along with family, friends and perfect strangers, all prayed for this baby. We prayed for God’s will and continue to do so. I feel that Hope has a special purpose in this life. She has given me a new look on life and how I parent my children. I’m trying to have a lot more patience with my children, I admit that I often fail but I am trying. I also want them to stay innocent, sweet children for as long as they can be.  So yes, my whole world came crashing down around me a year ago, but as the military has taught me, you have to be torn down so you can be built up stronger and better than ever. My faith and devotion to God is a lot stronger. I had never felt so close to Him as in that month of sorrow.

This is my testimonial, I hope that you can find some comfort in it. Thank you!

Leah - September 21, 2011 - 9:20 pm

Thanks for the tears, Lucy! :) I can’t believe it’s been a year already, but I will never forget that phone call and the weeks that followed as long as I live! Praise Him for Hope’s life and for your friendship as well. I love y’all dearly! :)

Brenda Douglas - September 21, 2011 - 9:32 pm

What a glorious testimony and I truly, thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing. God’s blessings on you and your beautiful girls. What a delight it must be to watch the beauty from near ashes.

Donna - September 21, 2011 - 10:57 pm

I had no idea, Lucy!!! Oh my gosh! I’m about to cry! This was a beautiful testimony, thank you for sharing. God is Great, and He can do anything!

Kimberly Brock - September 21, 2011 - 11:15 pm

There’s def testimony in Hope’s story. Thanks for sharing. Love you guys.

Lori Chudy - September 21, 2011 - 11:44 pm

First, thanks for sharing! The part about the spots on her heart being gone gave me chills. Good chills! :)

Rushing delivered both mine. He’s always on call!!

Carol Thompson - September 22, 2011 - 12:12 am

Lucy, I so remember when you called me that day (and David called me later, so upset with himself for leaving the appointment early- as we talked, I told him we just had to have hope. I think your mom said pretty much the same thing to ya’ll.). I remember ya’ll calling on the way home from the ultrasound and tests in Birmingham, too. I had been thinking the baby’s name should be Faith, Mercy or something like that. Then ya’ll called and said her name was to be HOPE- perfect!!!!! I remember us coming to Huntsville, to keep Peyton and be with ya’ll and give you support when we got the call from the doctor that long, long Friday. (I so wanted to talk to Leah that day- remember they went with us to the Botanical Gardens that Friday? But, I didn’t know if she knew or not.) Then, no call. We had to sweat it out over the weekend. Then, Monday morning we found out all was good as far as the Downs went. Remember, you, Peyton and I all cried (she cried because we were crying!). David and Warren were at Lowe’s- and neither had their cell phones! Then, they’re home- we give them the news and David literally cried for joy! Later, we find out all the other tests are good to go. Then we just have to wait and see if her little heart was going to be OK- what long months of waiting. All of a sudden she’s here- and just perfect. Others might be skeptical, but I believe God did answer a lot of people’s prayers, where Hope was concerned. I admired how ya’ll were handling the situation- I don’t know if I could have done it. I always tried to be positive when talking to you and David; but in my heart, I had so many questions- mostly, WHY? God is good- never forget that; or to thank him for Peyton and Hope- two little angels!

Barbara Gunter - September 22, 2011 - 1:22 am

Lucy and David You two have been such precious, dear friends to Leah and Mike, thank you for that.
What a precious story of God’s miracle in Hope and His mercy and grace to us all. Your journey is a testimony to patience and trust in the ultimate physician..the Lord Himself. Your two precious gifts from Him are His showing us all the true miracle of birth and His hands in it. Thank you for sharing and we know that this will be a blessing to someone else. Love Neil and Barbara Gunter

Carole Arrington - September 22, 2011 - 3:32 am

Hey Lucy,

What a precious testimony!

I too remember when I heard that you had found out that the baby had Downs and it just broke my heart.
All I could think of then was that God knew who to present those circumstances to, because it takes very special people
to handle things like that; and I knew you were ‘that’ special. You had always adored Royce and had so much fun with him;
the only new thing for you would be how to take care of a Downs baby. I don’t think I ever heard about the heart concern, but
I prayed for the baby and the Lord knew all about it and was certainly in control of the whole situation.
You know, I have learned in my life that sometimes the Lord will use circumstances to bring us back to Him, if somehow life gets in the way, we somehow fall out of the fellowship with Him like we’d had in the past.

I see your pictures all the time and see how beautiful both of your girls are. I think Hope really looks like you………

I am so happy for you, to have a wonderful marriage and 2 beautiful, healthy children. I think that was God’s plan for you!

Thank you for the blessing of your testimony!

Christine Hoxie - September 22, 2011 - 3:46 am

Wow Lucy, I had absolutely no idea you had such a scare! But what a miracle everything turned out to be! You and your family are truly blessed! I think you picked a perfect name for her!! I am so glad everything turned out so well! My husband and I have tried for awhile and resulted in a miscarriage (I had just found out I was pregnant). After Samantha was born I realized what a miracle life really is. I’ve learned that everything happens for a reason, and for whatever that reason is, we were not meant to have another child of our own. I have recently been doing some soul searching especially after having a very difficult time with my recent deployment and return. Your story really gives me strength to know that my decision to return to church on that journey is the right one. I pray that you and your family have wonderful memories to come and continue to enjoy your 2 beautiful little miracles! Thank you so very much for sharing that wonderful and touching, but difficult at times, story!! God please you and your family!!


Viree Sweatt - September 22, 2011 - 12:11 pm

I don’t even know you I just saw you fb statemant and I clicked on it Our God is truly an awesome God. I am a lots older than you and I have seen God in action a lot of times you just have to know that these wonders are the work of God and it is all in his plan May God contiune to bless you and your family

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