I was sitting at a stop light outside of the Lowes by our house today and started thinking about George Mason's nephrologist. We were told he was/is the best and we had no reason to question that. At our first meeting with him - when we found out that George Mason's little piece of tissue was causing a lot of other, much bigger issues - he was very calm and informative. He gave us the facts as he saw them and then gently walked us through the what ifs. He gave us the worst case scenario and then worked his way toward the lesser extremes of possible damages from a simple piece of tissue. We left his office feeling overwhelmed. If our precious son survived his pregnancy and those crucial first 24 hours, we were in for a long road of hospitals, medicines, treatments, and eventually transplants.
Our whole world changed the day we found out we were pregnant. Then it changed again when we found out baby was a boy. Then it changed again the day we realized just how sick he was. I spent the next 5 months or so anxious about all the possibilities. I couldn't prepare my mind (and heart) for the worst and simultaneously, wholeheartedly pray for a miracle. So I didn't. I just prayed as boldly as I could muster, that God would heal my son and that none of these awful extremes we'd been warned about would be our reality. I needed the hope of a miracle in order to get through each day. Every 3 weeks or so we would have another ultrasound. After the results made their rounds to George Mason's various doctors, we would sit down with my OB and get the latest updates and plans. The nephrologist's opinion usually held the most weight, as we knew George's kidneys were in terrible condition. Every 3 weeks he would tell us "bigger is better, let's get this baby to term" and Adam and I would pray that our little man was still alive in 3 weeks when it was time for our next ultrasound.
As I was sitting at that stop light this morning, I remembered what the nephrologist said when he came into our room after George was born. He told us that he stood by his decision to get George Mason to term. That even though we were about to hold our son for the first and last time, he felt like we did everything right medically to give him the best chance at life. I don't know if that's true or not, but I guess it was helpful to have him tell us that. Maybe over the years as we process all of this his comments will ease some of the pain... the reality is that while we were absolutely willing to listen to our doctors - they were thoroughly covered in prayer - God was going to have the final say in all of this. Maybe that doctor was trying to offer us peace of mind or maybe he was just trying to cover his bases. Either way, we knew God had this; whatever that meant.
I've only really questioned our decisions one time since George's day. In a moment where I was overwhelmed with pain, I felt like we failed him. I don't feel that way anymore, but there was a moment where the devil's lies were trying to take away the peace that God has given us about all of this. We prayed and prayed for a miracle. He gave us our son, alive and fighting, for 16 hours. Do I wish it had been longer? I'm not sure. George Mason was so very sick. If he had been healthy and pain free, absolutely. But he wasn't. He was in pain, his body was failing him, and medicine had done all it was capable of doing to keep him alive. He was destined for heaven, it was just a matter of when. His kidneys weren't filtering out toxins, his lungs weren't filtering out toxins, he wasn't eating. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, especially when I know what was waiting for him after he took that last breath. No one and nothing can prepare you for parenthood. There are not words to describe the weight of the decisions you have to make day in and day out regarding your child. God gave us the strength and wisdom to make the best decisions about George's medical care as we could. He also made sure that where it really counted, in the places where we would be likely to beat ourselves up or second guess our decision, that we weren't given a choice at all. George Mason came on his own time, earlier than we planned. He fought hard and then God said it was time; there were no decisions to be made.
I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies…. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right and supported me, and your gentleness made me great. You gave me a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.
- Psalm 18:1-3, 35-36
My greatest enemy in all of this is my own self doubt. Did we do something to cause this? Could we/Should we have done something differently? What if we had done THIS? But when I take a moment and bring those things to God, I realize how perfectly He laid all of this out. How perfectly He protected my heart from disappointment in the long run. “You gave me a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.” Amen to that! God laid out the path that Adam and I walked. He journeyed it with us and continues to do so. “I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies” Yes! My God is SO worthy of my praise and He will continue to save me from my self doubt and whatever other lies my broken heart will try to tell me. My son didn’t live here on earth for very long, but he is living in eternity in a perfect and healthy body. Praise God for my ability to know that. Praise God for His scriptures and the promises that comfort me. Praise God for His unfailing love. Praise God for His perfect plan and his protection against my enemy: self doubt.