If we truly want to put all the pieces together and be whole, we can allow Jesus to do it for us. I’ve tried this and discovered that it requires commitment to a long process of puzzle-working, and there are times that I have felt it would never make sense. The process has demanded that I relinquish hold of the pieces I thought were already fitting together. I have had to let God be in control, and that isn’t always an easy thing to do.
In March 1998, we discovered I was expecting our third child. We had not planned to have another child and had actually already sold some of our baby things. So, it took me a little while to embrace the idea and accept it.
Later in the spring, my husband interviewed for a job at our alma mater, where we had been hoping to return for quite a while. He didn’t get the job, and we were discouraged, and kind of symbolically “threw up our hands” and gave up on ever getting a job there (as this was about his 3rd time to be turned down).
We continued through the summer and my pregnancy was proving to be more challenging than the first two. By September, I was told I needed to stop working and rest as much as possible. I wasn’t due until November, so our finances took a blow which lead us to seek legal counsel and eventually took us down the path of bankruptcy, chapter 7 (more on this in a future post).
As the due date approached, the doctor saw that the baby was getting quite big and planned to induce me early. We found out we were having a girl and tried to get ready for her arrival in a hurry, particularly since our first two were boys.
The doctor induced me on a Saturday morning, and the labor was stressful with my veins not doing well due to dehydration. When it came time to push, my blood pressure was bottoming out and I almost fainted were it not for a nurse anesthetist who noticed my eyes rolling back in my head and took what measures were needed to keep me awake and pushing. Our girl was born and yes, she was big, 10lbs.15.3oz! However, she seemed bloated and swollen, like she wasn’t supposed to be that big…
During that first week, we were back and forth to the pediatrician a lot. Our daughter wasn’t acting quite right and the doctor was concerned. They checked her blood levels and urine samples several times, and her potassium level kept rising. By the 6th day, we had her at Children’s hospital and her potassium was at 8.4 (which is dangerous because it can lead to cardiac arrest, but no one had told us that up to this point).
They had sent me home after being at Children’s all day doing testing, only to call me a half hour after I got back to the apartment to tell me to bring her again. We weren’t comprehending what danger she was in at that time. By the time we got her there and they took her blood again, her potassium had risen to 11.4 and the ultrasound was showing her kidneys weren’t functioning.
They whisked her away to do an emergency surgery that would allow them to perform dialysis to get the toxins out of her system. We went to the parent room, pray, read Scripture, and called friends all over the world to pray for a miracle. They came to get us when the surgery ended, and we went to see her with all the tubes and machines hooked up to her.
We were told to try to rest; there was nothing more we could do at that point. Amazingly, we slept, for 5 hours. When we woke, the nurses told us her levels were all back to normal and her kidneys were beginning to function again. They left the dialysis “straw” in for 18 hours in case they would have to perform it again, but they didn’t. She has never had a problem since, and now she is almost 15!
The nephrologist (kidney doctor) said he had never seen anyone survive a potassium that high. All the staff were amazed that she lived. We knew it was a miracle from the Father, and because she was an unexpected gift from Him in the first place, we knew He must have planned for her to be a part of our lives for a reason.
During that night of uncertainty, God took me to Isaiah 40 and it gave me great comfort. He spoke promises to me about my future, even as I released her to His care and His choice as to whether or not she would survive. We didn’t understand all His purposes or how all this was fitting into our life puzzles, but He knew, and we knew He could be trusted.
One piece of the puzzle we did find through this part of our journey was regarding my husband’s job rejection earlier that year. We now understand that if he had gotten that job at that time we wouldn’t have had the insurance for our daughter’s care and we wouldn’t have lived close enough to a Children’s hospital for her life to be saved. According to God’s awesome plan, later in 1999, my husband was called back regarding the job from the previous year at our alma mater, and he was offered the job because the person they had hired didn’t work out for the long term. God’s ways are not our ways…..His plans are not our plans….but we can trust Him to put the pieces of our lives together!