As some of you may know, Josh and I were expecting our first baby, Sophia, on June 1. We had planned on giving birth to her in Guatemala, and were under the care of a good physician and had already chosen a good hospital for the birth. This Easter, we had planned on making one last trip to the United States before the baby's birth, in order to spend time with Jessica's parents who live in Florida. The trip was supposed to last only 10 days, after which we were supposed to return to Guatemala in plenty of time for the birth. But God had other plans for us and our baby!
Last week, after arriving in Florida, I began having some severe upper abdominal and back pain which I knew weren't just normal pregnancy symptoms. So, on Good Friday, through a rapid series of God-ordained happenings, we met with a local obstetrician that that specializes in high-risk pregnancy. After thorough testing, he diagnosed me with HELLP syndrome, a rare but serious variation of pre-eclampsia that causes the mother's liver to shut down and the placenta to malfunction. Because of this, baby Sophia wasn't receiving the nutrition she needed and was considered severely growth-restricted.
A short while later, the doctor decided that an emergency c-section was needed both for my sake and for the sake of Sophie. I was completely put under general anesthesia and Sophie entered our world at 7:54 pm on Good Friday, weighing in at 3 pounds, 10 ounces and measuring 16.5 inches. She was 34 weeks along, placing her in the preemie category. Sophie's current home is the neo-natal intensive care unit, where she will remain for several weeks until she is able to come home with us.
The Lord's hand was upon us in so many ways during this process. After my surgery, my doctor informed my family and I that the only treatment for HELLP syndrome is delivery, and that without delivering the baby, I would have survived only another 24 hours. My liver was in such bad condition that I was at great risk of spontaneous bleeds and complete liver failure. God's timing couldn't have been more perfect - if we had remained in Guatemala and not taken this trip to the United States as planned, I probably would not have received the quick diagnosis and top-quality care needed to save my life and the life of our baby. We saw this trip as a short Easter vacation, but God knew that this trip would be life-saving for both of us.
Little Sophie has a long way to go, but she's strong and is doing well. We are so grateful for everyone's notes of encouragement, phone calls, comments and prayers. We wish we could respond to everyone personally, but we want to use this note to thank you! Please keep up your prayers for Sophie, her mommy and daddy, and her proud grandparents!
When are we returning to Guatemala? That is still up in the air! Please keep our return plans in your prayers, as you pray for baby Sophia. In the coming weeks, Josh will probably have to do some long-distance "commuting" between Florida and Guatemala, in order to continue our work as directors. But, day-to-day, Casa Shalom is being run by our administrators in our absence, and is in good hands. Our supposedly 10-day trip will turn out to be much longer, but were are immensely grateful to be under the care of an almighty and all-knowing God!