God's Masterpiece by Estelle Loehmer
This is not your typical journey or testimony, but please bear with me. It started one morning as we walked into our long awaited 12 week scan. We knew exactly what to expect with this being our third pregnancy. Wade and I had it all planned out. Not exactly down to the details, but we knew more or less what we had in mind for us as a family. Wade being a planner even had a spreadsheet with timelines of his 5 year plan before he met me, and we were more or less on schedule. So after praying about a third little one, the day of our 12 week scan finally arrived!
A New Reality
The Sonographer said as little as she possibly could. Our baby seemed to be doing ok....I think...she wasn’t too clear...and then she measured the neck. It was thicker than should be expected. She didn’t elaborate and mumbled something about it’s a concern, and could be inflammation. They contacted our doctor who said we should do further testing. Wade and I sat in the waiting room, tears streaming down my face trying to keep my composure....this isn’t the way it was suppose to go. The nurse presented us with a report which I only looked at later on email. Now knowing that it said we are a 1/4 high risk of having a baby with chromosome abnormalities. Before I knew it and without any further consultation, I was in a room doing an NIPT test which gives a much more accurate result. I sat there, my hands shaking while a blood sample was being taken. I stood up and Wade held my hand and we walked out stepping into a whole new reality. Feeling lost, we started praying and we waited. Friends and family were praying and carrying us through so much uncertainty. Ten days passed and still nothing. After about a two week wait, our doctor’s clinic told us that the doctor wanted to see us. We drove to the clinic, held each other and said one final prayer. We walked into her office and she confirmed what we never thought would be part of our journey: “Your baby has a confirmed diagnosis for Trisomy 21.” I’m sure this is wrong, this wasn’t part of the plan! Not for Wade and I…God are you hearing this? Our doctor advised that we could do one more test, a CVS where they take a sample from the placenta. So we agreed to this and waited a few more weeks. This gave us more time to pray for a miracle….for our story to go back to our original plan.
Longing for answers and peace, we attended a worship night at City Lights. Later that evening Starla messaged me and said that while she was worshipping she saw the word Faithful over us. But we were still drowning in questions. God, will you come through for us? Surely you will be FAITHFUL to your promises? This baby is your masterpiece as your word says:
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago”. Ephesians 2:10
During this wait, Wade and I found ourselves in the desert early one Friday morning. I look around and see that we are surrounded. People that love us standing in prayer with us. Family and friends abroad praying along with us. We all take communion together and in front of our friends I pray my most vulnerable prayer…but before I share my prayer I first want to tell you the rest of the story.
A wait that consumed our thoughts for days ended in a phone call, a confirmation of our little boy’s diagnosis: “Your male fetus has a confirmed diagnosis of Trisomy 21. Please see your doctor to advise on further steps.”
Further steps?….what further steps….? We are advised on flights, timelines, termination, all the things that can go wrong by having a family member with Down Syndrome or any chromosome abnormality, and fear creeps up on us. I don’t know anything about Down Syndrome. I would be the worst mom for this baby. Why us?
Stopping the Noise
We arrange a meeting with Dan And Starla. And we pray and talk through it. A morning filled with tears, prayer and a slight glimpse of hope. We talk about families that have gone through similar and searching for “unreasonable hope”. And my heaviness slowly starts to lift. Our baby boy receives his first prophetic word that morning. And we walk out of there with a newness. I get into the car and touch my bump, as if for the first time, allowing myself to bond with this precious little body inside me. We get in touch with families who have walked a similar journey and we get filled with new hope.
Why Us...But Why Not Us?
Our prayers changed and we started praying for our little boy to be healthy. We started thanking God for trusting us on this journey. We prayed for our baby to overcome any medical challenge spoken over him and not to be defined but this diagnosis. Wade was encouraged by a group of men who started praying in the desert together. Friends showed up in the middle of the night just to pray with us. We had meals delivered to us and our other two children were loved and looked after for hours on end so we could just focus on getting through our thoughts and doctors appointments. Our doctor supporting and encouraging us through it all. We were still surrounded by an entire community.
7 April 2021
As our due date approached, our little boy was still breech. My desire was for him to have a natural birth as I did with the other two. The doctor said it might be possible with an ECV, a procedure used to turn a fetus from a breech position into a head down position before labour begins. I went into the hospital at 37 weeks. They started with the ECV and after about an hour of maneuvering this poor little boy by pushing externally on my belly, they managed to turn him even though he had an abnormally short umbilical cord. The doctor said it was a miracle that they managed to turn him with such a short umbilical cord and without any complications. I was induced and our son was born later that evening. We surrendered and lifted this beautiful boy up to God and welcomed our Eli into the world.
My Answered Prayer
So going back to my prayer in the desert that morning:
Dear Father God,
Today we pray for this perfect little body, declaring over this baby one of the pictures that we got. That a worldly destroyed wing is transformed into a beautiful butterfly. Perfect in every way, every curve. Every detail formed and shaped as it should be. Your word declares that we are formed by your image. This baby is no different. We know you are forming and shaping this baby perfectly, that no medical concerns are present. That his hands, feet, mouth, nose and body is as it should be.
You knit us together in the womb and this baby is being knit perfectly according to what you intended and not what any medical report has declared.
Just like the story of Hannah, we have prayed in anguish and asking that you may have favour over us. We are standing up against these reports and declaring your perfect word over our perfect baby.
Thank you that in anything we are going through that we can apply your promises. We pray that you bless this baby to be the faith warrior this child was created to be. That no diagnosis can define this child because this baby is covered by the blood of Jesus. That our story forms part of the 1% that they have told us is unlikely.
In Jesus name I pray.
You see I prayed that prayer with a different perspective. But God answered my prayer and is still answering, we just didn’t want to see it. Eli was not packaged according to what the world would see as favourable or not what we had planned for us as a family. But he was gifted as a beautiful package that has transformed our lives into a metamorphosis of little miracles, lessons and so much joy.
Much More than a Diagnosis
Our journey was not about his diagnosis but about the longing our family had for him, without us even knowing it. Our plan was different, but God had so much more in store for us. This journey got us in touch with people we never would have dreamed to build a relationship with. It has strengthened friendships. It initiated monthly prayers in the desert amongst men praying not only for Eli but for BIG things in their own families and lives. It made us realise the value of community and multiplied our love for our church. Eli has come into this world with so much purpose for our family and has received prophetic words much greater than we ever could’ve imagined. Our family has strengthened and Luca and Amelie are so in love with their little brother. Eli was exactly what we needed as a family. We have felt love like no other. And God was there all along and was writing his version of our story…His masterpiece…
Even though Eli has been struggling with a few medical concerns, he has and is overcoming them one little miracle at a time. Which is another testimony in itself.
And now, our story forms part of the 1% they said would be unlikely and what they warned us against. I also initially applied Starla’s word “faithful” in a way to suit us. But we had to be faithful to God’s story, his plan and trust Him, not the other way around.
I know this journey is different, but I pray that this encourages you to look past Eli’s diagnosis and look at the bigger picture of this faith journey. That whatever you may be walking through in your pregnancy or infertility journey, to trust that God is the author of your story and allow him to write this for you. He has so much more for you than you could ever imagine, even if it is packaged a little bit differently than you thought.