Scriptures for the High-Risk Pregnancy

5 Scriptures that Give Peace During a High-Risk Pregnancy @ AuthenticVirtue.com

5 Scriptures that Give Peace During a High-Risk Pregnancy @ AuthenticVirtue.com

Across my medieval hospital desk I have index cards with various Scriptures written across them. I intended these to be read to me while I labored and birthed Uriah in our cozy home, with Dalton next to me, and a trusty midwife helping us along.

Now, the verses bring comfort in another way. My water has been ruptured for 19 days now and this is our 18th in the hospital (with 8 weeks to go, Lord willing!). There have been days when these verses were constantly being browsed over; during the first week especially I needed reminders of God’s goodness, control, and love.

Below are 5 verses which seem to always be finding their way from the plastic, gray drawer and across the fake wooden top of the desk. These are the top 5 verses I have found comfort in during our high-risk pregnancy.

“Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defense.” Psalm 59:9

I love this verse; the whole chapter is of David spilling out his woes, fears, and impressions of his enemies, yet, in the end he determines that he will wait on God because He is his defense. Realistically, I don’t have enemies; I’m not being hunted by villains or persecuted by crooked family. But I do have enemies of the heart: fear, doubt, and faithlessness constantly harassing me. Simple, ordinary fears pummel high-risk pregnancy (fear of labor, fear of the unknown medical questions, fear of the worst case scenario). Because the strength of my enemies I will wait on You, LORD God, because You are my defense and so much stronger than the strongest foe I face. 

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

I know that 10 weeks of bed rest is the perfect time to bond with my little, rest, and prepare for the upcoming labor and life to follow. But it is so easy to let the days be consumed with the spirit of fear! I love that God has not only not given us fear but He has given us power, love, and a sound, controlled mind. As Christians, we can literally say to our mental minds, “Is this thought powered by fear? Because, if so, it is not of God and it no longer needs my attention.” We can confidently enjoy God’s gifts of power, love, and a sound mind; we don’t need to be a doormat to fear-filled thoughts.

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man [with help] from the LORD.” Genesis 4:1 

I love this verse because it is simply so simple. The very first birth of the entire world was followed by words spoken by a woman who had never before experienced labor, never talked with a doctor, and never even heard the term “breech position.”

And at the end of her experience she said simply, “I have gotten a man from the Lord.” By His kindness, by His great creativeness, by His power, and by His help, she received a man-child.

And guess what, sweet, preggo person? So have you. It’s the very same Lord Who walked with Adam and Eve, Who gave them a child, and Who helped her through labor that is giving you your child.

During my high-risk bed rest, labor and pain, and all the unknown days ahead I want to remember, “I have gotten a man [with help] from the LORD.”

“I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. My mouth will show forth Thy righteousness and Thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof. I will go in the strength of the LORD God: I will make mention of Thy righteousness, even of Thine only. ” Psalm 71:14, 16

This has been one of my go-to verses from the moment we discovered Uriah may have health issues. And once I was admitted to the hospital for an early membrane rupture I again turned to this verse (I was actually repeating it to myself as we drove to the hospital).

Why? Because it gives me purpose. I will hope continually (as in I will keep on hoping when hope seems ridiculous). I will praise You more and more (because You Lord are worthy of praise even in what looks like our tragedy). I will speak of Your righteousness and salvation all day (because these are the only things worth speaking of and there are people in this hospital Who need to know you and the numbers of them are unknowable!). I will go (to bed when I feel restless, to the ultrasound when I don’t want to hear bad news, to get another heparin shot …) in the strength of the LORD. I will make mention of Your righteousness only (because it is this righteousness which makes our lives worth living).

See how deep, how real, and how applicable these words are? They’re life-giving and doable and beautiful.

“All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.” Psalm 25:10

Finally, a last reminder of God’s amazing purpose and kindness in our perfectly imperfect pregnancy. From a human standpoint our pregnancy has looked riddled with “mistakes.” A misdiagnosed miscarriage, a 20 week diagnosis of Hydrocephalus, an early rupture at 24 weeks with a following discovery of Lobar Holoprosensephaly, topped with 10 weeks of hospitalized bed rest and countless unknowns until our little miracle makes his appearance.

From a human viewpoint, it looks bad.

But, sweet people, it is anything but. All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth. All of them. From the moment Uriah Lee was conceived, fashioned in the image of God, and formed with the Creator’s own hands, his path has been covered with God’s mercy and truth.

This isn’t a mistake. This isn’t an oversight. This isn’t a punishment. This isn’t bad. This isn’t the end of the world. This isn’t something to change or even wish away.

This is a path God has given us and it is filled with mercy and truth. Every day is filled with His grace. Every moment I spend in the hospital is overflowing with His goodness. Every hour Uriah remains in my womb is a gift. And every day following his birth, whether hard or easy, healed or disabled, is full of mercy and truth and graciously given by God.

And it’s the same for you, preggo Momma. I don’t know what sort of pregnancy you’re experiencing. I’m not sure if you’ve been labeled high-risk or are experiencing some trauma.

But, God’s Word is true. And every path He lets His people walk … you can guarantee it’s covered with mercy and truth.

What Scriptures brought you comfort during a hard season of your life? Share with us below in the comments — I love hearing from you! 

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Encouragement and Coffee Time with Psalm 142

Scripture for the heart and encouragement with AuthenticVirtue.com

“I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path.

In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.

 Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are  Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.” Psalm 142, KJV

This week’s favorite Psalm was definitely Psalm 142. It was a good week full of quality time with Dalton, sweet friends, an awesome mail day, and a visit with the doctor that gave us a few answers and hope for Uriah’s health. Plus, a whole week without contractions and labor is a huge blessing!

However, there are moments when life feels hard. Preterm labor is a constant unknown when your water has broke. Infection is always a looming possibility. The extremely rare threat of the dreaded pro-clasped cord hangs above my head like a dark, menacing cloud. Then, out of the blue, some conflict arises (and you know how I hate conflict) and I cow and fail to speak up and that brings all sorts of dreaded feelings and issues. To sum it up, life can still feel hard and lonely and full of hurt even when it is full of blessings, light, and life.

When I opened my Bible this morning I cried out, “Oh, Lord, help me!” I’m reading through the Psalms and eventually came across Psalm 142. It’s simple and to the point: sometimes, only the Lord can understand and comfort us. Sometimes, human sympathy and understanding, though there, falls short. Sometimes, all we can do is “show Him our trouble, pour out our complaint, and cry unto the LORD …” We can know that we were heard and understood. The longings and cries of our heart are seen and known.

Isn’t that utterly beautiful?

With love, blessings, renewed hope, and coffee,

Frannie

Baby News: Our Little Boy, His Health Issues, and Your Prayers

Hello, sweet people! It’s so good to have a place I can connect and share with other folk who know and understand me. So many of you have been with me as a single writer, to married, and now as a pregnant momma. Thank you!

Pregnancy for me has had its ups and downs, highs and lows. It has been one amazing event and one I am so thankful for. We’re 22 weeks along and our baby boy is kicking more than ever. (And yes … if I had told you originally that he was a she the jokes on us! Ha! Wrong ultrasound guess again!)  Our baby is named Uriah , meaning God is our light, and he is a joy to us and a blessing we love already.

And do we ever need God to be our light. Two days ago, I went to my ultrasound expecting to hear good things, instead we were given sad, hard, life-changing news.

Uriah has hydrocephalus which means he has a fluid build-up in his skull. Normally, we all have some fluid surrounding our brains … it’s a necessary part of our bodies. But for some reason our baby boy has more than normal which means there is a blockage or problem somewhere. The specialist says it is severe.

Hydrocephalus is a big, scary term but it doesn’t necessarily mean big, horrible things. Uriah will need a shunt to relieve the pressure from his head which means he will (if I understand correctly) be having a form of brain surgery after he is born and until a good shunt is in place which doesn’t become blocked or infected. This is a life-long condition.

As far as mental and intellectual disabilities we won’t know how the pressure affects baby until he is born. Many children (and elderly) with hydrocephalus grow to have normal development; God made the brain awesome that way especially since babies’ skulls are soft and able to sustain pressure! However, there is risk that the fluid build-up will prohibit normal development of our baby’s brain and his mental abilities.

I wish that was all that was wrong but Uriah has one other complication. His femurs are 22 days behind in growth. This, along with the hydrocephalus, signifies that there could be chromosomal abnormalities with the three most common being Trisomy #13, 18, or 21 (Down Syndrome). Both #13 and #18 are fatal and are termed “incompatible with life.” Of course, #21, Down Syndrome, is different and can promise all sorts of possibilities within that spectrum.

So, at this time, there is no definite answers. We do know our baby has hydrocephalus and that it may be his only issue; if that is the case we can hope for very good things as many children have had this and develop well. However, the short femurs are a big concern and do point to chromosomal problems which would be a double whammy.

What next, you might ask? I’ve been told that pregnancies with issues like this tend to be a waiting game; there’s very little we can do. There are tests which we may take in the future but they would only (possibly) help pinpoint or rule out possibilities but one of them poses a risk to the baby. I just learned that I could get a simple blood test to help rule out chromosomal abnormalities which would be huge for us. In reality the tests may help us prepare some for what is to come but there will be nothing we can do for Uriah except watch his progress diligently.

Sweet people, this is a very, very hard time. Except for our crazy misdiagnosed miscarriage,  (which still makes me laugh when I think of the craziness that time was!) this has felt like a very healthy, normal pregnancy so discovering that it isn’t feels a bit like being caught in a bad dream. It feels like a bad joke and I’m waiting for someone to slap me on the back and tell me they’re kidding and then apologize for being such a jerk.

Please keep baby Uriah in your prayers. No matter his abilities or disabilities we love and cherish this little boy and yearn to give him the best life we can. Pray for God’s will to be done in our lives.; it’s what we want most of all. We want to trust in God for all our needs and this means taking one day at a time. We know that Uriah has purpose in this world and was fearfully and wonderfully made and I hope we can meet this little guy and show him all the beautiful things this world has.

I had hoped for a simple, natural home birth but now we’re looking at time in the NICU three hours from home in a specialized hospital but I am so grateful we live in a time and day where such specialized help is available; I just need to be flexible.

As for how we’re doing, we’re okay. It’s really tough stuff to be told your baby will have life long, life altering, life threatening issues. This changes everything for us.  And, we’re okay. We know God is incredibly good and that He withholds no good thing from us and that includes baby Uriah’s issues. He has a plan and even if it hurts us we want to walk in that plan. But we will need your prayers during the next several months; I know God works in and through them. <3

With lots of love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Joy V. Happiness in Marriage, Pregnancy, and Daily Life

Joy v. happiness in an unknown pregnancy with a subchorionic hematoma with AuthenticVirtue.com

It’s happening again, the waters are rushing over our heads and I’m struggling to keep up. Being pregnant with our first has been one of the most delightful and trying experiences of our lives. Having a subchorionic hematoma is commonly low risk but tell that to the momma who’s bleeding, making ER trips, and being told the area her placenta needs to implant is filling with blood.

Then, suddenly, it doesn’t feel low risk any more.

But that’s the nature of a blood pocket in your womb. You never know what it’s up to, what it means, and what it could lead to. You simply wait. Monitoring helps (sometimes) unless you get news that it’s grown larger (as is my case). Then, waiting becomes more dreadful and more difficult to accept.

If you can tell life isn’t very happy right now but it is still very full of joy.

Dalton and I have been meaning to collaborate and write a post on the differences between joy and happiness. (As in I should have written it 5 months ago). But now is the perfect time to write because I’m experiencing it tenfold.

Happiness is temporary. It’s bliss. It’s me resting in bed on rainy afternoon with a cinnamon pecan candle burning in the light finishing a long book. Happiness is my husband bringing me dinner and then washing the dishes afterwards. Happiness is the fleeting feeling I experience after finding a good subchorionic hematoma story.

But happiness, however sweet and nice, eventually leaves.

And after the emotion leaves I’m still left with unanswered, scary questions. Will I have this baby? Will baby be hurt? When will I know? If I lose baby will I ever have more children?

Reality sinks in and the weight of it pushes the temporary feelings yummy candles, good meals, and a rainy afternoon brought.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22,23

This is where Jesus and my Heavenly Father changes things. This is where joy take over. God’s Word promises the fruit of the Spirit includes joy and that I as a Christian can have it. I cannot create this fruit; I can prohibit it but I cannot force it in my life. It’s God working in me. It’s similar to real life planting; I could place vile and damage the root system around an apple tree and expect its growth to be affected. But I could never actually create an apple — I can only enjoy that it was made, given, and satisfying.

That’s joy — it’s present in the lack of happiness. It’s God given. It’s there when I’m dreading our future; it’s present when it’s 3 am and I’m having blood drawn and being wheeled away from my husband to an ultrasound room by a tech who isn’t happy to be working.

When I’m not feeling happy joy remains.

I do get overwhelmed with the unknowns of our pregnancy. I get tempted to fall headlong into fear and the sickness of dread. Happiness sometimes eludes me. (Which is scary for a sunny-disposition person as myself).

But during those moments when the sickening questions fill my head I’m reminded of God’s promises,

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

If I lose baby God is still good. If I am in limbo from now until week 40 God’s thoughts toward me are still good. If I have to live with unknowns until I deliver this baby God’s ways are still for Dalton and I (and baby). If my next pregnancy resembles this one I am still in God’s vision and His plan is good.

And that is joy. God’s Word and promises are joy. God’s loving will is joy. Living life open-handed, as much as it hurts and as hard as it is, is joy.

Joy is peace, God’s presence, and the knowledge that despite the outcome of our lives God is still good.

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Don’t Dig Up in Doubt What You Planted in Faith: Coffee Series

Don't dig up in doubt what you planted in faith with AuthenticVirtue.com

In life we’re given the choice to simply trust and obey or grow faithless and fearful.

In our current situation, I’m constantly challenged by fear. Every belly cramp, sign of blood, or internet search weakens my faith and I begin to dig up in doubt what I had planted in faith.

Last week was no different. My Beloved came home, exhausted from the previous night’s trip to the emergency room, the extra work he had done over the weekend, and being out-of-town. My normally calm and collected Dalton was stressed and worn out. And instead of  helping ease his weary heart I made it heavier through my nervous, worry-edged tone.

Even though we had just been to the doctor who informed us that baby was well, growing and the spotting/bleeding appeared to be low-risk, every hour of the day seemed grow my anxiety and fear. It’s like I need to be jellied up and sitting next to an ultrasound every moment of the day for me to have any peace and rest.

Friends, learn with me. Don’t dig up in doubt what you’ve planted in faith.

Life is full of unknowns.

Thankfully, we can know that God is good and kind and exceedingly present in our time of need. He is faithful to His children, their needs, and He hears their pleas.

Dalton reminded me that besides our false alarm miscarriage, our pregnancy has really been quite problem-free. Yes, I spot but so do a thousand other women who have healthy babies.

So, here’s to Fridays and learning to live life in faith. Here’s to less worry and more trusting and obeying.

What are you learning to let go and trust in? have you any advice or insight in how to conquer fear and anxiety? Let’s grow together and share our hearts! 

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie