My Grandson Grew a Brain (from Grandma Julia’s perspective)

“Lord, I have heard of your fame: I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known;” Habakkuk 3:2

I will never forget the phone call that rocked my world that day. As I reached to answer the phone call from my daughter-in-law, Natalie, I certainly was not expecting the call to be so devastating.  Natalie was hysterical and going on about something to do with her unborn child and no brain and sonograms of the little head caved in. I was having a hard time following all she was saying, so as I stepped outside the door of my office, I worked hard to keep myself calm. I gathered just enough information to know that this news was horrifying and I needed time to process it, but meanwhile I needed to be calm for Natalie.

I asked her where Jeremy was. She said she hadn’t been able to reach him. I then tried to sort through why Natalie was given this devastating news without her husband there to support her. I ascertained that she was driving in this hysterical state and that also concerned me greatly.

For the life of me I can’t remember the rest of the conversation. Hopefully, I said something profound and reassuring. I just know that as soon as I hung up with Natalie, I spent time trying to reach Jeremy. As soon as he answered I asked him where he was and did he know his wife needed him. He assured me that a friend was with Natalie and that he was heading home.

Once I was assured that Natalie was in good hands I began to process the situation. I then did what every one of my brothers and sisters do whenever we are facing an overwhelming situation – I called for the family to pray. We have faced many adversities throughout the years and found God to be faithful to us whenever we would go to him in the powerful prayer of agreement.

Still trying to process the news from Natalie, I went home and did some Internet research on Anencephaly. Site after site of pictures of babies born with this condition and testimonies of families dealing with their sorrow of giving birth to these precious babies and then within hours, days or even months having to say goodbye drove me to a state of despair. By the time my husband Steve got home I was weeping and filling him in on what our kids would have to face. I couldn’t stand the thought of Natalie being obviously pregnant and having to deal with strangers’ natural curiosity about the baby – when is it due, do you know if it’s a girl or boy, aren’t you so excited… the usual questions pregnant women face. Would Natalie have to tell everyone her baby might not be alive when it is born and even if it were alive it would most likely die within a short time after it was born. My heart was breaking for my son and his wife.

I found my faith slipping away and the problem became insurmountable.  I remember hearing someone say once when they were facing a battle with cancer, “Don’t tell God about your mountain, but tell your mountain about your God.” I turned off the Internet, determined to not fill my mind with the negative images of what this baby was facing, but turned my attention to God the “author” and “perfecter” of my faith.

It is amazing how vulnerable you feel when you face such devastating news. Of course you know God can heal, but the big question is, will he? It’s easy to feel like such a small spec in a big universe.  Why will God give you the miracle you are requesting when you can easily review a long list people who have far more impressive résumés of things they have done for God and yet never received the big miracle they needed. What makes me think God will answer my prayer? Yet, when you read the 11th chapter of Hebrews, the famous “Hall of Faith”, the writer clearly focus’s on each old testament character’s faith walk with God, not their great deeds.

As Natalie said in her blogs, people from all over the world began praying for my unborn grandchild. This prayer boasted our faith and helped us all as a family to stand strong in order to support Jeremy and Natalie during this difficult time. If you are reading this and you prayed for our family during this time and I didn’t thank you, please feel my gratitude now!

After Natalie visited the specialist and he told her that if she were his wife he would tell her to go home and not worry, we took that as a sign that the baby was fine. By then my son-in-law, Stephen, had stated confidently that he was sure God was going to give Natalie’s baby a brain. We had all begin to feel encouraged in our faith. However, when Natalie went back to her main doctor they were expressing their sorrow at the fashion Natalie had been told the diagnosis of her baby from the original doctor who read the sonogram. They were expressing such sympathy for her and the situation she was facing. She asked them if they had gotten the report from the specialist? She told them how he had told her what he would say to his wife about not worrying. They responded that of course he would say that because there was nothing Natalie could do by worrying. They were convinced the diagnosis of the doctor reading the initial sonogram was accurate since he was the best there was at reading those.

Natalie called and we talked through the fears that this conversation had brought back. We were determined to stand by faith that God had heard our prayers and the prayers of all the saints around the world.

Ah-h the joy and relief of that ultrasound that not only told us the baby would be a boy, but that he had a perfectly formed little head and he was perfectly healthy! We all rejoiced and happily anticipated his birth. My daughter, Rochelle, and I talked about how we couldn’t wait to just take a few moments to rub that little head and praise God for the infinite love and mercy that he had extended to our family one more time!

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