The “abnormal” baby and the Knitter

Our doctor choked in sharing her very gloomy diagnosis with us, and sent us to do an MRI in 4 weeks to confirm the baby’s abnormalities and the induction for surgery.

Right there and then, I was challenged. How much do I really believe when scripture says He *knitted* us in the womb? Psalm 139:13 is a “popular verse” quoted for many reasons, but how often do we consider the intricacies of what scripture says? What’s with “knitting”?

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:13

I camped on Psalm 139:13 for that four weeks until the day of the MRI came. I’ve never been in an MRI machine before despite my athlete’s knee — so I do relish the experience! But the technician forgot to put on music for me so I had to listen to the loud rumblings, but I had the husband sitting right behind me too, this goes into yet another one of those uncommon adventures we get to have in our marriage!

When we were given the abnormal diagnosis at Week 20 — it was said to us the ultrasound scan showed that the baby’s intestines were not properly connected, causing a malfunctioning rectum or points to a major nerve disease that would jeopardize the quality of life of the child. Surgery was the only way to fix any of these. But also to be prepared for fatality upon birth. Many would opt for termination at this point to alleviate any suffering the child would face. If you’ve been given any grim medical diagnosis my hope is this post would offer you courage.

With the MRI technology, you’d get immediate results — and we were swiftly informed of a… “misdiagnosis”. Whatever our doctor had seen in the ultrasound cannot be further from what the MRI revealed: Everything was well connected! Their team could see stools forming too, and saw no issues with any intestinal or bowel movements. They were just as confused as we were of what our doctor saw to offer her grim diagnosis. The only thing the MRI showed that was “special” — in their words — was the baby has 3 kidneys instead of 2. True story.

Supposedly, a kidney on the left got lazy and “gave up” forming for no reason! Usually this would leave a person with just one kidney that is suffice for any person, which isn’t uncommon. But, miraculously, besides the properly formed and functioning right kidney, another kidney decided to form on the left side to take on the duties of the first left kidney that had given up. They call it a duplex kidney.

So this is extremely rare with a 1% chance of happening we were told — for sure there’s still possibility of the child facing complications, as more organs = more chances of infections and what not after birth. And this is no different from any child born with a “normal” set of organs, or have behavioral issues not detectable by any scans. And so our neonatal team immediately dismissed our case as “normal” — just a baby with a special third kidney to monitor upon birth like any child.

“I do not understand this”, my doctor called me the next day profusely apologizing and genuinely flabbergasted by what the MRI revealed. “I swear our scans showed a completely different anatomy of the baby 4 weeks ago, I can totally show you that too!”

I quietly giggled. She is after all one of the top maternal fetal doctors in the country.

Her team had examined the kidneys super closely before sending us to MRI. She ruled out the kidneys, and diagnosed it to be malfunctioning intestines — a common abnormality. The thought and knowledge of a child having 3 kidneys as 1 gave up forming thrown her off to the end of asking: “How? Who did that!?” Moreover, she was adamant it’s an intestines issue: “Who connected the intestines in these 4 weeks!?”

Oh we know the Who. 🙂

This was to be the turning point for me in this pregnancy. For all our maternal instincts we wear as badge of honor thinking we know our child best, oh we really don’t — and how liberating is it to acknowledge that! — but He does. Between conception and birth, there is a whole knitting process that actually happens and that is out of our complete control. When you truly get that, motherhood becomes a completely freeing journey, far removed from the narratives the world tells us.

Now 14 weeks since the MRI today, the journey continues. As at 38 weeks today, I patiently await the birth of this supernatural child with a whole host of anxious-excited emotions in my tummy — but holding on to oh how much this child longs to live, well, and be a glorious light and testament to His absolute sovereignty already.

I’m believing for just as much a supernatural labor and delivery experience (cheekily claiming for myself #smoothestlaborever or #shortestlaborever — never underestimate the power of our public confessions!) and also an equally supernatural postpartum recovery experience for what is worth I am excitedly curious what He can do.

There is no doubt that I’ve walked away from my 9 months pregnancy experience ever more steeled in my belief for the supernatural — to never cease tapping into it and riding on His overcoming power and rhythms of Grace — why be merely contented with just common beliefs? How is our life demonstrative of the supernatural power of the Gospel? (I mean, hey Jesus was physically raised from the dead and then commissioned everyone to do as so!)

Whether you are called to singlehood, marriage and/or parenthood, I hope this series on our pregnancy journey will encourage how we are equal in having that power to keep contending for any circumstances the world may have written you off.

We are with you.

The report from our neonatal team at Children’s National after our 24-week MRI scan.

// the four-part pregnancy diaries //

Part I: Our sex life (or how the baby happened)

Part II: When the baby survived a miscarriage

Part III: The “abnormal” baby and the Knitter

Part IV: If my journey could give you any hope