I am so grateful to know and trust that God's plans are greater than mine and that He holds my future. My plans for my life were very different, but not surprising. The goal was to be a clinical psychologist working in a hospital setting and I was halfway there, but everything changed when my husband and I were expecting our second child, our son. My daughter was 2.5 at the time and I was balancing family, school and a pregnancy that would change our lives going forward.
It all started in my second trimester of pregnancy. We were just a few weeks into moving our family to the south and the doctor saw some abnormalities during my ultrasound appointment and asked us to see a maternal fetal specialist right away once we moved. We did just that and the doctor monitored and checked me every week. What he found were two cysts in our son's brain growing rapidly each week and there was also a structure in his brain which connects the right and left hemispheres that was missing. I was about 7 months along and I will never forget what the doctor recommended. He suggested that we terminate the pregnancy at a facility in GA that would take full term pregnancies. He said the child would live a very difficult road ahead or the abnormalities may grow more severe that he may not make it. Those were some heavy words that day, but we trust a God who is sovereign, loving and merciful. His Word is our guidance for our every choice and decision we make. I can honestly say that I have never known the Lord more intimately than in our most desperate moments. I sought the Lord in my pain and discomfort. This verse below holds a much deeper meaning to me now than ever before
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139-13-16
As believers, we are called to live a life of selflessness. Whether our son was born seeing our faces or our Savior's first, we would go forth in faith and keep our baby. Because of the growing cysts, we did decide to have the delivery earlier than his due date.
Pictures by Shelby Spencer Photography
On May 23, 2013, our son was born. I didn't get to see him because he was rushed into the NICU. That was really hard, but I had such peace that I knew was from the Lord. Later that night, I was able to see our sweet boy. He was just the cutest little guy and I couldn't believe this gift of life. I remember feeling heartbroken, relieved, joyful, and thankful the moment I held our sweet boy for the first time. The next day, he was scheduled for ultrasounds and several tests. The doctor came into the room along with the NICU doctor and the maternal fetal specialist who was following me closely hours after all the tests and ultrasound of his brain. They showed us the scans and then pointed out that there was absolutely no sign of any cysts at all in his brain and the structure that was missing was clearly there, though small. These next words still give me all the feels. The doctor said, "Your little boy is a miracle". Those words are not typical for a doctor to say, but he said it and all glory to God. What a beautiful answer to so many prayers.
Unfortunately our story does not end there. The doctors felt it was best for our baby to stay and be monitored for the next three days. My husband and I decided to go home and bring clothes for our boy to come home in. When we arrived back in less than two hours, the nurse shift changed and the new nurse had placed a nasal feeding tube in our son, which was not supposed to happen as I was nursing him. His airway got inflamed shortly after and our baby was rushed into emergency surgery. There are several unfortunate events that happened leading to 7 surgeries and a 3 month stay at the hospital before our boy came home with a gtube and oxygen monitors. Our son, Jude, is just the sweetest little guy that exudes so much joy. He has been through several more surgeries and is severely delayed. We believe it is because of the medical trauma he dealt with early in his life. My husband and I named him Simeon Jude, meaning "praise to be heard". What a praise and joy he is to us and so many. And what a gift that we were chosen to be his parents. I will always share how good God is and how through Jude, He has changed my life.
So many emotions still go through me as I write this story, but we have seen God’s goodness and His grace in a way in such a special way that I know many have not.
I’ve learned what it means to truly believe in the promises of God's Word instead of just having them memorized in my head. We have developed a sweeter appreciation for healthy babies and we will never take a good doctors appointment for granted ever again. We know the pain of going through a pregnancy that may not survive. We understand the pain of other parents who have children that are not like the others. What we have walked through isn't about chance. It's purpose.
Our lives are not our own and we don't exist in this life to just live, work and survive. God is writing a story in each of our lives, but we must choose to allow God to transform, teach and carry us through. Jude is such a gift and is part of our story that God has allowed us to walk through and it was and continues to be purposeful.
As any parent, we wanted a normal life with our Jude and Sunaya. We wanted our children to grow up playing and making the sweetest memories together. God was so merciful in allowing Jude to be with us and we will forever be grateful! Of course, there are times that I ache for my children and what I had wanted for them, but when we think about our lives and what we ultimately long for, it is for our children to know the Lord. This most definitely isn't the story that we dreamed of when we found out we were pregnant with Jude, but it's a story that God has written and we know that we are specifically called to share it with the world.
After experiencing such joy in healing, then pain and then finding purpose through it, it truly is a privilege to share it with you here.
If you have gotten this far, thank you for taking the time to read this. It means the world to me!
ALL ABOUT Janice
Fueled by Jesus and all the coffee, my days are filled with treasuring times with my husband and children and capturing just the sweetest , most beautiful moments on camera. Your story, your love, is special and I can't wait to capture it in images you will treasure for years to come.
I strive to create images that remind you of the joy you share together, the images you are itching to print and frame, the images you hang on the walls for years to come.
Whenever I pick up my camera, I seek to create an experience that is authentic and beautiful, showcasing emotional images that tell a story.