In the last few weeks mine and Joy’s world has been completely rocked. To make a long story short: we found out some news, had our faith challenged in ways we never imagined it would be, became madly in love with an unborn child and then I got a tattoo. If you’d like the extended version, keep reading.
We were cruising along pregnant with Kennedy (KC). Everything was great. It felt just like the experience with the other two. On July 5th, we had an ultra-sound to look at KC, and the doctors found some things they didn’t like. To make the long version shorter, they saw a small hole in Kennedy’s heart, and wanted to run some test.
As it turns out, a baby having a hole in their heart is an indicator that she could possibly have Trisomy 21, the medical term for Down syndrome. I hate the abbreviation of DS for Down syndrome, but for the sake of me typing (and you reading) I will refer to it that way.
The doctors ran some test, then gave us some statistics. They determined that there was a 1 in 23 chance that Kennedy has DS. Based on Joy’s youthful age of 25 (but 26 when KC is born), we started out with a 1 in 800 chance of having a child with DS. As a numbers guy, that scared me a whole lot. I don’t (well didn’t) know anything about DS, but I know there has to be some super severe factors to get odds from 1 in 800 to 1 in 23.
The next few days were the scariest days of my life. I felt like someone had shot me in the stomach. Joy and I cried, a lot. We were scared for Kennedy. We were scared for her heart. We were scared she was going to have DS, and someone was going to make fun of her. We were scared our family wasn’t going to look like we had once envisioned it would. We prayed over and over again. We prayed more together than we had prayed the entire rest of our marriage. In those days, God kept giving me two verses.
The first verse was our camp verse from the only year I ever went to summer camp, my senior year with Westside in 2004. Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I wasn’t sure why this verse was coming to me. I didn’t think it was particularly relevant at the time, it was.
The second verse that kept coming to my heart was Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. It kept coming to me from places I would have never expected. I knew what this one meant. I was going to ask God to give KC a normal chromosome count. It was on my way home from my parent’s house one night, that I was reminded that my 3 children’s initials were A.S.K. Immediately, when I get home I pull up Twitter, and an account I follow retweeted another account that had just tweeted the scripture Matthew 7:7: Ask and it will be given to you, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.
I believe that the God of the universe, the creator of life, gave me and Joy those names, for those three girls. He gave them to us, so that on the night, when I was feeling completely lost in this world, that I would remember that he has told us to ask him for things. I haven’t asked God for a lot in my life. I have had two healthy kids, a happy childhood, great friends, an amazing family, an unbelievable wife, a successful marriage, a successful job. I never really asked for those things. Sure I’ve prayed, and I have always been thankful for the things I have, but I have never, until now got on my knees and begged God for something.
So naturally, at this point in the story, at 10:00 on a Saturday night, with the girl’s asleep in bed, I decide I’m going to go get a tattoo. See the picture above for the tattoo. It is the initials of the three most amazing kids to ever walk the planet, as well as a verse that commands us to ask God for things in prayer.
A few days later, the doctors recommended another test for us to take, so they could know for sure whether KC had DS, or possibly any other chromosomal abnormality. There are two usually fatal chromosome abnormality’s Trisomy 13 and Trisomy 18. Our prayer above all other prayers was that our sweet KC did not have either of those. So we did the test, and they told us we would have result back in 24-48 hours. 48 hours go by (the longest 48 of my life) and we were never called. Another 48 goes by, no call. Finally, after 7 days, we call and the results were in. Kennedy Claire has Down syndrome.
Joy called me at work to give me the news. It is in that very instant that I realize why God had given me the verse Jeremiah 29:11. In that very second, I realize why my parents (basically) forced me to go to summer camp in 2004. ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. That verse was not placed on my heart for my sake, it was placed on my heart for my unborn child. God has a plan for Kennedy, and that plan involves Down syndrome.
So this is where we are at. This is the beginning of Kennedy’s story. This did not happen by accident, but this was planned by God from the beginning of time for Kennedy to be affected by this syndrome. We are claiming Psalms 139: 13-14 on Kennedy’s life:
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.
Kennedy is not a victim of an accident, but she is fearfully and wonderfully made by creator of the universe.
We need prayer. Kennedy has a small hole in her heart. This hole will very likely need surgery sometime after she is born and most likely before her 1st birthday. Please pray with her, that God will close the hole in KC’s heart. Please pray for Joy and I, as we are challenged in new ways. Thank you for all your prayers.