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the sonograms

27 weeks

A little over a month ago, just the week before Hope Spoken, I went in for my 20-week sonogram for Baby Mac #4. We see a specialist because of Cora’s cancer which is always a little nerve-racking in itself, but we had done it before prior to the healthy births of our two boys and we were expecting everything to be fine once again. We watched those amazing pictures of our baby flash up on the screen. We saw the cute little face, the sucking lips, we laughed about this baby who wouldn’t hold still the entire time…wondering how crazy our lives were going to be in just a few months…and we instantly fell in love. And then a few minutes later as we were sitting in the office talking to the doctor (who was filling in for our regular specialist) she told us there might be some problems. She handed us a list of things that could go wrong with the pregnancy or be wrong with our baby, gave us some options for testing and even asked if we would ever consider terminating this pregnancy. My heart broke into a million pieces as I even imagined choosing to end the life of this precious mover of a baby who was made in the image of God no matter how many “abnormalities” he/she had. Logically, it seemed like there was still a pretty good chance that everything the doctor was telling us could be nothing, but we felt like she was encouraging us to go ahead and grieve…to grieve the unknown. I could go into a lot of details because honestly it was a horrible appointment, but that’s not what is important. I felt an amazing peace sitting in that very un-peaceful room that day. And I am certain it was because the Prince of Peace was right there with us. The picture of hopelessness this doctor was painting for us contrasted with the strong and secure hope we have in Christ was so distinct. But as we walked out of that office, with the pictures of our baby and the list in our hands, I felt myself getting stuck in the “what-ifs”. I started negotiating with God.

Not us again, Lord.

We have already done our hard thing. And it was really, really hard.

I can’t live in a state of grief again.

Surely you are going to protect this baby and everything will be fine.

Please don’t take another one of my babies from me. Please, Lord.

We had decided not to share about the sonogram with many people because there were so many uncertainties and we felt like the reality was that we really didn’t know much. But I ended up sharing a little at Hope Spoken because I felt like it was an important piece of my journey. I was feeling like I was in a spiritual battle those weeks prior to the conference. I couldn’t think clearly, I was having trouble writing, my boys were disobedient and fighting a lot, and then we got the “bad” news at the sonogram. I found myself thinking again, do I really believe all of this that I am sharing? Is this really what a life of blessing looks like?

We of course were praying like crazy for the health of this baby, pouring out our hearts, and laying our desires for his/her little life at God’s feet. But we were also praying that if this was not His plan for this little one that we would trust God with the story He has written for our family. That it might be hard, but it was going to be okay. And He would be right there walking with us either way…showering his abundant blessing on our lives.

At 25 weeks we went back to the specialist for another sonogram. Talk about a night and day difference between appointments. I had a shorter sonogram and right away we knew that all the areas of “concern” were back in the normal range. Praise the Lord!!!! We didn’t even talk to the specialist that day. The PA told us that the specialist had signed off on my scans and that everything looked perfect. She didn’t even see a reason for me to come back.

I know very well that God doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way we think is best. His perfect plan can look very different from our plans. And sometimes His plan involves pain and heartache. We are so thankful that His answer to our prayers for this little one was health. But I know some of you are facing answers to your prayers right now that are hard and painful and don’t make sense to you.

The afternoon after the first sonogram I spent some time alone in the Word trying to quiet my anxious heart. I had been reading through the Psalms and read Psalm 23:

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherds crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life. -Psalm 23 (The Message)

As I wrestled with God that day about the “unknowns” I felt a peace begin to return as I meditated on the Truth of His Word. Not a peace like I didn’t need to worry because the baby would for sure be healthy. But a confident trust. Knowing that my God, my Shepherd, was still walking by my side.  And if the baby was not “healthy” by the worlds standards or his/her days were numbered too short, He was going to give me the grace to handle that when it came. He was going to continue to provide for all my needs, allow me to catch my breath, and give me constant security in a world that often feels very insecure. A friend had just shared with me the night before that they were learning that we can’t always be worrying about the “what ifs”, but instead we need to rest in “I AM”.

Thanks to all of you who were praying for our sweet baby. We are rejoicing and so, so grateful for “good” news. We can’t wait to love on this new little addition to our family. 27 weeks down…only 13 to go!!

Yet even as we rejoice, I know there are some of you who are in a waiting period, or even walking through Death Valley right now…facing disappointment, heartache and grief. I pray that no matter where you are on your way, you would be confident in the goodness of our God. That you would trust in who He is, your loving Shepherd who is walking by your side. And that when your emotions and circumstances try to tell you otherwise, you would bathe yourself in the Truth of God’s Word. He is always true to His Word.

I pray that we would not be women you get stuck in the “what-ifs”…

but that we would be women who rest in I AM.



  • rose - I know from experience about potential baby health problems while pregnant and I KNOW the relief you are feeling now. Though the real relief comes after the birth with themm in your arms, right?
    You are going to have a beautiful baby and I just know they will be very healthy. Enjoy your awesome news!

    I can’t wait for he/she to be born. We are done adding but that baby fever is strong..lolReplyCancel

  • Cari Chastain - After Caden died our next ultrasound was horrible. The “specialists” scared us with all their talk of what could be. It turns out it was nothing to worry about. But it stops you in your tracks and makes you repeat to yourself what you know to be true. When we don’t know what He’s doing, we trust who He is. Praising and praying with you. CariReplyCancel

  • babykatesmom - There is such beauty in these words. Praising Him for a healthy #4!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - Such a blessing to read this post. Last week, I miscarried my baby #4 but I’ve found joy in my sorrow because of Jesus. I have been finding hope from Isaiah 26:3 “He will keep in perfect peace all who trust in Him, all whose eyes are fixed on him.” Rejoicing with you for your baby’s health, but more so the fact you’ve been given God’s perfect peace because you trust in Him! He is such a kind God.ReplyCancel

  • Lori - Oh Jess! I had no idea! I know all too well the feeling of sitting in those exact rooms and hearing “bad” news about your baby! So thankful that you got good news the next time around! Love you sweet friend and praying for health for you and baby!ReplyCancel

  • Deborah - I’m so glad your scans came back OK! And you are right to say that God would walk with you regardless of the baby’s health. And that He is good no matter what.ReplyCancel

  • Lea - Jess, this is such a touching post and I rejoice with you and your husband on this good news regarding this precious life you are carrying. Our daughter just suffered her 4th miscarriage in 3 years. They were at 12wks, 14 wks, 18 wks and 11 wks. She has a 5 year old little boy and had not one problem carrying him. She has seen specialist and there just seems to be no explaination. She and her husband know that God has a plan and they continue to trust Him for their future and another child.

    I’m so glad that I found your blog, it is so refreshing and inspiring. Blessings abundant to you in the days ahead!ReplyCancel

  • Stefanie - I’m so glad you received good news! Praying the rest of your pregnancy is uneventful!ReplyCancel

  • Amber - 🙂 beautifully wriitten 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Meggie - So thankful for good news and praying for the remainder of your pregnancy and baby #4!ReplyCancel

  • Amie - Awwwww! I love you! Always in my prayers!ReplyCancel

  • Debbie - I have followed you a long time, and you simply amaze me. My daughter is pregnant again. Her first baby, a son, was born with a heart problem. He is five now, and he is my beautiful grandson, who has come so far. My daughter is seeing a high risk doctor because of her first pregnancy. She goes for her first test tomorrow. I have a peace about this pregnancy, and I believe she has too. Whatever the outcome, we know He is with us. You help me with your story. I just wanted to say thank you and if you wouldn’t mind saying a little prayer for my daughter as well. Thank you and God Bless you!ReplyCancel

  • Erin - I’m an avid follower of your blog. I don’t often comment, but I couldn’t pass up commenting on this one.

    My heart broke for you as I read about your first sonogram experience. I can’t even imagine the fear and heartache that would most certainly come in that time, even with such a strong faith as yours. You continue to show, time and again, the integrity with which you live your life by constantly taking your fears and worries and struggles to the Lord. You are an incredibly wise, strong woman, and I have learned so much from your story – your struggles and your strengths.

    Thank you for your authenticity here. It really blesses my heart. I often wish I could meet you; you would make for an amazing mentor!

    I’m so glad to hear that the second sonogram looked so much better and am continuing to pray for health in the rest of your pregnancy and delivery for both you and the newest Baby Mac!

    Sending love and hugs from a fellow sister in Christ!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - Praise The Lord for a good scan. I will continue to lift your precious family in my prayers (as well as those who commented above). Thank you for continuing to show me that no matter what I’m facing, as long as I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, I will never be alone. Blessings from the windy plains of NW OklaReplyCancel

  • Alyssa - Jess, thank you so much for your authenticity and openness. I am so so thankful that your baby is healthy and growing well, I know that’s such a blessing to have assurance about, even though God will walk by your side through everything. I’m coming up on huge year anniversary of losing my second son (my only miscarriage) and it’s so so hard to see the “plan” sometimes, but posts like this help me rest assured in The One Who Brings Me Peace, my Rock and my Salvation, and know that He is always good and that He never ever leaves.

    So thank you. So much. For being real. And demonstrating a faith in God that I don’t see very often.


  • Sharon - I have been reading your blog for a long time but never have commented before tonight. As I sit on the cusp of our “feedback meeting” with the doctor in regard to my son your words of encouragement are exactly what I needed. Your gentle reminder that God has a plan, that He is in control, and that He is with us is just what I needed as I face this appointment tomorrow. Thank you! Continued prayers of health for you and baby.ReplyCancel

  • Diane Taylor - Hi Jess – sorry I haven’t commented in awhile. I still read your blog – and I was so overjoyed for you and Joel about baby mac! Joy mixed with some sadness – I drift over to those “what if” moments so easily. I miss my son so much –2 years after his death I still long to see his face, hear his voice, hug him, tell him I love him. I mourn the dreams I had for him, getting married and having his own children… while I am ALWAYS happy to hear about new life, it always goes right to my heart of what I will never have again (at my age having babies is just not in the cards anymore). It always goes to my “what ifs”. I am working on getting to that “I AM” stage. Know that I continue to pray for you all – and here’s to a healthy baby mac!!!

    xxoo – Diane (mother of Jonathan Daily, 4/25/87 – 3/1/12)ReplyCancel

  • Kimberlee Jost - Praising God with you. I will continue to pray through the next 13 weeks.ReplyCancel

  • Toni :O) - My heart was in my throat reading this thinking no, not them, not again…whew…I am breathing better now after reading further and just so happy that all is okay with sweet Baby Mac #4. You inspire me to be more faithful, to leave all trust in Him because He does great things…He is so good. Thank you for the reminder today and praying for a smooth pregnancy here on out. God bless you.ReplyCancel

  • Corrie - Jess, I just HAD to comment!
    I too am 27 weeks pregnant with our [second] baby. And like you, we went to our 20-week soon and came out reeling from words like “abnormalities” and “trisomy” and “markers”.
    Like you, we did another scan with a specialist and rejoiced when we learned that our baby appears to be “okay”, in the human sense of the word.
    (tho’ as of last week, my placenta started abrupting and I am now on bed rest…so hopefully this is where our paths diverge! :o)
    Like you, I battled fears for our sweet baby ~ and ourselves. Like you, I wrestled with God. Like you, I turned to Scripture. Like you, I was given complete peace in the middle of turmoil. And like you, it came thro’ Psalm 23. I was driving down the road (the good old days…before bed rest!) and the LORD brought v.6 to mind : “Surely goodness AND mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” And it hit me : I KNOW God is good. Regardless. Even if my baby struggles her whole life or if her life is numbered in gestational weeks. GOD. IS. GOOD. But being good, He KNOWS His goodness doesn’t always line up with what our human minds can fathom…and so not only does His goodness accompany us on this journey, but He also offers His mercy for our brokeness. Because “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are ~ yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)
    BLESSINGS to you and your dear family!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - You’ve just encouraged me so much. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • creole wisdom - Thank you, Jesus. I’m so grateful that baby Mac #4 is doing well. Hearing you share this story during Hope Spoken truly touched my heart. It’s just challenging to understand and know the will of God sometimes. But, all we can do is trust.ReplyCancel

  • grace - those last two lines- <3ReplyCancel

  • Cindy - I’m so very happy to hear that the baby is within the normal parameters. My youngest daughter has been going through a similar scare. She couldn’t believe it when the doctor told her there was still time to “end the pregnancy.” She feels like you and whatever happens, happens. She also feels calm about the outcome. We pray it will all go well but are ready to accept whatever God has in mind. I pray that all of your prayers will be answered in the positive way that you wish they will be. Thank you for sharing this with us, I know it must have been difficult for you. As always, you’re in my prayers.ReplyCancel

  • momof3 - Jess, your strength amazes and inspires me! God led me to this post on the day I needed it most. Thank you for being so brave and using your well spoken words to help others. You have helped me so much today, I thank you for that.

    Praying for you and your beautiful family!ReplyCancel

  • Arlene Britt - Hi Jess,

    Just yesterday, God gave me the inkling to email you, to tell you I had been praying about you and your little one. Praise the Lord for wonderful news after the sonogram. I listened to you speak at HopeSpoken and we spoke briefly after the second session (I am also a bereaved mother).

    Thank you for sharing and you will continue to be in my prayers.


  • Melissa Joy - Oh Jess, I am praising the Lord with you for His hand of mercy upon your family, and your sweet little baby specifically. I know those terrifying ultrasounds, especially the ones that follow past horrific griefs… and I am so thankful that the Lord spared you from further grief at your follow-up… so thankful that He gave you grace to endure the hardship of the unknowns during those impending weeks… so thankful that His Spirit is growing His fruit in you and for you and through you for His glory. THank you for glorifying God here so we can join in with you. Amen.ReplyCancel

  • Aly - Oh Jess, our God is so good. Glad to hear that your follow-up appointment went well. Praise Jesus!ReplyCancel

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh my goodness, oh my goodness! You’ve been on my prayer list since Hope Spoken and I am so, so glad to hear! Praise the Lord!ReplyCancel