Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: HEALTH (10/13/16)
TITLE: Robert William
By Daniel Rae
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I was in my car heading out for dinner when my daughter had called. It was raining rather typically, a minor drawback to life on Canada's West Coast. But for some reason the call was so unexpected that I had to pull to the side of the road. The combination of pelting rain and monumental news left me with less concentration than is necessary to navigate 3500 lbs of steel that feels as though it is suddenly hydro-planing. The downpour seemed to assault my car as I idled on the side of the highway and I increased the volume on my Blue Tooth to make sure I was getting every word.
"Are you 100% sure?" I asked, more to buy time than for actual clarification. My eldest daughter Robyn was more than capable of a convincing 'gotcha' moment but I knew inside that this was no ruse. "I'll call you back in a bit" I said, knowing immediately that it was an odd-ball response. But I needed time to wrap my head around this remarkable development.
I sat there and cried unabashedly for several minutes before swivelling my rear view mirror and checking my eyes. I didn't want to roll into 'Petros' looking like a wreck.
Robert William was on his way! Oh my.
I made it to the ripe old age of 55 without ever hearing the term 'Echogenic Bowel'. In short order I would be bombarded by a host of additional 'new' terms including 'soft markers', 'trisomy 21', and 'sagittal imaging', terms I could have enthusiastically lived without.
Just as I'd come to grips with our incoming family member, Robyn had called and rather urgently. As a single dad of 30+ years, the antennae is quick to rise when either of my daughters call with any sense of urgency in their voice. Even as married adults any sense of fear or sorrow or concern is abruptly apparent and the natural reaction as their dad is a barely subdued rush to panic.
"Something showed up on the ultra-sound Dad, that has the Doctor concerned". As she reeled off medical terms I was quickly punching them into my iPad. As most of us know there's nothing more soothing than 'Googling' potential health problems ! You could Google 'hang nail' and feel your your life was in catastrophic danger.
By the time I hung up the phone I was already deep into prayer. The idea that there could be anything seriously wrong with Robert William was inconceivable. Robyn and her husband were as healthy as it gets, genetically unchallenged. But the wonder of the Internet was compounding my fears. Echogenic Bowel, early in the 3rd trimester, is a soft marker for a number of overwhelming possibilities, Down Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis, the two most sinister.
If this jarring news was overwhelming to me, what was it doing to Robyn?
There was an excruciating wait for confirmatory blood work. It was in these roughly two weeks that I've never been prouder of my daughter as she kept me updated.
Amniocentesis, she would tell me, was used as a 'decision aid'. Pushing a long needle through the mother's womb and into the fetus is primarily used to determine more conclusively the likelihood of significant abnormalities.
" So when do you get this procedure?" I asked. "Why would I get it done dad? it wouldn't change anything".
As an aspiring first time grandparent I didn't catch on too easily. I was still in the stage of thinking I might insist Robert William call me Uncle D.
" Dad I have this little guy inside me that I absolutely love and no matter what any test might reveal he's going to be my son".
By now I was mastering the art of the impromptu "I'll call you back", right before my voice cracked. I squandered countless more tears as I thanked The Lord for blessing me with such a daughter in spite of myself.
Robert William is the picture of health. Subsequent testing overrode any fear of complication and not a single prayer had gone unanswered.
But it's the Spritual health of his mom that overwhelms me with gratitude. Physical health may come and go but Spiritual health is eternal and key to our inheritance in Christ.
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