“Do you want more kids?” a co-worker asked me one day. I told her I was definitely open, especially growing up in a family of eight children; 2 kids seemed pretty small to me! I asked her in return if she hoped for more children, knowing she struggled with infertility prior to her first two boys. Her response surprised me. “I don’t think so.” She added, “What if I had another baby and there was something was wrong with it?”
Both being labor and delivery nurses, we welcomed many little miracles into this world and we knew the reality of infants born with something wrong. Although I truly believed in the inherent dignity, worth and beauty of every one of these little ones, we also knew the difficult road that was set before those parents who were given a sick child.
Nonetheless, I’ve thought about her answer over the years. I had always, thought to myself, “How could you want to limit God’s gifts to you over the fear of a possibility?”
That was, until I had a “not perfect” child.
After the delivery of my fourth baby I received a phone call from my pediatrician. She was calling to notify me something abnormal had come up on the baby’s newborn screen. An early Monday morning visit with the Geneticist confirmed the initial diagnoses - Medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase, better known as MCAD. It’s a rare genetic deficiency that prevents the body from converting certain fats to energy, particularly during periods without food. Although we had no idea, my husband and I were both carriers, so with each pregnancy we had a one in four chance of the baby having the disorder.
It was a true blessing to have the early diagnosis, since many cases of MCAD had lead to SIDS in the past. Some simple precautions like setting my alarm to wake the baby for frequent feeds, having a “fast pass” to the front of the ER line and knowing when to take the baby to the hospital due to illness would allow my daughter to live a normal life span. Yet the question my co-worker raised came to the forefront of my mind. “What if I had another baby and there was something was wrong with it?”
When life has thrown me curveballs, I have often struggled with completely trusting in Jesus. It’s easy for me to turn useless anxiety and asking the “what-ifs.” Yet the words from Matthew 6:27 “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?” reminds me to leave it in His hands.
Although it is not easy, I know from experience that Jesus uses these difficult times to take me through His school of trust. I have come out a better disciple (and better person) because of it. I have also learned that Jesus does not abandon me in these times, but instead reaches down from the cross, picks me up and places me on His Most Sacred Heart.
Copyright 2015 Michele Faehnle
Photo copyright 2005 Melissa Laudick Photography. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Michele Faehnle is a wife, mother of 4 and a school nurse. In her free time she enjoys volunteering for the church and is the co-chair of the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference. She is also the co-author of The Friendship Project, Divine Mercy For Moms, Our Friend Faustina and Pray Fully; Simple Steps to Becoming a Woman of Prayer. Read more of her work at InspireTheFaith.com.