I’m a google-r.  It’s a nasty habit, especially for young moms prone to worry.  Cough with unexplained rash?  Google it.  Strange looking diaper deposits?  Google it.  Random pain during pregnancy?  Google (panic) Google some more (panic some more) find an answer I like (calm down and go to bed).  P.S. you do NOT want to see my search history, there are some crazy questions in there.

Nathaniel makes fun of my “research,” and says that I obtained my medical degree from Google and Yahoo Answers which is a very bad combination.  I know this, and yet sometimes I just. can’t. stop.  He would also like to send some of our ER  bills to the Google Coorporation because they are largly responsible for at least half of our visits there.

I think some part of me feels like as long as I know what could happen or go wrong, then I have a little more control over the situation.  Not so much as be more prepared that it could happen, but information is power, you know?  Therefore, I have researched many of the bad things that can happen to your baby in utero – from what happens if you don’t take your prenatals to the dangers of eating raw deli meat and soft cheese.  I’ve even “studied” what could potentially go wrong in the delivery room.

But it’s not just Google that gets me all worried.  It’s stories too.  Last summer a story circulated about a young boy who “dry drowned,” meaning, he died in his sleep hours after he went swimming.  I’ve heard of several little children pulling heavy pieces of furniture down on themselves, killing them instantly.  A friend of a friend of a friend died while giving birth to her fifth child.  Children get kidnapped, they run into the street, babies suddenly die in their sleep, young moms are diagnosed with cancer, young dads are in fatal car accidents.

So I do things to protect myself and my family.  Monitor the kids closely while at the pool, move all furniture out of the house that could be pulled down, never leave my children alone when we are out, always hold their hands when we walk around, put my baby to sleep on his back, get my regular check ups, remind Nathaniel to drive carefully – as if I have the power to stop what has already been ordained and planned by God.

Like I said, I thought I knew almost all of the bad things that could happen during a delivery, I thought.  But I had no idea that the cord could go flying out when your water breaks and that the baby could almost die.  I had no idea that some women went through c-sections completely knocked out like a normal surgery, and I had no idea that after all of that they could hand you a perfectly healthy baby and congratulate you.  At first I felt a little indignent that something I didn’t even know about happened to me, the ultimate researcher of all things that could go wrong.

But then something else came up:  In the hospital, one of the pediatricians who came to check on Simeon noticed something strange about his head shape.  Amazingly, I didn’t worry, but doctor wanted us to do some head scans, to rule out any pre-mature fusion of the skull.  The part he was most worried about wasn’t fused together, so we went on our way, thankful we weren’t looking at a potential surgery and told just to wait and see how his head grows.  Now he is three months old, and his head is clearly different from other babies heads.  At our pediatrician’s recomendation (Simeon was also doing some goofy things which made us wonder if he had a neurolgical problem), we took him and his scans to a neuro surgeon here in Bogota who said he was completely normal neurologically but right away diagnosed him with “Craniosynostosis, Metopic Ridge” (that might be the Spanish spelling of it),  but basically, his forehead fused together in utero (that’s not supposed to happen until he is a year old) and depending on the severity of it, he is going to continue to grow a triangular shaped head and have a bone sticking out of the middle of his forehead for the rest of his life.  Some cases are solely asthetic while others are a matter of actual brain development.  The doctor here left it as a decision we can make, but we are getting a second opinion in a few weeks in Seattle when we are home for a wedding/vacation.

I tell you this story to ask you to pray that Simeon won’t need an invasive head surgery during his first year of life, but also to share with you how the Lord has used this also to calm my heart.  Again, I thought I knew most of the problems that babies could be born with, but I had never ever heard of “Metopic Ridge.” I was shocked that there was not only a problem out there that I didn’t know about, but that it was happening to my son.  But then I realized, absolutely no worrying about heart defects or amniotic bands or spinobifida prevented my son from his little skull fusing together too soon.

At first I felt overwhelmed by the list of so many things that could go wrong, and that, as it turns out, I only know a tiny bit of them, but then God gave me a different perspective:  absolutely everything is in God’s control, and thankfully absolutely nothing is in mine.  I could not have prevented my son’s skull from growing improperly no matter how many prenatals I took or how often I microwaved my deli meat before eating it.  There was nothing I could have done differently.  There was nothing I could have done to prevent the cord from flying out during delivery either.  I believe in a sovereign God who allows all things to happen in His timing and will, so why am I surprised when things do happen with or without my knowledge that they could happen?

I’ve also been learning over these last few months that God is gracious in how He allows certain things to happen.  In our case, there was a hint that something was off in the hospital, but we weren’t forced to go home with a brand new baby and all of those hormonal emotions knowing this.  He gave us time before showing us that our baby probably will need surgery.  He allowed us to question Simeon’s neurological development so that we would see a doctor, but then gave us the good news that his brain is fine, it is his skull that has the problem, which was such a relief at the time.  Sometimes I worry that I won’t be able to handle it if something does go horribly wrong – with Simeon’s surgery or with anyone close to me in general – and then I remember the wise words of a woman the Lord placed in my life a few years ago, “God hasn’t given you the grace yet to live in that moment, but he will.”  If you had told me before Simeon was born that he was going to be born in an emergency c-section, and three months later we were going to get his head checked by a neurosurgeon in Seattle, I don’t think I could have handled that information, because God wasn’t there in the future to give me the grace yet.  But he’s here now, giving me the grace, calming my heart every time it starts to race at the thought of my baby’s head being cut open.  And he will be there in the future – whatever that looks like.

So, I still google (I know, I know), I still pray that Nathaniel will return home safely, I still go to the doctor, I still practice smart parenting like holding my child’s hand as we cross the street, and just last night I got rid of the wobbly bookshelf I caught Gabriella climbing on.  But, I also know that there is no bubble I can put my family in – whether it be freak accidents or sicknesses or some crazy rare birth defect – things can and will happen, but what will always remain constant is the Lord’s perfect will and timing in these things, and His perfect grace to bring us through them.

5 comments to Worry

  • Gerardo Gutierrez  says:

    Your letter was very informative and exquisitely well written. But the most impressive part to my taste was your grasp of the Sovereignty of God and you love for the Lord which is translated from your trust in his grace and care. I am so proud of you My Alicia. Bless you my favorite missionaries.

  • Anita Little  says:

    Your precious family is in our prayers. We are looking forward to seeing you at “The Wedding”


  • Joni Gloria  says:

    Alicia! We are so sorry to hear of any medical problems with your sweet new little one! Ruben and I will be praying for you all. We also passed on this news to the Bechtels who’s 3rd child just had that same surgery (!) on September 4. It was a very trying ordeal for Mommy and Daddy emotionally but I hope it will encourage you to know that he is recovering WONDERFULLY, was smiling not long after and is already back to his spirited self. If Simeon does have to have surgery we know, as you said above, God’s grace is more than sufficient. We love you guys!

  • Marianne Schwartz  says:

    Just wanted you to know that our little Bible study group with Lena on Wednesday nights share a special prayer for you all and especially for Nathaniel and Alicia since you are the ones who came to our home with Linda Hoadley before you began this amazing journey.
    I am enjoying your beautifully written blog, Alicia, and have been moved and blessed by your honesty in sharing your feelings and thoughts as you go through so many new experiences.
    I was born and raised in Shillong, Meghalaya, India. My grandparents were missionaries to India and my dad returned to India after finishing studies at UCAL in Berkeley and marrying my mom there. They lived in Shillong for 45 years continuing some of my grandparents work. So I feel a connection in some ways with you. God Bless You.

  • Marianne Schwartz  says:

    It is Wednesday of the week of Simeon’s surgery and we just heard that he has a cold which may complicate when the surgery will be performed.
    We are on our knees for your whole family and I feel sure that God will continue to make this whole experience go as He wants. I know that Seattle Children’s is one of the best hospitals and group of surgeons in the country.
    God bless you and little Simeon.

    Marianne and Steven and Lena’s Bible study group at New Life, Escondido.

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