What Happened When I Found Out My Daughter Was A Miracle
This week has been one of rejoicing over my daughter. Don't get me wrong. I believe all births are miraculous, but some new information has come to our attention regarding Sawyer's in utero viability.
I sought out a hormone specialist just before I got pregnant with Sawyer due to the fact that I had been suffering from an unknown illness the past several years and conventional medicine was not helping, in was in fact, making me worse.
Based on my symptoms the doctor was sure I was struggling with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) but before we could get blood drawn for a hormone panel, we found out I was 12 days pregnant. She advised against the panel at that point because my hormones would be astronomical as a pregnant woman. Or so she thought.
I know now that you don’t need blood testing to confirm a PCOS diagnosis. Sorting through the symptoms is a major piece of a very, very complicated puzzle.
I know now that the doctor should have prescribed Progesterone based on my symptoms alone.
I know now that 50% of pregnancies in women with PCOS result in miscarriage due to extreme progesterone deficiency.
50% chance of miscarriage. My daughter had a 1 in 2 chance of surviving and I didn’t know this during the pregnancy.
I also am a homozygous MTHFR gene mutation recipient, which carries a significant miscarriage risk on its own. So technically, I don't know the real numbers, but the odds were not in her favor to survive.
I was only able to breastfeed Sawyer for a couple months because I lost my milk due to…you guessed it: dangerously low progesterone. But by the time we discovered this, it was too late to get my milk back.
Much of your health and immunity is attributed to your gut. Breast milk is a huge contributor to starting an infant’s gut health; as is the vaginal flora obtained from a natural birth, but Sawyer had to be retrieved via an emergency C-section. These are a couple of the reasons I give my daughter probiotics and Cod Liver Oil every day!
But regardless of what I didn’t know, God knew. He provided what she needed to survive and thrive. I am convinced God used my PCOS-ignorance so He could later reveal his divine intervention knitting my daughter together. Fearfully. And oh-so wonderfully made. What a beautiful example of God getting the glory while we get the joy.
In addition to her survival, not long after my milk dried up, God provided again. Our dear friends welcomed their baby boy, and they were blessed with an abundance of milk. We had daily deliveries of fresh breast milk from them for a while which was a tremendous help to all of us. I had cried many, many tears while making Sawyer’s bottles of formula, partly because I hadn’t thoroughly researched the contents, but mostly because I felt inadequate; that I couldn’t provide my daughter with what she needed.
[*Note: If anyone is seeking the best infant formula, I've written this article for you!]
I look at my daughter through new eyes this week. I thought I would be the mom crying tears of joy when she crawled or took her first steps or said “Mama” but I was too excited for that.
But this…this is what gets me. I have trouble looking at Sawyer now without my heart feeling like it’s going to burst right out of my chest as I choke back my thankful tears.
Sometimes when we open our eyes, we can clearly see God’s intentional work in our lives and it takes our breath away.
Then I remembered Sawyer’s name.
During the pregnancy, I opened my Bible seeking inspiration for baby names. The binding of my Bible is ripped open in the beginning, so it falls open to the same spot often, and this was no exception. But this time I noticed a post-it that said “Read Ezekiel 37.” I vaguely remember writing it, but I don’t remember seeing it before. So I read the chapter. It’s strange because I was familiar with the passage, so I don’t know why I wrote myself a note like that.
Ezekiel 37 is a prophetic chapter titled The Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones. This is a symbolic passage essentially about Israel in their state of unbelief, and the restoration of the divided kingdom, represented by two sticks coming together as one.
After reading this a few times I thought it would be incredible to give our daughter a name that represented a biblical prophesy! So I searched for words in their original language trying to capture the essence of this story in my daughter’s name. I zeroed in on the sticks. What word meant sticks? What word meant two becoming one? The original Hebrew language that represents pretty much all of verse 17,"Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand," is contained in one single word: 'echad.
Seriously. It's pronounced with heavy emphasis on the phelgm (Strong's H259). I couldn't do that to her.
OK. Dead end.
I mean, we already had a list of our favorite names waiting anyway. We stockpiled several ever since we had settled on the name Aviella Sloane early in the pregnancy and later realized that her initials would spell A.S.S. The best/worst part about that is while I wanted to change the name immediately, Charlie wanted to keep it. He said “Boy named Sue, Girl named Ass”
All that to say, “Sawyer” and “Emalyn” were already part of our name choices and we were just waiting to see her before we selected the final first and middle names.
“Emalyn” was added during my attempt to have a West Wing inspired name. Yes, people, the obsession is real, but The West Wing is how Charlie and I met, so it is sacred in this home!
I got ZERO name inspiration from the West Wing. “Emalyn” was finally created when I took two outstanding characters; Ainsley Hayes (played by Emily Proctor) and Evelyn Baker Lang (Glenn Close) and combined the names Emily and Evelyn. FYI, those characters are polar opposites of each other but we love them dearly and equally!
Do you know what Sawyer means? Someone who cuts wood. Wood. Sticks.
Emalyn? Two becoming one.
You might think that’s stretching it, but I don’t. What it all means, I don’t know. I am just more in love with my daughter in every way and I can’t help but see God’s intention all over her.
If you pray for anything for me, please pray I don’t ever lose this perspective on her. That I don’t stop seeing through eyes like this. That it spills over into all I see and do. That I don't stop trusting God in all He does and doesn't do; even if He doesn't reveal His purpose.
We are dedicating Sawyer Emalyn to the Lord at 5:00 Saturday night at Westgate’s Saratoga campus and we’d love to see you. For those of you already a part of our family’s life, loving on our baby girl and speaking into our lives as her parents, we thank you and appreciate you.
Number of West Wing References in this post: Half the article, duh.