16: Proof Positive

16: Proof Positive

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

Proof Positive

Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof.

~Kahlil Gibran

“I’m sorry, but your prenatal test came back positive for Down syndrome,” the nurse told me over the phone.

“Um, okay,” I mumbled.

“I’ve made you an appointment with a specialist for two weeks from today.”

“Um, okay, thanks,” I stumbled.

“Have a nice day,” she said and hung up.

I set down the phone and cried. I vaguely remembered having a blood test, but the doctor said it was designed to rule out a variety of disabilities. I was only twenty-four, so I didn’t think I’d have anything to worry about. Obviously, I was wrong.

I called my husband at work and told him about the phone call. Then I called my mom and sobbed. Mom, always the problem solver, got on the computer and researched the prenatal test I’d taken.

“Honey, the test is just a screening test,” she said. “It doesn’t mean the baby has anything wrong at all. It just means they want to do further testing.”

“But why didn’t the nurse explain that?” I cried. “She made it sound like the baby definitely has Down syndrome.”

“She probably thought you knew about the test already.”

“Mom, this is my first baby and I don’t know anything about anything.”

“Don’t get all upset,” Mom said. “It’s most likely nothing.”

“Yeah, but what if it’s something?”

The two weeks until the appointment with the specialist stretched before me like an eternity. I could hardly eat or sleep. All I could do was pray and worry about the health of my baby.

Five days after the nurse’s phone call I went to my monthly obstetrical appointment. I sat in the waiting room, praying that my doctor would assure me that I had nothing to worry about.

A nurse I’d never seen before called my name. I smiled at her and stood up.

“Hi, I’m Amanda,” she said. “You’re here for your ultrasound, right?”

“No, I had my ultrasound two weeks ago. Today is just a checkup.”

She glanced at the chart in her hand. “It says here that you are supposed to have an ultrasound before your regular appointment today.”

“Is it because of my test results?” I asked, suddenly nervous.

Amanda smiled. “Let’s just take a look at your baby, okay?”

She led me upstairs to the ultrasound room. I lay down on the table and she squirted the jelly on my stomach.

“So I know that certain body parts can measure differently if something is wrong with the baby, right?” I said, hardly breathing.

“Let’s not worry about that right now,” she said kindly. “Let’s just watch the little guy.”

My eyebrows shot up. “It’s a boy?”

“Let’s just watch the little guy — or girl,” she said. “Babies are precious, no matter what their gender.”

Or their disability, I thought sadly.

Without speaking, she ran the wand over my stomach as I watched the screen. The baby moved almost constantly and I was mesmerized by what I saw.

This ultrasound was so different from my first one. During the first one, the technician seemed to be in a hurry. She had certain pictures and measurements she needed to take, and she was all business to get her job done.

Amanda was in no hurry at all. She seemed to sense that I needed to just see my baby, to watch him or her move, and to know that, at least for now, he or she was all right.

“Would you like to know the gender?” she asked quietly.

I shook my head. “Just tell me nothing is wrong.”

She smiled gently. “This baby looks perfect to me, and even if something is wrong, you’ll think he’s perfect too. Moms always feel that way about their babies.” She squeezed my hand. “I promise.”

Tears filled my eyes as her words sunk in. She was right. I realized I no longer cared if my baby had Down syndrome. He was perfect, just as he was. I loved him, and no diagnosis could make me love him any less. Just as God loved me despite my many problems and imperfections, I would love this baby, regardless of any medical challenges.

I felt a peace come over me, and I knew that things would be all right, no matter what the appointment with the specialist revealed.

“Thank you, Amanda,” I said through my tears. “You have been so kind to me.”

Gently, she wiped off my stomach and helped me up. “I’m glad you’re feeling more peaceful. Hopefully, you’ll sleep better now.”

Had I told her I hadn’t been sleeping? I couldn’t remember.

I went back downstairs to the waiting room. Minutes later, my usual nurse called me back. As I stepped onto the scale, I said, “I really like the new nurse, Amanda.”

She frowned at me. “Who?”

“Oh, I guess she’s an ultrasound technician, isn’t she?”

But the nurse shook her head. “There’s no one named Amanda in our office.”

“Of course there is. She just did my ultrasound.”

The nurse looked at my chart and shook her head again. “You weren’t scheduled for an ultrasound today.”

“But I just…” I started and then shook my head. “Never mind.”

When I got home that afternoon, I pulled the ultrasound photos from my purse. These photos were proof of what I already knew. I wasn’t alone. God loved me and He cared about what I was going through. God was watching over my baby and me.

He’d even sent one of His angels to prove it.

~Diane Stark

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