Sunny and 75
by Lesley Mannen
I have always been a Christian. I grew up in the church, I was baptized, I went to church camp in the summer, recited memory verses, memorized the books of the bible etc. etc.But My RELATIONSHIP with Christ really began when the year 2019 started. Nothing has grown and tested my faith simultaneously quite like this past year has... and I should also mention that 2019 was the worst year of my life.I’ll start with the big one. My son. We had some miscarriages before we had our son, so I have always considered him my miracle boy. But what I am about to share with you solidifies my thinking… This kid is a wonder.February 18, 2019 was the worst day of my life. We woke up around 4 a.m. to what we thought was our 14 month old son snoring, but something didn’t sound right, so I hopped out of bed and went to check on him. He was pale and blue and having a seizure. His seizure was in status epilepticus which means, had we not woken up when we did (Hello, Jesus.) he would have died. We called 911, an ambulance came 6 minutes later.
I know the time because this was the longest 6 minutes of my entire life. When they got him into the rig, his O2 sats were in the 50’s. Even a few more minutes and our son's short little life would have been over.To make an extremely long story short, we spent 6 weeks in the hospital and Matty lost the ability to walk and use the whole left side of his body. Once we were discharged from Riley, Matty began seeing an OT and a PT 4x a week and in June, he started walking again! (Praise God!). We are so very thankful for our therapists. They have become like family to us, and they love Matty like their own. His personality and his cognitive abilities are exactly as they were before all of this happened. We are incredibly thankful and we know the outcome could have been so very different.As if Matty’s story wasn’t enough, the second part of our year was incredibly hard as well. In October 2019, after 2 early miscarriages in May and June, Alex and I found out that we were expecting baby #2!
Of course, this isn’t my first rodeo, so I was cautiously excited until our first appointment.Since I had 2 miscarriages before Matty and had 2 miscarriages this year, we are under the care of a fertility specialist. Once I had all of my blood work done and my HCG was high enough, she wanted to do an ultrasound. We saw the little flicker of a heartbeat on November 11th. I was measuring a little behind, but nothing too concerning. The next week, we saw the heartbeat again and it was even faster and more beautiful than the first time. The doctor wanted to see us one more time and then we would be on our way to the end of the first trimester.I walked into our 9 week appointment anxious.
My sweet, patient and stoic husband reminded me that we had already heard the baby’s heartbeat twice before. After all, this appointment was just a triple check and then we would “graduate” to seeing my regular OB. My doctor walked in and asked how I was feeling and I told her that I was doing well, anxious for some reason, but well. We all exchanged pleasantries and the ultrasound tech got started. As the ultrasound started, I started to panic. I hadn’t seen the baby yet, but something inside me knew that this appointment was going to go sideways and fast.The next few minutes were filled with the Dr. and the Ultrasound tech feverishly trying to locate our baby’s heartbeat. There was a long pause.
A deafening and heavy silence fell over the dimly lit room. “I am so sorry, Lesley, it’s just not there. We can’t find the heartbeat. It should be right there and it just isn’t. There’s no bloodflow”. I didn’t know my mind could move so slow and so fast at the same time. “Why did I tell so many people?” “Did I drink too much caffeine?” “How is this happening?” “Is this a dream?” “There was only a 5% chance of this happening once we saw the heartbeat”. The room felt heavy. I felt so small. I forced myself to cry hoping that it would relieve some of the pain and pressure in my chest.The next thing I knew, we were talking about my options. The options on how to extract the baby that we longed for for so long out of me. Part of me wanted to do it that day. To just get it overwith. Another part of me thought that I needed just a little bit longer to say goodbye. I chose to move forward with the D&C and it was scheduled for the next day. I wanted to be able to find out whether the life we lost was a boy or girl. I wanted to know why this happened.
I was hoping that these types of questions being answered might bring me some closure.The last few months have dragged on forever. About a week after the D&C, I got a call that revealed the baby had Turner’s Syndrome, or Monosomy X. It was relieving to hear that this is one of the most common causes of first trimester miscarriages. It also meant that our baby was a female. A girl. I knew it. I would tell everyone I was 100% sure it was a girl and here's why...Back in October, while on my way to our annual sales conference, I texted my husband, Alex. I told him that I felt like God spoke to me while I was reading on the plane. It felt like he was saying “You have a daughter, and her name is Grace.” Not that I will have a daughter, but I have a daughter. I know, I know. It sounds a little crazy.
But… it’s 100% true. I didn’t know it at the time, but 2 weeks later I found out that I was, in fact, pregnant. And we now know it was a little girl.So why would God tell me this even if He knew she wouldn't stay with me? Well, I think He knew that my time with her would be limited in this Earthly life, but He wanted me to know her name. We named her Grace. She wasn’t just a ‘product of conception’. She was wanted, loved and she is ours.So there you have it, there’s our story. But God has not failed me through this storm. He saved our Matty. He will bring us our forever family in His time.
His plans for us are GOOD even when my circumstances feel anything but good. It’s easy to praise God when things are going well and our lives are going according to plan, but these storms have brought me closer to Jesus. I appreciate my ‘Sunny and 75’ moments so much more now. We know that even when we can’t see the full picture, he’s crafting everything for our Good. That is what I want you to take away from our story.