Yeah, But Look at Her, Now!

IMG_2761A year ago today, was a bad day. What follows is the text from an email that I sent out to a few friends and family members on March 22, concerning what took place on the 21st. We knew so little back then. We didn’t even know her name was Pearl, yet! What a testament to God’s sovereign and good design, and to his people who have pled Pearl’s case before him for so long.

Friends and Family,

As you may or may not know, Ruth and I are pregnant with our 3rd child.  She is 20 weeks along, and yesterday we went for the ultrasound to find out if we are having a boy or girl. Our day started like any other grumpy day when you get up too early, but after spending hours in waiting rooms and meeting with ultrasound technicians, midwives, and a specialist, we were devastated with the news that our baby girl has a rare disease known as holoprosencephaly.

You can look it up online to get the full spectrum of what we are dealing with, but the term that was used to describe her condition is “not compatible with life.”  Basically, her brain is fused into one small mass, instead of separating into two growing hemispheres. Her face has also failed to develop the necessary structures needed for survival. Though she is growing and kicking, and even moved her fingers during the ultrasound, the doctors say that she will not, in all probability survive very long after delivery. They have encouraged us to go ahead and induce labor now, as that would ease the prolonged pain of delaying the inevitable.

We have chosen to carry her to term, though. We feel as though we know what would happen if we were to deliver her now. In her current state, she could not survive outside of the womb. Though there is a strong possibility that she will not survive even if she makes it the full 9 months, we are going to push through and pray for a miracle. The same God that raises the dead to life, and makes people out of dirt is perfectly capable of mending a broken brain, and bringing form to an unformed face.

We know that we are in for a long race: one that we are ill prepared for. Baby girl’s body will continue to grow, as will Ruth’s. She will continue to kick and move about. There will be signs of life that will occur, all the while we will be preparing to deliver her and say goodbye to her at the same time. The reality of this is going to be tough for Ruth as it continues to unfold. The last 24 hours have already shown us moments that we feel fine, and moments that seem as though the world has stopped turning. We don’t feel as though we have a choice in the matter, though.

There is so much more to say right now, but I know this email can’t go on forever, so here is my plea: Join us in praying. Not just today, but for the long haul. Her due date is August 12. Please pray for Ruth and all that she is going through. This has already been the hardest thing we have ever endured, and we are just 1 day in. Pray that Brennan and Abbey will somehow grasp some of what’s going on, and God’s goodness through everything. Its tough to shut the bedroom door, cry for a few minutes, and then engage 2 happy kids who just want to show you their latest LEGO creation, and beg for a snack. They don’t understand the weight of this, nor should they. Please pray that I will know how to shepherd my family. Everyday logistics, such as looking for work and fixing the car feel inconsequential, though I know the opposite is true. Please pray for our baby girl, that the Lord will see fit to heal her broken body. Pray that she will continue to survive and grow. I know that God will be glorified in this either way, and that he will sustain us long enough for us to glorify him through living until he sees fit for us to glorify him in dying. We are praying for a miraculous healing, though we are bracing for the reality that he may not see fit to do so.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and please join us in praying.

Eric and Ruth Brown

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15 thoughts on “Yeah, But Look at Her, Now!

  1. God Bless every one of you precious family. It warms my heart and brings me to tears every time I receive these e-mails regarding Pearl’s progress. If I lived in your area I would surely love to meet Pearl and your family. Keep the faith as you have always done, it has most definitely paid off and will continue to do so 🙂

  2. Praise God that you followed His will for your life and Pearl’s! While wallowing in the self-pity that we sometimes indulge in, I received your update on Pearl! Brought me out of my own little shell! What a beautiful life God has given me! What a beautiful, precious angel Pearl Joy is! Thank you for allowing us a glimpse of the beauty that is so divinely God’s! Pearl Joy is PERFECT – she is just the way God made her! I will continue to pray for all of you on this incredible journey! Julie Barbaree

  3. This brings tears of joy tears of hope and encourages me to keep moving forward. Thank you so much for the letter.

    Again thanks for taking my calls and updates as you deal with your own life. You guys are amazing to us in our house.

    Matt Rinard

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. She is absolutely gorgeous, as are your other children. You are an amazing family! May God always walk beside you and give you strength to get through each day. Hugs and kisses to you all xxxx

  5. That picture is amazing! Does Pearl look up to her big brother? Yes, I think so! Your family is so blessed. I just told my daughter the story of Pearl and all of you.
    She was so happy that God led you to embrace the wonder that is Pearl and give her the gift of life! I get so excited for your updates and am so excited each time there is a new photo of Pearl. I cannot tell you how beautiful I think she is! You have been so blessed to have your three gorgeous children! God continue to bless your family richly!

  6. What a blessing! I have friends who just gave birth to a daughter last week with the same condition. She will have open heart surgery tomorrow. I thank God that He has connected me with your blog – first of all because you are an inspiration and a joy and I am honored to pray for you and your sweet daughter, and secondly because now I have your testimony to hold on to as I pray for my friends and their little girl.

  7. Our Father loves us lavishly, graces us incredibly and I see Him clearly in the story of this Precious Pearl and her sweet family. Thank you for sharing. w/love and prayers, k

  8. I remember this well. I remember crying for you guys at my dining room table and praying. So yeah, look at her now! Joy is her middle name!

  9. I pray for many things during the day as there are so many needs both in my immediate circle and around the world. Having said that I have to clarify that there’s really no reason why I can’t wash dishes, mop floors, dust AND pray whilst I’m doing it! And so often I find Pearl in my heart. She is so sweet and endearing: just like they all are at that age. I don’t believe a bit that she can’t see you. She definitely seems to; it might just be a different way of “seeing” than clinical definition can relate to. Pearl reminds me that we all have our flaws and our good points and that making the best of every day covers off our flaws and brings us to greater happiness and truth. I truly believe that Pearl will defy the odds and I’ll be rooting for her every day, sometimes many times a day (and I root for you too for having courage and foresight). May you and all of your children continue to be blessed.

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