Monday, May 18, 2009

The What Ifs...

So I just had my last OB appointment before Bennett arrives and ironically it was with the same doctor that told me of the chance that Bennett would have Down syndrome and it was in the same exam room...

First, I had the ultrasound and non-stress test that showed once again, Bennett is doing exactly what he is supposed to do and everything looks great, thank you Lord!! Then I waited in that exam room and thought about the last time I was in there and how my mind was in a totally different place. The last time I was anxious and worried beyond belief because I just had this feeling, let's call it "mother's intuition" (which I totally believe in), that something was wrong. I thought how relaxed I was this time around and that it's kind of funny, since this time I know that there is something that most would be concerned about.

I've been reading "Calm My Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow and my sister suggested skipping ahead to get to chapter 8 and after I read that she said, now you really need to read chapter 9! So I read that and I got to chapter 10 and it talks about "Trusting God With The What Ifs". This is such a good chapter for anyone and everyone to read because she talks about the "What Ifs" and touches on the "If Onlys" in life (the "If Onlys" are talked about in chapter 11). Both show a lack of faith and I see myself doing this all the time. The "What Ifs" look into the future and you worry about what God might allow to happen and the "If Only" looks at the past and you complain about what God has given you. She says the "What Ifs" cause anxiety and the "If Onlys" cause anger. So true!!

So here is my one big "If Only" (I really don't have a lot of "if only" in my life, to be honest)
  • If only I had not pushed Mike for this third baby, we would not be in this situation....

I have now let this "If Only" go because I know it causes me to be angry at God and in no way should I be angry towards God for giving us Bennett or complain about my situation. This is a work in progress.

Now my "What Ifs" in life are so much longer and I'm thinking as a mom, I'm not the only one in this cycle of worrying. So here goes...

  • What If Bennett has to go to the NICU
  • What If something terrible happens and he doesn't make it
  • What If life with a child that has special needs is just too much to handle
  • What If one of my children has autism, cancer or is in some terrible accident
  • What If one of these moles I have turns out to be Melanoma
  • What If Bennett doesn't learn to talk until he's 5
  • What If something happens to Mike
  • What If Mike lost his job
  • What If, what if, what if...

So I have realized that if I let these "What Ifs" consume my life, I might as well check myself into an insane asylum because there is no way I can function and be a good mom, wife, friend, daughter or sister if I am constantly worrying about "What If". I have chosen to literally give these to God and trust that he will take care of them, in his time and in his way. One of my favorite verses to say to myself is Matthew 6:34-

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own."

Focus on today and have faith that God is in control of these things as well as the next day and the next. I'm telling you it is such a huge relief to give the uncontrollables to God and focus on what I can control.

I of course believe in the power of prayer and praying specifically, so if you are praying for us, here are my specific prayer requests and I ask that you pray for these things as well...

  • Please pray that Bennett arrives safely and is able to come home with me when I am discharged
  • Please pray that Bennett feeds well and grows at a good rate so he can be strong for his surgery
  • Please pray that the c-section goes well and no problems occur with that
  • Please pray that Bennett has good tone so that he can feed well and be stronger in general
  • Please pray that Bennett's heart defect does not cause him problems and that he can thrive until the cardiologist feels it is time for surgery.

I know God hears our prayers but I also know that sometimes it may seem like he does not always answer our prayers as we would think we want them answered. Like, you better believe I prayed when we were given the 1 in 10 chance that our baby had DS, I prayed like crazy that he didn't have it. So did God answer my prayer? It may seem like he didn't but I don't know what the future holds and His ways are far better than mine.

So if Bennett has to go to the NICU will I be upset? Sure, but I'm not going to worry about it today and I have total faith that God has everything in His control so what ever happens is what is meant to happen. Or if he doesn't eat well, will I get frustrated, well, maybe but I know that worrying about it now is not going to change it so I will deal with it, if it happens. Whew, it's so nice to let go of all that anxiety. I highly suggest you pray and ask God to help you let go of your "What Ifs".

Again, we cannot thank you enough for praying for us and for helping us pray specifically, all the while knowing that God has full control. And I realize not everyone that reads this blog may have the same beliefs as I do or even prays or you may not even believe in God. I'm just sharing what has worked for me and my family and can only hope that it will encourage you to think about it and let go of your anxieties.

One last verse: 1 Peter 5:6-7-

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

So now I am off to change the sheets, clean some bathrooms and straighten up because these are things I can control and cleaning relieves me of some anxiety as well! And I'm sure God sees nothing wrong with being a little nutty about cleaning, until it gets out of control of course, which I'm sure my family thinks it already has! I guess that will be a work in progress too:)


  1. Great Post! You are not alone-----we all have those What If's---and I too chose to leave them up to God, otherwise I too, would need to check myslef into an institution! You are in my thoughts and prayers as little Bennett's arrival comes closer!

  2. This is so what I needed to read today! Thank you SO much for posting it!

  3. Yes, Great post! I have a friend who always tells me when I start the What if's and If Only's...he says "Relax, God's in Charge" and that has helped my anxiety and worry to to diminish. You, your little one and the rest of your family are in our families prayers.

  4. Wow Adriene that is all I can say. Your outlook is so unbelievable that you encourage me everyday I read your blog. You are an amazing mother and wife and Bennett is so blessed to be born to such a wonderful mother. I cannot wait to meet Bennett. We will all be praying about the What If's.

  5. I've said this so many times before, and just this weekend I overheard my husband say it to his sister..."If we had known THEN (while I was pregnant and having anxious thoughts) what we know NOW (now that Nate is here)...we would have been doing cartwheels all the way out the doors of the hospital."
    This is so true! Also while I was pregnant with Nate, a dear friend of ours told us it would be "so cool" if Nate was born with Ds and we thought he was mad. Now we understand what he meant. Recently we had his family over for lunch and we told him what an impact that statement had on us. He looked a bit embarrassed and then he confessed, "actually, I was jealous."
    I read your post and can relate to your thoughts and appreciate your honesty and I tear up because I know what your pain is, and yet...I can't wait for the moment when your fear turns into rivers of joy.
    Jer. 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."

  6. Oh my dear friend.....what an awesome post.....and such a thought provoking one.

    Let me say that there are a couple of advantages to having him be in the NICU for a little bit.....they will put him on a really good (3) hr. feeding schedule and you'll get a chance to recover from the c-section and maybe get a little sleep before he comes home......

    I know it's scary to think about him being in the NICU, but they will take such good care of him!

    We all have those 'what ifs' but you know, isn't it so nice to know you don't have to worry about them because GOD has it all under control????

    And just because you really wanted another baby and you feel like all of this is your fault......GOD had it already planned, you know. He just used you to plant the seed in your hubby. Bennett was designed by GOD to be here at this particular time, and there isn't anything you can do to change that. He will be an amazing blessing.......can't wait for you to see just how amazing he will be for you.

    Be calm and know that I am praying for you this week.........

  7. That was such a great post! I am going to have to look for that book. If I let myself I can worry about anything and everything. Having Caleb and Joel has really taught me about letting go and trusting God. It's not always easy but the more I see God's hand at work the more I relax in trusting him to do what is best for me.

    I will pray for the specific requests you listed. Know that God is with you now and always and will give you exactly what you need when you need it. He loves you and your family so much!

  8. Good luck to you and your family!

  9. I've been quietly reading for several months now. I am Bridget's mom ( If you have a chance, please read "Living in the Light" on the right-hand sidebar on our blog.

    I am so happy to see you anxiously awaiting Bennett's birth, already loving him so much.

    I am thinking of you and sending good wishes your way this week (and after).

  10. Hi. What a great post! I just love your honesty and openness. We lift up your prayers to God and that he will reveal His plans for Bennet to you in time. I'd like to share my favorite prayer with you. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference." That got me through tough times at the hospital and the first few weeks with my little boy.
    God bless!

    My blog: Bill and Ria

  11. Best of Luck to all of you. I'm praying for you all. HUGS !!!!!!

  12. Adrienne,
    God is going to give you the strength you need for whatever is coming your way. A friend once told me not to worry about anything because it is against our religion :-) Phl 4:6. God loves Bennett, adores him...

  13. Dear Adrienne,

    I found your blog through your comment on Bridget's Light and just had to go back and click on your name to come here.. I have read very little but first I want to congratulate you on the soon-to-be birth of your 3rd child, Bennett. What a beautiful name.
    My son, Samuel (Sam), just turned 3yrs old yesterday and I have spent the last couple of days thinking back to the day he was born. We were unaware that he had Trisomy 21, though I had an intuition of something and God showed me several children's faces with Down Syndrome while I was pregnant) so it was a shock to say the least. But in that instant - and I remember the instant we were told of his suspected diagnosis - I felt God's arms all around us and knew that no matter what our path was going to be, we would be stronger on the other side of it. And our journey has had some interesting turns but here I am, three years later, smiling for you. Your heart is going to feel love like never before and those simple things in life, those things we sometimes take for granted will become some of the best moments for you. Everything is going to be o.k. It will.. and on the days when you need to vent, we will all be here, ready to encourage and walk with you and support you and your family and Bennett.

    You and Bennett and your entire family are in my prayers for a safe and healthy delivery.


  14. What if you fall madly deeply hopelessly in love with your new baby?

    What if he is the most amazing human being you will ever know?

    What if he makes you a better person?

    What if he makes your other children grow to be better people than they would have been without him in their lives?

    What if you fall in love with your husband all over again for the way he fathers Bennett?

    These are the things that make me say "if I knew then what I know now". I look back on my worries while I was pregnant and wish I hadn't put so much energy into them. I hope Bennett's upcoming "birth day" goes smoothly for both of you and that you'll be back home in a couple of days.

  15. Hey!!

    First of all, TOTALLY normal to be thinking all this, as I'm sure you know.

    My biggest "if only" for awhile was, "If only we had conceived the month before (or after) we actually did, then Benjamin wouldn't have Down syndrome." But, of course, that means it wouldn't actually *be* Benjamin. And for a few months, to be brutally honest, I would have been fine with that. Since we didn't find out until birth about the DS, it was all such a blur. I remember hearing about his heart defects and, in my grief, sorrow, and misery, thought (shamefully), "Well, maybe God will just take him." I really just didn't want to deal with it. I mean, I loved my son, but I didn't want this for him. I didn't want this for me. I didn't want it for my husband or my older son. It just wasn't my choice for how life was supposed to be.

    I muddled through life those first few months. Benjamin had his OHS and all went well. Then he had issues all of a sudden and we discovered that he had an intestinal blockage that required surgery that week. He was almost nine months old.

    And after that...well, something just clicked. I didn't know what it was at first, though I knew God was working somehow.

    But now I know what it was.

    I fell in love with my son.

    Oh, Adrienne, he is my HEART. It is the fiercest kind of love I've ever known. And he's MINE! I just can't believe how blessed I am to have him.

    NOW...that having been said, I definitely still have my moments and I still have my days. Delays are becoming more evident. The reality of the future is starting to sink in. Whereas you're thinking, "What if Bennett has to go to the NICU?" I'm thinking, "What if Benjamin needs leg braces in order to stand properly?"

    But our future fears are very shared, as far as when they will talk and will they get cancer. My biggest one of late is one that really is inevitable, so it's not really a "what if," but I am just kind of heartbroken over the fact that Benjamin will most likely never *sound* normal when he talks. I went to a local DS event last week and got to see Chris Burke ("Corky" from "Life Goes On") perform. He was amazing. But even though he is very advanced...he was still difficult to understand. As were alllllll the other children and adults.

    I sometimes forget about the DS, something it took MONNNNNNTHS to do. Because B is still a "baby." But then I am smacked in the face with the fact that he will most likely live with me his whole life. He will sound different than everyone else. He will not have this or that.

    BUT...I really believe that's just Satan tempting me to feel sorry for myself and for Benjamin. Because Satan doesn't want me to grasp onto God's blessings. That my life was not meant to be the way I had originally envisioned it. Get over it. This is how God wants it, and He is GOD! Why would I want something other than what He wants to give me?

    Oh, gosh, I am really rambling. And probably stressing you out more than you already were. So sorry.

    Let me just say this: Bennett may have to go to the NICU, you know that. But he might not. Benjamin, even with three heart defects, never spent one second in the NICU. And he was a C-section baby. But if Bennett does have to, it will be just fine. God will wrap His arms around you all and protect you.

    I am so very excited to "meet" Bennett. Don't think you have to have it all figured out. Don't think you have to be "okay" with the DS just because you found out prenatally. Take your time. Love your baby. Enjoy being a mommy to this precious gift.

    And be sure to post lots and lots of pictures.


  16. OH MY GOSH...the comment from Jessica was AMAZING! Her questions hit the nail on the head. And let me say that in the first few months of Benjamin's life, I would have just kind of rolled my eyes at them. Because I just did not realize the power that loving this little being could have in my life. How much more *real* God would seem to me. I would have thought someone who asked those questions was just fanatical and needed a dose of reality.

    LOL! But you will see in time that Bennett will make you into that fanatic!!! Benjamin sure did to me!


  17. Hi,
    My wife has been telling me about your great blog, so I thought I'd stop by. She was right, this is a terrific site!
    As a very proud dad of Nate (w. Ds), let me be very clear in telling you something important:
    The Lord does NOT make mistakes! Your 'what if' q is so honest it's gut-wrenching, but let me reassure you, having your 3rd child is a blessing, not a burden.
    There's no way to know what your personal journey will hold, but I can relate to everything you state.
    Last year I was asked a question by a parent of a child w/a severe disability. He said, "Does God give children with special needs to certain families?" My answer, "ABSOLUTELY YES!" He emphatically disagreed, and I responded that the Lord does EVERYTHING in order (even when we don't understand it). Finally he posed the tough question...."what about the parents that abuse and reject their special needs kids, like so many do?"
    I said, "That's not God's plan nor his fault. THE PARENTS BLEW IT, not the kids. God gave the parents the opportunity, and they blew it."

    I can already tell that this child of yours will be loved unconditionally and highly valued, which he should be. You will be better because of him, and he will be better because of you.

    Don't let anyone tell you there's anything wrong with the questions, because there's not! Once you hold your son, everything - somehow, some way, supernaturally - changes.

    You are blessed.

  18. I'm praying for you! Your specific requests are the same ones I had 2 1/2 months ago! Shoot me some questions if you'd like - it's all very fresh in my mind. If you're planning to breastfeed, I found a nipple sheild helpful. Magdalena was having a hard time latching on and it helped her get her form right. Take advantage of the hospital's lactation consultant, if you're going that route.

  19. Adrienne,I really can't say anything better than all of the other comments, wow! I am pretty sure that soon your "what ifs" will include, "what if I never had the chance to be the mother of my sweet Bennett?" God does have a plan and he is using you to carry it out. Let's say you never became pregnant with Bennett, then you would never have created this blog, and so many people would never have been able to read about your journey, learn, and be inspired by it.
    I had the idea that Sylas would come home immediately from the hospital with me. I also was sure that he did not have a heart defect. Both were untrue. When he was in the NICU, it gave my husband and I time to adjust to having a newborn again. I was able to get so much more sleep than I would have if "my plan" had happened. Thus, I was better mentally and emotionally which made me handle everything better. If Bennett goes to the NICU, it will all work out and he will be home with you soon enough.
    I will be thinking a lot about you in the next few days leading up to Bennett's birth.
    God bless,

  20. Adrienne--you don't know me, but a friend told me of your blog and I've enjoyed checking in on it from time to time. Sometimes I feel we're living parallel lives! I have 2 boys, ages 4 and 5, and just last month gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Alexis. She has T21 which I learned of at 18 weeks. She had surgery for duodenal atresia at 2 days old and has been in the NICU for 43 days now. She's doing very well and I can't wait to bring her home.

    I've enjoyed reading your blog and you and your family are in my prayers.


  21. Good luck and can't wait to meet Bennett. What will be will be, and you are right to try to let go. Bennett will be the love of your life, just you wait and see :) This is from one mum to another- take it from me. This journey is not just okay, it is truly special in every sense. And soon you will know this for yourself! Give Bennett big kisses from us all.

  22. Oh, I can sooo relate to your feelings! I was in the same boat 3 years ago.

    I wanted a 3rd baby and Mike was OK with the two boys. I talked him into it; "just one more"

    Ha! TWO babies, one with Down Syndrome!

    What a blessing!

  23. Aww girl, don't say this ...

    If only I had not pushed Mike for this third baby, we would not be in this situation....

    You will make it through, no matter how stressful it is right now. This child will bless you in ways you never thought possible. Mark my words. As much as we all love our typical children, this child will show you what it means to love in a way that we never thought possible.

    Regarding "What if he has to be in the NICU". I think you need to PLAN for this to happen. Go into it expecting that he WILL be in the NICU. Because chances are he will be. And if he is one of the few that do not go to the NICU, you will be able to rejoice. But as long as you expect him to have a stay in the NICU, you will not be let down about that and will be able to stay on track and focus on other things. Unfortunately, it is going to be hard so I hope you have arrangements for your girls during that time. That was the hardest thing for me ... hopefully the hospital has a kid friendly area where you could have the girls there on occasion because I know I wanted Mason right there with us, even though he couldn't come into the NICU. But you know all too well how NICU life goes.

    I was reading through your what if list as I typed here. LOL. Girl, please relax. We could all worry about a million things, but what good is worrying going to do if we can't solve those problems? Things will be fine, I promise.

    Try not to speculate on Bennett's future too much ... that was what I did and it was the worst. What if this, what if that. Those are things we can't address right now and as we live that part of our life, everything is just fine. We fear what we don't know, but once we are living it, we know it and everything is fine.

    HUGS to you girl ... I'm praying for you and I can't wait to see the little man!!


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