We are so excited to welcome you to our first Feature Story. These stories are the life blood of G+K – In Real Life. They are meant to inspire you. To bring you hope. And to show you that someone else has been there too.
We are so excited to share Elsie’s story with you all. Julie is such an incredible mama to three beautiful children. Their youngest kiddo, Elsie, has had quite the start to her little life. What should have been a disaster for their family, has become a story of hope, triumph and miracles. We asked Julie if she would share what it was like learning that their baby had a life threatening condition in utero, and what life after her arrival looked like. For any mama out there who is walking this same path, we want you to know that hope can remain in the midst of the chaos. And more than anything, we want you to know that you aren’t alone.
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“I always dreamed of being a mom. I dreamed of curly pigtails adorned with bows and baseball hats smudged with dirt. Never in those dreams were hospital stays, dreaded insurance battles and a child with a condition of 1 in 800,000.
My husband just returned from a trip to Israel and we couldn’t wait to find out baby three’s gender. The ultrasound took longer than normal, deep down I knew something was wrong. A doctor came in and with zero tact and compassion delivered words no parents should ever hear. Our daughter Elsie had been diagnosed with an omphalocele, a condition where organs are stuck in the umbilical cord. For the next 16 weeks as we visited every extra doctor and ultrasound, I refused to be anything but joyful and positive and hopeful.
My husband and I have been in full time ministry since 2005. I have seen the goodness of God in many situations. I have seen people healed in the name of Jesus. I have clung to faith and trust in the dark moments of my own personal life. I have never doubted that Jesus isn’t who he says he is. I have always positioned my heart in hope and joy. I just knew that God was going to heal Elsie. I knew that we were going to have documented proof that something was wrong with our baby, and then the Lord healed her. I had even met someone whose baby was healed of Elsie’s diagnosis in the womb. I had zero doubts of what the Lord could do and what he was going to do.
On a Saturday afternoon in January Miss Elsie Margaret was born. She was four weeks early and weighed 7lbs 12oz. She had the prettiest pink skin and I fell in love with her right away. The extra team of doctors that were on standby for her arrival immediately went to work. I remember looking at Adam, waiting for an answer. Was she healed? Was she ok? What was the status? It was honestly like the room froze, time stopped and all I could do was wait. All I could do was trust. The sweetest older doctor came over. He handed me Elsie and I got to hold her for the first time. As he passed her off wrapped tightly in a blanket he cleared his throat. I knew what was coming and nothing could have prepared me for it. “In my 45 years of delivering babies I have never seen this condition” he said softly. I broke eye contact and stared at Elsie. How could someone so innocent and sweet and perfect have to deal with this. Within minutes life flight was called, she was being transferred immediately. I held her tightly, not wanting to let go. This was not a part of the dream.
Elsie was born with an abdominal wall defect; her organs were outside of her body. She had a spinal defect and her hips had not formed fully forward. The next 48 hours were torture, I legit would not wish them on my worst enemy. Adam was at Childrens hospital with Elsie, listening to doctor report after doctor report, all by himself. I was at a different hospital trying to recover and rest, so I didn’t have to get a blood transfusion. My other two kids were home with my mom and in laws wondering why they couldn’t come hold their baby sister. I remember waking up Sunday Morning and telling the Lord I didn’t have enough energy to pray. So, I asked for one simple request, that his grace and peace would cover and guide us in this season.
For the next three weeks Adam and I navigated one of the craziest seasons of our lives. Our oldest daughter Nora was in kindergarten and our son Warren had just potty trained. We alternated nights of who would go home and stay with them and who would stay at the hospital. I quickly realized our normal was gone and shot and we would adjust to our new normal.”