As far back as I can remember I have wanted to be a Mom. As the fourth of six girls, I dreamed of having a houseful of daughters, with maybe one son thrown in there. At the age of 16, that dream began to fade.
After months of horrible, intense pains, my doctor diagnosed polycystic ovarian syndrome. He told me that meant it would be difficult for me to even get pregnant. When he factored in my weight, he said, “While a baby would be able to survive, the chances of you ever getting pregnant are very slim.”
I tried to act like it was no big deal. After all, I was still in high school and I didn’t have a boyfriend. Being a mother was a dream that I was not really working toward right then.
But it was a big deal. One particular friend in school held me as I cried over it. She told me, “Give it to God. If He wants you to have children, what the doctors say won’t matter. You will have them.”
The problem was, I didn’t really care too much about God at the time. I went to church every Sunday morning and Wednesday night, but only because I had to. I didn’t want to be there. Mom and Dad had a rule about it, though, and unless I was working, I had to be there. Sometimes, I even had to go on Sunday nights. To be honest, I didn’t see the point. My parents didn’t seem to be any better off than people who didn’t go to church. In fact, they seemed to be a lot a worse off at times. They went to church all the time, but God wasn’t helping them. What would make me think that He would help me with something?
My wedding was about two weeks before my 24th birthday. It was all I had ever dreamed of. I don’t think I will ever forget the look on my husband’s face when he saw me walking toward him in my wedding dress. That was real love. Not that I doubted it. Before I could marry him, I had to tell him what the doctors had said. Especially considering that two years earlier I’d been told I was in the beginning stages of endometriosis, yet another condition that would make pregnancy nearly impossible. My husband didn’t care, though. He said he wanted to have children, but as long as he had me as his wife he would be happy. “Besides, we can adopt if things don’t work out. But just think of all the fun we can have trying to prove the doctors wrong.”
Because of the cysts, my monthly cycles had always been a bit off. When I missed one period, I was concerned. When I missed a second, I started to think, “Could it be…?” A friend who’d been trying for a couple of years to get pregnant had just found out she was expecting her first. She told me, “Go get a home test. If it is positive, call a doctor. If it is negative, get in the bedroom and try again.” My husband wasn’t so sure it was a good idea. He was afraid that I would be too upset with a negative test. But once the idea was in my head, I just had to know. So when we got our groceries, we also picked up a home test. I took it right away, setting a timer to go check after I put the groceries away. There were two little pink lines on the stick. We had been married for only five months, and already I was pregnant!
I felt like a dream was coming true. I began to read every baby book and parenting magazine I could find. We picked out names for our little one—Robyn Dayle for a girl and Andru John for a boy—and a theme for the nursery—Baby Looney Tunes. I was careful about what I ate, and even gave up coffee and Mountain Dew when my doctor said caffeine was bad for a developing baby. I was determined to do everything right for this little blessing of mine.
The dream came to a screeching halt on Tuesday, September 19, 2000. That was when a phone call from my OB’s office came. The nurse on the other end of the line told me that there were some “abnormalities” in a routine blood test. My unborn baby, it appeared, had Down’s syndrome. “We need you to go see a specialist to have this confirmed before it is too late to terminate the pregnancy.” She told me the name of the specialist and what time the appointment was they had already made for me. Somehow, I called my husband at work. He took the afternoon off and the next day off so he could be with me for the testing. We sat on the couch for a while, just crying. When the mailman came that day, he delivered a Baby Looney Tunes lamp that I had purchased on eBay. I remember asking John if we would even be able to use it. He told me, “God will take care of us.” I agreed. I told him, “I want to see this specialist so that I can be prepared to care for our baby’s needs. But I will NOT terminate the pregnancy. God put the baby in there, and He alone will decide when the pregnancy ends.”
Two weeks later, I was still waiting for the test results to be back. After dropping my niece off at preschool, I drove home with only her 2-year-old brother in the car. I had an old Carman cassette in, and the song Lazarus, Come Forth began to play. I sang along, and at the end I said, “Wow. You know, it would have been so cool to have been there and see Lazarus come out of his grave.”
“I raised Lazarus from the grave, and I will heal your baby.”
I pulled off to the side of the road and looked around. Only baby Jake was in the back, and he was nearly asleep. But the voice was loud and clear and real. I had no reason to believe it was anyone other than God talking to me. Tears streamed down my face. All I could say was, “Thank you, Lord. Thank you.” John and I had been faithful to God, and He was honoring that.
When I got home, the doctor’s office called again. They said, “We have the test results here. It appears you are carrying a healthy baby boy.”
A few months later, on February 2, 2001, my son, Andru John McMonigal came into this world. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in all my life! At my six week post-partum check up, my doctor confirmed what I knew all along. God HAD healed Andru. There are certain markers that are normally found in the placenta of a child with Down’s syndrome that are not present in the placenta of a healthy child. Those markers were found in Andru’s placenta.