Fonticulus Fides

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

This story really makes my blood boil. On the one hand, it's a tragic accident caused by well-meaning people. On the other hand, those "well-meaning" people have a twisted view of suffering, which led them to the actions that led to this child's death.

I used to belong to churches like this. They preach that suffering is the result of either sin in your life or demonic possession. Since this boy was autistic, they somehow decided that he was possessed and needed exorcism. And in the process of praying for his deliverance from evil forces, the child was delivered...from them.

The Catholic position on suffering is so much more merciful, logical and comforting. Today, I take great comfort in it for a very personal reason. When the phone rang as I was writing my last post, it was my doctor. The ultrasound detected a choroid plexus cyst (CPC).

From what I understand, the choroid plexus is the part of your brain that produces and supplies fluid around the brain and down the spinal column. A CPC is simply a pocket of fluid.

Now, most of the time, a CPC is honestly no big deal. It doesn't affect the "thinking" parts of the brain, nor does it inhibit brain development. CPCs usually go away by themselves by 26 weeks of gestation or so. Like 99% of the time. However (isn't there always a however?), CPCs have been tied to Trisomy-18. A Trisomy-18 factor is really, really difficult to bear -- the babies often die before or shortly after birth. They rarely make it to their first birthday.

I know the odds are still greatly in our favor. Immensely in our favor. There were absolutely no other markers for Trisomy-18 in our scan, nor any for Down's Syndrome. But I've had a nagging feeling all through this pregnancy that something hasn't been quite right. And Trisomy-18 has been in the back of my mind, although I've been telling myself that's just because I've happened to run across references to it a few times since becoming pregnant. And because I'm 38 and everywhere I turn, I get the "advanced maternal age" bit.

I honestly believe, though, that everything is going to be all right, regardless of what happens with my baby's CPC. God will carry us through, whether we suffer or rejoice. And I'm hanging on to that desperately as I await the next ultrasound to detect the CPC's progress, which is six long weeks away. I really, really hate the idea of waiting that long, but wait I must.

In the meantime, I intend to do a novena. I'm not exactly sure how those work, but I know that when my mother was pregnant with me, she received a horrible diagnosis, and she and my grandmother did a novena, praying that mom and I would both be kept safe, and we were. I sure wish my grandmother was still here so I could ask her about it. My mom's memory isn't too good, and she left the Church long ago, so I don't want to ask her about it.

Besides, I haven't even told her I am expecting again. I was waiting for the ultrasound, because if something was wrong, I wanted to tell my family everything at the same time.

I found this novena, and I assume you just say the daily allotment of prayers following the Rosary or something like that. Is that right?

Your prayers and tips on novenas would be greatly appreciated.



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