In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the LORD establishes their steps.
Monday morning started with our new “normal.” I had requested to be taken off the flight schedule, partly to be able to take Breanna to all the doctor appointments, and because I knew I could not focus on details of flying with so much going through my head. My goals for Monday were to take Breanna in for her ultrasound and lab work, then get something at the hangar, and then take the kids to horseback riding so Breanna could rest.
It unraveled quickly after goal #1. The doctor performing the ultrasound became immediately alarmed that blood pressure in the placenta was critically low. The balance, according to the cardiologist previously, was to keep Breanna’s blood pressure safe, but not too low because it would mean not enough flow to the baby. In addition, Jack’s development was about four weeks behind a normal baby.
The ultrasound doctor said we needed to see Patel immediately, not wait for wednesday. His assistant told us to go wait in the hall. So we did. 30 minutes later the doctor walked by.
“Why are you still here?” He asked in his Indian accent. “Go! You need to go now!” So we got in the car and drove to the other hospital.
I thought Breanna could get her lab work going while I parked the car. I ran up to the Patel’s office to tell him Breanna was on her way. Then I waited. I called the travel agent in the hangar and told her we might need to fly to the US tonight. I got a text from Bre saying “I’m trapped in the bathroom. The door won’t open.” By the time I got there, several handymen had figured out the errant door knob and worked the door open.
Back at Patel’s office he looked at the notes from the ultrasound. He wanted to admit Breanna immediately and talk about inducing delivery in the next two days. Any questions?
We asked about the chances of survival for the baby. Not very good.
We asked if he would write a note for us to get on the airplane to go the US immediately. He said yes.
We consulted a couple missionary doctors and decided the slight risk of the airplane flight for Jack would be worth it for the reduced risk in the better hospital. We already had a phone appointment set up with a high risk pregnancy doctor in the US for 5pm Nairobi time (9am EST). It was part of our research into the best facility to go to. We were out of time, and that was our best bet.
So we pulled the over $10,00o trigger and decided to go to the US.
With the continuous stream of choices we could make, I think we quickly forget our motivations. There is sometimes an element of missionary cavalier to stick it out when choices run out, or things look impossible. I could feel that attitude creeping into my heart. But, pragmatically, it came down to resources. AIM AIR had told us we could take as much time off as possible. Loki was up in the air still. We weren’t retreating from a fight. The biggest obstacle was the huge cost in this unplanned move to the US. It didn’t make sense to just send Breanna since we knew Jack would be in the hospital for a couple months, or longer. We knew the whole family needed to go.
Amazingly, from the previous week, several people had approached me at the hangar saying they wanted to help us. If we knew for certain that money was not a factor, would this even be a hard decision? Probably not.
God had also answered our request for clarity. And He didn’t wait for Wednesday, either. He did it the very next day. I moved through the day comforted that the same God who could heal Breanna and Jack could also provide for our trip to the US. It may not make as dramatic testimony by our standards of cool sound bites and amazing videos, but that’s not my business… it’s up to God how He wants to work.
It was after lunch, and I was trying to get the tickets lined up. The travel agent found a KLM flight with five seats still free. We put our prayer needs out on our missionary prayer chain. Then we had to wait for the final ultrasound report to be done so we could take it with us to the US.
Meanwhile people were helping us out with details, mainly our pets, both needing convelescant care from nasty scrapes they had gotten themselves into in the past months. We also needed passport numbers to confirm the tickets. Unfortunately, all the passports were at the house, not with us. I realized we weren’t going to make it home before 3 with traffic, so while I drove, Breanna called our HR officer. She was on vacation. So we found the number for her assistant, who was more than willing to take the passport numbers to the travel agent, but he needed an e-mail authorizing it.
We also called the horseback riding teacher to not tell the kids we were leaving for the US. Breanna did not want them to be distracted.
When we got back home, Breanna began packing with help from others. I ran errands, mainly picking up three months of prescriptions from the land of cheap medicine. I asked others to help with finalizing the tickets. They found out the travel agent was sitting on them waiting for an e-mail from the US authorizing the funds. Unfortunately, the US office doesn’t even open until 5pm Nairobi time! Eventually our friends got the approval and the tickets were issued, mostly. Except Olivia’s was errantly issued as a child. Fortunately a friend caught it before we went to the airport.
I called the travel agent and explained the problem. She had to reissue a new ticket, which meant one of us would be sitting by themselves. At least we all made it! Seeing the time creeping close to 5pm, I asked if she would be with her phone in case this ticket didn’t work?
She laughed and said “Why? You are saying you want to cancel?”
I bit my tongue, and as civilly as I could, explained I might need to call her if there were more problems.
At 5pm we had our tele-appointment with BOTH high risk doctors in the practice. They both affirmed our decision to come to the US. After hearing all her details over the hubbub going on around us (we called outside so the phone call wouldn’t drop), the doctors agreed to alert the women’s hospital we would be coming after 3pm on Tuesday. What turned out to be part of our research and preparation, God turned into a chance to line up the care we needed the next day.
In a tense time, we were quickly surrounded by many great friends. We didn’t need to worry about cleaning our apartment, and dinner was taken care of. Our pets and vehicles were given homes. Kids were entertained. Medicine was picked up. Some wrote e-mails and made phone calls, or selected seating arrangements online. And many prayed.
Breanna asked a friend, who was a doctor, to write another note for the airlines, with much less alarming details about her pregnancy. Unfortunately, we left it on our dining room table after we left. Someone graciously ran to get it for us. Then, when we arrived at the airport, we realized Grace’s back pack didn’t make the trip.
Filled with essentials, like stuffed animals, and books, her eyes quickly watered at the news. One last favor called in to another missionary friend, and the bag was delivered all the way at the airport.
A few hours later and we were seated on the 747. Grace and I were in the very back. I sent a quick facebook update so people could pray.
26 hours later we arrived at our US destination. 27 hours later Breanna checked into her hospital room. A couple hours later the doctors were running tests.
Jack’s heart was beating normally, and his kicks during the flight proved he was still with us. And when I got on to the internet, I was astounded at the sheer volume of people saying they were praying for us.
I am amazed at how God chose to work. It might not sound sensational to some hoping for a different kind of healing, but he gave us clarity. He brought us (Jack included), to a place of incredible care, surrounded by family, and he did at just the right time.
Thanks for praying!