For the last five months, many of you have offered thoughts and prayers for a client of mine, her unborn baby, for her family. I want you to know that Baby Joey (AKA Baby Rocky) is here, he is safe, he is beautiful.
My client (and dear friend) Rebecca, entered this pregnancy with love, joy and grace. At the midpoint of her seemingly perfect pregnancy, she had an ultrasound. That routine test changed the course of her life. Many tests, medical appointments and ever more dire diagnoses ensued. Hydrocephalus. Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. Down Syndrome. And those weren’t even the bad ones. This little baby had a major heart defect … no, not just a heart defect, at least three major heart defects in one tiny, unborn heart. 
We were told that this was an inoperable heart defect, that it was a lethal anomaly, that  his body was incompatible with life outside the womb. This baby would be safe inside his mother, but as soon as he was born (and no longer attached to a placenta) he would not get oxygen. And without oxygen, we all die. 
Rebecca was asked to decide, over a weekend, whether she would terminate the pregnancy. During that long, long weekend, she came to realize that she simply could not keep being pregnant. She and her husband had a deep sense, a knowing, that this little baby needed something more, that he had things he needed to experience (pregnancy? birth?), that somehow this was truly, physically, emotionally and spiritually, about him, about Baby Joey, not just about them.
The months that followed were a roller coaster of emotions and logistics. How do you go forward with a pregnancy when you don’t expect to have a living baby? How do you take care of your self, your spouse, your two-year old and your work deadlines when you just want to crawl into a ball and cry? How do you plan a funeral for a baby that is kicking and squirming inside you? How do you explain to a two-year old that the baby inside you, his baby brother, may not be able to stay long after he is born? How do you prepare for the birth of your baby who is going to die? How do you go forward, knowing that unbearable pain is in front of you? How do you live fully with love and but not expectation? 
Over the last months, there have been many prayers, heartfelt talks, funeral plans, many medical consults, and yes, getting some diapers, a few baby clothes and the car seat ready, just in case. We had every reason to believe Joey would not live more than minutes after birth. We also knew that even the most accurate tests, even the best doctors (or midwives) are not always right.
It has been a finely choreographed dance to move forward in faith, yet not feeding into either hope or fear. Rebecca’s body gave very clear messages, shaking and trembling, whenever fear or hope would grow. Love is what keep her steady. Remembering that love, unconditional love is also unending love, that love is unconstrained by death, this is what keep us all going.
Baby Joey arrived this week. On the evening of Tuesday, March 12, one week before his due date, Baby Joey was born safely, at home, as planned. He slipped out of his strong and beautiful mother, and into my waiting hands. He was lifted smoothly into his parents’ outstretched arms. He was welcomed with love, sweet love (and also my somewhat bated breath). He came out pink, and squalling, announcing with gusto that he was here. And he is still here. And it looks like he is going to be here for a long, long time.
And after examination and consultation with the pediatric cardiologist, we know that everything we suspected prenatally about Joey’s heart was true. And he has a few more heart defects that we did not know about. In his heart, tubes go right instead of left, a big space exists where it should be small, there are solid walls where holes should be, flaps where there should be valves. Baby Joey’s little heart is a uniquely creative mess of architecture and plumbing. Yet, somehow it works, and it works pretty well. 
Thanks be to G-D…
Thanks also to all of you, for your good thoughts, your prayers and your faith. And Love. Thanks especially for the love that has been abundantly and freely given. 
And for me? Well, it has been an amazing blessing to make this  journey through Mystery, in Love, with this woman, this family, this sweet baby, this whole congregation, with this entire community. 
Thank you.
May all babies be born into loving handsPS: For a update on Baby Joey, see the LCM blog post from 3/21/13.