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by Melanie Dean

And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

John 16:22

The feeling was sheer joy! We found out we were expecting our 2nd child after a year of desiring and praying for this news. My first pregnancy put me in the "high risk" category, so I would have extra ultrasounds with this one. I was estatic - I could possibly tell the gender of our baby before the "scheduled" time! Our first ultrasound went wonderful. Everything was going great, except for the morning sickness which ironically was ALL DAY!

I was scheduled for one more high risk ultrasound at 3 months along. The day of the ultrasound finally arrived! My husband, Joey, and I took off work to travel to Albany, GA; about a 45 minute drive to my OB-GYN. As with every couple, we waited rather impatiently, knowing we would soon see our child! Finally ... Mrs. Melanie Dean... it was our turn!

As I laid on the table in the dimly lit room, we were so excited! The nurse showed us tiny little arms, legs, and even the heart beat of Our Angel! It was such a miracle to see the baby moving around inside of my body! WOW - God is SO AMAZING!

As I recall, the nurse said she was new to sonography, so she needed to ask a question of another nurse. Then, before we knew it, my doctor had entered the room with us. By this time, we had a pretty good idea something was wrong, but surely it was just something that needed some time to heal itself! As he started talking to us, the news worsened. Our baby had a pocket of fluid on the back of the neck. This usually meant the fluid was not passing through the lymphatic system correctly. He explained the severity of the situation, and immediately recommended termination of the pregnancy.

To say our world was shaken would be an understatement! As we tried to process the news they were giving us, the words flowed freely. "NO, an abortion is completely out of the question!" We would love this baby no matter what difficulties we had to face!

As taken aback by our emphatic response of NO, the doctor could not understand. Why would this answer be given? Life would be hard for the child, hard for our family, and hard for others involved. However, we were sound in our conviction, knowing our God would see us through no matter the outcome!

The next few days were almost a blur as we were worked in the specialist office for lots of testing. One of the first things we needed to do was an amniocentesis. Everyone that really knows me will testify that I'm a baby when it comes to needles. Just the thought made me shiver! However, it was the only test that would really tell us what was going on, and we could possibly gain insight on things that could help our baby. The day arrived a little quicker than I wanted, but I went in with lots of prayers going up for me. As I lay on the table in the specialist office waiting for him to come in, I remember lots of emotions. God why is this trial ours?

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God...

Romans 8:28

I could see nothing good coming from all the turmoil in my mind! Why would it work out for my good? We would just hope and pray for the best.

As the doctor came in the room, I immediately started praying. I'm not even sure the doctor had ever heard such earnest praying from the fear of what was ahead. In just a few minutes he was finished, and I hadn't even felt the needle! It was a miracle from God...I had heard ALL the horror stories about the stick of the amnio needle! Now, back to the waiting game.

The specialist scheduled us back in for the results. As we awaited the news, we prayed fervently for our baby to be healed! We had so many friends, family, and churches praying for us, we were sure to get our miracle! In God's timing, we were sure it would happen!

We entered the office expecting better news. However, all our faith came crashing down, as we got the news. It was a disease called Turner Syndrome. Our little baby girl was very sick. There was little hope, as the hygroma on the back of her neck was getting larger each time we visited the specialist. We searched the United States for a specialist who would see us, and help our baby. We drove to Atlanta, Georgia and met with a specialist there. The news was the same. We talked with a doctor in Boston, Massachusettes, but nothing seemed to be what we wanted to hear! Our baby would be a miracle if she made it to term. We did have a glimmer of hope from the specialist. If she made it to 27 weeks, and was born alive, he could keep her alive! This was what we held on to. Our visits became very frequent, every two weeks. We would leave, go to church, get prayer, and come back believing for a miracle! Each time, it got worse, and we came crashing down again.

We were on a roller coaster ride that was never ending. God, where are you? Do you even care for us anymore? We are searching for you, but can't find you anywhere!

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy...

Psalm 16:11

There is joy in this we are facing? God, I do not in any way feel joy from this suffering! I could not seem to get a prayer through. I could not feel the fullness of joy that He promised me in the scriptures. Even going to town was something I didn't want to do. I was showing and had no choice but to wear maternity clothes. Everyone you met was asking you when you were due and very excited for you. It was a terrible time both emotionally and physically.

I am at the 27 week mark, and very hopeful that our baby, Kaitlyn Dannielle, would survive! Each visit shows her heart is beating strong, and she has a will to live! If she does make it, we will have a long road ahead of us. She will have surgery to remove the fluid from off her neck, and there may be many complications with her body. However, we were ready and willing to conquer whatever life threw at us. We were just wanting our baby to be here with us!

At the end of week 27, I felt Kaitlyn really kick. I thought it was a little stronger than usual, but didn't think it was anything to be alarmed over. Our appointment was the next week.

At 28 weeks we went into the doctor's visit. I laid on the table, and he started checking for the heartbeat. I held my breath and hoped for things to be okay. Joey held my hand and together we silently prayed. The doctor went to get another dopler. He again checked and prodded to get her to move around. There was no was over. As he walked out of the room, we embraced and cried silently. All the hope, the faith, the waiting, the was all finally over. Kaitlyn, our baby girl, had been called on to be with Jesus.

We left the doctor's office and had an appointment for induction at the hospital the next morning.

I felt so empty, like my faith was shaken to the very core. The questions of WHY flooded my mind. As we left the building, we sat in the car in silence, there was a deep hurt. A hurt so deep I felt I would never come out again. We didn't know what to say, how to react, how to go on from here.

At 8:00 am the nurses started induction. There was no going home outfit, no diaper bag packed, no car seat waiting for our baby girl. We went in empty handed and would leave the same way we came. God, WHY did you let me come this far for my child to die?

I felt myself breaking down under the pressure. As I was given the epidural, I broke emotionally. Joey, why are we having to deal with this? I have nothing to look forward to. This whole thing is killing me!!!! He held my hands and we wept together.

The labor time with my first child was only 3 hours long, so we were hoping for another short delivery. However, after 10 grueling hours of nothing, the doctor returned and told the staff to stop the labor process. What?? I CAN NOT GO THROUGH ANOTHER DAY LIKE TODAY! I begged him to let us keep trying through the night. He emphatically said no, you need to eat, and you are mentally exhausted. I can give you some medicine to relax you, and we will start again in the morning. As he left the room, I begged Joey to pray. We had a crowd of around 50 people in the waiting room. They began to pray, and God heard their prayers. Kaitlyn Dannielle Dean was born within 10 minutes of the doctor leaving on March 14, 2013. She weighed 2 pounds 4 ounces. As I held our baby girl and kissed her forehead, my heart died a little more. How could I ever get over this hurt?

The next few days were a blur... both emotionally and physically I was totally washed out. The graveside funeral was as nice as we could make it. Friends, family, and our church gave us such an outpouring of love and support. Now, to face life again.

I was as empty as I could get. There was no joy inside. I could not imagine having true joy after such heartache. There were so many emotions inside me, I couldn't even sort through them all. I prayed, but didn't seem to get anything. I held on to salvation, as I was taught, but at the same time hoped God was holding on to me. I went to church, but felt nothing. I sat back, scared to let myself fully trust and fully have faith again. I must not know what faith is, because I couldn't have it for my child. If I could not have enough faith for my baby to be healed, I must not be doing something right. We had given our lives to the ministry and helping others. Now, we were standing in a helpless and what seemed a hopeless state.

Our church homecoming revival started the first Sunday in May. I really wasn't excited because I knew there would be many questions and so many people looking so sadly down their noses at us. Even though I felt so many sad emotions, I didn't want anyone else thinking I was a sad pitiful case. I wanted them to see me as a strong person that wasn't shaken in this ordeal.

The evening singing started. I was asked to sing a quartet song with my Brother, Sister-in-law, and her brother. I remember the day when the Lord saved me, all of Heaven came down, I was happy and free. Glory filled my soul...

Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit.

Psalms 51: 12

Oh Lord, I want your joy to flood me again. Like the day I was saved, I want to feel your presence if you still care! Heaven came down in the church in a mighty way. I looked and my husband was walking around the front with his hands lifted. I felt anticipation rise up that God was going to help us. The Holy Ghost flooded Riverside Holiness Church, and for a little space of time I was lost in His presence.

As we left that day, the hurt was still there. The questions had not left my mind, but I knew we were going to be okay. The joy of the Lord was my strength. There are still times the loss hurts. There are still times I wish I had my baby girl to hold, to laugh with, and to shop with, but God had a plan. It wasn't the plan I would have chosen, and I may never understand it fully. However, I am sure of this one thing; through God, I am victorious, and through His salvation I have true Joy!

Are you struggling with joy? Has life dealt you a hard blow, and you can't seem to get over it? If you can only get in the presence of God, He will restore your joy. Feel after Him. Search for Him. God is a God of joy, a happy God. He rejoices in His creation! If we are God's children, we are in tune with the heart and character of God and should be characterized by joy as well. The joy comes from God, and is meditated through the Holy Ghost to every Christian. God's joy is our strength even in seasons of grief.

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