as he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. and his disciples asked him, "rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "it was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him."
when esther was four days old, i got a phone call from her pediatrician.
"we need you to come in as soon as possible, esther's newborn blood test came back abnormal."
my heart sank. my voice was shaking as i asked "what was abnormal?"
"we can't say right now, but can you come in tomorrow morning at nine?"
"yes, i will be there."
a few days later, after some confirmatory tests, esther was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism.
congenital hypothyroidism in a condition in newborns that can lead to heart problems, mental retardation and growth retardation. fortunately, when it is caught and treated early, the prognosis is good. since esther started taking medicine at 5 days old, it is likely that she wont have any lasting effects, though she will have to take medicine daily for her whole life.
when the diagnosis was first confirmed, i was really sad, wondering if she would have any permanent mental or physical problems, feeling the burden of daily, lifelong medication for her with frequent doctor's appointments. but God has been good to calm my heart and help me trust in him. and he has made me very thankful: thankful that it was caught early, thankful to have good medical care and doctors to treat her. here are some of the things i have thought about and learned through this process:
*"why esther?" of course this question has gone through my head many times. from the medical side of things, there is not really an answer. some doctors think congenital hypothyroidism is genetic, but others don't. some resources i have read say that radiation can cause it, which makes me wonder if the lovely radiation cloud from the japanese nuclear plant that came to the US early on in my pregnancy could be the cause. we will never know. theologically, though, we do have an answer. from the above scripture, i know that if i were to ask jesus "why was esther born this way? did i do something wrong? did alex do something wrong?", his response would be "its not that either of you did something wrong, but it is so that the works of God may be displayed through esther". God created her for His glory. period. and i praise Him for it, and trust his plan in it.
*like every mother, i want a typical, healthy child. but more than that, i want a child who loves and follows jesus. esther's condition may be an answer to our prayers in that it could be used by God to draw her to Himself. maybe it will make her more salient of her mortality, which will lead her to trust God in a way she otherwise wouldn't. we dont know how God will use it, but we do know that he works all things together for the good of those who love Him (romans 8:28) and we know that this will be true of this as well.
*her diagnosis has been humbling to me personally because of my general dislike of western/allopathic medicine. i was annoyed when we were in the hospital and they had to take her blood for the newborn screening. but this situation has been a good reminder to me that allopathic medicine does have a very important role to play in people's overall health, and of course now we are very,very grateful for the newborn screening that uncovered her condition before it was too late.