This is the fourth in a series of articles detailing Krystal’s five best life decisions. To read the others, click here.
My last decision was life-changing. It brought me peace during that trial and would continue to do so, but I also know without a doubt that it would set me up for the next trial in my life.
My sweet third baby was born December of 2018. He is my Christmas baby. In 2017, I suffered a miscarriage, so he was my miracle that came a year later. The year I had my miscarriage was a hard one emotionally, as you can imagine. Then I became pregnant again, but this time baby had a healthy, beating heartbeat. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop me from worrying every second of the entire pregnancy.
Then I had him, and he was pure perfection. A healthy, beautiful boy. I always knew childbirth was a miracle, but there is something extra miraculous about bringing a baby to this earth after suffering a loss. Needless to say, we were in heaven with him. He had a little jaundice, which was normal for the time of year he was born, and that was a little stressful — but after a lot of prayer, it resolved on its own, thank goodness! We brought our sweet baby home and he was in our arms in time to spend his first Christmas with us.
Our Baby’s Unexpected Challenges
A few weeks later, I noticed a small bulge while changing his diaper. At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but then I saw it again. This time, my baby was screaming and crying as if he were in pain. The next day, we rushed him to his pediatrician. After an ultrasound and some scans, the doctor concluded my baby had an inguinal hernia. An inguinal hernia is when part of the intestine protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscle. Hernias tend to be common among babies, and umbilical hernias are known to usually go away on their own. Inguinal hernias, however, need to be operated on right away.
With an umbilical hernia, doctors wait up until a year to see if it heals on its own. If it doesn’t, it is operated on. There’s a couple reasons for waiting a year, but one of them is due to the risks of the anesthesia on a baby so small. For an inguinal hernia, there are more risks. It is not something that is usually healed on its own, and if not operated on immediately, those risks are higher than the risks of the anesthesia — so waiting for baby to turn a year would be extremely risky and is not advised.
Upon hearing this, I felt sick to my stomach. I worried so much about something happening to my baby for the nine months of my pregnancy, and just when I thought we were in the clear, this happened. Our doctor referred us to a pediatric surgeon, but was very concerned with putting such a young baby under anesthesia. The effects could be brain development issues or the baby not waking up.
We made the two-hour drive to see the surgeon, and the whole time, we were so nervous. To the surgeon, it was a very routine surgery. I’m sure he could do it in his sleep. But to us, it was our baby — our newborn baby — and it was anything but routine. We met with the surgeon who unfortunately treated us like a revolving door. It was so disheartening for me as a mom (and for my husband as a father).
Here we were, supposed to put our new baby’s life in the hands of someone who did this type of surgery every day but showed no compassion or sympathy for the scared parents that we were. Throughout all this, we had prayed to know what to do, but never felt a resounding yes or no. We knew the facts, the risks, and the numbers — but if you know anything about me, I don’t go on facts. I go on feeling. And I was getting not a one. Only worry and fear. So much fear.
Not knowing any better (and putting trust in the doctors), we scheduled the surgery and went back to our pediatrician to tell him everything the surgeon told us. The love and compassion he showed us as we were talking with him will never be forgotten. We asked him if it was his child, what would he do? It was a hard decision for so many reasons. The hernia would come and go. Sometimes we would see a bulge and other times we wouldn’t. Other than that one night he was crying and screaming, he hadn’t shown any signs of discomfort again. But if we waited and he did have another crying episode, it could be detrimental. If he was always in pain and crying, it was a no brainer: we would get the surgery. But because he wasn’t, it lead us to believe maybe there was a chance it would heal. We asked our doctor what those chances were and he replied “Anything’s possible,” but it wasn’t likely. The surgeon said it was impossible. We were so confused.
Putting Him in God’s Hands
Not knowing who to trust or whose hands to put our baby in, I decided I would not put him in the surgeon’s hands — I would put my baby boy into God’s hands. My husband and I took both the surgeon and our doctor’s opinions to heart, researched the risks of the hernia and of anesthesia, and interviewed different surgeons. We studied and did all we could on our part. Then, very reluctantly, I prayed, “Okay, God, he’s all yours. In two days is his surgery. If he is not meant to have it, please let us know by a scheduling conflict or through his health.” The surgeon told us if our baby had even the slightest cough or hint of fever, they could not perform the surgery. I know I was asking a lot from God. Our baby was perfectly healthy (other than this pesky hernia), but I wanted a very clear answer, so I asked for a very clear sign. I needed it.
At about 2 a.m., I woke up. My baby was fussing. I went to pick him up and when I touched his face to mine, he was burning up. I woke up my husband and he too felt that our son was extremely warm. Fumbling through our medicine cabinet, we found our thermometer: our baby boy had a fever of 101°. I cried and cried, but they were tears of happiness. I felt such a sense of peace, and because of my previous trial, I knew exactly what that felt like for me. This fever was a gift from heaven, an answer to a mother’s desperate plea.
The next morning, we took him to the doctor and found that he had an ear infection and would need an antibiotic. The funny thing is that by the time we got home from our visit, his fever was completely gone. It was as if our baby had the fever long enough for us to see there was a cause for concern, but then once we knew he was sick (and received our answer), he was all better. I called the surgeon immediately and we cancelled the appointment.
Since that day, my sweet angel has never had the bulge again. Not once. He has been happy, healthy, and the hernia has never shown itself again. Modern-day miracle? Maybe. But I like to think it was from letting go and giving him to God. I had put my trust in Him before, but never like this — and at such a big expense. Through this experience, I learned faith is bigger than fear. God is a God of miracles, and if we do all we can and give God our faith in Him, He will take care of the rest.
We are not totally in the clear yet. Although baby boy has never complained again (and we have never seen the bulge again), we decided to wait for the year and go from there. I can’t say anything official yet, but I distinctly remember thinking to myself after the doctor telling us anything was possible, I believe. And I still do. Once our baby turns one, we plan to get him another ultrasound and see what happened to the hernia. At that point, if it’s still there, he is in the clear to get the surgery. The risks will have gone down significantly and he should be fine. If it’s not there? Well, we already know.
The decision to let go was not easy. It never is no matter what it is we’re letting go. But when we give it to God, that’s when we truly see His hand. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to be humbled, and admit we can’t do it all on our own, is when He truly shows up for us. You know that famous quote, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle?” It’s not true. He does give us more than we can handle, because we aren’t meant to on our own. We are meant to give it to Him. To lean on Him. That is why He is there, that is why our Savior died. It’s just up to us to know that and to let go and give it to God.
About Krystal Wilkerson
Krystal is a latter-day mom and Holy Homemaker to 3 beautiful kiddos who is striving to find joy in the everyday trenches of motherhood and life! Her passion is sharing her experience of decluttering with a purpose to help others create a Holy Home where the messes subside and the Spirit resides. She is a lover of books, nature, music, food, the gospel, and all things Texas! Follow her at her website, Latter-day Mom!