She Has a Name

We wanted to avoid hospitals. And doctors. And anything Covid related. Which is why we had chosen to have our fourth baby at Family Birth and Wellness, which is a midwife service. This necessitated the use of a 3rd party ultrasound service, which in turn meant that the concerns of the 20 week ultrasound, taken on December 22nd, would not be shared with us until December 28th. We sent out a Christmas email saying that all was well with the pregnancy, ignorant of the dangerously slow heartbeat of our child.

When Katie called me crying after the doctor’s visit, I feared the worst. I got something better, but still not good. A visit to a specialist today revealed in greater detail the issues our daughter is facing. She has atrioventricular canal defect, a complex heart problem that involves several abnormalities of structures inside the heart. Because Springfield does not have a specialist in this area, we are being referred to a hospital in Kansas City. While we have more information, we still don’t have answers to the most pressing questions.

We have no complaints about any of the medical care we have received. The midwives were great. The ultrasound technicians did their jobs well. The doctor today was professional but not lacking in compassion or humanity. But now that our baby is high risk, there is a slight awkwardness. The possibility of her death causes everyone to speak in a more clinical manner. Perhaps they think we will want to terminate the pregnancy – not a chance. Perhaps they think we don’t understand the gravity of the situation – our tears say otherwise. Maybe they think we will be more traumatized if we grow too attached to her and she doesn’t live. So to make sure everyone was clear about our feelings, we told them, “We already named her.”

All of our children were named before they were born. Luella was going to be Eleanor, but after her second ultrasound we both decided she did not look like an Eleanor and settled on Luella. As soon as I knew our second was a boy, I decided to name him after my brother. I don’t remember when we decided on Lily Rose, but we knew we wanted to keep “Rose” in the family and I know it was weeks before she was born. Each one of our children came into the world with a name.

We name the things we love. Men name cars. Dads warn their kids who take in that stray dog that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES are they to give it a name, only to resign himself to the fact that he now has a dog when his kids go ahead and name the darn thing. Names are associated with character and personality. Names make things matter, and things that matter are named.

Our daughter is not a mass of human tissue. Her personhood is distinct to us, just as each individual on this planet is distinct from the mass of humanity to God. She is already marred from the Fall, just as every individual is marred in some way by the Fall. She is loved by her parents, just as every rebel child of Adam is loved by the Father. When Jesus wanted to convince the peasants and beggars and tradesmen and soldiers and fishermen who gathered around him that their Father in heaven actually cared, He told them that even the hairs of their head were numbered. To let our baby know that she is already loved, already precious, and already a part of our lives, we gave her a name. Her name is Penny.

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Jesus Christ, Revelation 2:17

7 thoughts on “She Has a Name

  1. I love how you talk about the importance of names. Especially, when God knows us by name. (Isaiah 43:1) Even more important, we know the Name that is above every name (Philippians 2:9) and can take comfort in His various names. So from our heart to yours, May Jehovah Rapha (Exodus 15:26) be the healer, Jehovah Shalom be the Peace that passes all understanding (Judges 6:24, Philippians 4:7). At the end of the day, may Jehovah Shammah be an ever-present help in time of trouble. (Psalm 46:1, Ezekiel 48:35).

    It sure is good to be saved.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, Katie, the kids, and your mom and dad.


  2. We will be praying for your little Penny.  I don’t know if you knew this or not, but I was born with a heart defect.  Because there weren’t all the new devices to detect this I believe I was probably somewhere around 12 months before a murmur was detected and a catherization was preformed when I was 18 months old. The Dr. told my mom and dad that I had a hole between the upper 2 chambers of my heart and the pulmonary veins were on the wrong side.  At that time no successful open heart surgeries had even been preformed. I can’t imagine how my parents must have felt.  But God was in control! The heart Dr. who told my parents about my heart was Dr. Schumaker, the same Dr. who was instrumental in helping to develop the heart/lung machine that made it possible to do open heart surgeries. The first successful heart surgery was 1954, shortly after my parents found out about my heart. The Dr. wanted to wait as long as possible to do my surgery because they were still learning about these kinds of surgeries. Mine was done in 1956. I had a 50-50 chance to survive. But with God’s guidance I lived. So I know that God can do all things, especially through prayer.  I had many people praying for me, some even through the night. It humbles me to think of all this. I am now 68 and my heart is still beating well. Know that we will be praying for Penny. Keep us updated. Aunt Libby


    1. That’s an amazing story! Thanks so much for sharing. We are in a bit of a whirlwind so hearing things like that helps us stay focused on the Lord. Love you!


  3. Good grief…Super mega tears here…..You all are so precious to so many people….you know that!!! I am trying to find words to express encouragement – and yet, in my heart – I KNOW THAT YOU KNOW better than anyone ALL THE WORDS!!! Prayers for peace and comfort are being lifted to our Heavenly Father – Penny – I love her already!!!


  4. Nathan,
    We know that God has a plan for Penny’s life and that He answers prayer. We will be praying for Penny, you,Katie and kids. I will also pass this request on to others. I know that with so many praying, God will hear our prayers. We love you guys.


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