September 23rd 2014…It was supposed to be an exciting day. This was the day that we could find out the gender of our 18 week old baby. The detail on this ultrasound was incredible. We could see our baby’s profile and fingers and toes! At one point the baby was so active and full of life that the technician had a hard time getting the images! We were both in awe of God’s creation. This excitement was quickly stripped away when the doctor came in and informed us that our baby’s heart was in the wrong place due to a complication in one of the lungs. From there we were referred to a specialist in Orlando that diagnosed our baby with Congenital Cystic Adenomatoid Malformation (CCAM). This meant that there was a mass in our baby’s left lung, which caused the heart to be displaced. We were informed of all scenarios, best case and worst case; and at this point all we could do was wait.
Michael and I felt so numb…we went from debating baby names and planning nursery colors to wondering if our baby would even make it through the pregnancy. We were consumed; I felt like I was hanging on by a thread…at any moment I could just burst into tears. If you know me, you’d know that I’m not typically a worrier. I’m unnaturally optimistic and can find a silver lining in any situation. Some people say it’s the gift of faith; some people say it’s annoying! But those first few days were so overwhelming. I remember literally wondering if I would ever smile or be happy again. Thankfully those feelings didn’t last long…God is faithful and He knows exactly what we need in those difficult times. A few days after receiving all of this unplanned news I got a call from a good friend, Elizabeth Hadley. She asked if she could gather a group of women to pray over me. We sat in a circle in her living room and I listened as words of truth poured from every woman there. They had each prepared a verse to share with me and we took turns praying for God’s hand to be in this situation. Here are some of those very Scriptures....
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous hand.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Romans 12:12 rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, continue steadfast in prayer.
Psalm 139: 13-14 For You formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.
These verses became very precious to me; I held on to them tightly over the next several months. Our story quickly spread and prayer warriors joined with us on the scary journey we were headed down. God began moving in Michael and I. We weren’t confident in the situation, but we became confident in God. It was time to actively believe the truths we had always said we believed. God is good. God is sovereign. God cares for His children. God works even the most difficult situations out for our good. God is faithful.
Over the next few months we spent A LOT of time driving back and forth to Orlando to check the progress of our baby. We had consults with cardiologists, pediatric surgeons, & fetal diagnostic doctors. We braced ourselves for bad news each time we had a doctor visit. But with each visit we began to see that God had a different plan. We watched the tumor that had engulfed an entire left lung and displaced the heart begin to shrink. The doctor visits became less terrifying as we saw more and more good lung tissue develop. We were watching a miracle take place right in front of us!
Fast forward to today and you will see a beautiful 6 month old baby girl named June Elizabeth Van Camp. By God’s grace, she was born completely asymptomatic. She didn’t have any problems breathing, she didn’t have to spend any time in the NICU, and she was able to come home with us at the normal scheduled time. I remember that night driving home from the hospital with tears streaming down my face while listening to the song “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons & Daughters. He is the One that puts the breath in our lungs. He is the One that gives us life. Michael and I are reminded of His power every time we look at her. Praise be to Him!
Everyone told us that becoming a parent ‘changes you’. I also remember hearing my parents say, “There are some things you won’t understand until you become a parent.” They were right. I’m still surprised by how much I’ve learned in 6 short months! I understand more clearly what unconditional love feels like. It hurts more now when I think about the sacrifice God made giving up His son. I’m humbled by the responsibility God has entrusted me with to raise up a child that loves Him. I feel so undeserving and so incredibly blessed. We are thankful God has given us great families and great community in our church body to walk on this journey alongside us.
Soli Deo Gloria-Glory to God Alone.
Micah Van Camp