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From the North to the South

July 2009
By: Cynthia Hsueh
One Sunday after church, two people separately alerted me that they noticed my head shaking during the church service. They observed this from the back rows and were concerned. Totally oblivious to this happening, I was amused but uneasy by their remarks. One of them, a nurse, advised me to check with a neurologist in case it was Parkinson's disease. "What an alarmist, she's always worried about things," I thought to myself. I thanked her and said I would check with a doctor.

Within two weeks, at my husband's suggestion, I called my internist for a physical. After a thorough examination, he concluded that I did not have Parkinson's disease or a neurological problem. Instead, he diagnosed it as a familial tremor, which was probably inherited. The doctor inquired if I had a parent with similar tremors. I replied negative. Glad that I had no serious diseases, he then prescribed a low-dose medication for the tremors.

As I sat on the examining table, he remained curious. "Is your abdomen usually that large?

With a smile, I answered, "I'm just fat, doctor".

"Do you mind if I examine you? It shouldn't be that big," he said, shaking his head.

"Sure," I complied, lying down.

After a short time, he said, "Mrs. Hsueh, you have a growth inside—a big one. It might even be a tumor. If you're going on vacation, you need to delay it. This is serious. If I were you, I would see a specialist soon—like tomorrow!" His serious countenance told me this was no laughing matter.

William and I were alarmed for we had never experienced anything like this. What if I did have a tumor? What would happen? What would I do?

The following day, we visited the high-risk gynecologist not knowing what to expect. After the usual routine of checking vital signs, the doctor gave me a sonogram on my abdomen. I stared at him with a startled look. "You don't think I'm pregnant, do you?"

He winked, saying, "We'll see." That cannot be; that's impossible! I was in menopause; I was over 40 years old.

Moreover, the nurse requested a urine sample. While I sat in the examining room, I realized what our clients at the center go through when waiting for their results.

After the longest ten minutes, the nurse showed me the test, "See, this is positive; you're pregnant!" I could not believe my ears!

The gynecologist was a gracious gentleman. As I sat perched in his office, I studied the photographs decorating the wall. To my right hung a family photo with nearly 30 people in it. "This man is pro-life," I thought to myself. Waves of relief swept over my heart.

He came in grinning. "You are about 4 1/2 months along. We've seen many women your age experience this. At first, it's a shock; but after a week or so, you will become adjusted and everything will be alright." He had an assuring way of cushioning the 'shock' of this entire event, and I was thankful for his calm and kind manner. I was also very thankful that he spared me from any pressures of not bearing a child at my age of 41.

How could I have missed this? Other than a simple cold and no periods, I had no morning sickness as with my previous two. I was convinced that I was in menopause.

When I stepped out of the examining room, William saw me smiling which led to his perplexed look. I snuggled against him, saying, "Guess what? I'm pregnant!" We both burst into laughter with incredulous feelings. This could NOT be happening to us.

I was so thankful that William accompanied me to the doctor's office. He comforted me by saying, "Don't worry, I'll marry you!" Right. This baby was going to be our third child, 11 years later.

When William and I arrived home, we immediately broke this jarring news to our two boys. Francis, 16, kept circling in the family room, muttering, "You're too old, you're too old!" Robin, 11, was elated and wanted a brother. We jokingly reminded him of the prayer request he had submitted at a church we previously visited. "Please give me a baby brother," he scribbled in his usual ornery fashion. Had we not taught him that God answers prayer?

As the shock slowly wore off and reality set in, questions filled my ambivalent heart. How am I going to wake up at such ungodly hours again? How are we going to handle a stroller and get it into a car? We were too out of touch for this. Nevertheless, as weeks turned into months, the Lord gradually prepared us for this bursting bundle He was gifting us with.

Since that unforgettable day, 18 years have flown by. We are now wistfully anticipating our we-thought-you-were-a-tumor baby to be dashing impatiently out the door. Sean is arming himself for college, and this threesome needs to be equipped for launching into uncharted waters. In retrospect, we cannot ever envision our family without Sean, who has made us so keenly conscious of God's benedictions. The crisis that we believed to be a trauma, originating from the north end, which rotated to the south, ushered in endless joys and blessings. The twists and turns of God's humor and overwhelming goodness have impacted us unmistakably. He certainly knew what He was doing, even though we did not! Together, we echo the words of the psalmist, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward" (Psalm 127:3).

Cynthia Hsueh lives in Sugar Land, Texas and can be reached at

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