Flannery O’Connor once said “Faith is what someone knows to be true, whether they believe it or not”. Faith is a strange thing, it can’t be seen in a physical form, it can’t be touched or heard, it can only be felt in the person who has it. I’ve never been one to have much faith, not in myself, not in the world, and sadly not in God, which is strange because He spared me and saved me at such a young age. However true faith is something that I believe must be grown and sometimes it comes when we least expect it.
I have always been faithful; I have always loved the Lord and knew His son Jesus Christ as my savior. However my faith was not strong because I always doubted myself and the world around. Something good happened; I doubted that it would stay good. Something bad happened I wondered what I had done so wrong to be punished. I had faith but it was based only on my circumstances, however that all changed with Desirae Maree.
I was born with a Congenital Heart Disease and by God’s good grace survived and was saved when so many were not spared. I grew up living a normal life and believing I could do anything, even be a mother. My husband and I tried to have a child for years, becoming pregnant but always miscarrying early on in the first few weeks. We stopped trying and I had accepted that I would not have children then on June 6, 2014 I found out I was pregnant.
Sadly, my husband and I did not become excited because neither of us believed the pregnancy would go through even the first trimester. Neither of us wanted to get our hopes up, only to be disappointed again, we didn’t have faith in what we wanted and deserved. I had prayed for months and months to have a child, but sadly in my head knew my heart’s desire would never come true. Then miraculously I made it to 12 weeks and we found out we were having a girl. Excitement started to sneak in as my husband chose her name.
I was immediately sent to Pensacola Florida to Sacred Heart Hospital to undergo High Risk Pregnancy Treatment. There I would have my faith hit and I would finally start to understand just how strong my faith had become. While at Sacred Heart an echocardiogram was performed on Desi and it showed that she had a hole covering a majority of her heart. The doctor who was a nice doctor looked at me and I could see the concern in his eyes as he asked, “do you want to terminate this pregnancy?”
I knew it was my choice and even though I didn’t personally agree with abortions, especially those that were later-term, I had every reason to abort this baby. There was a very high chance she would not make it past birth with the hole and there was a very high chance I would not survive labor. Without a second thought though, I said “No”. It was the most decisive answer I have ever given. I didn’t second-guess it, I didn’t question it, and I knew with everything in me that this pregnancy was going to be okay. I didn’t know why I knew, I just knew it. I had faith in my pregnancy even when nobody else did.
A high-risk pregnancy wasn’t easy, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. I traveled to Gainesville and Pensacola every month. At the beginning of the month I’d drive to Gainesville to Shands Congenital Heart Center then two weeks later I’d drive to Pensacola to Sacred Heart’s High Risk Pregnancy Center. I prayed a lot, my family prayed a lot, and friends and strangers prayed for Desi and I a lot. I exercised throughout my whole pregnancy, only gaining seven pounds, and was able to carry Desi until I was 36 weeks pregnant. Then on December 21, my husband and I traveled to Shands to begin labor induction.
My mother was scared, my husband was scared, but for some reason I was not. I knew it was going to be okay, I knew my baby was going to be perfect, and I knew I would be able to see her grow up. I had never had so much certainty in my life, it was almost as if God had had a private conversation with me and told me word for word it was going to be okay. I had no fear only faith. After 3 days of ups and down Desirae Maree Angerbrandt was born on Christmas Eve and was the best Christmas present me or her dad will ever receive.
Two days after she was born another echocardiogram would confirm that Desi still had a hole. The hole had shrunk magnificently, but surgery was still a possibility when she got older. I prepared to be the mother of a sick child, just as my mother was, knowing that doctor’s appointments, check-ups, and lots of traveling would be a way of life. However Desi seemed perfect. She didn’t have blue lips and even though she was just over 3 weeks premature we were discharged two days after she was born. She seemed perfectly happy and healthy, so I chose to have faith that she would be okay and continued to pray.
Last week, Desi went for her yearly check up at Shands. My little girl had to sit through an EKG and an echocardiogram but sat through both like a trooper. When the doctor came in I prepared for an update on her condition, but somewhere inside I knew it was going to be okay. And it was. The doctor came in to tell me that my little girl had been completely healed without medicine and surgery. A hole that once covered over half her heart was now the size of a pin and was categorized as a type of heart defect that 1 in every 5 adults have. Desirae will never need heart medication or heart surgery. She will be able to enjoy her childhood in complete normalcy. As I hugged my little girl, tears of joys were cried not because she wasn’t sick, but because she had been healed by His hand instead of those of doctors.
It is written, “faith doesn’t make sense that’s why it make miracles”. Desi is living proof of that faith and my miracle. When lost and looking for hope, look upward and find your faith, that is where you will find your miracle.