“…I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born…” (Isaiah 66:9 NCV) Over and over I repeat this simple verse, allowing the words to sink in.
August 2, 2016
The parking lot is completely full, so I know the waiting room is going to be overflowing with people. Thankfully, I’ve remembered to bring the iPad, so the boys will be distracted for at least 30 minutes while we wait to see the doctor.
My heart is racing, and I feel like I’m waiting to find out if I made the cheerleading squad or not. Today we get to hear baby’s heartbeat for the first time. I’m also getting my blood drawn so that we can find out whether baby is going to be a handsome, charming son to add to our all boy squad or if it’s a sweet, pink-loving, princess to help even up our household. Either way, I can’t wait to find out.
The nurse comes in, and it takes her awhile to find the baby’s heartbeat. The boys are getting restless, so I’m clearly distracted. She finally locates the heartbeat and a smile comes across my face. I’m so grateful to hear something that connects me deeper to the growing baby in my belly. The nurse then takes my blood, and after a few painful attempts, its over. The doctor then makes his way into the room, double checks the baby’s heartbeat, which is at a healthy 160, exchanges some quick words with JD about work, and then tells us to come back in four weeks.
August 9, 2016
I am DYING to get our test results back – in fact, I’ve already called the doctor’s office…twice to see if the blood work is in. You never know, they could have just forgotten to call.
It’s 5:30 and we’re getting ready to go to my mother-in-law’s for dinner. The phone rings, and while I usually let it go to voicemail, it’s a Fort Worth number, so I answer it anxiously. It’s my doctor, which is abnormal, considering that it’s usually a nurse who relays the information from test results; but I just presume he is the one calling, because it’s so late and the nurses have gone home. His voice is the same even-tone it always is, calm, collected.
JD is in the bedroom, getting his shoes on, and the boys are standing at my feet fighting for attention. The voice on the other end of the phone is talking, and I’m trying to corral Noah and Emmett to the front door. My doctor tells me that my test results are in. I freeze. This is what I’ve been waiting for the last seven days!
Then he hits me with it. The test results have revealed an abnormality. All of a sudden, I can’t breathe. It feels like a ton of bricks are sitting on my chest. I immediately take off for the bedroom and put the phone on speaker. He is telling me that the baby is at risk for Trisomy 18, which I’m completely unfamiliar with. All I remember hearing is him telling me that we have to get in to see a specialist tomorrow or the day after so that we can get some further understanding of what’s going on with the baby. He apologizes. Then that’s it.
Wave after wave. I feel like I’m caught in the undertow and I can’t get my head above the water. I’m falling to pieces in front of my kids and there is nothing I can do about it. It’s as if I can’t control my body, and I am doing everything to will air into my lungs. JD stands over me, with his hands on my arms, trying to calm me down.
August 11, 2016
The whole gang is loaded up in the car, and we’re headed to the same professional building we’ve gone to countless times before, but today we will be going to a different floor that I’ve never had a reason to visit. We are getting ready to meet with the specialist to do an ultrasound to check on the baby, and then schedule a possible amniocentesis. Honestly, the thought of someone sticking a very large needle into my belly freaks me out, but at this point, I’ll do anything to make sure our baby is okay.
We wait for what feels like an eternity (I mean, it was over an hour), and a nurse finally comes in to take my vitals. The boys are totally over being contained in their stroller, and could care less about the movie playing on the iPad. It’s almost lunch time and we still haven’t seen the doctor. I’m thinking about rescheduling the appointment, then the doctor walks in. She tells us that they are short staffed today on ultrasound techs, but she will walk us through our previous test results while we’re waiting. I’m listening carefully while trying to pass out snacks to the boys. The doctor is detached, forward, almost cold, but very informative. I guess I would be too if I were in her shoes.
The odds are definitely not in our favor, as there is a 99% chance that our baby will have Trisomy 18 based off our test results. The doctors are having a hard time understanding this though, because there are absolutely no indicators that our baby should have any type of chromosomal mutations. They actually said that we were a medical anomaly. She also said that the test results could be wrong; it’s happened before. Which is why we needed to do an ultrasound. Afterwards, we would then decide to do the blood test again or schedule an amniocentesis.
The ultrasound tech comes in, she’s new, but kind. She starts pulling up the images on the screen, and I’m holding my breath. The doctor asks her to take some specific images, then right in the middle of the ultrasound she tells the tech to switch with her so that she can take the images herself. The words come out of her mouth as easily as her usual morning coffee order. She wants to talk to us about our options.
I speak immediately without hesitation. Then she tells us the odds of our baby actually being born are pretty slim, and if we do beat the odds, babies born with Trisomy 18 don’t typically make it past the age of two (and that is being incredibly optimistic).
We decide that we want to take the blood test again, so she leaves the room to get what we need. She immediately returns, because she realizes that she completely forget to check the baby’s heartbeat. We get ready for another ultrasound.
I’m trying to hold myself together, but the sobs escape my chest before the doctor is able to make it out of the room.
August 12, 2016
JD wasn’t able to come with me today, because he has to stay at home to watch the boys. I hate going to the hospital alone, even if it is just for pre-op work, but I didn’t know how long all of this would take. I have to sign multiple papers, and answer an endless amount of questions. They take some blood, my vitals, and a chest x-ray. The whole ordeal is pretty straightforward, yet completely overwhelming. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but every time I hear the word ‘surgery’, silent tears spill over. I can’t really tell if the nurses here think that I’ve signed up for this voluntarily, but I feel awkward when I have to say that I’m here for a D&C.
This day cannot end soon enough. I’m almost home, and my head is throbbing – I am overcome with exhaustion.
I’m sitting on the floor next to the desk while JD works, wanting to say a thousand things, but too tired to speak. I’m mulling over a thought, debating whether or not I should say it out loud. My heart starts racing, and I know if I don’t let the thought out, it will eat at me until I do.
I tell JD how angry I am with God, how confused and frustrated I am. Why on earth would he give us a baby girl, a baby we have been praying for more times than I can count, and then take her away? We have had two healthy pregnancies back-to-back, so why is this one any different?
I pull myself from the floor and go to the only quiet place in the house – my closet. It’s there, in the dark, that I let God have it. I confess my anger, my hurt, and my pain. When I have said just about all I can say, I’m left on the floor of my closet sobbing. Then I decide there is only one thing left that I can do; give it all over to God. I take in a deep breath, and when I exhale, I tell myself that I will no longer carry the weight of what is happening, but instead, trust that the Lord will redeem our situation.
August 15, 2016
My mother-in-law is coming to watch the boys while we are at the hospital today. I have butterflies in my stomach, and I’m ready to just get this whole thing over with.
They get me in quickly, and I’m taken back to a room where I can get changed and have all of my vitals recorded. Once I’m in bed, they bring JD back to wait with me until it’s time for my surgery. We are there for about 30 minutes when they come in and announce that it’s time for me to go back to pre-op. I’m scared, and the room is absolutely freezing. After I’ve had the opportunity to meet my operating team, they inject a “calming cocktail” into my arm. I close my eyes, and all of sudden I’m in the operating room getting moved to the operating table. I breathe in deeply, say a quick prayer, and just like that, I’m out.
When I wake up, there is a nurse by my side, and I’m feeling completely delirious. The room is spinning. I immediately ask for JD, but they tell me I have to wait for an hour in recovery before they can take me back to my room. Maybe now is the best time to just close my eyes and sleep.
August 18, 2016
Sometimes I feel frozen. Like I’m stuck inside of my body, consumed of thoughts of having a daughter. Every time I see a new baby, my heart aches. I want to hold her in my arms, desperate to feel her warmth against my skin and smell that new baby smell. Currently, the thought of being woken up at all hours of the night doesn’t sound so exhausting, it sounds like absolute perfection.
August 29, 2016
I just left the doctor’s office, and he said that I appear to be in great health. The whole procedure went flawlessly, and I’ve healed well. According to science, JD and I should be able to start trying again soon if we decide that we are emotionally ready to do so. I feel guilty, because a part of me is desperate to move forward and be pregnant again. I guess the saying really is true, you don’t know how much you need something until you don’t have it. Thankfully, we leave for DC tomorrow, just the two of us and another couple. To be honest, this trip couldn’t be coming at a more perfect time.
September 6, 2016
Noah started school today, and I’m so incredibly excited for him. He has been talking about it every day since I told him he was going to get to go. Who would have thought that going to school twice a week would make life so busy? I’m not sure if I am a superhero or teetering on crazy, but I also volunteered to be Noah’s room parent. I am actually pretty excited about it. I knew before we had kids that I wanted to be “that” mom; and being able to serve my time brings me a significant amount of joy.
It’s been almost a month and the panic attacks have stopped. I no longer find myself overcome with sadness and tears – instead, I feel hopeful. This afternoon I caught myself staring at the boys and I thought my heart might burst with gratitude. Then I think about the women out there desperate for a child, and unable to have one. I think about the parents who have chronically ill children, and spend sleepless night after sleepless night praying for a cure. I think about the parents who lost their children way before their time. My train of thought takes a turn, and I’m thinking about how different our life would have been had we given birth to our daughter, only to see her hooked up to machines for what would have been an extremely short life. It’s then that I realize how God has been protecting me through this whole situation. I’m not sure I would have made it through holding her in my arms knowing that I was only going to lose her. It would have broken me – it quite possibly would have broken our family.
It’s warm outside, and the sun feels good on my face. The boys are running around in the backyard laughing. I think back to that afternoon I spent in my dark closet, down on my knees in prayer, and I hold on to God’s promise of redemption. I know that one day there will be a baby sister chasing after them.
“Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” (Romans 4:20-21 NLT)