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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 27, 2010 - one year ago tomorrow

    It will be a year ago that we were making phone calls.  Everyone knew we were going for a specialist visit due to my bloodwork and the AFP levels coming back positive.  I was instructed not to worry, that it was very common to have a false positive.  Still I was worried.  I always felt something was wrong with our baby's head.  For some reason, I knew it was going to be something in that area. 
   
    I will always be grateful to our ultrasound technician as she was very good to us.  She described every detail of her little body, and in giving us the most exciting news that we were having our 2nd little girl!  I secretly have always wanted two girls and two boys, that being said I would have been happy either way.  I had a strong feeling she would be a girl.  Our ultrasound tech was also good to us in that she told us that there was indeed an issue that the Dr. would discuss with us, but her tone was calm and unalarming. She gave us no indication as to the severity of the "issue" and it never occured to us to ask.  In hindsight, we both remember the way Lilly's profile looked and that there was something off and how the ultrasound tech kept going back to her head over and over again.  We never saw the round profile we were used to seeing.  It was almost like our not noticing was protecting us, allowing us to linger in our blissful ignorant happiness for just a little while longer.  Because not long after, the world we knew was about to be changed forever.
   
    We were lead back to the waiting room and instructed that that Dr. would call us back in a few moments.  We were scared of the unknown, of what was to come but felt we could handle whatever came our way, as long as the news was not fatal we would be OK.  We knew after we got the call about my bloodwork that we were willing to handle anything.  Anything but what happened next.
   
    The Dr. called us and brought us back into his office.  I vaguely remember most of what was said but the words "anencephaly" and "incompatible with life" seem to stick out the most in my memory.  I have come to learn the words "incompatible with life" seem to be the most common words used to give the news to parents of babies with this condition.  Most of the words after that flew over my head, as one who has not experienced can only imagine, it was a lot to take in.  The Dr. compassionately described to us that a portion of our baby's skull and skin were missing and that meant that the brain could not form properly.  I can not even begin to understand how a Dr. who had to deliver the unfortunate news to two strangers that their baby was not going to live was feeling, but I am now and will remain grateful for his compassion and kindness in how he chose to deliver the news.
   
    If in that moment in that unfamiliar office I remember one thing, its the first clear thought that ran through my mind after the Dr. had explained several choices we could make.  It was right after he informed us that some couples chose to abort their babies.  The thought to which I am referring to seemed to come from out of nowhere, but it was strong and clear and it did not seem possible in that moment, but it was.  "I am going to keep you" I was saying this in my head to my unborn child.  This is the path laid out before me and I did not hesitate to decide.  I told God "Ok, this is the path you have laid out before me. I will walk it."
   
    I can say I do not know where this courage came from in that moment, but that would not be the truth.  I know it came from Him.  I felt God in that moment more than I had in my life.  Granted some may call it shock and that is fine with me.  I can say I know how I felt in that moment and He was there.  He always is and will be.
   
    We asked a couple of "what if" questions and the Dr. answered with great patience and in the best way possible.  He explained that most did not live long after birth if they survived labor.  Most passed away in utero and were stillborn.  He was gracious though, not once trying to push us one way or the other on what decision should be made.

    We said our goodbyes and left his office.  We were already teary eyed, but as we drove off we started to really cry, and then we started to call everyone.  My mom and dad took the news the same way that Jim and I did which I appreciated.  Thank God for them!
   
    I called work and let my coworker Pam know and asked if she could deliver the news to everyone at work for me.  I did not even think how hard that must have been for her.  She told me how sorry she was.  Her words meant so much to me.  I was glad that she did not cry because that would have set me off again. 
Shortly after this phone call my boss Sheila called me with a very positive story which I appreciated very much.  She has truly been a blessing in my life. 
  
    Earlier that day we had received news that my husband's cousin was in a coma and they did not know the reason or even if he would survive.  So needless to say, we were not looking forward to making the phone call to my in-laws.  I asked my husband to deliver the news to his mother.  I knew she would cry and I could not handle her tears at that moment for I knew I would crumble.  I did call my sister in law Sarah.  Her exact words "what a s****y day" as she cried for us and said she was so sorry.  I got off the phone with her rather quickly because her tears were too much for me to handle at that point.
  
    Calling Alanna was hard, she cried with me which meant a lot.  I get choked up just thining of my conversation with her.  We did start off our phone calls with the good news first "were having a girl!" followed by "but she most likely won't live long after birth if she makes it to her due date."
   
    I told Jim I just wanted to be with the kids.  I just needed to be around them, I knew that for sure, so we picked up the new Tinkerbell movie and went home to spend time with them.  We were home with the movie playing when the doorbell rang.  I can't recall for sure, but I believe Jim opened the door, but then I recall myself opening the door.  Either way it turned out to be Lynsey and Pam, my coworkers and dear friends.  They had the pizza and sodas I mentioned in an earlier post.  This simple gesture meant so much to us.  At this point we had not yet told the kids so not much was said because we were in their presence. 
   
    I was off the rest of the week by chance and Jim's work gave him time off to be with me so we spent them in a daze.  Jim's parents told us they could drive down to see us and I took them up on their offer.  We spent most of the day in silence and when we talked it was about everyday life topics.  There was a moment of disccussion about the choice we had to make and that they would support us either way, no matter what we decided.  Jim and I had both already decided internally we would not be choosing abortion.  We do feel this is a personal choice, one that we wish no parent, let alone anyone would have to make for their loved one.  Its a difficult choice and a personal one that can only be made according to each person and should not be judged.  For us, abortion was not right for us.  At first I was under the impression that they both wanted us to choose abortion, but that was the day after and my rationale was not quite what it should be.  Now looking back I realize that they were just trying to show us their support.   
    
    Its a difficult situation to have been faced with and still can be.  Instead of remembering this just as the day we were told our daughter was going to die, I also and more importantly would like to remember that this was the day we found out we were having another girl! A year marks the day that we found out we were having a second daughter! A year ago today we got to see Lilly up close and personal, and alive! in the womb.  We were told the four chambers of her heart were perfect, along with her spine.  A year ago marks a time when we were surrounded by such compassion and love that is very hard to find in the world now a days and I am still amazed and overwhelmed by it all. 

   A couple months after receiving the news, I went out and bought Steven Curtis Chapman's new CD "Beauty Will Rise" which was inspired and written due to his losing a daughter of his own.  This is one of my favorites.  It describes how I felt then, and still feel today.

Faithful by Steven Curtis Chapman


I am broken, I am bleeding,
I'm scared and I'm confused,
but You are faithful.
Yes You are faithful.
I am weary, unbelieving.
God please help my unbelief!
Cuz You are faithful.
Yes You are faithful.

I will proclaim it to the world.
I will declare it to my heart
And sing it when the sun is shining.
I will scream it in the dark.

You are faithful!
You are faithful!
When you give and when You take away,
even then still Your name
is faithful!
You are faithful!
And with everything inside of me,
I am choosing to believe
You are faithful.

I am waiting for the rescue
that I know is sure to come,
cuz You are faithful.
Yes You are faithful.
I've dropped anchor in Your promises,
and I am holding on,
cuz You are faithful.
God You are faithful.


I will proclaim it to the world.
I will declare it to my heart
And sing it when the sun is shining.
I will scream it in the dark.

You are faithful!

You are faithful!
When you give and when You take away,
even then still Your name
is faithful!
You are faithful!
And with everything inside of me,
I am choosing to believe You're faithful.

So faithful...

Though I cannot have the answer
that I'm wanting to demand,
I'll remember You are God
and everything is in Your hand.
In Your hands you hold the sun, the moon,
the stars up in the sky,
for the sake of Love, You hung Your own Son
on the cross...to die...

You are faithful...
Yes, You are faithful...
When you give and when You take away,
even then, great is Your faithfulness!
Great is Your faithfulness!

And with everything inside of me,
I am choosing to believe You're faithful!
Oh, oh, oh...
Oh, oh, oh...
When you give and when You take away,
even then still Your name
is faithful!
You are faithful!
And with everything inside of me,
I am choosing to believe...

...You're faithful...

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