Updated: Nov 21, 2022
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Waking up Saturday morning.
Well, that was a complete whirlwind of a few days... Waking up on the farm, in Greeley, where Brian was raised, was so peaceful. I looked down at my belly... still pregnant. I put my hand where I was feeling kicks... they were so reassuring. I was still having a ton of contractions. They were pretty much regular, and all day and night... The pills they gave me to help them slow down didn't really help. The doctor advised us to come in when the contractions were regular, for an hour, lasting however long... Well, they were always like that. So confusing. Oh well.
I finally got up and went downstairs. Cord had been up since 6. At around this age, he starting a little routine where he'd go downstairs around 6 or so to hang with Brian's mom, who also is an early riser. Brian also got up early, so he could spend time with his dad & drink coffee while they watch TV together.
I didn't feel as massive as I did before the therapeutic amniocentesis, which is such beautiful blessing at this point in the pregnancy- who gets to take away belly size in their 3rd trimester? Ha ha! I said good morning to Brian, and we stood in the living room, looking out the bay window where the corn used to be.
We had a little breakfast and decided to go for a walk. When we visit Brian's parents in Greeley, we always make a point to walk down to Grandma Betty's and Grandpa Ben on their farm, just the next farm down the dirt road (about 1.5 miles round trip). What a wonderful way for me to get little fresh air & exercise (and wear Cord out). It was chili, but refreshing, also grounding to be outside after the craziness of the past few days. Cord loved to run, and would run most of the way with short bouts of walking. When we arrived, we were warmly welcomed. Everyone was well aware of the situation at this point, but this was the first time we were able to discuss it with family.
Being away from our home and community felt a little displacing, but I could see it was comforting for Brian to be around his family during such an uncertain time. And it seemed they were comforted by us being near.
Throughout the weekend, we had in the back of out mind, the pending test results we'd get on Monday, that may help with the puzzle to help find out what was wrong with our little one. The contractions
were regular and the medication didn’t really help much.
I felt fine, but at this point we didn't really want a premature baby, and were following orders to call in with regular contractions. We found ourselves back in the hospital Sunday night. They tried a variety of medications to stop the contractions that night. I didn't feel like the contractions were strong, but I did realize that they were present, which is more than I could say for 5 days ago. We were asked to stay Sunday night in the hospital.
The doctor and nurse that we’d been working with, came into our hospital room that morning. They both came in. There was only one chair, so the nurse awkwardly brought in another chair. They sat down at the end of our hospital bed. Brian was in a chair on my right side. I was sitting in the hospital bed. I’ll never forget that exact moment. It’s burned in my memory forever. They told us, “We got the results from your amniotic fluid. Through the genetic testing, we now know that your baby has Trisomy 18." Long pause on both sides. The doctor continued, "Do you know what that is?”
In unison, we said, “No."
The doctor went on to explain that Trisomy 18 was a genetic diagnosis that was likely life limiting, and that the baby would probably die before birth...💔😩. In shock, I climbed out of the hospital bed and sat in Brian’s lap… huge pregnant self, balling hysterically. In an instant, our world just shattered. It was like we were standing in a glass house, and all the windows and walls shattered... it was so incredibly surreal. I flashed on the prior worst case scenario, which included deformed hands & some sort of brain issue. How I longed for that scenario instead of that which we'd say good-bye to our baby that we'd never met...
The doctor continued to speak. It was a bit of a blur... All I remember was that they offered an induction. And the mention that they would support whatever decision we chose.
"Wait, what?! Induction? Slow down. Did I miss something," I thought...
What does that even mean? Why would we induce? Do people do that? The baby in my belly was kicking in my belly at that moment. We didn’t even know if she was a boy or a girl… and we hadn’t named her yet. I was so confused. What was the rush??? And did we even have the option of staying pregnant? Nobody mentioned that. Do we have the option to choose to stay pregnant?! Would that be weird?
My head was spinning.
My heart was breaking.
Maybe nobody stays pregnant when their baby is expected to die. Maybe everyone just induces and moves on. Do other women have inductions that same day? I felt all this pressure, and so much conflict in my heart. I was so confused. I had so many questions about this diagnosis. And also my heart was breaking in a way I didn't know existed. My instinct was to leave & be alone. I needed time to think...
My journal entry at this same time
"Wow... what an odd feeling to be in the midst of an earthquake, and feel so at peace. Brian and I feel like we have these huge "bowling bumpers" right now, full of love, Truth, hugs, texts, and encouragement, so much so that we can actually feel at peace through this craziness.
God is incredibly ever-present through this in such a way that we might even be grateful.... weird, I know, but Brian & I have never been so close, and God’s hand has been on my shoulder from the moment we got to the hospital in Durango (before that, I'm sure too).
I'm truly amazed at all the instances of being taken care of during this whole journey. We have been SURROUNDED by God's love and comfort and wisdom this WHOLE time. It seems like the more we stick together and relax through everything, the more He is in control, the more He is glorified, the more He keeps taking care of us (and has been this whole pregnancy)... in EVERY way. It's apparent that He has always been in charge of this sweet baby's life/experience in our family. He quilted her together the way she is. He knew she would bring us joy. He knew she would have this genetic anomaly. He knew she would bring us closer as we grieved this turn in the road. God is so good and gave us (and still giving us) SUCH comfort as we reorganize and try to regroup and put a new picture together of what our lives will look like...what our story will be, and how to move forward through this in a way that is right for us, for Cord, and right for Leaf...
Brian has been so incredibly amazing and present through this scary reality, which, lets be honest, isn't always easy. It's tempting to escape, hide, look the other way, or shove it all down. I am utterly thankful for where God has both of us. My being broken looks more like letting go... and relaxing in this moment of the unknown. Yes, I probably identify with planning, control, and not being vulnerable. So this is super duper hard for me, but guess what? God is right here, right now, all day, all night, holding me, holding Brian, holding our baby, and holding Cord."
To be continued...
How two parents came together to try and make sense of an impossible situation, and began navigating all the decisions, one by one, after receiving a diagnosis that would leave them without a baby one way or another.
What was best for them?
What was the kindest and most ethical thing to do for the baby?
How did they honor the life of their son's sibling?
And why this was the best choice for them...