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Monday, January 17, 2011

The beginning of our journey.....


I feel compelled to write this to help everyone understand what is going on right now. Yesterday was literally the worst day of mine and Aaron’s lives. It started off pretty awesome; we dropped Aaden off to his favorite cousin’s house and headed to our first official ultrasound at the dr’s office. Never in a million years would I have thought our entire path in this life would change in such an instant.

We spent most of our time in the waiting room laughing and twiddling our thumbs like people do in waiting rooms but they got us back abnormally fast for the ultrasound. I remember thinking that this particular ultrasound tech was extremely quiet and I almost came to the conclusion that she was plain rude and had no bedside manner. She just kept saying she couldn’t get us a picture of his face so she pointed out his feet and his gender and carried on with the measurements and so forth; still very quiet. We had tons of ultrasounds when we were pregnant with Aaden and the techs were always willing to show us what they were looking at and explain what they were doing; she wasn’t doing any of that. She wrapped up her scan and told us to go wait in the waiting room to be called into a room. I guess she could see me looking at the 2 pictures she had printed and I must have had a look on my face that said, “do I get to have those”, and she quickly said she’d put them in my file and Dr. Sherman could give them to me (also found this very odd). When Aaron and I got into the exam room we even said that we both kind of felt as though she didn’t know what she was doing, we soon found out what her silence meant.

When Dr. Sherman walked in the room I knew something was wrong, she wasn’t her normal chipper self at all and my heart began to sink. We barely got out, “just fine, how are you” before she let out a deep breath and said how concerned she was about the images she had seen from our ultrasound. At first I was thinking to myself he was going to be downs syndrome, which I was totally ok with but she kept using the word anomaly; that stupid word kept coming out of her mouth and I didn’t really know what it meant. Then came the big word, anencephaly; which I had heard of but in that moment I couldn’t make my brain remember what in the world it meant. Aaron was already bent over in tears and I must have looked like the most heartless mother alive because I just kept saying “uh huh uh huh” with no expression on my face. I sat and listened to everything she said and I don’t think I was breathing at all because I remember having to tell myself to breathe. I couldn’t move, not even my arms, I felt paralyzed. Maybe I didn’t want to move because that would assure me that I was, in fact wide-awake and this was very real. I do remember looking at her and asking what all this meant and she just explained that all of this meant that our baby would not be able to survive once he’s born. She began to tell us our options, which consisted of termination (a nice word for abortion), the baby dying in the womb or carrying him full term only to deliver a living baby that will die in our arms. This is when the tears started and I couldn’t make them stop. Any of you that know me well know that I’m not one to cry in front of people; I think by nature I fought it off as long as humanly possible. Dr. Sherman is the sweetest woman alive, she just said she would give us a minute and she’d come back. When she came back in she squeezed me so tight, as if we were life long friends and I will never forget that. We could both tell that it killed her to have to deliver this news to us and Aaron kept apologizing to her for having to tell us that our baby was going to die. When I expressed to her that we don’t believe in abortion she was very pleased to hear that but did voice her concerns about me having to carry him full term. She explained that he will continue to grow, he will continue to move inside of me, it will feel just like a healthy and normal pregnancy but the end result was going to be fatal. The one thing she said that brought a tiny bit of peace over me was that if he did make it full term and was delivered alive that his organs are all developed to the point of being available for organ donation. I almost felt empowered by that; the most helpless feeling in the world was being lifted by the fact that I could turn my tragedy into someone else’s happiness. As all the emotions started flooding over me from that moment yesterday morning into the evening, I lost that sense of feeling empowered and became angry, hurt, sad, resentful, sick and selfish. I kept thinking why does my baby have to die? We’re great parents, we love our children, we are constantly looking for ways to make their lives fun and meaningful, they’re always fed, always clean, they know they’re loved because we show them and say it a million times a day so why can’t I have my baby?! I see children daily at my job that have terrible parents and many of them aren’t raised by their parents at all, someone else has the burden of raising them; I can’t help but think why did their mom get to have a healthy baby and I have to endure 5 more months of feeling my baby move inside of me just to watch him die. I think all these thoughts are only natural but certainly not right. I don’t wish this on anyone, no matter how bad of a parent they are, nobody should have to go through this.

This morning we visited a specialist that, I’m sure has some fancy name, but he basically does higher level ultrasounds to confirm what has been seen in the ob’s office. We went in stronger than we had felt last night but still very sad and heartbroken. I think somewhere inside of us we were hoping that tech didn’t know what she was doing after all and what she saw wasn’t what they told us, but we both knew otherwise. Dr. Reiter is a very smart and factual man, not much emotion and I think that’s what we both needed today. He confirmed that what they found yesterday was in fact the correct diagnosis of anencephaly. We both started to cry as if we didn’t know that was coming but each time it’s said it’s like the wound is reopened. The hardest part is watching the ultrasound and seeing him move just like any other baby does, he wiggles, he rolls, he punches, he kicks and his heart beats a healthy 142 beats per minute; but he pointed out the affected area and my baby does not have a skull and his brain has ceased to completely form. That is so hard to accept. On top of all of this they can’t tell us why this happens, they say it’s nothing that we did wrong, it’s not linked to genetics and it’s not something that can be corrected no matter how early it’s detected. The health risks that seem to be linked to a child that is born this way are all health issues I do not have so they’re answer to me was, “it’s just bad luck”. Hhhmmmm….bad luck?!? He did put our minds at ease about the possibilities of us having another child cursed with this by saying our chances only rise by 1%; which is way better than we were thinking. As I said before, this Dr is very medical and factual, not emotional, so he made a very good argument for termination but I still cannot walk into an abortion clinic in Houston and request that someone kill my baby. Now is the time to make huge decisions. Since we know that we cannot terminate it looks like I will be carrying this baby to full term if that’s what God wants to happen. I’ve decided to refer to myself as a surrogate mother; instead of this being my baby he is God’s baby and his purpose in this life will be shown to me at some point along this long path. As Dr. Sherman pointed out yesterday, the life he has inside of me is the only life my baby will have; therefore I will provide the best possible life for him from here on out until the time comes for him to be delivered and then to pass away. Dr. Reiter pointed out today that it’s very rare for transplants to be performed on newborns because it has to line up just right, one infant is born needing the organs that a dying infant has to offer. My prayer from here on out is that God will align that for me and for some other mommy that has the opportunity to watch her baby grow up. I think some people wonder how I can be so at peace about giving my child’s organs away but I just see it as him living a full life through another little person so it brings me more peace than anything else could at this point.

I am so thankful for the family and friends I have! I am so appreciative of the prayers that I can feel being prayed for our family! Please continue to pray, as the next 20 weeks will be brutally hard on all of us. I am dreading it but trying to find ways to get through it. Part of me wishes we hadn’t found this out so soon because the part of knowing what’s in store makes it that much harder. I wanted to let everyone know what was going on so that you weren’t confused about it all. I appreciate you taking the time to read this, I know I get long winded but there’s so much on my heart and this little letter barely touches on it. I am proud to say that I am a Christian and I know that God has a plan but please know that knowing that God has a plan does not make this any easier on us as parents to mourn the loss of our sweet baby that we’ve already grown to love so much. Our sweet baby boy has grandparents in heaven waiting to play with him so I know his life after this one will be a wonderful one in heaven with Jesus and his grandparents.


  1. So glad you started the blog, Holly. It will help you to get info out to friends & family and will be therapeutic to you now and after he's born. And in the years to come when other moms are in your same position and google stories of other families who've gone through this, they'll find this blog. I will faithfully read your words every time you post. Much love from your crazy friend in Tyler. :)

  2. Holly,
    I stumbled across your blog on a baby website today and my heart aches and tears stream down my face as I read what you and your family are going through. I cannot even imagine the pain and grief you are having. But just know that there is one more person our there praying for you and your family. And no matter how much time you have with your sweet, precious baby - he will be so incredibly loved and will soon know no pain.

  3. Thank you so much for your words Andrea. If you don't mind sharing, what baby website did you find my blog on?

    We appreciate your prayers and please keep them coming, we have many more months of ups and downs!


  4. just now read this- I am so very sorry. Please know that you and your family are in our prayers as well. Dr. Sherman is an amazing OB- I am ever thankful for her! Glad you are in the earthly hands of Dr. Sherman and more importantly you and sweet baby Thomas are in the hands of the Savior as well.

  5. I found your blog from a friends Facebook page, and I want to let you know that I'm praying for you and your family. I cannot imagine how you ate feeling, but I pray that God continues to give you strength and peace through this journey. You are an incredibly beautiful, special person. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You have touched my heart with this blog.

  6. ok now that the tears have stopped and i can type i am amazed by your strength..i know it has to come from the Lord above and family and friends. i saw your blog frrom a friends facebook. parents need to hug there kids right now and tell them how much they love them...when baby Thomas is born he will know thst love for as long as his body is on this earth. then he will know the love of the Lord and his grandparents like you said..i pray for you and your family...that these last weeks are filled with peace and strength for you and your family...

  7. I found your prayer request on Kelly's Korner. Please know that I am praying for you and your family during this extremely hard time. My heart breaks for you, and I think it's awesome that you will allow your precious son to live on in others. What a wonderful gift to give! Allison

  8. God works in ways we dont understand, he loves us all the same though.. My prayers go out to you and your family in this hard time and I pray your days from here on out are filled with strength, peace and lots of love for you and your family.
    Susan , Conroe TX

  9. i just want to say thank you for being the parents that u & aron are...this story breaks my heart for the both of u...yall r probably the strongest people on this take alot to do what you two thoughts & prayers are with yall now & forever...he was a beautiful baby! & yall are very lucky to have have the time with him even though it was much too short...i know yall are hurting beyond words can describe, but i know god will keeps his hands on yall & helpp you through this! baby thomas is definately in safe arms! i will be praying for u & your family! & i would like to take a second & say what Lee-Ann has done for yall is amazing! i am so glad yall have all the beautiful pictures to keep & look back on & see how truely blessed yall were to have had such a beautiful baby boy! god bless u!
    Niki Taylor Batson TX

  10. I don't know you but I wanted you to know that I am praying for you and your struggles. I pray that God continues to fill you with peace and strength as you obay his wishes.

    Stranger from seattle

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