I have to say this has been the best day yet! I went to bed in tears and woke up in tears but the day has progressed in the most normal fashion I can remember since Wednesday. I peeled myself out of the bed and forced myself to shower so we could go to church. Aaden was abnormally pumped about going to what he calls “his church” to play with his friends and how could I possibly be selfish and decide to crawl back in my hole of a bed?! We pulled up to church and he yells, “Hey, this is my church! Is this like your church mommy?” I guess he thinks we just drop him off there and hop back in the car to attend a totally different church. I love his innocence; it’s refreshing. Forcing myself to go there this morning was the best thing I could have possibly done. It’s amazing how a sudden change in your life causes you to see every song as meant for you and every spoken word seems to come straight from God, through the preachers face and into your soul. Our church is very large, thousands attend; it’s easy to feel like an insignificant part of something so large but today I felt a love like no other and felt quite significant in fact. We were approached and hugged by people we had never met and they shared with us that they had heard of our story and had been praying for us during this time. We still have no clue how they found out but they knew and they were brave enough to approach us and share with us that their hearts were bleeding on our behalf. I don’t know that I would have been that brave being in their shoes; after all it’s not easy at all to find the words to say to a mommy and daddy that are carrying a child that they will soon have to say goodbye to. I am so very thankful that we found this church home, I am so thankful we finally decided to join this church this summer and I am so thankful to have a husband that will get up and take our son to church even when I don’t feel up to going; I honestly thought my dad was the only man on earth that would do something like that. For many that know me you know that I don’t always live up to the standards of a Christian but I can say that one thing that has already come from this is a closer walk with God and a closer relationship with my husband; I have my sweet angel baby to thank for all of that.
I would like to share a little bit of history on this pregnancy. When I was about 6 weeks along I was riding in the car and for some reason when I pulled into my neighborhood I realized I was listening to talk radio, I loathe talk radio! I also find myself listening to Hispanic music while I’m driving and I must admit I haven’t the slightest clue what any of the songs are about or why I find myself listening to it; just distracted by other things I guess. Anyhow, we hadn’t shared with anyone that we were pregnant yet and I was about to burst if I couldn’t share the big news soon. As I started to really pay attention to what the lady on the radio was saying I began to cry. It was a woman, Angie Smith and her husband, Todd Smith and they were talking about the biggest loss they’ve ever suffered through. I found myself sitting in my garage crying as I listened to their story, I have no idea how long I sat there crying but I made sure I heard all that they had to say. They were talking about their baby girl that they had lost to some major anomalies that made her “incompatible with life” as doctors say. They found out half way through the pregnancy that she would not survive and had also chosen to allow her to live until God saw it fit to call her home. Abortion was not an option and they remained firm in that. I just remember thinking how absolutely horrifying that must be. Remember, I was newly pregnant and wrapping my mind around such a thing was impossible. This very courageous woman had written a book and I felt so compelled to purchase it, I wanted to know more than she was able to broadcast on a radio talk show. Since my memory was that of a pregnant girl with a 2 year old I saved the name of the book in my phone so I wouldn’t forget it but never got around to purchasing it. It crossed my mind often but I just never got away from other things in life to go find it, I now know why. When I released the news via that first note I posted, my sweet friend, Ashley, contacted me asking if she could send me a book called I Will Carry You; when I saw that email I knew that was Angie Smith’s book and that’s one of those moments that you say to yourself, “God did that!” Ashley wasn’t sure if I was ready to read this book or to face hearing another person’s story but I was more than ready. I told her I had planned to peel myself off the couch the next day to purchase it, she quickly responded with, “do not buy it, I’m sending it to you”. I do remember thinking I wanted that book right now, I didn’t want to wait for it to come in the mail and without ever speaking those words God knew I wanted it and compelled Ashley to drive it right over. She didn’t want to send it because she knew it would be after the weekend before I’d get it; she’s a precious person. I just sat and cried, as Ashley and I really don’t know each other very well. God placed her husband in my life as my coworker at TMobile many years ago so that she could be a blessing to me at this time! I will never forget her, this book or the note she wrote me with a brown crayon that she found in her car; every bit of it is very special to my heart. She will never know what this gesture meant to me.
In reading this book I have found so many parallels to our story, it has truly been the best medicine. So many of her thoughts are thoughts I have had throughout this entire pregnancy, even prior to finding out this news. She had a very close friend that was pregnant with a baby girl at the same time as her and I have a very close friend that is pregnant with a baby boy; our boys were supposed to be best friends as they were only going to be 6 weeks apart. After all, their dads are childhood friends and they remain some of our dearest friends that we cherish daily. She always had an uneasy feeling about her pregnancy and I haven’t had a peaceful feeling about this pregnancy the entire time; I never voiced that because that would have made it real. One of the stories she shared was that her church had called a special prayer meeting on their behalf and when they got there the bottom fell out; rain began to pour and the wind was outrageous. She even states that the wind blew the door open and rain came pouring in; it took two men to close the door. The way she interpreted this storm was God making his presence known, He was letting them know that He was all around them and was in control of everything from the raging storm to the precious baby she was carrying. As we loaded up in the truck to head to church this morning we experienced weather that could be defined in the same manner. The wind was out of this world and the rain was blowing in all directions. I had to smile, I’m usually very scared of this type of weather but I couldn’t help but think that this was God’s way of speaking to my simple mind and letting me know that He’s got this, He’s in control and I have no other choice but to let it go. I can honestly say that I have never been more thankful to be a believer in God, I know for a fact I wouldn’t be able to have the little bit of peace that I do have without the prayers that have been prayed for Aaron and myself. I am more in love with my husband than ever before, I find it hard to argue over the small stupid things we once argued over; everything seems far less significant at this moment and I pray that continues throughout our marriage. The blessings of this baby are already being shown to us; it doesn’t lessen the pain and it doesn’t help our sorrow but it gives us a little something to hold on to. We have a meeting at 4:00 this afternoon with another couple that has lived through this nightmare. I am so looking forward to their knowledge and sitting with people that can look at us face to face and know exactly what we’re going through. I pray that it goes well and God gives them strength and comfort as they relive their ordeal in order to help us deal with ours.
We are just now getting home from our visit with the special couple that so willingly met with us and I’d have to say it went far better than we imagined it would. We were both so nervous; I even fussed at Aaron for having the nerve to wear a t-shirt and made him change. We were all dressed up like we were headed to a job interview or something. To our surprise we got to a house that was much like ours, toys everywhere from their precious 2 year old little girl, the husband was in a t-shirt of all things and she was in house shoes; our kind of people. Not sure why we were in such a state of panic over meeting them but I just felt we should be all prettied up for these people that were so willing to open their heartache for us. I will not share any part of their story as it is not mine to share but I have to say the things she felt are the things I’m feeling and it just means a lot to sit across the room from two parents that have lived this and are happy and loving parents 3 years later. Our baby has a totally different diagnosis but ultimately the same outcome. They will never know what their willingness to share means to us. I am thankful for my friend Daisy for setting this up for us and meeting us there so our encounter would be as easy as it possibly could be. I feel we’ve made some new friends that I will always cherish.
Our friends and neighbors made chili for us tonight and it’s the first thing I’ve eaten all day; delicious! This little boy loves food like his mama does because he started moving around like a maniac when I started eating; these are the moments I am trying to savor. As I prepare my body and mind to return to work tomorrow I can’t help but dread my first day back. I could keep putting it off but what’s the point? I can’t hide in here forever even though it seems so inviting. As I write this, my son is running around with a pink princess wand and pink and purple hair dryer, both used as weapons of course, and I can’t help but count my blessings. We have so much to be thankful for and we’re working daily toward finding the hidden blessings in all of this. We have questioned many times why we had to find out so early. We kept saying we wish we had found out closer to our due date so we wouldn’t have to endure so much time awaiting the inevitable. Now that I’ve spent time pondering that particular question we have determined that if we had found out that late then there would be a nursery ready to receive a baby. There would be a crib set up, complete with bedding. What a lonely and devastating feeling it would be to come home empty handed to walk past that every single day until we found the courage to dismantle it. The crazy thing is that I have been on Aaron for the past couple of weeks to get in the attic to get the crib down along with all of Aaden’s baby clothes; had he done as I asked then we would have the sadness of taking that down and putting the clothes back up. This is one time I’m so thankful he ignored me completely. The morning of our appointment I was actually online picking out bedding and had found the perfect stuff for our little guy; thank God I didn’t click add to cart and proceed to check out. Funny thing about the bedding is that it seemed so perfect and now I can’t even remember what it looked like or where I found it.
Just to let everyone know what an amazing Dr. I have and what an amazing nurse she has, when I checked my email tonight the following message was in there:
"Aaron and Holly,
This is Lanie, Dr. Sherman's nurse. I had finally got to meet face to face with you guys on Friday.
I just want to give all of my prayers and love to you two and your family.
I just wanted to email you guys because I came across your email of Our Sweet Baby Boy, and just wanted to let you know how much it touched my heart and saddened my soul for you.
The day that you got your sad news of your sweet, precious baby boy, while you guys were still waiting in the room, Dr. Sherman had come looking for me at my desk. As soon as I saw her, it was a face that I have never seen before. I have been working for her now going on 3 years. When she handed me your chart and ultrasound, I asked her what was wrong? I said "Holly was the one that I sent to the Center yesterday because she was not feeling good". I thought maybe it had something to do with that. Dr.Sherman immediately had tears in her eyes and asked if I can send you guys to Dr. Reiter. Again, I asked "what was wrong?" And the the words, Anencephaly came out of her mouth and my heart just sanked. I was numb. I didn't know what to say and I just wanted to run to your room and hug you guys and tell you that God loves you and He will take care of you. But I couldn't, it took me a very long time to be able to gather my thoughts and get you guys in to see Dr. Reiter asap. I felt the need to talk to God and ask him to please keep his loving arms around you guys at this moment and your precious baby.
All I could do was think of you guys that day, and did what I could to get you in to see Dr Reiter the next morning. I was dreading to call and hear your voice because I know that it really broke my heart to hear you cry. I felt an instant c.onnection to you and felt that you were like a sister to me, and I needed to do everything I can to get you well taken care of.
Reading your email, has really made my night and you have all of my respect. It is so selfless of you guys to already think of another child's life and I want you know that touched me so much. I want you guys to know that you are loved, and I will be praying for you every step of the way. You guys are such strong and loving parents and I respect you guys more than anything. Please let me know if I can do anything at all. I will be keeping you and your family in my prayers as I know that the next few weeks will be very hard. You are an awesome person and any child is very lucky to have you and Aaron as parents.
You know where to get in touch with me, and please don't hesitate to let me know if I can do ANYTHING to help you. Hope you guys have a better night, day and weeks to come.
Thank you for this heart felt email Lanie.
Again, thank you all for your sweet emails, I love all of them and they are all uplifting. I am in the process of printing them all out so I can sit and study them a little closer. So many wise words have been sent and I feel awful for not having the time to respond to each of you. In time I would like to address as many of you as I possibly can. Thank you for your love!