Friday, April 15, 2011

Deep breath - my first post!

So, as you can see I have waited awhile to write my first post. I've been a little nervous thinking about what I want to share here. I guess I should start from the beginning. I am a stay-at-home, homeschool mom to my six boys ages 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, and 12. When I was 17 weeks pregnant with #7, we went for a 3D ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby. Much to our surprise ( honestly! we didn't think it was possible!) we found out we were having our first little girl. I am not usually a very emotional person, but I immediately started crying happy tears. Our 4 oldest boys were with us. They were equally excited. They were clapping, grinning from ear to ear and the five year old couldn't even stay in his seat. He kept jumping up and down. My husband Jodie was happy but sort of looked like he was in shock. It was truly one of the happiest days of our lives. We were all walking on cloud nine.

Our mood shifted pretty quickly the next day when we got a call from the ultrasound place telling us we needed to see our OBGYN right away because there had been a problem with the ultrasound. They couldn't give us much information. We were so confused because the baby looked great. We saw and heard her heart beating, all of her organs looked fine, and she was kicking and moving all over the place.

Four days later we were at the office for another ultrasound. It was apparent to the tech right away. They called the doctor in to speak with us. The next few minutes felt almost unreal. She said that the baby had a condition called anencephaly. It's a neural tube defect. All of her body has formed and is working perfectly except for her skull and the majority of her brain. Her skull stops right above her eyebrows and she mostly just has a brain stem. We were surprised to learn that she can function and grow normally inside the womb. However, once she is born, her condition will not be "compatible with life" as they put it. Needless to say, we were devastated. She almost immediately mentioned the possibility of termination. We let her know immediately that it was not an option. We didn't even need to discuss it. We just looked at each other and knew. God gave us this precious gift of life and it would be up to Him to decide when she leaves this Earth.

We called our parents together at our home to deliver the news. I felt so bad. Just a few days before we had called to tell them they were finally having another granddaughter. ( there aren't many in the family) I felt like I was letting them down. I know they didn't feel that way. We waited a few days to tell the kids. That was so hard. We called them into the living room and explained what was going on with the baby. The oldest 3 were sobbing. We encouraged them to ask questions. Our oldest, Noah said, "well, God says we should praise Him in the good times and in the bad times". I was very impressed with his wisdom. I have to admit that my grief was so strong at that point that I hadn't felt much like praising God. We all gathered around in a big hug/circle and prayed for strength.

It's been almost exactly 3 months since we received the diagnosis. It's been a roller coaster of emotions. On one hand, I desperately want to be the "normal" happy pregnant mom looking forward to meeting her baby girl, and on the other hand, I am terrified of what is to come. There are days when I am happy and days when the grief seems to take over. This whole experience can be described as, well... strange. That is the best word I can think of. When the nesting kicks in, instead of painting the nursery, or organizing baby clothes, I start planning the memorial service and all of the little details that go along with it. See? Strange.

People are always saying that I am so strong. I don't know how you you do it, they say. Well, let me tell you, it's not me! I have not been given a choice. This is my life. God is absolutely getting me through. He holds me up everyday and gives me the strength to get out of the bed every morning. We are praying everyday for a miracle. I believe with everything that is in me that God can fully heal her and WILL heal her! I may not get to see it here, but I will see it someday. I thought to myself the other day, the doctors say that she will be deaf and blind. Can you imagine? The first sight you ever see and the first voice you ever hear is that of Jesus himself? Amazing. That's all I can say.

So, that's how this journey started. I will add more soon. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us. You don't know how much it means.

5 comments:

  1. Continue prayers for you & Elizabeth. What a testimony for His glory.
    Please consider reading another moms blog Bring The Rain The Story Of Audrey Caroline. Angie Smith is the wife of Todd Smith who is in the Christian music group Selah. I pray that you'll be blessed & encouraged. http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com/2008/01/beginning-of-story.html

    Then read sbout Charlotte... Her blessing since Audrey.
    I know the Lord will bless you with a healthy daughter, as he knows your hearts desire & hears your prayers all in His time. (hugs)

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  2. Love you so much my sister! I was looking at Jonah 2:1-9 and remembering what it feels like to carry a child you may only see in Heaven... I hope with you all for God's glory to be seen in every part of Elizabeth's life on earth and I rejoice with you all in the possibility that the first sights she sees and the first sounds she hears being Christ.
    I know Tim and my child is there praising the Lord. Not a happy thought for our motherly ache, but a joyful thought that our children will praise God eternally.
    Praying for all of you, and sending you our love and shared comfort in Christ (2 Cor 1:3-5).
    Love to you,
    Jodi (and Tim) Shifflett

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  3. Dear Tabitha,

    Jesus might be the first Elizabeth will see and hear, but without any doubt, she already feels your love now. There is no need for a perfect brain to be able to get love.

    With caring,

    Monika
    http://www.anencephaly.info

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  4. Its 1:00 a.m and I'm reading your blog for the first time. You are truly and inspiration!!!and what faith you have and your family. Thank you so much for being so brave to share your testimony. I had no idea until than, which proves that the Lord really is with you. I will keep you, your family and little Elizabeth in my prayers.

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  5. My sister was in a similar situation with her son who had a fatal heart defect. You are an amazing woman. Allow yourself to grieve, and enjoy your baby for however long you have her. She is a gift.

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