One year ago today, our world stopped when we learned something was wrong with our baby girl. I remember the day so perfectly. I remember I wore a pink top and Chad wore a blue striped shirt. We were SO excited to find out if our precious baby was a boy or a girl. We had our gender/anatomy ultrasound before we met with Dr. M. I really thought it was a boy, so I was very surprised to learn that it was a GIRL! We waited in the waiting room after the ultrasound and showed off pictures of our sweet girl to the others waiting. Everyone was so excited and sweet to us, as we were glowing with excitement. We could NOT stop smiling!
I remember Dr. M's face when she walked into the exam room. I didn't immediately think something was wrong (I think I was in denial). But she quickly told us that our perfect baby was not healthy. I remember immediately crying and covering my mouth in disbelief. I remember crying so hard I had to lay down so I would not faint. I remember Chad and Dr. M holding my hands. Dr. M prayed with us, and recited Jeremiah 29:11.
I remember crying in the waiting room uncontrollably as I waited to have more labs taken, while other moms were so excited and happy with their babies safe in their pregnant bellies. I remember thinking why hasn't the world around me stopped, because my world certainly had.
I remember being in total shock as we walked to my car. We sat there and cried as we called our families with the news. Lunch even seemed like an impossible task. It was so hard to believe that everyone else was going on with their "perfect" lives, while ours had just fallen apart. The cars went by so fast. Everyone was in a hurry. I was frozen in panic.
We made it home somehow and just sat there. We didn't know what else to do. I know I've never cried so much. We initially were going to have to wait until the next week for our level 2 ultrasound with a specialist, but thankfully (and I know because God was at work), we were able to get an appointment the next day.
It seemed like the seconds were going by in slow motion. We decided to pull the guest bed mattress off the bed and put it in the living room floor, so we could sleep with the TV on as a distraction (we didn't have a TV in our room). I remember we watched Bizarre Foods all night. I prayed off and on all night as we waited.
The morning finally came, and we found ourselves at Dr. P's office. After a lot of questions and a very detailed ultrasound, we were given the worst possible news: our little girl had an encephalocele. It contained part of her brain. Although they did not think based on the ultrasound that the condition was genetically-related at all, Dr. P recommended an amniocentesis and some more labs. We were told our precious baby would either be stillborn or live with severe disabilities. We were given the option to abort. However, there was no hesitation to choose life for our precious little one.
Fast forward through 19 weeks of grief, preparation, celebration, tears, and hope, and on March 4, 2011, I held my precious baby girl Grace in my arms. It was instant and the most intense love I have ever known. I can't even put the feeling into words. I'm sure all you mommas know what I'm talking about. The second I saw her, I loved her more deeply than anything I ever had before. It brings tears to my eyes to think about that moment. I will NEVER forget it.
Fast forward some more, and now we have a 7 month old. A 7 MONTH OLD!!! Where has the time gone?? I'm not sure, but I have LOVED every moment of being Grace's momma. I am SO thankful...beyond words...that I get to be her momma and that she gets to be my baby. She has taught me so much about love, life, faith, surrender, joy, possibilities, hope, and perspective. My life has been changed because of her. And she doesn't even know it. :)
So why do I keep reliving this day? Because this day and the days and months after it CHANGED MY LIFE. I have never been closer to my Father. He carried me through the darkest days of my life. He reminded me that He was in control and that He would never leave me. He gave me strength and showed me so much love and grace. My faith grew, deepened, and strengthened in amazing ways.
I wish no one ever had to go through this. This was definitely the hardest thing I have ever had to live through. I know there are other things that people go through that are much worse than this. But if you put it into perspective, whatever anyone has to go through is the hardest thing they have ever had to live through. It's all relative. You can't compare. So I'm here today to testify that God will carry you through it.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And the waves will not overcome you. Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are Mine. I am the Lord.
Here is a ultrasound picture of Grace from that day:
And here is Grace one year later: