Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ignorant Bliss......

This past Saturday, January 28th marked one year ago that Jeff and I found out we were pregnant! After taking fertility medication we had finally conceived! YEAH! We thought we had finally won.....that we finally got our break! We were so overjoyed and all the plans we had for this little baby started to form! Jeff immediatly nicknamed the baby, Little Johnny (after John Deere of course) and talked about how he was going to teach the baby how to run the air seeder, and make hay, and combine, drive semi, take them fishing and hunting and the list went on and on! One thing was for sure....this baby was going to be a farmer not matter what. Jeff and I got a whole 6 weeks of what I now call ignorant bliss. During those 6 weeks we did what every parent does....dream of everything that is yet to come. All the hopes and dreams we had for our baby were made during this time. I had bought a sign at a local store in town for our baby's nursery that simply says, "Wishes and Dreams." This baby was what we had prayed for, wished for and dreamt about for so long. We really thought the hardest part of our journey was behind us since we were able to get pregnant. Little did we know what was ahead of us. On March 15th our lives became to crumble........we had a 10 week ultrasound since we had been on fertility medication and were told it was only to see if we were dealing with a single birth or a mutiple birth. We got our one picture from the US tech and headed to our appointment, blissfully unaware of what was yet to come. Our doctor walked in and with little tact said right off the bat, "Well the radiologist is having difficulty making out all of her cranial features. We're going to set you up to see a perinatologist in Fargo for further analysis of this, but that won't be until June." Now......this is where the appointment stopped for both Jeff and I. Our minds shut off at this very point and we had a whole 1 hour appt. after that yet. As a nurse I knew she was covering something just don't send a someone to a perinatologist for nothing. I was upset with how she conducted herself and needless to say, so was my friend Sarah. Sarah recommended Dr. Witt to us and we thought at this point, what did we really have to lose. We found a blessing from God when we walked into his office. He treated us with the utmost respect and with dignity and laid everything out for us. We didn't need a perinatologist....we did everything with him.
   I often think back to that blissful 6 weeks....the only 6 weeks of that pregnancy where I didn't have the weight of the world on my shoulders.....and think about all of our hopes and dreams for our little one. I had 6 weeks of being in a "normal" pregnancy......6 weeks out 42 weeks. I will always cherish those moments of feeling "normal" but I will also cherish the other 36 weeks. Although they were very stressful and brought a lot of tears, they also brought a lot of happiness and smiles. I was one of the fortunate ones that did not have a miserable pregnancy. There was little nausea, no excessive weight gain, and no excessive fluid retention. I was able to go about our normal daily lives and helped Jeff with raking hay even when I was 40 weeks pregnant. We decided that Gracie would help her Daddy farm from in the womb.....she went through pretty much every season on the farm from calving to seeding to haying to combining. She drove tractor with her mom, a LOT and loved it. When I would stop then she would kick up a storm! We laughed as we wondered what she thought about those rough hay fields! We cherished her kicks and movements. Knowing this was the only time we had with our daughter that was guaranteed, made us appreciate our pregnancy on a whole new level. We wouldn't change a thing....this was what God wanted. Gracie came into this world and was blissfully unaware of her condition and she was also unaware of how many lives she was impacting by being there. The people we had at the hospital with us thanked us for allowing them to be part of Gracie's was what God wanted. Everyone there that day saw a little bit of heaven and saw one of God's littlest workers. That was such a blessing for us to witness as parents......what a gift.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Life..... today's society it is taken for granted on so many occasions and in so many situations. This past week a fellow anencephaly mommy had her precious baby boy, Andrew. Andrew is now 5 days old and is at home with his mommy and daddy....something they never thought would happen. What precious gift from God! His mom along with the rest of us mommies all had to make decisions right after receiving the most horrible news of our lives.....are you going to carry to term or induce early/abort your baby. I remember that moment of feeling like I had been slugged in the gut in the ultrasound room with the technician, our doctor, and a medical student staring at my husband and I right after they delivered the news our precious daughter wasn't going to make it. I remember them telling me that the defect Gracie had made her "incompatible with life." Those words are burned into my memory and will most likely be there for the rest of my life. We were given the same option as all the other anencephaly mommies were given....are you going to carry your baby the full 9 months or are you going to prematurly end your pregnancy. There was only one answer for us as neither of us believe in abortion, but most importantly we wanted to do the only thing we could do for our her. And we the full extreme. The love our hearts felt and continue to feel is not any different than any other parent's love for their children that they have been blessed to keep on this earth with them. She's a part of us and a part of our souls. Today is church, Father's sermon was about abortion since January 22nd marks the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade in our nation. Father talked about how some do not view a baby in the womb just as that...a baby. They feel it isn't a baby until it is born. How wonderful for them to live a life of ignorance. Those wonderful little beings do so many things inuteral that babies do once they are born....they suck their thumbs, they get the hiccups, the can hear and are soothed by their parents voices and they react to their surroundings. In the words of Dr. Seuss..."A person is a person, no matter how small." I know there are liberals that will tell you that abortion is the choice of the parent....and why yes it is, but it doesn't neccessarily make it correct. I think back to that day when our doctor asked us what we wanted to do.......what if we wouldn't have carried Gracie to term? I think of everything we would have missed....what if this is our only pregnancy? We would have missed watching my body change and feeling her kick and all the antics she did while inuteral. We would have missed that parental bonding that you do with your child as you wait for them to join the world. People have said...."Well you could have spared yourself the pain of loving that child." No we wouldn't have.....we loved her from the minute we found out we were pregnant. There would have been no sparing the feelings of losing a child. Everyone does what is best for them and I am certainly not to judge them as that is not my job. I simply think of what people are missing out on. Just as baby Andrew's mommy and daddy.....they are on day 5 with their baby boy and who knows how many more days they have of memories to make with him! What a wonderful gift! This baby boy has already touched so many lives as his story continues to spread. You can't help but smile when you think of the love his mommy and daddy are experiencing. When Gracie was born her story was heard far and near and impacted so many people's lives.....her life was not in vain....and neither is baby Andrew's. They were sent here by God and as parents were lucky enough to experience their lives and love. People always say to me....."Gracie was sure lucky to have you guys as parents." My response is, "no , we were lucky to be chosen to be her parents." I know my fellow anencephaly mommies all feel the same way. When you hold your newborn child that you know you are going to lose, you can't help but know you are holding a peice of heaven in your arms. When you lock gazes with that beautiful child it is indeed like looking into God's face.....what a beautiful gift. Father said just in ND alone every week there are as many babies aborted that is the average size of a kindergarten class. This is just in I sat in church my heart couldn't help but ache for those children and their parents. I know a lot of the mom's that make these decisions are scared, uneducated, and alone and it saddens me that they have to make such a life altering decision in that state of mind. I had a conversation with a friend earlier this week and we were talking about Gracie and I said if someone would give me the choice to carry another pregnancy knowing from the start that I would lose that child, that I would do it. It is the most difficult, wonderful, beautiful, and life altering thing I have ever done. I don't have a single regret about my decision and that brings me a lot of peace of mind. There have been many, many, many tough days and I know there are many more ahead of us, but the reward of getting to know our daughter was worth it to us. After church today we decided to go the cemetary for a visit. These visits are always tough, but yet peaceful at the same time. I know Gracie is up with our Lord and is having a wonderful time playing with all of her anencephaly moms are convinced they have a club up there.......but of course you long to have your baby in  your arms again. Life is something that will never be taken for granted at our house, especially after witnessing our beautiful child come into their world and leave it. As the saying goes.....Life is fragile, handle with prayer.