Friday, November 30, 2007

Ways to get through the holidays

Here is a list of ideas that may be helpful to someone. These are from a monthly newletter I receive from Brief Encounters.

  • Begin making a special tree ornament for your baby. Cross-stitch or knit ornaments, angels, are all good ideas. Or engrave the name on a beautiful brass ornament.
  • If you are sending Christmas cards, consider signing your baby's name.
  • Write a love letter to your baby. Tell him or her how much you miss them and wish they were here. Seal it in an envelope and put it in a safe place.
  • Shop for Christmas gifts on a "good" day. Choose gifts from a catalog or have a good friend shop with or for you. Try to rest as much as possible.
  • Cook meals in double portions and freeze half for a time when you are feeling tired or overwhelmed. Use paper plates and napkins. Do things the easiest way.
  • Tie ribbons on a tree in memory of your baby. Blue for a son; pink for a daughter; white for a baby whose gender is unknown. Tie ribbons to denote how old your child would be now.
  • Adopt a needy child from an angel tree; maybe the same age as your baby would be now. It may help you to browse the toy or clothes department and purchase a gift for that age.
  • Think of ways you want the family to remember your baby during the holidays. Try to mentally prepare yourself for the many confusing emotions this season brings.
  • Plan to decorate your baby's gravesite. A decorated tree or wreath, small toys, snow blanket, flowers, gold or silver garlands work well.
  • You may wish to invite family and friends to bring an ornament in memory of your baby to help decorate a Christmas tree.
  • Let your children make a special ornament for their baby too.
  • If it hurts too much to use a particular decoration, pack it safely away for another year. In time, your heart will be ready to celebrate.
  • Decorate the altar of your church with a poinsettia or other flower in memory of your baby on Christmas Eve.
  • Display a photo album or scrapbook of your baby on the coffee table. Let your family know it's okay to talk about him or her. It's okay to share your tears too.
  • Record the family story of your baby; "Remember when...?" Recall when you learned you were pregnant, special memories of the pregnancy, etc.
  • Do something special in memory of your baby; light a candle; say their name out loud; hang an ornament; create a table centerpiece; give a gift; share your love.
  • Consider traditions. Are there some you want to keep? Some you feel you can't handle? Do something different this year. It's okay to make some changes.

You could order a personalized Christmas ornament with your baby's name on it here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bethany's gift

I had such a nice surprise yesterday. Bethany sent me this beautiful picture she drew of Isabel. Bethany has a blog I follow and is obviously a talented artist. You can see her work at http://www.sketchesbybethany.net/. A drawing like this would be a great gift for someone who is grieving or even for your own family to remember your own baby.


This is the note she sent along:

After hearing about your loss of Isabel, I wanted to do something for you...so I drew this picture of her for you. I hope that you will have comfort in this time of grief. This drawing isn't much, but it is the least I can do to try to help. I remember reading your blog while you were pregnant with her, and seeing you use beans to show what size she was at the time, and getting larger beans, and larger beans, and I thought it was so sweet, and such a good way to teach your children about the development of the baby. It really made me sad the other day when I heard that you had lost her. I know that regardless of how strong in faith you are, it still hurts, and I hope that you will be able to heal very quickly. You are being such an inspiration to others through this, and God is definitely using you to encourage others during their times of grief. I hope you won't mind the angel wing. Like you, I don't believe that babies become angels when they die, but in memorial drawings, I like to use Angel wings, because the portrait is instantly recognized as a memorial, and I think it reminds people that the baby is now in Heaven, with the angels.


Here are a couple of the pictures and text from my old blog that Bethany was talking about. It's sad to see them. It makes me think of my great joy at having another child. The anticipation of what the next year would hold. In this sesame seed picture, it was at this stage her kidneys should have been formed, but did not. Such a critical process. So miraculous. How could anyone doubt we were made by a loving God?


5 Weeks - Deep in your uterus your embryo is growing at a furious pace. At this point she's about the size of a sesame seed. She's now made up of three layers — the ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm — that will later form her organs and tissues. The cells are forming for her major organs, including his kidneys and liver, and her neural tube is beginning to develop. This neural tube — from which your baby's brain, spinal cord, nerves, and backbone will sprout — develops in the top layer, called the ectoderm. This layer will also give rise to her skin, hair, nails, mammary and sweat glands, and tooth enamel. Her heart and circulatory system begin to form in the middle layer, or mesoderm. (This week, in fact, her tiny heart begins to divide into chambers and beat and pump blood.) The mesoderm will also form your baby's muscles, cartilage, bone, and subcutaneous (under skin) tissue. The third layer, or endoderm, will house her lungs, intestines, and rudimentary urinary system, as well as her thyroid, liver, and pancreas. In the meantime, the primitive placenta and umbilical cord, which deliver nourishment and oxygen to your baby, are already on the job.

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Your works are wonderful, I know them full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

When I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

Your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me

Were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts God!

How vast is the sum of them!

Psalm 139: 13-17



6 Weeks: Your baby's heart is growing and dividing into the right and left chambers. But the most exciting part is that her tiny heart is now beating (at a speedy 100 to 130 beats a minute) and pumping blood throughout her body. The cells that will make up all of your baby's body parts and systems are dividing furiously as her body begins to take shape. Right now she's about the size of a small lentil bean (4 to 5 millimeters across).

It's so cute, after I took this picture, I showed the kids that our baby is this big. We were all saying, "Oh, baby" and petting the lentil bean with our finger saying "baby". My daughter wanted to see the baby. She would softly caress the 'baby'. Later she saw the bean sitting on the table and called out "Baby!" She wanted the baby to hold.

The box

My daughter pointed to the small lavendar box on top of my dresser.

"Dat Mama's box?"

"That's Isabel's box. Do you want to look inside?"

A sweet little face nods.


It was evening, my husband was with the boys. It was just her and I. I grabbed the box and plopped down on the bed. She scrambled up onto the bed and grinned with anticipation. She laid on her tummy, just like Mama. I slowly opened it up and took out a miniature, beautifully beaded bracelet with the name ISABEL spelled out. She happily put it on her little wrist.

I said, "Isabel was in Mama's tummy, but she died. Now she is in Heaven with Jesus. Remember?"

"Iabewl my sister."

Just hearing her say that brings tears.

She does have a sister. A sister she will not know on earth. I realize she is the only one whom I can freely talk with about Isabel. She doesn't know how painful it all is. She isn't afraid to ask questions or talk about her. She doesn't seem tramatized when I cry. She just matter-of-factly says "Mama sad." and nods knowingly

And speaking of my daughter, I'm so thankful to the Lord for His timing, His provision for this time. At least twice a day I have to sit in a quiet and sometimes darkened room and rock my daughter before her nap and before bedtime. It has been very comforting to be able to cuddle and hug someone, a little girl, my daughter while grieving the loss of my other daughter.

If I would have lost my third child, I wouldn't have had such a young person to cuddle with all the time. My youngest at that time was 5 years old. I've read that mothers whose babies die sometimes want to cuddle a stuffed animal, or some sort of object about the size of their baby. I think my daughter has helped me there.

Next I pull out a little clear box filled with white fluffy filler. Nestled inside it is a small image of a baby. I think it is the size of an actual 12 week old baby in the womb. She loved this. She took the baby out and cupped it in her little hands, hugged it and kissed it. She held it close and rocked it. She wanted me to rock 'her'. While I was rocking the baby, she said, "Blow on her tummy."

It hit me.

I could've sobbed.

Just thinking about all of those little rituals that Isabel and us were to miss out on. Because to her, that's what you do to babies you love, you blow raspberries on their tummy.

My good friend gave me this box shortly after Isabel died. She has had two miscarriages. She knew what things might help. When I first received them I really liked the bracelet, and I still do. It was so nice to have something with Isabel's name on it. For some reason, I think just something tangible to show it wasn't all just a dream. I wasn't sure what the point of having the little baby was. But now, I really like them both. I also like having them in a special box. My daughter LOVES to look at them.

And it's a special time when we can both stop and quietly and carefully examine the precious baby, who we refer to as "she" or "her" and think about our Isabel. I would someday like to try to make a necklace for me similar to the bracelet. I think I would like that. I've thought about going to the local bead shop and seeing if I could find some that match.

If you know of someone who has recently had a loss, and would like to give them something to remember their baby with, you can find them at Little Angels Online.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Expectations


When I was pregnant and anticipating a healthy baby, I bought this book on ebay. It's by Eloise Wilkin.

The story is about a little girl who, right before her mother and father bring a new baby home from the hospital, is given a baby doll. In the story, the little girl feeds her “baby” when Mommy feeds her baby; she changes her baby’s diapers when Mommy changes the baby; they take carriage rides together and tuck them into bed at the same time.


"We smile at our babies and talk to them. Mommy says this is the way our babies know they are the most wonderful babies in the world."







I was saving the book to give to her after 'the baby' (when she was still anonymous) was born. It still sits in the gift box. I haven't gotten it down because I don't think I could read it to her. There would be more tears.

It's all of these little things that we prepare for and anticipate that are painful to let go of.

I thought it would be such perfect timing. Our daughter is two and a half. She is just starting to like little dolls. She loves real babies. When she sees a real baby or holds one I have to fight back the tears. My heart hurts to think how much she would have loved to have her baby sister Isabel. Picturing her in my mind holding her baby sister is tough.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Felicity

John Piper spoke at his granddaughter's funeral today. One day before her due date Felicity was stillborn. You can read about it here. John Piper's teachings on suffering (see sidebar) have really helped me to find peace in the sovereignty of God. If you haven't listened to them, I encourage you to download them, they are free but priceless.

Here is a poem he wrote for her.



Felicity


Felicity, that happy name

was hidden with your forming frame

next to the heart of mom and dad

until the day you came.


You did not come as we presumed—

a place upstairs at home was groomed.

Yet other plans our Sovereign had

and took you from the womb.


Life is never ill-conceived.

He willed through you to make us grieved;

and though our hearts now linger sad,

we know whom we’ve believed.


The God who numbers all our days

no less deserves our endless praise.

He means the loss that now bodes bad

to highlight heaven’s rays.


He’s teaching us to trust his grace

while yet we cannot see his face

like you, in righteousness now clad,

and Fatherly embrace.


Felicity, your name will hence

accomplish mom and dad’s intents

and make the saints of Jesus glad

for every providence.


- John Piper

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Choosing a marker

This is something that has been weighing heavily on my heart the past couple months.

On the one hand, there is the pressure of making something permanant. Really, the only thing to physically mark her place on earth...forever. It has to be right. I don't want to rush into it and regret it, but I don't want to wait too long either.

There is always that 'I'd rather not even think about that' part of it. I'd like to put it off for, say...ever.

On the other hand, there is the pressure to have something to mark her grave. Her existence. About a month after she had died, we went out to her grave and there was nothing there.

Nothing.

My mom had taken fresh flowers out and put them in the ground, and we brought roses. But if not for those flowers, no one would've known it wasn't just a plain old patch of grass. I thought that the funeral service would've put some sort of temporary marker.


My husband said he would make something to put out there, but it would've had that 'I'm 10 and I just buried my hamster' feeling to it. We called the funeral director to ask about something temporary. He said most cemeteries don't do that to make sure people order a real marker. Isabel is buried in a family cemetery, out in the country.

But there is the fear of setting something literally 'in stone' that I might regret later. To be truthful, I feel that there is no way to win. I mean, the choices we choose today are rarely the choices we would choose in five years. How many of you reading this would do your wedding differently if you could go back? I'm thinking pretty much....everyone. At least every woman.

We looked through some books at the funeral home. They had clipart that I felt was unacceptable. It was cherub angel babies with hearts. It wasn't timeless. I just couldn't do that. I couldn't look at that for the rest of my life.

I went to our hometown library and talked to a reference desk librarian. I tried not to cry when I told her what I was looking for, but I couldn't help it. I felt bad for her. It does put people in an awkward spot. But I just couldn't help it. I teared up. She looked away.


She was so nice. She found a great book of clipart for me to look through. This was just the sort of look I had been thinking of. Maybe I should start a marker design business. There's really some sad choices out there.

I do have to make some choices. I started working on it the other day. It all takes time. Little bits here and there. And not something you want to do either.

Not.


Before we left to go home, we drove out to the cemetary and saw that the funeral director had put a temporary marker on Isabel's grave. That was so nice. A little relief in my heart.

She was a person.

She existed.

She mattered to us.

Her body lies here.

Quiet times


We are quiet.


We turn out the light.


We rock.



Often times I cry.


Putting my daughter down to sleep are the times I think most deeply about losing Isabel. My feelings begin to creep out of the misty fog of my busyness. I just barely start to touch them and then I lay her down and it's back to the chaos of life. On to the next thing on the 'to do' list.

Life is so busy. Just feeding the family, feeding the animals, doing laundry, keeping doctor appointments and running errands can encompass every second of the day. That doesn't include keeping in touch with friends and family.

Who has time to include losing a child and coping with that loss on top of those other things? There are more things now...momentos to keep 'somewhere special', thank you cards to the kind folks who gave a gift, sent a card, cooked a meal. On that note, I don't even have a master list of people and what they did. In the middle of the grief, it's not the thing you think of doing.

I suppose it's those little snippets of time added up over time that will work out the emotional healing God wants to bring to us.




Is there something we can do?

I hear this quite a bit. Not as much anymore, but I do occasionally. I decided to put a donation button on the sidebar for those people who feel they want to do something.

Our biggest tangible need now is to pay for Isabel's headstone or what they call a 'marker'. I guess this sounds less morbid. They're pretty expensive, not something you plan for. Insurance doesn't cover it. We want to order a very small one that is like my grandma's baby who died. It's pictured above. It's 10" x 10". The cost is about $1000.

I hope no one feels pressured or anything, it's just a need. I know it will get taken care of eventually and I'm not too stressed about it. I set up a paypal account just for Isabel's marker. And once it gets paid for and ordered, I will remove the button. I just wanted to explain why it is there.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Don't waste your life

At what age does a life become a 'good life' lived. Was it a 'good' life if the person lived to be one hundred but didn't find God or use his life to glorify God?

Isabel lived for 30 minutes or so. Was her life 'a shame' or 'wasted' because it was so short? If in those 30 minutes, she accomplished the purposes God had for her life, then wasn't her life perfectly beautiful?

Monday, July 30, 2007

What does Isabel know?

I was thinking the other day that as sad as I feel about Isabel, she is not dead. We had a funeral. We buried her body, but she is alive, just not here on earth with us. I wonder what Isabel knows now? She is in Heaven with God the Father and Jesus and everyone else. Think about it. She could visit with Noah, or Moses or my favorite, King David.

I don't pray to Isabel or think that Isabel is my guardian angel. That is not Biblical. God created the angels, and He created people. They are apples and oranges. They are different. People don't become angels when they die. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27 "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment"



My grandma lost a 9 month old baby. That must have been so painful. How nice it must have been for her to see him in Heaven. And I like to think that Grandma and my cousin Kim's little boy, Jacob met with Isabel and told her about the family she never had the chance to know, not on earth anyway. But Isabel is in Heaven, she must know so much more than we do. Surely, she must know about us, about how we love her, and that we are sad. When I start to feel regrets about how I handled our brief time with her, I fret about what I didn't do, or what I should've done, I console myself with this thought: she knows.

God will tell her.

God will tell her all the things that she needs to know about us. And certainly she will know she is loved, and that is all that really matters to me.


My aunt shared a passage in Isaiah 65 with me. Someday, when God creates a new Heaven and earth, the heartache and sorrows we experienced here will be forgotten, we won't remember the pain.

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.

But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy.

I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people;
The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, Nor the voice of crying.

No more shall an infant from there live but a few days,
Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days;
For the child shall die one hundred years old,
But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.

They shall build houses and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

They shall not build and another inhabit;
They shall not plant and another eat;
For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people,
And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

They shall not labor in vain, Nor bring forth children for trouble;
For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the LORD,
And their offspring with them.

It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer;
And while they are still speaking, I will hear.

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
The lion shall eat straw like the ox,
And dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,”
Says the Lord.


Isaiah 65: 17-25

Monday, July 2, 2007

Comforting those who mourn

The other night I was giving my daughter a bath, when Mom came in to say goodbye. She had been here helping out, she was leaving the next morning. I started to cry when telling her goodbye.

My little girl sat in the tub and said softly, "Poor Mama."

In a very serious tone she said "Mama, tum here." as she held out her arms to me. She was imploring me to come over to the bathtub so she could give me a hug, which I did...and then she did.

What a joy and a gift from the Lord she is.

Gracious attendant

Our midwife, Desiree, was with us through it all. She came to doctor appointments just to support us. She came to Isabel's birth too. I snapped this photo of her as the nurse was dressing Isabel and taking her hand and footprints. While I was paralyzed from the epidural, and emotionally numb, she stood over Isabel. I could hear her say things like, "Oh, she is so sweet." or "She is so precious."

That meant a great deal to me.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The after days

The sun rises and sets.

Days pass.

Life goes on.

I know life must go on, but it just feels wrong to 'go on'. Somehow it just feels wrong to go back living life as if a beautiful life didn't just briefly enter and leave our family.

My uterus is shrinking back to it's proper size. I lay on the bed and feel my stomach. It reminds me of a bag that carried a precious treasure, but the treasure is gone and all that remains is the crumpled, empty bag. The memory of what once was.

My breasts are no longer painfully engorged with milk, which also makes me cry. Just a week and a half after I gave birth, even my body must go on as if nothing happened.

Of course we all know something happened. Isabel made her brief appearance on this earth. We were able to hold her, tell her we love her, and then stand aside as an angel carried her to Heaven.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A dark day



"A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud. O that we may kiss the rod, and lay our hands on our mouths."
- Sarah Edwards' comment at the news of her husband's death



Four dozen roses for Isabel.




The night before the funeral.


My aunt and cousin made the flower arrangement for Isabel's casket.





















































Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Our Sweet Baby Girl

Late Sunday night I started having some contractions. They sporatically continued into Monday. We checked into the hospital Monday afternoon around 1pm.

Isabel Hope was born early this morning at 12:50am. She weighed 3 lbs. 12 oz. She lived approximately 30 short minutes. She didn't appear to struggle or be in any pain.

My parents and sister brought our children to the hospital a few hours before Isabel was born. The boys were able to hold their baby sister.

It was obviously a very painful experience. We ask for your continued prayer support.
Our only comfort is in knowing our sweet little girl is with the Lord, free from the earthly limitations that were imposed upon her.



Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:

"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord."
In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.


Job 1: 20-22


Articles of note:

In the Shadow of Death – The Little Ones Are Safe With Jesus

What happens to Infants When They Die

Monday, June 11, 2007


Latest completed items.


Friday, June 8, 2007

What do I say?

My sister talked to a friend of hers who has lost a baby. Here was her advice...

The advice I have is to let them totally grieve. Let them be angry and don't say things like well at least you have 3 other kids or God only gives you what you can handle. I think those were the worst things I heard when I was going through it all. Tell them this all just sucks and it is awful because it is. I know I didn't want to hear the "oh time will heal" and all that supportive stuff for awhile. All I can say is it is the WORST of the worst. It is the most painful grief of all. I know you grieve when your grandparents die but you know that is the cycle of life and you can kind of make sense of it but it just doesn't make sense when a baby dies. It took me probably a good 18 to 24 months before I felt like I could go on with my life. That first year I seriously cried everytime I had to drive on the route we took to the hospital. It is just going to take a lot of time to get through this. And as I am typing this memories are coming to me and I remember how horrible it was going to the funeral parlor and making those arrangements and then walking into that room to see the tiny little casket. That killed me. So just be sensitive to all that when the time comes and give her lots of support even just being physically with her but maybe not saying anything. She just needs to get it all out. My heart totally aches for them and I can physically feel their pain for them. I will pray for peace for them. This will never make sense to them but I pray they will be able to get it to a place where they can manage it. I am so so sorry for them. I wish no parent ever had to go through the death of their child.





I totally agree with her dislike for comments like
“God won’t give you more than you can handle” or
“God knows you are strong enough” or
“Because you are strong, God knows you can handle this” etc.

I’ve had a few of those comments, I don’t really think that it’s a Biblical comment. I think people confuse that idea with what the Bible says about temptation:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

I do know that God’s grace is here for us to help us in times of trouble, but I don’t think he allows tragedy to come on someone just because they are ‘stronger’ than others. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. It’s like the song about the house on the sand or on the rock. It rains on all of us, but depending on where you build your house dictates if or how you live through it.

Knowing that Isabel won’t have to live through this life with all it’s hardships and she will be assured eternity in Heaven is not really a comfort to me at this point. Of course, I want her to be in Heaven someday, but I want her with me now.

I think through this I realize how many times I have said the wrong things in the past to others. When something bad happens to someone, you want to comfort them, and give them a reason. I know I did. I would make some attempt to make sense out of it. But now I realize, that’s not what people want to hear. Because we are all just human, we can’t possibly know or understand the mind of God. How could I possibly know why this happened? The grieving person doesn’t really care what my thoughts are on it. The bottom line is it doesn’t make sense to us now and it probably never will this side of eternity. It's just awful. Period.

I appreciate those who let me say things without correcting whether they are rational or not. To try to make it make sense doesn’t help, because it just doesn’t. It’s just hard and something we wish we didn’t have to go through. In the end, I think the best thing to say is "I'm sorry. I'm praying for you." and a hug. What else can anyone say? Nothing.

If the Lord does take her, I do ask the Lord to let her know how much we loved and wanted her and how much we so desperately wanted to keep her.

Why do I knit?




Why do I knit? I have been knitting quite a bit lately. And the worst part is...I don't really know how to knit. Okay, I'm making a real effort to learn right quick.
Somehow it makes me feel like I can show Isabel that her Mama loves her by knitting something for her. That she won't be wearing generic socks from Target or something that just anyone can buy for $4.99. Something made especially for her. It's something I can actually DO while waiting for this dreaded event to take place.

Why can't I stop at just one hat or one pair of socks?
Well...it's hard to decide what the one pair of socks should be that your baby will ever wear. Actually, it's torture.


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Knitting for Isabel Hope




Socks under construction. #2 Double pointed needles.



These socks are on my fingers.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

May 21st update

We had another appointment with the Perinatologist today. We had another ultrasound too. The newest news is that now they believe Isabel has Bilateral Renal Agenesis also known as Potter's Syndrome. It just means that they don't see any kidneys at all. At one point, someone thought that there was one multi-cystic kidney, now they believe her kidneys never developed at all. She has no kidneys. They also say there is no amniotic fluid at all. She is also still in the breech position. No one expects her to move, with no fluid. She doesn't move very much, just little small jerks or shudders. It's sad.She has grown steadily from the last time we had an ultrasound, so they question my due date. I know when I had my LMP and I also know when I had the positive pregnancy test, but going by her measurements, they say my due date is August 17th. My original due date is July 14th. This was also depressing news for me, as I now get to be pregnant an extra month (possibly), not to mention the torture of drawing this whole thing out even longer. They say that if she truly was growth retarded, she wouldn't have grown much in the last 3 wks. It's confusing. I don't really understand what is going on.I also have developed gestational diabetes, so if she grows into a large baby, which is what they often do, that would pose more of a problem with labor, being that she is breech.It was a tiring day.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Renal Agenesis

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. Though the earth be removed, and though mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Psalm 46: 1-3

We have recently received some devastating news about our baby. We had an ultrasound on Friday, then had another more extensive ultrasound on Saturday to confirm what Friday’s had found. I am 29 weeks along. The baby shows severe growth restriction. It is only measuring 23 weeks 4 days. As far as they can see, the baby only has one kidney, and this one is filled with cysts (multi-cystic) and therefore only working just a bit, if at all. The doctor cannot find a bladder. Since there is no / very little kidney function the baby is unable to pee, therefore there is almost no amniotic fluid. They usually see 10-26 cm of fluid, I have 1cm. Since there is no fluid, the baby’s lungs have not been able to develop. The baby’s movements are very limited also because of the lack of fluid. The doctor said this is just 1 in 4,000 and we get to be the 4,000th.

The prognosis is very grim. Aside from a miracle from God, there is nothing they can do to help the baby and told us it will certainly die either in the womb or within minutes of birth. After receiving this news, we wanted to know what the sex of the baby is, but since there is no fluid, it’s very difficult to see clearly.

The options they gave us were pretty horrible:

  1. “Terminate” the pregnancy – By a ‘D an E’, (Dilation and evacuation) this would be an abortion.
  2. “Terminate” the pregnancy – by inducing labor and then injecting the baby with a drug to stop it’s heart BEFORE it is born.

This one was unbelievable. Since the Supreme Court recently ruled Partial Birth Abortions illegal, apparently they just go around that in this way. Since they would be inducing labor early (too early), they would have to kill the baby before it leaves the womb then it wouldn’t be a live birth, and NOT a partial birth abortion. The perinatologist wouldn’t really go into detail, but they were clear that they would not induce me and let me give birth to a live baby, they would HAVE to inject it with this drug to stop it’s heart before it was born.

Clearly these are not options we were interested in.

We have decided to do nothing except pray and wait. The baby could die in the womb, or I could carry it another 11 wks to term. I should be able to have the baby vaginally either way.

Obviously, we are so sad at this news. We’ve had a lot of tears here and I don’t see them stopping anytime soon. When Sophia sees me crying, she comes up to me with a Kleenex and a kiss saying, “Oh honey…honey…happen?” or “Mama sad?”

We know God is in control. We would appreciate your prayers.

Here is a little hat I've made for Isabel.