We were all so excited driving to the ultrasound. My husband had taken that Friday afternoon off. Our appointment wasn't until late afternoon, actually the last appointment of the day. It took a good hour and a half to get there, but it flew by because the kids were excited to be doing something different and I was excited about seeing our baby who would be born soon. Pregnancy is no picnic for me and I was counting down the weeks to the day I would get my prize, my treasure.
It was a beautiful, clear spring day. My daughter was wearing her brown cotton dress with the light blue shirt underneath. I loved that outfit.
It was before.
Before we knew.
We were on the cusp of knowing.
We were happy and innocent, thinking only the best of what could be. I see pictures and think, "That was before." or "That was right after we found out." I look at those smiling faces in the picture and feel bad for those people, because I know a secret that will change their lives, and they don't know it. At least, not yet.
All five of us crowded into the exam room with the doctor and the ultrasound equipment. Since it was a naturopathic doctor, he was free to share what he saw. Unfortunately, this time, it was ugly and he didn’t sugarcoat his comments for Isabel’s siblings.
“I don’t see any kidneys.”
I lay there frozen. What did he say? I waited for him to say something to make up for his last comment. It didn’t get any better.
"This is a severely abnormal baby."
I don’t think I will ever forget those words. They were ripping, tearing, searing words. He told us her condition was ‘incompatible with life’ and she would die shortly after birth. He couldn't say how long, I remember him saying "ten minutes".
As soon as we heard this news, I wanted to know the baby’s sex. I had never found out before, I had loved to be surprised at the birth. You see, I was old-fashioned. But now that was all foolishness for people in a perfect world. A world that we were no longer a part of. We had no time to waste.
He thought she was a girl, but it was hard to tell with no amniotic fluid. In my heart, I knew she was a girl.
We were ushered into a nearby birthing room, a box of kleenex shoved into my husband's hand. Our daughter twirled about the room in the most adorable way, completely unaware of the bomb that had just been detonated. The rest of us sat huddled together on a couch crying. My youngest son stared at his little sister tootling around the room and said “...she brings us so much joy. Imagine if she wasn’t here?”
Everything had changed. The date that I had looked forward to and longed for was now a day to dread. A day that we hoped would never have to come
We drove home through a veil of tears and in virtual silence.