Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tears of Unbelief

I have never had to balance such deep sorrow and beautiful joy at the same time.  Not on the same subject anyway. 

I will forever have the picture in my mind of that first day we found out that Rachel would not stay with us.  It is etched in my mind and will always be.  The Dr told us that she was "anencephalic" - things went into slow motion as I tried to make sense of what she was saying.  I had never heard of this.  She continued on to tell us that delivery could be really hard since she didn't have the top of her scull, and that the part of her brain that normally tells your body to go into labor wasn't there (see, we have no much for the idea of riding down bumpy roads to induce labor)  So she said I'd need to be induced and she could likely be breech.  Matt's first question was is the baby in any pain?  (he's such a good dad)  In my mind, I was thinking OK we're going to have a baby with severe disabilities...I can handle that, I've always had a heart for disabled children...and then I asked a question that I didn't really want an answer to... "is she going to live" and she said "these babies don't live". 

Matt & I both started crying such a painful cry.  We have never shared tears that deep before.  She handed me a box of tissues and left the room to give us privacy.  It was like a scene out of a scary movie.  I stomped my feet like a toddler having a tantrum and begged God to wake me from this nightmare.  Matt hugged me and tried to tell me it would be okay as I continued to hit the Dr's bed and cry out to God.  "No, no, not my baby girl...please God not my baby girl...  she's a little girl Matt.  I want her, no no no"....  until I fell back onto the bed and sobbed.  I can only imagine what that sounded like in the hallway.  It felt surreal.  It couldn't possibly be true.  This can't be happening to us.  

The Dr. came back in to tell us that we needed to go to Maine for a 2nd opinion and to talk about our options...  what options?  You know, if you want to terminate.  We immediately both said no.  She went on to say that the test I declined earlier in the pregnancy would have detected this. right, but it would have changed nothing for us.

You see, God had prepared us for this moment...  During my pregnancy with Sam, someone we knew decided to terminate a baby because the Dr's said it had down's syndrome.  I had stated my opinion about it to another friend and was told that there was no way I could know what I would do if I were in that situation. So that night, Matt & I talked at great lengths about where we stood on this topic...what if we got the diagnosis that a baby I was carrying had a disability, or worse, some fatal defect?  We were up till late in the night discussing how we felt so strongly that Dr's are not God, they are humans and humans are wrong all the time.  We talked about Who is in charge of life and death and we agreed that neither one of us thought there were any exceptions to this.

While we were at the ultrasound right before, I started to sense there was a problem and I squeezed Matt's hand.  He's usually much slower to worry and so I looked at him for reassurance...his eyes were closed and he was praying.  I knew right then, that my fears were coming true.  I had a strange feeling the whole pregnancy that something was wrong, but kept telling myself I was just nervous because I lost a baby before.  In that moment, I didn't know what to pray so I told God "whatever he is praying right now, Lord, hear his prayers please.  I pray along with him in whatever he is saying to you"  She gave us a couple of pictures and said "these are the ones I can give you"  I noticed right away she had left out the pictures of her head.  We walked out that door to go up to my Dr's apt (I had previously scheduled them back to back so Matt could go) and I said "this is what He was preparing me for" (all week God had answered every single prayer I sent His way.  He was loving me until I was overflowing with His love and I was not deserving, especially that week.)  Matt took my hand and said "I'm so glad we know where we stand on this" and we walked silently up to the Dr's office.  I looked at the pictures in the waiting room, everything looked normal...what's wrong with her head? It must be down's syndrome...  I'm fine with that.  I said "I don't care what's wrong with her or how it will change our lives, I just don't want her to die" - they called me in and that was it.  My baby was going to die. Our lives would forever be changed.  I had no control over this.  I couldn't just do all the "right" things and make it better.  My baby girl has a fatal birth defect. 

Why am I telling you this story now??  Because since that day I have been filled with the peace that passes understanding.  I know that can be a cliche term in a Christian circle, but I can honestly say this is the first time I have ever felt that.  I thought I knew what it was, I thought I had experienced it, but this was different.  I have had plenty of sad moments, but no anger about it.  No desire to turn from God or blame him.  No bitterness.  Complete trust in His plan.

Well, tonight was the first time that feeling that I felt in the office that day came back to me.  I haven't been feeling well and I had a sense that something was off, but again, thinking I was just paranoid because of the situation.  My friend who's a midwife and brings us dinner every Thursday, checked me while she was here.  I am measuring a little big and she said I feel full.  I knew this could happen, I know it happens to most people who have a baby with anencephaly, but just like I knew other people lost babies to fatal birth defects, I was hoping this was not going to be my story.  I also seemed to be sensitive to the pressure, which is not the norm for me.  I am so thankful for the verse in the bible that says
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26
Because right now, I have no idea what to pray, I can hardly stop crying.  Through tears of unbelief, I'm again stomping my feet saying  "Please God, not my baby girl."


  1. This has been one of the most difficult posts for me to read. Yet it is the one I have read many times. I guess it is like when you've been in an accident and you keep reliving it - I think your brain as well as your heart processes painful events a little at a time. But when I read this particular post I remember my steps and feelings that fateful day. Getting ready for the trip to your house was filled with mis-steps and when I finally started the car I think I had gone back up the stairs at least 5 times. I wasn't overtired. I just kept forgetting things. I had a feeling of dread about this appt that I couldn't shake. I told myself that I was simply picking up on your fears and that you were likely more nervous than usual because of your previous loss. After you left for the appt I got busy picking up and entertaining the kids. I tried not to look at the clock but found myself glancing up - 8:30 you're there- 9:00 you're probably watching the ultrasound screen, I wonder if you can see if it's a boy or a girl. I get excited for you, hoping it's a girl. 9:15 then 9:30 then 10:00. I know you're done by now - would you go out for coffee without telling me? No, you wouldn't. 10:15....10:30 the fear that has been growing in the pit of my stomach is now spreading like little electrical currents into my chest. The phone finally rings. I see your cell number on the caller ID. You ask me to go where the kids can't hear me. I walk into the mud room. I know it is bad. "Please God please, let it be ok. Please God, don't let it be as bad as it feels like it's going to be. I thought for a moment I was going to be sick. "Ok, they can't hear me" I tell you. And that was it. My precious grandchild was going to die. There is nothing anyone on earth can do to save her. I just don't understand.
    Then I had to call Uncle Kathy. She was waiting to hear and she had already called me twice. "Well, what are we having?" she asks. "A girl." I tell her and started to sob. "Did Dale die?" "No." I finally mumble. "But the baby isn't going to live."
    Then I called Grandpa. He was waiting for me to get there to stay with Dale, so he and Chris could go shopping. Again I sobbed through the announcement. He told me not to drive while I was so upset. (Such a good Dad)
    Then I called Meg. She cried as hard as me. She just kept saying "What do you mean? What do you mean?"
    When you came home you told me you had wanted to name the baby Rachel Alice and asked if it was still ok to do so. I am honored.
    And so began the journey none of us wanted to take. Fitting the memories of a lifetime into a few short months. Why does this pregnancy seem to be flying by when the others seemed to go so slow? As you would tell me - It's all about perspective. I feel like my perspective reset button has been pushed.
    We have "circled the wagons" around you, Matt, Desirae, Isaiah, Samuel and Rachel Alice. I hope you feel protected and supported. I especially hope your children feel the love that surrounds them. I pray for her miraculous healing every day.
    Love, Mom

  2. Hi Stacy, I read every day. Your posts never fail to usher me into a time of prayer and worship. Jesse recently posted a video on facebook of Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor, giving a pro-life speech. Her message is beautiful and inspiring- it reminded me of this post. I'm not so good with technology so I don't have a link here but I recommend her to anyone passionate about life.



We so appreciate your words of encouragement!
Thank you! ♥ The Aubes