Monday, February 28, 2011

Tomorrow will be 1 week.

Things have been going "ok" I think. I find myself thinking about Raelyn frequently throughout the day. I really miss her and still find myself tearing up just thinking about her. Brett and I made a wall hanging of all of our handprints. It is a picture of my hand, his hand and Raelyn's little hand's right in the middle. Her hands are enclosed in a heart and the bottom of the picture says, "always in our hearts". I love looking at her little prints. It's all that I have of her. I find myself wondering who she would have favored more; me or brett? I have absolutly no doubt that she would be/is a beautiful combination of the both of us. I wonder what her and my mom are doing up in heaven. I know she is a very happy baby, that is for sure. Brett and I are both known for our big smiles. Today the sun was shinning bright and I felt as though it was her, smiling down on us saying "I'm doing okay, mommy and daddy". That brought a smile to my face. Tomorrow will be 1 week since we said goodbye and that makes my heart ache. 

I am supposed to go back to work this week and that is a little nerve racking. I don't want anyone to ask me questions. I just want to do my job. Most of you know that I work at a jail. I have to deal with ignorant pregnant women all the time. Women who do drugs and drink on a regular basis, despite their pregnancy. Women who already have several "healthy" kids that they do not even take care of. It just makes me so angry. I would like to slap them in the face and tell them how ungreatful they really are! Up to this point I feel as though I have done very well in not being judgemental towards the inmates and treating their medical problems professionally, despite their convictions...I pray God will give me strength to handle these types of people during my time of greiving. I know this pain will never completely leave my heart, but I'm sure with time it will get easier to cope with.

I made a 1 month follow up apt today with my OB doc. Her and her nurse has been very sympathetic of our situation and they have all been supportive as well. My OB doc suggested that I make an apointment with a counselor or psychiatrist, just to talk to someone. I think it is a really good idea. It is no secret that I have struggled with depression since my mother passed away. I was coping well with medication, but when I found out we were pregnant I had to stop taking it. It was actually a good thing though and Brett was very supportive. The first part of my pregnancy was rough, especially since there were a few people who weren't to supportive of my pregnancy since Brett and I were not "married". Everyone eventually came around though and I did very well without taking any depression medications. I hate taking meds and I certainly don't like feeling as though I have to "depend" on a medication just to make me feel better. I really want to try to handle this on my own and I think I can. I have an amazing support system, especially with Brett.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

One day at a time

Well, we got back from Colorado yesterday morning. It was really nice to be back our own house, own bed, etc. When we were leaving Colorado I kept feeling as though I was forgetting something, or maybe I should say someone. My baby. The bond that I have developed with her during the 6 months she lived inside my tummy is just undescribable. It's amazing how you can love someone, who you have never met, so incredibly much!! I look at myself in the mirror and it simply breaks my heart. My tummy, which used to be full and round, is now flabby and empty. I hate it. I know that God knows what he is doing and that he had better plans for our sweet little angel, but that certainly doesn't make it any easier. I started feeling her move around and kick a little later than usual, because we found out I had an anterior placenta. The worst part of this is that I started feeling her only a week or so before the "procedure".   

We only have a 1 bedroom apartment, so Raelyn was supposed to share a room with us. When I go to bed, I see her crib with the small collection of things we had begun getting for her. It absolutly breaks my heart, yet I'm not ready to break down and put everything away. We will eventually, just not right now. I feel so envious of pregnant women or women with small babies right now. It makes me angry to feel that way because that isn't me at all. I don't want to feel that way. I am in no way better than anyone, but it always brings me back to the same question, "why did this have to happen to us?! what did we do so wrong?!" I know that God will bless us with another baby when the time is right. Eventually we will try again. Right now our hearts just need to heal.

I don't really have a lot to say today. Just feel really sad. I let my cell phone go completely dead last night and didn't even care to charge it until later this afternoon. That is way out of character for me...I am addicted to my cell phone! I feel as though I have kind of withdrawn myself from the "world". I just hope that everyone knows that we both read the messages and comments you leave us on facebook, the comments on here and even emails you may send. We appreciate them very much and it is people like you who are helping give us strength to get through this difficult time. Just know that although we may not respond right now, we appreciate the support more than you know!

"Blessed Mother up above,
give my baby
all your love.
Hold her tight against your breast,
let her lie her head to rest.
No more pain, nor endless suffering,
only tendernest and cuddleling.
And please dear Mother hear my plea
when I die, give her back to me.

From Mommy"  

--by: Diane Rowan

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 3 left me with a heavy heart and an empty feeling!

Today was a rough day. Mainly because I hardly slept last night due to all the cramping and lower back pain I had. Plus I wasn't aloud to have anything to eat or drink past midnight, which meant no Ibuprofen. My apointment this morning wasn't until 11:30, so by that time I felt like I might die from the pain or starve to death. I was so hungry. When we got to the clinic Brett and I waited in the waiting room. Apparently they had to go ahead and deliver some girls today that they were not expecting to do until tomorrow, so this had put them behind for the morning. I thought to myself, this is great! The pain is awful and I'm straving to death. But I tried to wait my turn as patiently as I could.

Finally they called me back, 2 hours later. I sat in the "procedure room" waiting for the doctor to come in, and wishing Brett could be there with me. Once again, I had so many emotions running through me. Finally a nurse came in and started an IV. I tried to tell her that she was not going to be able to put an 18 guage needled in my hand, because my veins there would not hold it. She didn't listen to me though and assured me that she was "good". I try not to let on that I'm a nurse because I don't like being that know it all patient, but I was trying to help her out...and save myself from being a pin cushion. Anyways, she went ahead and I just turned my head as she tried to put this large needle into my poor little hand veins. Go figure, it blew. My hand instantly began to swell and bruise. The nurse then looked at me and said, "are you a nurse?" I said, yes. She then asked if I had ever had any trouble with IV starts in the past. I said, no, but if you need to use that big of a needle your going to have to put it in my AC space (the area up by your elbow, in the bend of your arm). Obviously, as a nurse, i know that that is not an ideal place to put an IV. Especially an IV where you will be recieving continuous IV fluids. I am fully aware that I would have to keep my arm very straight and still, which I assured her I would. Finally, she listened to me and started my IV where I told her to. Go figure, it worked!

The doctor came in shortly after that. He removed the Laminaria which he had placed yesterday and then broke my water. I knew then that it would only be a matter of time. The nurse then started running Pitocin through my IV. This was basiclly to induce labor so that my uterus would start contracting. They let this run for about 20-30 minutes, which didn't seem very long to me. Then the doctor came back and said it was time to complete the procedure. He again gave me some shots of a local anesthetic around my cervix and the nurse gave me Demerol, a narcotic pain medication, through my IV. This process was very unpleasant and somewhat painful, despite all the demeral and local anesthetic. I felt a lot of tugging, pulling and pressure. I couldn't see what was going on down there between my legs and that was probably a good thing. I'm not completely sure, but I think the entire process was kinda like a D&E. It certainly wasn't pleasant, thats for sure! It seemed like he was tuggin and pullin on things down there forever. Finally, he said we were done and I was sent back to a little "recovery" room where Brett could meet me. I felt really loopy and lightheaded. I'm sure some of it was the narcotics, but it could have also been that it was almost 4pm by this time and I hadn't had anything to eat or drink all day. Brett apparently asked me how I was feeling and I told him that I needed a Big Mac. I don't even like Big Macs, so the narcotics must have been making me crazy. The nurses then showed Brett how to massage my uterus, which was kind of painful, but important to do so I wouldn't bleed to death.

The nurse came in and handed us the foot and hand prints of our sweet baby girl. I looked at them and began crying. Her little feet looked just like mine. Brett said they were the perfectest little hands and feet he had ever seen. We both sat there for a minute and sobbed over our baby's prints. They were so very precious. Brett and I had decided prior to this that we did not want to view her body, as we were afraid it might leave a terrible image in our minds. We didn't want to remember her that way. We wanted to remember her the way we thought she would look. The doctor came in shortly after the nurse and told us that everything seemed to have went well. He then told us that her poor little face was quite disfigured and that he did not feel that viewing her was appropriate for us. As hard as it was to actually hear, we were already aware that due to the alobar holoprosencephaly her little face was probably disfigured. I had my perfect little foot/hand prints thought and that was all that mattered. My beautiful little angel was in Heaven now. Free from pain and suffering. Free from any complications or anomalies. She would now be able to live a healthy, normal life.

Although she met Jesus on Tuesday, I felt incredibly "empty" leaving the clinic that day. I felt as though I was missing something. I felt as though my baby should still be with me...if not my belly, than in my arms. I had neither. Tonight I just have a very heavy feeling in my heart. We are going home in the morning since they were able to finish up my procedure today. It will be really nice to be back home, but it's going to break my heart to see her crib with all her things still lying out. Those are all Raelyn's things and even though she never got to sleep in her bed or wear her KU onesie, it's still hers. It always will be. I will never forget her and I will never forget what I had to go through this week. Tonight my momma is able to rock her to sleep. ♥

They say there is a reason,
They say that time will heal,
But neither time nor reason,
Will change the way I feel,
For no one knows the heartache,
That lies behind our smiles,
No one knows how many times,
We have broken down and cried,
We want to tell you something,
So there won't be any doubt,
You're so wonderful to think of,
But so hard to be without

--Author Unknown

Day 2

Well, Day 2 was a little better than the first day. I guess the doctor must of got Brett's message about being a little nicer. We only had a "short visit" that day and it was first thing in the morning...maybe that had something to do with it. Either way his behavior on day 1 was not justified, in my opinion!

For day 2 they just changed the Laminaria, which was the stuff they used to help dialate my cervix It sort of looks like a little stick and somehow expands. One piece expands to about the size of your pinky finger, in case you wanted to know. Anyways on day 1 they only put 1 piece of Laminaria in my cervix. On day 2 they put like 4-5. As you can imagine, I was in quite a bit of pain for the rest of the day. I had really bad abdominal cramps and lower back pain, which they said could be some back labor. I decided to spend the remainder of the day at the hotel, lying down. I am blessed with an amazing man though, so he went and got me a heating pad. That helped tremendously, even though I had to keep it on my back constantly. The cramping and back pain seemed unbearable at times and all they gave me for pain was ES Tylenol and Ibuprofen. And the Ibuprofen was just the regular over the counter 200mg strength. For the money we paid you would have thought they might at least give us the 800mg ones, but no such luck!

Overall the Laminaria placement on day 2 was "ok". It was still very uncomfortable but the doctor was nicer to me. He gave me some shots of a local anesthetic around the area of my cervix before placing all that Laminaria in there though, so that was probably helpful too. Once the anesthetic wore off though, I was hurting!!

We also filled out the cremation paperwork today. That was really tough. As I wrote down Raelyn's name above "name of deceased" it still seemed so unreal. As I came to the bottom it asked for my signature and my relationhip to the "deceased". A tear rolled down my cheek as I signed my name and put "mother" beside it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 1 was truly a nightmare!!!

Sorry I did't update my blog yesterday, it was a very rough day.

We had our first apointment at the clinic yesterday. I felt so many emotions as we approached the door, it was simply overwhelming! There was only 1 protester who was pacing up and down the street infront of the clinic. She had a rosery in her hands and was just praying out loud. She didn't say anything to us though and my heart was racing because I was scared she would. This has been hard enough for Brett and I and the last thing I wanted was someone trying to call me a murder. Once we got inside we waited in the waiting room. Brett and I just sat there quietly. A younger looking girl came in with another older female lady. Maybe it was her mother, i'm not sure. Anyways they sat across from us and just acted as though nothing was wrong. They laughed and made jokes to one another. I could no longer hold my emotions in and began to cry. How could someone walk into an "abortion" clinic and be so giddy?! The thought just made me sick, especially since I didn't WANT to be there in the first place! Brett hugged me and tried to be as comforting as possible. Finally they called us back.
They put us in a room with an ultrasound machine. The doctor came in and asked us a few basic questions, then done the ultrasound. Neither Brett or I looked at the ultrasound machine. By this point it is far to difficult to look at. The doctor wasn't very talkative and didn't seem to have a very good bedside mannor. I thought to myself, this is going to be a long 4 days if this is the doctor we will have to deal with. He then left the room and told us to wait in another room. We were asked to fill out a bunch of paperwork and after what seemed like forever we went to a lab area where they drew some blood from me. We were then takin to another room where we watched a very outdated video of what to expect reguarding the procedure. After that a girl came in and asked us wether we had any questions and if we were "set" with our decision. I guess that was our "counseling" session. At this point the entire experience was nothing like I thought it was going to be. I was very disappointed, not that I thought it would be a "fun" or enjoyable experience. I just had a completely different outlook, from reading what they had on their website, of what was going to happen. Needless to say, the website was VERY misleading to say the least! Even the information that the lady I had spoke to on the phone when I set up my apoinment seemed to be misleading at this point.

Finally it was time for me to go in for the first step of this long process. Brett wasn't aloud to go with me and that I absolutely hated. They had already told us that, but now that the time was here I hated it even more. I really needed him to be with me. They put me in a room. There was lots of sterile looking devices, which were still packaged up, lying out in the room. I was so nervous and my heart was racing. The doctor finally came in and had me lie down on the exam table. My heart raced because I knew what he was about to do. He then exposed my stomach and verified the placement of my baby on the ultrasound machine. Everything was kept out of site, including the ultrasound machine. That somewhat relieved me. I couldn't stand to watch my child's heart beat for the last time. Next, the doctor cleansed my stomach with betadine and gave me a shot of a numbing medicine. At this point I began sobbing. It was terrible and worst of all I did not have Brett at my side. The doctor then looked at me and said, "I can not do this if you are crying". I was in utter disbelief that he had said this. He was getting ready to inject my stomach with a medication that would cease my baby's heart, of course I was upset!! I tried to suck it up thought and let his comment go. Afterall, he was old and grumpy. I tried to mentally block out the situation in my head, which was next to impossible. I held it together long enough for the doctor to do what he needed to do. The doctor then told me to lie still, with my hands on my chest, and not to move. He used a long needle, which he inserted into my stomach and into my baby's heart. He then injected Digoxin. Although I could not visible see the ultrasound screen or see her heart stop, I felt as though I knew. I felt this terrible void within me, but I knew that my momma was now standing right beside me in that room, holding my baby girl. I was now being comforted by 2 very special guardian angels, which I will forever hold close to my heart.

The doctor then felt the need to lecture me about how "extremely overweight" I was. How my weight complicates my risk not only for this procedure, but in life in general. He then went on to tell me how being overweight could cause me to die young. Now, I am fully aware that I am overweight, but I am also 6 months pregnant. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a very tall girl and I carry my weight well for the most part. If I weighed what the BMI chart says I should, I would be sickly thin looking. As much as his comment, again, made me angry and pissed off, I tried to block it out for the time being.

Next, he needed to put something called Lamineria into my cervix to help it start to dialate. By this point, I was barely holding it together emotionally. I was so distraught, not only by what had happened but also by the doctors rudeness and poor bedside mannor. Inserting the Lamineria was a very uncomfortable process, not to mention that they used the old school metal speculum. I apparently raised my hips slightly, out of discomfort, and "messed up" whatever the doctor was doing down there. I sure didn't do it on purpose and at this piont I just wanted out of that room! The doctor, in a somewhat disgusted voice, told me that I needed to lie still, that he couldn't do this if I raised my hips because it would mess things up and that would cause him to have to start over. I said that I was sorry, but that it was a little uncomfortable. He responded by asking wether I had ever had a PAP smear. I felt like saying, well yes you asshole, but they don't try to force your cervix open during a freakin PAP smear! Gesh. At this point one of my hands was on my chest, with a pulse oximeter on my index finger. The other hand was holding a piece of gauze to my abdomen, where he had inserted the needle. Tears began to roll down my face, so I reached up with the hand that had been on my chest to wipe the tears away. The doctor then told me that I needed to hold my hand still. I was so angry. I didn't want to be here and the least he could do was show me a little compassion. I laid there as the nurse tried to be somewhat sympathetic with me and held my hand. At least she was nice.

Finally, the doctor got done. I asked wether Brett could come in the room now, since they were finished, so he could help me clean up. The doctor was very sloppy when he applied the betadine to my stomach and I had it everywhere! It was up my back, in between my legs and even in my butt crack. Sorry, I know that is TMI, but I literally had it everywhere. The nurse told me to go ahead and get dressed, that Brett could meet me in another room. I was furious and sobbing at this point. I felt as though I was treated like a piece of shit! Finally I got myself cleaned up and went to the room where Brett could meet me. I was sobbing so uncontrollably at this point that I could hardly breath and was hyperventalating. Brett came into the room and immediatly started trying to comfort me. I couldn't hardly speak, but finally managed to blurt out, "THEY WERE MEAN TO ME!!" Brett was furious and asked what I meant. I told him everything the doctor had said to me and he was not very happy. He just held me as I tried to pull myself together, so that we could leave. Day 1 was finally over. As we left Brett pulled the nurse to the side. He told her that if I told him one more time that the doctor was mean to me, that they would not like him. He told her that we were not here because we wanted to be, but because it was the best decision regarding the circumstances. That I was very emotionally unstable at this point because of everything we had been and are going through, that the least they could do was show a little compassion.

We walked out of the clinic hand in hand. When we got back to the hotel room Brett and I just sat and talked. I told him that even though this day was a complete nightmare, I knew our baby girl was in a better place. Parents are supposed to protect their children. I felt as though the pain I went through today, although very traumatizing, took her pain and suffering away. I felt as though that was the only way, at this point, that I could protect her. And that somehow made me feel a little better. Brett also helped me to realize that our baby would have suffered so very much if we had continued the pregnancy and helped me to remember why it was we had made this decision in the first place. That burdeon in itself would have been a much harder one to overcome. It was still a very traumatic day. If I can go through 2-3 days of pain or discomfort to save my baby girl from a lifetime of pain and suffering, I will and did.

I can not even begin to understand why someone would do this just because they "wanted" to. I, personally, pray that I never ever have to go through this again. If anything scares me away from wanting to have children in the future, it is this day. I love children though and always will. I know that one day I will be a mommy again and I pray that we can be blessed with not only a "healthy" baby, but also a "healthy" pregnancy. I feel as though a situation like this can make or break a relationship. I feel it has brought Brett and I closer. I couldn't have asked for a better partner to have to go through this with, although I'd rather not have to go through it at all. I have been blessed with not only a very supportive man who loves me more than anything, but also a supportive family. We have had so much support from both sides of our family and friends. For that we are very thankful. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers more than you'll ever know!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Trying to make some good out of the bad...

Today we got out and "explored" the town and area. It was fun. It was nice to at least try to make some good out of the bad. We went to Estes Park, CO and seen some more of the mountains. We are staying at the foot of the mountains, but it was neat to actually drive through them. The roads got quite narrow at times, but it was fun. Between Granny's driving and Brett's navigation the trip was quite entertaining to say the least. We stopped at a Visitors Center to get some information on the area. Apparently the lady mentioned the Grand RIVER being close by...somehow Brett heard the Grand CANYON out of that. He was really excited and "navigated" us to, what he thought was the Grand Canyon, but really we went to the Grand River, which was closed for the winter so we didn't even get to see that. Needless to say, we did not see the Grand Canyon either. It was still fun though and we just made a big loop back to our hotel so we could sight see.

We are staying across from Colorado University and, as I had said before, the town looks kind of run down. The other side of town seemed a lot nicer, even though we still couldn't find a Wal-Mart! The buildings were older and historic looking, but at least it was nicer than our "run down" part of town. A lot of people walk to their destinations around here and there are a lot of cyclist. They pretty much have the same food chains around here as in Missouri also. Still haven't found a Dunkin' Donuts though.

We found the Clinic we will be going to tomorrow. I thought it was a little scary looking. Mainly because it was a fenced in building with lots of security cameras surrounding the perimeter. The hospital was right across the street though, so I guess that was a little reassuring. Hopefully that just means they have good security. I am really scared that there will be protesters there. Brett and Granny say they will fight them off, but it's just the fact of the matter. I would rather them just not be there at all! I keep telling myself that what we are going is right and I know in my heart that it is, but that certainly doesn't make following through with it any easier. I just keep reminding myself of how much happier Raelyn will be up in Heaven and how she will be able to live such a better life in the House of the Lord. She will be up there with so many great people! My momma, who I already know will absolutely love having her. I'm sure if there is a gas station up in Heaven they will be visiting it often for hotdogs and cappuccino. My Grandpa Kneller, who will spoil the tar out of her and give her all the chocolate kisses she can eat. Or trick her, like he always used to do me, and give her the "real" kisses instead of the "chocolate" ones. He will let her stand up, on the seat of his truck right beside him, as they drived down the roads of Heaven, just like I used to do. Hopefully she won't lock him out of his truck though like I did when I was 3. Then there is my Great Grandma Butcher who will love her a bushel and peck and a hug around the neck! There are so very many people up there from Brett's family also, and I know, without a doubt, that not only will she be loved just as much up there, but she will be spoiled like crazy. In my heart, as hard as it is to say, I know she will have such a better life up there. I truly think that Jesus can offer her so much more at this point. Despite any "imperfections", complications, or special needs she may have here on earth, in Heaven she will have none. I don't personally care about any of that and if I felt for one second that she could live on this earth without any pain or suffering, I would change my mind in a heartbeat about our decision. God has other plans for her though. That is one thing that I firmly believe. She will always be our first daughter, that is a fact that no one can ever change. When I am asked wether I have any children, I will reply, "yes, a daughter. Her name is Raelyn". Her siblings will know that they have a big sister who watches over them from Heaven and is their own personal guardian angel, who is will them at all times.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What a day!

Well, today has been a long day. We got into Colorado earlier this afternoon and I am just exausted! I think the elevation here is kinda makin me feel yucky! Plus I am startin to get really scared and nervous. I had already been feeling like that, but I think it is just getting worse. We are in Boulder and I am not all that impressed with the town. It looks really run down and there isn't even a Wal-Mart! I was quite surprised since this is a "college town". Our hotel is old, scary and haunted! Okay, maybe it isn't "haunted" but I seriously think they got all of the decor out of the titanic...before it sank! 
In a way I am just ready to get this over with. I pray for God to give me strength to follow through with our decision. I know in my heart it's whats right, but that certainly doesn't make it any easier. Our appointment isn't until Tuesday and Brett wants to go see the mountains tomorrow. I just don't know whether I am feeling up to it, but I think it would be nice to get out and do something. The "procedure" weighs so heavy on my mind though and it is hard to think of anything other than that. I hope that Raelyn knows how very much her mommy and daddy love her already and I hope she can look down on us from heaven and understand why we have made this decision.

We love you baby girl!!!

"An angel, in the book of life, wrote down our baby's birth and whispered as she closed the book, "too beautiful for earth""

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Our story:

On February 8, 2011 we went in for our routine anatomy ultrasound. It was the happiest day of our lives and we were so excited to find out that we were going to be expecting a BABY GIRL!!! Brett and I looked over at the ultrasound screen and watched as our precious baby girl moved about my tummy. I don't think that Brett ever stopped smiling. Our doctors appointment followed the ultrasound and we set in the exam room waiting, talking about what we were going to start buying...we were just overwhelmed with excitement. When the doctor walked in she had a worried expression on her face and my heart immediately dropped. She then told us that she had set us up for a 2D ultrasound with a Perinatal Specialist because our baby girls head was not measuring what it should be. I left the doctors office that day very upset. I did not want anything to be wrong with our baby. Brett and I decided not to say anything though, mainly because we didn't want anyone to be worried...we were both very hopeful that everything would turn out ok and that it would just be a matter of the measurements being off. We shared our joy and excitement with our family and friends. Her name would be Raelyn Susann. Her first name was a combination of mine and Brett’s middle names. She was given her middle name after my mom, who I lost unexpectedly 1 ½ years ago. My mother’s name was, Susan and even though Raelyn’s middle name would be pronounced “SUZ-ANNE”, I changed the spelling so that it would be closer to “Susan”.
The following day we went to our appointment with the Perinatal Specialist. My heart was about to beat out of my chest and I just wanted to know that my baby was going to be "ok". As the doctor began doing the ultrasound I could not take my eyes off of his face. Although he didn't say anything at first, I knew he was seeing things that were not right. I began asking questions like, "what is that you see?!" I wanted answers and the anticipation was just about to kill me. The first thing the doctor mentioned was that our baby had a severe cleft lip and from what he could tell via the ultrasound did involve her palate. I laid on the exam table with tears rolling down my face. I was fully aware that a cleft lip could be fixed, but I didn’t want ANYTHING to be wrong with my baby. I tried to reassure myself, in my head, that is was ok. If a cleft lip was the only problem, we could deal with that. It would be ok. Brett stood by my side, holding my hand and wiping away my tears. The doctor then focused in on the baby’s head. He asked if we could see “that”. As we looked at the ultrasound screen, we could see what appeared to just be a black, empty space. He then told us that her brain should have developed in that “empty” looking space and then went on to point out what little portion of her brain had developed. I could no longer hold back my emotions and began sobbing. The doctor apologized and was very sympathetic as he continued the ultrasound. He continued to call out the “abnormal“ findings so that his nurse could take notes. I asked him, “well what does all of this mean??” because I knew it wasn’t looking good at this point. He then seemed to struggle for the “right” words as he told us, “unfortunately these findings are a fatal combination and the baby will likely expire shortly after birth.” I looked at Brett, who was now also fighting back tears. Brett held my hand for the remainder of the ultrasound as we both cried, helplessly watching our precious baby on the ultrasound screen.
After the doctor completed the ultrasound I asked him what the next step was. He recommended that we have an amniocentesis to check for the possibility of chromosome abnormalities. If there were chromosome abnormalities, particularly the ones associated with downs syndrome or mental retardation, it may help to explain why our baby had not developed correctly. We proceeded with the amniocentesis and were told that the preliminary results would be back in 48 hours, but that the complete panel could take up to 3 weeks. The chromosomes that the doctor was particularly concerned with would be back in the 48 hours though. The nurse gave me my discharge instructions and handed us some informational pamphlets on infant hospice care. I truly felt as though my heart would literally burst right out of my chest. Brett and I left the doctors office that day sobbing and the drive home was a very quiet, long one.
After we got home we both curled up on the couch and sobbed. I just couldn’t believe this was happening to us, not that I would wish this on anyone. I couldn’t help but ask, “Why me?! What did I do to deserve this?!” We sat quietly for several hours and finally called our parents. It was really hard to call them, especially since just the day before we had called with such great news. They were both in utter disbelief. Not sharing with them that something could “possibly” be wrong was the worst part of all. 
Brett and I sat around the house the next day, starring off into space. Neither of us really had much to say. I guess we were both still trying to soak it all it. Finally the time came though for us to talk about the situation and what we might do, especially since termination had been brought up by the doctor. We decided that we would wait to hear from the specialist the next day and go from there. Neither of us wanted to “give up” on our baby girl, but with that said we also didn’t want to bring her into this cruel world out of our own selfishness to just want her here.
It felt like centuries just waiting for those 48 hours to get here. Finally on Friday morning we received a call from the specialist. He told us that the preliminary chromosomes came back normal, which only meant that there was no reason to explain the poor development of our baby girl. He then went on to tell us that there was nothing that either of us could have done before or during the first part of my pregnancy that could have either changed or prevented this…it was simply something that “just happens”. I thought to myself, why does this have to “just happen” to ME?! I felt so many emotions: anger, aggression, sadness, numbness and heartache. Brett and I both stood at the kitchen counter, huddled together, as we listened to what the doctor had to say via speaker phone. He gave us several diagnosis, including alobar holoprosencephaley, severe bilateral cleft lip which likely did involve the palate and microcephaly. According to the doctor our baby’s head circumference was 3-4 weeks behind what it should have been and he had also noted abnormal movement/flexion of her hand during the ultrasound. There were also some concerns with her heart development, which the doctor felt was consistent with some degree of an atrial septal defect. What he had to say was simply overwhelming. We asked our questions from the list we had made, which was quite long. We wanted to make sure that all of our questions were answered and that we had a clear understanding of our baby‘s diagnosis, prognosis and quality of life, especially since we were so distraught at the doctors appointment that we had hardly asked anything. The doctor was very patient and answered all of our questions. The doctor again explained his concerns with our baby’s ability to sustain life and her overall poor development, and although he couldn’t guarantee many things such has her ability to actually “survive” after birth, he could most probably guarantee that she would have a very poor quality of life due to her lack of brain development. This meant she would be in a complete vegetative state. Also he mentioned that the chances of me being able to actually carry to term were not likely, that our baby could very possibly pass away in the womb. Although the cleft lip and heart concerns could likely be fixed, her complexity of problems were far to broad. The doctor was concerned that overall her problems were just not compatible with life. As we ended the telephone conversation the doctor again asked us whether we would like to consider terminating the pregnancy. He also offered us more testing such as MRI scanning of the baby’s head, which he was fairly confident would be abnormal. The only problem with proceeding with more testing was that my pregnancy would only progress and if we were, in fact, wanting to end the pregnancy a decision needed to be made, as I was approaching the beginning of my 3rd trimester. 
After lots of thoughts and tears Brett and I came to a decision. We decided that we would terminate the pregnancy. This was in no way an easy decision, as we were deciding the fate of our precious baby girl. She hadn’t done anything wrong. We wouldn’t get to see her grow up. Brett wouldn’t get to chase her first boyfriend away with a shotgun. I wouldn’t be the shoulder she’d cry on after she broke up with her first true love. The decision was gut wrenching and still makes me sick to my stomach. Although we wanted desperately just to wait and see how things went, we both decided that it would be even harder to put her on this earth, knowing the extent of her problems. Knowing that she would most probably suffer each day of her life just to stay “alive”. Knowing that she would have to be fed through a feeding tube and, most importantly, that she would have a very poor quality of life. As her parents we did not care about any special needs she may have or even any “imperfections”. She was our baby. She was given a name. She had a heartbeat. I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that she would be/already is loved more than anything.
We then called the specialist back to let him know we had come to a decision. It was then that we were faced with more obstacles. The doctor informed us that I was approaching my 24th week of pregnancy and that neither the state of MO or KS practiced 2nd trimester abortions, regardless of the circumstances, after 22 weeks. My stomach turned as he used the word “abortion”, it just made me sick. I asked him what our options were then and that is when he told us that we would have to make arrangements to go out of state. We found a clinic in Colorado, which was the closest of our “choices”, who specialized in late term abortions due to fetal disorders. I sobbed as I spoke with the nurse, who set up my appointment. She was very nice and sympathetic though. She explained what would be taking place, as the “procedure” was done over the course of 4 days. The nurse then went on to tell me that I would be treated with the utmost dignity and respect, as this was not a fetus, it was our baby. She had a heartbeat, a name and although there would be no record of a “birth” it was still a loss. We would be counseled for the grieving that we have been going through and they also offered a cremation service. Following the procedure we would be able to view her, if we wished to do so, and would also be given hand/foot prints. This made me feel so much better. Just knowing that it wasn’t just any ole abortion clinic that just threw you into a room, done what they had to do and then sent you on your way. They would not only respect Brett and Is feeling, but also our child. This meant so very much to me! 
People may be able to look in on our situation and think what we are doing is “wrong”, but the fact of the matter is that you don’t truly know what you would do in any given circumstance, unless you have been faced with it yourself. We are doing what WE feel is right. We have weighed every possible circumstance and “what if” in our head. We are the one’s that have to live it, not anyone else. Our baby girl will be in a far better place, than in this cruel world. What brings me more peace than anything is knowing that she will be met at them Pearly Gates by my momma! Not having my mom here during my 1st pregnancy is something I have struggled with tremendously. Knowing that she will be raising my baby, her first grandchild, is one thing that has helped me to deal with this terrible situation. If I can not raise her, I couldn’t have asked for a better person to do it for me, than my mom!!