On December 13, 2009 I showed up to my OB's office for my first official appointment. Dr Perrin and I chatted a bit about going on baby #4 and if we were trying to catch up to my good friend Suzanne Finney (she had eight and was pregnant with #9). Then very casually I laid back while she got out the doppler and squeezed some of that cold gel onto my belly. She moved it around, and around. She pushed a little harder. She said she'd get me into to see the ultrasound tech to see what was going on.
A couple of minutes later the ultrasound tech came back and led me to the ultrasound room. I got situated on the table. The tech put some more of that cold stuff on my belly again and started looking around. The tech was silent. Almost immediately I was able to see the little peanut's heart beating and I wondered why the tech didn't say something. She got up from her station and said she needed to talk to the doctor about something.
I couldn't fathom what she needed to talk to the doctor about. There was that the little heart, beating away. What else could she be concerned about?
After what seemed like an incredibly long time, the tech came back, took a measurement of the baby and then told me that Dr Perrin was going to talk to me.
I was then ushered to Dr Perrin's office where I again waited. My mind was reeling as to what could be so wrong. I remember standing in the office next to a chair. For some reason I couldn't sit down. I couldn't even pray. I just have this vague recollection of saying, "Oh, God. Oh, God."
When she finally came in, she said that dreadful word. Anencephaly. She told me what it was. She described all the medical ins and outs while I stood their dumbly. In the middle of her saying, "You and Tom need to talk..." I cut her off and said that we would keep this baby. "God is the creator of life and it's not our place to stop a beating heart"...or something like that.
During that whole time at the office I couldn't cry. I really felt like I needed to, like I should be crying. I knew that this news was the worst news that one could receive, and yet I felt like I was this cold observer.
Until, that is, I caught Suzanne's eye in the waiting room. She was there with all her kiddos waiting to find out if #9 was a boy or girl. Something in my face must have told her something was not right. From across the room she mouthed, "Is everything alright?" I just shook my head and made a beeline for the door. I desperately wanted to go to her and let her hug me. But, for some reason, I couldn't.
I made my way to the car with tears streaming down my face. As soon as I got in the car I fumbled for the phone and summoned up the strength to call Tom. I had no clue what I was going to say. In fact, when he answered I didn't say anything, all I could do was cry. Somehow I finally told him the little that I knew.
The rest of the day was a blur. Tom had to keep working and I had to go to my friend Sara's house to get the kids. It was playgroup at Sara's and my good friend Amy came shortly after I arrived. I remember being surprised by Amy's reaction - she cried. She cried and I couldn't.
All I wanted to do was go home so that I could call my best friend Mandy. She had a good friend who years ago had had a baby girl with triplody, another fatal diagnosis. I remembered that after their little girl was stillborn she had sent out an e-mail which Mandy forwarded to me. Their faith and love for God expressed in that e-mail was so amazing that I needed to talk with her; I needed to know that I was going to be okay.
During naps that afternoon I got a hold of Mandy and Kristi, her friend. I can't say that I felt better, but at least I knew that I wasn't alone.
When Tom got home he told the kids. After some explaining and questions, Livvy cried. Sammy prayed at dinner time, "Thank you our baby grows strong. Amen."
That night after putting the kids to bed Tom had the hard job of telling our parents. It was the hardest thing I think he's ever had to do. He's my rock and it hurt to see him struggle. But, it gave me reason to try to be strong. We held each other for a long time and then tried to sleep.
The next day we wrote a letter to our friends and family to let them know about our baby. Time kept pushing us forward. The days following were full of tears, sleepless nights, and trying to grasp God's bigger plan.