Friday, October 18, 2013


As I'm writing this post, I'm not sure if I'll ever hit publish.  But I can't say our life is an open book and not talk about something that's forever changed me. I'm not writing this because I want people to feel sorry for me or our family. I'm writing because it's real, it happens, and the stories of strength that others have shared with me over the years, along with the two perfect gifts I've received in Penny and Porter, are the things that are getting me through right now.

This year's Buddy Walk was an incredibly difficult day for me.  Thankfully, we were surrounded by family and friends who helped me focus on celebrating the amazing gift that Porter is and not focus on the way Mother Nature was wreaking havoc on my body.

You see, in August, we unexpectedly found out we were expecting.  We were incredibly excited! We went to the doctor during week 7 and saw a little blob on the ultrasound with a healthy little heart beat.  I was feeling pregnant, which was reassuring. I had symptoms very similar to those I experienced while pregnant with Penny. I was exhausted and excited. I wanted to tell Penny right away, but something made me hold back.  Thankfully, we decided to wait to tell her. Instead, I spent so much time cuddling with Porter at night and in the early mornings talking to him about what an amazing big brother he would be.

The day before the Buddy Walk, I went to my doctor's appointment and the nurse couldn't find a heartbeat. "You're still early. We'll just hook you up to the ultrasound," she said to reassure me. I had gone to the doctor by myself that morning...we are always running in 5 different directions these days and we made arrangements for my sister to drop the kids off at school one day the week after so RC could come to the exciting ultrasound appointment. At that moment, I dreaded the decision and wished RC was there by my side.

I knew right away the news I'd be receiving. The ultrasound showed no heartbeat and a baby that had stopped developing around 9 weeks and 3 days. I was quickly sent over to the Ultrasound Center, where our favorite Ultrasound Tech and I shared some intense emotions. Having to sit in the waiting room, surrounded by happy pregnant women, was more than difficult. But, having Mary with me in the ultrasound room made things bearable.  When we were pregnant with Porter, Mary was my rock. I always felt she wanted my baby, which wasn't a feeling many in the medical community gave me. She did all my ultrasounds, my amnio and checked in on me during my non-stress tests. She came to visit Porter in the hospital the day he was born.  The detailed ultrasound confirmed what the doctor had suspected. There was no heartbeat and development had stopped at 9 weeks and 3 days.  Sadly, I wasn't the only woman receiving this news at the ultrasound center that morning.  But, that didn't make it any easier to hear.

With our doctor, we decided to schedule a procedure for Tuesday, the 8th.  That meant I had to carry the baby around with me for the weekend. In some ways, I think this was important for me. We celebrated Porter's life at the Buddy Walk and I celebrated just how far I'd come from two Octobers ago when I was a scared, nervous mom-to-be of a baby with an extra chromosome. Perhaps it takes experiences like this to really make you understand and appreciate the things you do have.  And what we have is awesome! Although Down Syndrome is a part of our life, it's nothing to be afraid of. In fact, it's something that we've embraced. Watching Penny and Porter grow is a blessing. They are gifts. They are amazing!

On the 8th of October, instead of heading to the ultrasound center for our exciting 12 week ultrasound, we headed in to the doctor's office to have the baby removed from my body.  It felt like they were ripping my heart out with it. I wanted so desperately for that baby to keep growing and to stay with me. But, I knew that this was the best way to let the healing start.  The thing I couldn't help but think of during the procedure was the number of women who voluntarily did this to living, growing babies like Porter. Women who made the choice to never let these babies fight for an amazing life. Babies who deserved a chance.  And I cried. I cried not only for myself and for our dreams of another baby, but for all the babies who didn't fit in the perfectly healthy category who weren't given the chance. I wondered if those women cried too. 

This baby, who is now watching over our family from Heaven, also likely had an extra chromosome- likely a third copy of #18.  But we'll never know for sure.  A wise nurse practitioner asked us if finding out would change our decision to try again some day, already knowing how we would answer. But, her wisdom was greatly appreciated!

I'm not even sure if people read this blog. And I'm not fishing for sympathy.  So please don't send "I'm sorry's" our way. We're sad, but we're not sorry.  We have hope. And we have a new guardian angel.  My hope is that someone who needs comfort can read these words and understand that there is hope for the future. That there are angel babies watching over all of us. 

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. It's also Infant & Pregnancy Loss Month. To all who have experienced this loss, know that you are in our prayers. Know that we share your hope.  And that we're attempting to turn our pain into something positive.  Spend time with family and friends. Make memories.  Show love and compassion. Love and appreciate the life you are living. Live it to the fullest.  Smile. And never give up hope!           

1 comment:

  1. I read this blog. And I love you. You are one of the strongest (if not THE strongest!) woman I know.