Laura and I want to thank you for the tremendous outpouring of love and encouragement over this past week. It has been more meaningful than you will ever know and we can tell there are many that are interceding on our behalf. Thank you.
As an update, last Friday (May 8) was Laura’s first appointment at University Hospital. Laura’s appointment began with another ultrasound. Once again it was clear that our baby has anencephaly. What is a blessing is that we learned that we are having a little girl! She is beautiful. We have decided to name her Emily Jean, which means “Excelling in Grace from God” (Jean is also Laura’s middle name). She is our gift from the Lord, one we do not deserve and are so thankful for. It was so special to watch her move during the ultrasound; she had both arms up above her eyebrows, almost as if to block from view what was missing. The tech was kind as she printed off several pictures for us to take home.
After the ultrasound we met with a doctor. This time was such an answer to prayer as she was very supportive of our desire to continue the pregnancy. We also found out that either the baby moved or the previous diagnosis of placenta previa was wrong; Laura is no longer required to have a C-Section. Also our little girl has no deformities (aside from the anencephaly), which indicates that organ donation could be a possibility. We took time to ask the doctor lots of questions, which was helpful.
Finally, we met with a very kind lady named Nancy English in a nearby consulting room. It is her role to walk with us through these next several months as a coach. She provided Laura a journal and lots of information about grief and how to get through this experience.
So, what is next in this process? From a medical standpoint, not too much is ahead. Laura will have a routine pre-natal check-up in four weeks and then another ultrasound four weeks after that. What will be more difficult is beginning the process of putting together a birth plan (assuming Emily is born alive how we would like the time we get with her to go), funeral arrangements, and any other preparations that will help us make this time as meaningful and memorable as possible.
As I close this letter and reflect on these past 11 days (and it has been a whirlwind!) what is clear is that even though I haven’t seen my daughter (except by ultrasound), held her, or heard even a peep from her lips yet, she has changed my life. It has been amazing how this burning experience has made so amazingly clear what is really important.
I sometimes wonder when things will get back to “normal” again (I think what I’m really asking is “When will this not hurt anymore?”), but I can’t help but think this experience will redefine “normal” for us. And, if normal means going back to being the person I was, even two weeks ago, and tossing out the beautiful lessons the Lord has shown me, then I don’t want “normal.” I want to live above normal with passion and focus on what really matters: loving Christ with everything I have, loving my family, and serving where God allows.
The Lord has used my little Emily to change my life and I pray He would give me the opportunity, even for just a few moments to tell her. She is our excellent gift and we are so thankful for her. Thanks to my sweet daughter I will never be the same person.
Thank you again for your encouragement. We will keep you posted as this journey continues to unfold. We love you all,
1. Laura’s health in this process.
2. Strength for the day, especially in moving forward with making decisions and arrangements.
3. That Emily would make it full-term and have a live birth so we could spend time with her.