I decided to start a blog to chart this incredible journey that God is walking us through. The support of our friends and family has been overwhelming, and I felt that they deserved to see in to our lives and share this experience with us.
The beginning of this journey starts a little over 6 weeks ago. It was a tuesday morning. I was a day shy of being 17 weeks pregnant with our third child. I had spend the past several days with a nagging feeling that something wasn't right with the baby. That morning the feeling grew worse to the point that I couldn't stand it. I called my doctor's office and the sensitive woman on the other end scheduled me for an ultrasound later that day just to "put my mind at ease".
I chose to go to the ultrasound alone. Josh, my husband, had the day off. So I thought it would be easier for him to stay home with the kids, instead us all trouping up there together or trying to get a sitter for the kids. In retrospect, this was a mistake. As I pulled up to the office I felt as though I was approaching my impending doom. I sat in the car crying so hard I could barely communicate with Josh over the phone. He gave me a pep talk, telling me that it was just pregnancy hormones messing with me and that the baby was fine. I finally pulled myself together enough to go into the office.
After a very short wait they called me back. Once I was laid back in the chair waiting for the technician to start the ultrasound I felt a little calmer and more relieved. I knew that in a few minutes I would get an answer to my questions...one way or another. As the tech proceeded with the ultrasound it only took me a minute to realize that something wasn't right. I couldn't see anything clearly like I had been able to with my past pregnancies. No profile, no legs, no feet, nothing looked right. I tried to remain calm as the tech kept measuring and remeasuring the top of my baby's head. As she continued to look around I commented on how I was unable to see my baby's arms and legs. She said that it was because everything was squished up and there wasn't much amniotic fluid in there.
My mind began reeling. What did that mean, no amniotic fluid? How can there be no fluid? I thought it only came out if your water broke. Does this mean bedrest? Why is she STILL measuring my baby's brain? Did they measure Luke and Ray's brain this much? Why is there no fluid?
After finishing the ultrasound she told me to go wait in the waiting room to see Dr. Cunningham. I protested, telling her that I wasn't scheduled to see the doctor, that I had just been squeezed in for an ultrasound. That's when she said, "You need to stay. The doctor is going to want to see you." The next few minutes were a blur of nurses putting me in room and telling me that my husband needed to come be with me. Crying. Praying. Waiting. Hoping.
My head was spinning as I waited. I was hoping to hear that my baby had fluid on his brain and it needed to be monitored, or that I needed some kind of bed rest to correct a problem. But deep down I knew that the diagnosis was going to be far graver than that. And it was.
The doctor came in to talk to us. I cannot tell you enough what a wonderful doctor she is. She was my doctor with Raylen, and she is very sensitive and caring. She proceeded to gently tell me that this was "not going to be a good pregnancy".
(My head was still spinning. What do yo mean, not a good pregnancy? Am I going to be sick? Am I going to have to be on bedrest for 5 months with two preschoolers at home?)
She meant that the outcome was not going to be good and the baby is not going to survive. She explained that there was little to no amniotic fluid in my womb, and that there appeared to be abnomalites with the baby's head and brain. She said that most likely that the lack of fluid was caused by a problem with the baby, and not that it had leaked out. She also said that the lack of fluid made it hard to see anything clearly. That is partially why it would be difficult to pinpoint at this point what is wrong with the baby.
The baby had a stong normal heartbeat, but she said that she suspected that it would stop beating in the next few weeks. At that point I would have to go into the hospital and be induced to have the baby because I was too far along to have a D&C like you would have with a miscarriage. The bottom line is that we just had to wait it out over the next week or two for our baby to die. At that point tests could be run to discover what was the cause of the problems.
Waiting has never been my strong suit.
Over the next week and a half I went to Dr Cunningham every few days so that she could check Tres's heartbeat. Tres has been the nickname of this baby since the day we found out we were having baby number 3. Visit after visit, his,(we don't know if it is a he or a she, but I'm not going to call my baby "it" for the next 4 months), heartbeat was strong. After a several visits Dr C said that this pregnancy looked like it had the possiblity to "go the distance", therefore, she wanted me to see a specialist to see if he could shed any light on the situation.
The next day I was in the office of a specialist in Houston. The specialist did an ultrasound and concluded that the baby did not have any kidneys and that was why there was no amniotic fluid. "Not a drop", were his exact words. By this point in the pregnancy the baby is in charge of creating the majority of the amniotic fluid. Without kidneys he just can't do this. He explained that at birth the baby could have a kidney transplant, although they are not very sucessful on newborns. But that the baby's lungs still would not be developed enough to support life and that the baby will still die. Amniotic fluid is what helps a baby's lungs grow and develop in the womb. Since there is none, there is no chance of survival. There is a 50-60% chance that I will carry Tres to my 9th month, but no way to know if he will be born alive. And if he is born alive there is no way to tell how long he will live. The average life span for babies born with this condition is about an hour and a half.
Over the past 6 weeks I have been to numerous doctors visits. Every time Tres is growing and his heart is going strong. Every day is an unknow, but God's grace and peace in our lives has been amazing. We are praying for a miracle. The God we serve is the Great Physician, and I know that he is fully capable of healing Tres. We are just waiting to see what God has planned for our situation.
Thank you for hanging in there with me for this long post. I just wanted to get everyone up to speed on where we are right now. I will update soon. Thank you all for your support and keeping us in your prayers.