August 28th. A Monday. An ordinary normal day that should have been a day of excitement and fun and just another milestone in our fourth pregnancy. The day where you finally get to hear a heart beat and see the first pictures of your baby in the prenatal screening. Instead it has become the day where life changed forever. There is just now everything before that moment and everything since. So many people say life will never be the same after whatever xyz and now I realize how flippantly well-meaning people say this. I know differently. Life changed in that moment. Everything after has become our “new normal”.
I’ve always heard in crisis your senses are heightened. The day was partly cloudy and relatively cool for a late summer in Dallas, Texas. So cool to my body was the air, that I actually put on a pair of leggings to head to my appointment. It felt like a great Monday. I was running a few minutes behind, yet I got a parking spot close to the front as I happened to catch a car leaving. The receptionist was in a great mood and we traded banter. The waiting room was empty which was fun since I knew things weren’t crazy backed up. My wait was so fast I barely had time to play on my phone. Everyone was so friendly as we went through chart info, weight check, blood pressure. So routine, but I was acutely aware at that time how it felt like such a fun Monday morning. I even took a pic of my exposed belly awaiting the sonographer before she came in, bursting to see my sweet Peanut.
Minutes. The sonographer came in and showed me my sweet baby. A Heartbeat. 10 fingers. 10 toes. Lots of movement. A brain. My heart was overflowing with joy. I joked with this gal that I can’t imagine the times when she has to give bad news like baby is missing some fingers or toes. Oh my stars. What a foreshadow. It was that minute that things changed. She measured baby and quickly printed out a couple of quick pictures rather somberly and something felt off, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. All of a sudden she uttered something along the lines of I need to grab the doctor, I’ll be right back. Off the sono went. Y’all my heart hit the floor.
That was the minute. 10:58am. I grabbed my phone as fast as I could and in caps texted Aaron to pray. Oh how I knew. I knew this was the moment. Whatever he was going to say was going to be the most awful thing ever. 8 minutes. For 8 minutes I sat there waiting, wondering, praying, trying to wake myself up from some god-awful dream. 8 long minutes.
The doc walked in. He was friendly. The sono pics went back up and there was my baby. Moving, beating heart, alive. Seconds later? I don’t know maybe 2 minutes later and he was done. And his face. Oh his face. Ashen. He started talking in the kindest way possible about baby being incompatible with life. Wait…what? All while I’m still watching my baby on the screen. Surely this is a weird and cruel joke and I pause him to get Aaron on the phone cause I can’t reconcile what he’s saying and what I’m seeing. 11:11 was the call to my hubby.
Not even 15 minutes have passed since she had concerns to now baby is incompatible with life. What the what?! I don’t even honestly know what the doc said. There was talking and “counsel” for us on how to terminate this life. My Peanut’s life. The baby I’m staring at one the screen moving, turning round and round watching the little heart beat. Dr. Doom & Gloom is talking about chromosomal failures and that there is no way I will carry baby longer than a few more weeks. Maybe Aaron recalls what he said. I seriously sat there crying and praying and BEGGING God to make him say the truth and stop lying. And then he left. He had done “his job”. Somehow I pulled my pants up and my shirt down and grabbed my purse. Walked out. Got in my car. Drove home. That drive…..I don’t even know how I got home.
Literally BEFORE and AFTER. Nothing since that moment has been the same. And yet I felt God so near me that day. Mercy Me’s Even If was on the radio when I was leaving.
It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone