Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A letter to our sweet Hope

Dear Hope,

Today we buried your body at the Felton Cemetery. Only a small group of very close friends and family were there, as we had planned, and we shared a beautiful time together. Your Nini and Tu, Mommy's parents, sent the most beautiful flowers for your grave...they were pink and white and so fitting for a newborn baby girl. Ita and "Toto," Daddy's parents, brought three pink balloons and a beautiful pink rose bush. "Miss Lorna," Olivia's special friend and a dear friend to your mommy and daddy, brought a bouquet of white flowers. Gary Williams from church gave a very short talk, encouraging us in the comfort that God provides, and then Daddy and Toto lowered your casket into the ground. You were buried in the most beautiful baby casket I've ever seen...it was painted all white and it was just the right size for you. Even now as I'm writing this letter to you, tears are streaming down my face thinking about the day. It was so painful, but still beautiful, just like you were beautiful.

What I want you to know, Baby Hope, is that even though your life was very, very short, we loved you from the moment we knew about you. When we knew that you would most likely not live until your birth, and almost certainly not beyond pregnancy, we began to accept that all the love we would give to you would be through me carrying you in my tummy and through the words we could say to you before you were born. It seems like so little, but we gave you all the love we could.

I also want you to know that your Daddy and I are so glad that we had the opportunity to love you. Learning that you would not be born as a healthy baby was the most difficult thing we have ever experienced, and our hearts are still hurting. But we believe that we will see you again someday, and we know that it will not always hurt like it hurts now.

Yes, Baby Hope, today was a difficult day, much like the day you were born, only two short weeks ago, but on both of these days, God gave your Dad and me so much peace. On the day you were born, all day we awaited your arrival and I prayed all day that God would guide me and give us strength for what we were about to go through. And when you arrived, it was one of the most peaceful and beautiful experiences we have ever had. And in a strange way, today was beautiful and peaceful, as well.

We love you baby Hope,

Mommy and Daddy

Sunday, August 15, 2010

God is Still Good

We've been home from the hospital for 4 days now, and my mom flew back to Texas today. We've felt so loved by friends and family who've called and sent cards and by those in town who have brought over flowers, meals, etc. or just let us know they've been thinking of us. It's been so great to have my mom here to just "be" together and to help us with Olivia. The help with Olivia has been such a blessing....much more than we even anticipated! One morning Olivia was eating her cheerios and for some reason decided to throw the bowl (milk and all) onto the floor. I burst into tears, and Mom stepped in, taking over on helping O with breakfast and sending me back to bed. I'm not sure what I would have done without her here in that moment.

Juan and I have had time this week to just be together as a couple and begin to process what we've been through these last 2 months. We know it could be a long road, but we are not alone on the journey.

It's hard to think about entering back into "normal life," but we're just taking it one day at a time, putting one foot in front of the other. We have been constantly reminded of God's goodness in the midst of our heartache, and can only believe that He will continue to provide what we need in the days ahead.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When Hello means Good-bye

Baby Hope came peacefully into this world at 10:04 pm on Tuesday, August 10. We were able to say hello and good-bye, and she was beautiful. We love you, Baby Hope.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Baby Hope went to be with God today.

We went in for our weekly appointment with Dr. Lawson, and she couldn't find Hope's heartbeat. Tomorrow we will go to the hospital to have labor induced.

It has been an incredibly painful day, but we are thankful for the love and support of so many family and friends.

Please continue to pray for me, Juan and Olivia as we continue this journey. Pray that the "father of mercies and the God of all comfort" will comfort us in this time.

"May your unfailing love rest upon us, O God, even as we put our hope in You." Psalm 33:22

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A long overdue update

It's taken a while for me to be able to put together this post. We definitely have some things to update, but sometimes it's easy for me to focus so much on the scientific and the medical details (maybe too much?), but this last few days have been the most emotional we've experienced on this journey. So figuring out what to write has been hard.

Alas, here are the details: last Thursday we got a call from the Genetic Counselor and they had received the results from the amniocentesis performed two weeks earlier. I was surprised they gave them to us over the phone, but nonetheless, Juan was at work, I was in my car parked at Mount Hermon, and we talked to Stephanie on a three-way call. She shared with us that they did find a chromosomal abnormality. It's called Trisomy 18, and it means that our baby has 3 copies of Chromosome 18, rather than the normal 2. It's a condition the doctors consider "not compatible with life." 98% of babies with Trisomy 18 do not survive pregnancy. Of the small number that are born, their lifespan is typically only seconds, minutes or hours.

We had an appointment on Friday, where we did an ultrasound and saw that the baby's heart was still beating. Dr. Taslimi also pointed out that the swelling has extended even more into her arms and legs. He appeared very sad as he let us know that our baby's swelling is so profound that medically, the doctors only expect her to live in utero for only a few more weeks at most.

Unbelievably, we spent most of our appointment with the genetic counselor talking about the whys and hows of gaining "closure" in a situation like ours. I was surprised yet grateful that the medical establishment placed so much emphasis on this. We have lots of ideas and some potential plans, but most of all, we now know the importance for our emotional health long-term of processing our grief for our baby.

So...that's the factual update, and here's the emotional one: we are so very saddened and also emotionally exhausted at this point in the journey. We have another appointment tomorrow with my regular obstetrician, and we'll probably start having weekly ultrasounds with her, but at this point the purpose of the ultrasounds is to look for signs of life. And unless science, medicine, and statistics are proven wrong in our case, one of these next few weeks, the doctor will look at us and say, "I'm so sorry."

It's safe to say we're "preparing for the worst" and in doing so, the waiting is really difficult. However, I've said it before and I'll say it again, but both Juan and I deeply believe that despite all the pain that we've experienced up to this point, and despite the pain that we know could be in our future, we believe that God can and will bring healing to our broken hearts. It won't be easy or pain-free by any means, but we do believe in healing.

One closing note: we just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have been so supportive and loving towards us in this process. We can't imagine going through this journey alone, and our hearts will forever be grateful for the love we have received from people like you. Thank you.