Thursday, November 5, 2009

On This Day 16 Years Ago...

Occasionally, at this time of year I tend to want to write about our dear daughter Jessica who died at birth from a lethal dwarfism called Thanatophoric Dysplasia. Tomorrow is her birthday. She would be 16 this year.

Jessica was our 6th child and 3rd Quiverfull baby. I became pregnant 9 months after Daughter #2 was born and was so not ready to do it all again. After the pregnancy test came up positive at our local Birthright where I used to volunteer, my friend who was with me began to cry on our way home. She was sad that I was pregnant and not wanting to be and she wanted another baby desperately. For reasons unknown I felt those tears were very fitting.

When I was 6 months along our home was flooded and we had to evacuate. DH had just started our family business about a 3 hour drive away and was only home on the weekends--which was fine by me because our marriage was not doing well at all. When we were together we just fought. This, of course, was before the Lord began working on my heart regarding submission. :-)

After we evacuated our home, we lived in DH's parents RV in an RV park close to where DH was working. We tried for weeks to find a place to live but no one wanted to rent to a family with 5 children and one on the way, 2 dogs, 2 hamsters and a bird. They all cited their rental home to be too small. So we continued to stay in the 23 foot RV in the trailer park. Oh the irony.

Even at this time we still had not chosen a doctor for my pregnancy since we didn't know where we would be living. We still had ties to the flooded home and were in the area often.

One thing extraordinary about the baby is that she didn't bounce around, kick and cause me severe discomfort like all of my other babies had. I just thought she was a gentle baby. How could I have not known something was wrong?

Finally, in late September a friend of our let us move into a house they had just bought and were renovating. Oh the joy of not having to constantly be in each other's faces with no room to do anything. Amazing.

Upon the move--that very night, in fact--I got sick. Very sick. Shortly it turned into pneumonia. But at least with our housing dilemma resolved we could think a bit more clearly and we decided to see the doctor back in St. Louis that I had seen when pregnant with Daughter #1 who leaned to the more natural side of things. Aside from prescribing me antibiotics for my pneumonia, he informed me that I had way too much amniotic fluid and the baby was breach and that I needed an ultrasound right away. He said things just didn't seem right. And yet I was still oblivious to it all. Never in my life had I been so UN in-tune with my body and what was going on in my pregnancy.

The day of the ultrasound came. Oh the heaviness as I drove the 3 hour drive to the hospital alone (DH stayed home with the children). I cried most of the way knowing in my heart of hearts that this baby would not survive. The scales had fallen from my eyes and I could see everything as it was. But that was nothing compared to what was yet to come.

The doctors were so very hard on me. When the ultrasound was done, the doctor, in such an accusing tone of voice, told me that things were very wrong with my baby--as if I had intentionally caused her problems. "Just look at this. And this" as they pointed out her deformities. I cried and cried. Next they did an amniocentesis which was extremely painful and then sent me over to talk with a geneticist who, amazingly, was very kind. She explained that this was nothing we had done and that it wasn't anybody's fault. It was just one of those things that happens. Most babies with her problems usually don't make it to birth. My body just has a hard time letting go of a baby.

After speaking with the geneticist another doctor wanted to do another ultrasound and she asked me if anyone had given me any pictures of my baby. I started crying again and told her no. She shook her head and muttered under her breath--and printed me up several pictures of our unborn daughter.

The doctors had told me to wait in the waiting room but I had endured too much already and practically ran for my life away from there. On the way home I cried and had to pull over to throw up. The 3 hour drive home was so long.

When I got home I told DH and then we told the children together. Son #1 was only 11 and he probably had the best grasp of what we were saying. Such a hard time.

At our one and only prenatal appointment we went to after finding out about our baby's condition, the doctors hounded us unmercifully to have an abortion. They tried to whitewash the whole thing. At one point the doctor flat out told us that we just needed to terminate the pregnancy--the baby was only going to die anyway. Oh how I wanted to pull a gun on that man and ask him whether I should pull the trigger. After all he was only going to die someday anyway. But being a woman of God...

We didn't have a phone in the house we were staying in but we did have a cell phone. It was one of those big ugly "bag phones" that was the norm for cell phones back then. The doctors and hospital called us all of the time to try to get us to come in for an appointment. There was no way that we were going to "terminate the pregnancy" so there was no sense in putting ourselves through any of that again until it was time to give birth. Our baby was just fine and alive as long as she was inside of me!!

It was decided that I would go in to be induced two weeks early. They didn't want the water in her head to be so much that I couldn't give birth naturally. The words "emergency cesarean section" and "never have another vaginal birth" were verbal weapons used to try to scare me, as were the scare tactics of all the horrible things that could possible go wrong IF I didn't do everything their way. It was so difficult to sort out truth from propaganda. Yet there was peace.

We finally decided to go to the hospital at the Lord's leading on the evening of November 5, 1993. First we had to drop off all of the children at my mom and dad's and then make the hour long drive to the hospital.

I felt like a lamb being led to the slaughter. I honestly believed that not only would my baby die but so might I. Yet there was peace. At no other time in my life did I feel as though I had literally fell over a cliff backwards knowing that the Lord would catch me. Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. Such bittersweetness.

Shortly before we made it to the hospital, a song that I dearly loved came on the radio and I knew with all my heart that the Lord was speaking directly to me. Those words were my soul's cry to take up my cross and follow Him.

The Man with the Nail Scars
by David Meece

There are roads that take you everywhere, but where you need to go,
There are roads that don't go anywhere, and one that leads you home.
The way is rough and steep; it is the path to the one I seek,
And I must go on.

Shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah-yah,
His love is everlasting, and his mercy never fails,
Shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah-yah,
I'll follow in the path of the man with the nail scars in his hands,
The nail scars in his hands.

There are times I feel I walk alone, in shadows of my doubt,
There are times I fear I can't go on, and strength is running out,
But there, upon my knees, his strength he freely gives to me,
I stand by his power.

Shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah-yah,
His love is everlasting, and his mercy never fails,
Shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah-yah,
I'll follow in the path of the man with the nail scars in his hands,
The nail scars in his hands.

Though the road is rough and steep, my heart can hear him call to me,
"Follow me, follow me home."

Shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah-yah,
His love is everlasting, and his mercy never fails,
Shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah-yah,
I'll follow in the path of the man with the nail scars in his hands,
Shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah-yah,
His love is everlasting, and his mercy never fails,
Shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah-yah,
I'll follow in the path of the man with the nail scars in his hands,
Shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah-yah,
His love is everlasting, and his mercy never fails, (the nails scars in his hands)
Shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah, shad-din-nah-yah,
I'll follow in the path of the man with the nail scars in his hands,

To make a long story just a little bit shorter...
After the worst labor experience that I won't describe out of kindness to my readers, our Jessica was born and lived for only a few short minutes. Her chest was too small to allow her to draw air into her lungs. The amazing thing was that she had the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen. Normally my children are all born with murky dark blue eyes, yet her's were bright and clear with lines and sparkles like a toy baby doll's. Just gorgeous.

I know that we will meet her again in Heaven and that makes Heaven all the sweeter to me.

Just felt like sharing.

3 comments:

Becca and Chad said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I also had a baby with Thanatophoric Dysplasia. I have started a facebook group for families affected by a baby with TD. If you are interested in joining us, there is a link on my blog. Again, I'm so very sorry and I will be praying for you and your precious family...

With much love and prayers,
Becca Church

www.OurLittleLamb.blogspot.com

Fruitful Harvest said...

He Kris~
I only have a minute and wanted to tell you I'm having a giveaway~

I read only part of your story and will have to finish it tomorrow the girls are standing here wanting me to take then up to bed~

Love and Blessings,
Georgiann

Fruitful Harvest said...

Sorry its been awhile since I've been by....I came last night for a few mintute then like most of the timess now when I get on the computer my girls beg my to go play,read a story or something!

I finaly got to finish reading this post about the loss of your dear daughter~ (((((HUGS))))
Itn't it amazing that in the toughest times we can feel GODs LOVE & PEACE~

Blessings to you.....I will have to come back again later today to catch up....the girls are standing here....but no complaints. Its just a season we are all going though.
I have not been able to post any real deep stuff as the computer sits in a hi traffic area(the kitchen) and its had to concetrate!
I am having a giveaway if you want to come over and see!

I get 10 minute here and there to use the computer~

Looks like you've been real busy too!

Warmly your blog friend,
Georgiann