My husband and I had been battling infertility on and off for about five years. Our first son was conceived after many tests, numerous fertility medications, and a cycle of invitro fertilization. When Jacob was three, we attempted two separate frozen embryo cycles, only to test negative for both. It was at this time that we decided to explore the adoption option; and we began to sell all of our baby items so that we could save as much money as possible to pay for any adoption fees.
A few weeks after we sold some big ticket baby items, we found out we had conceived completely on our own, with no medical intervention whatsoever. We were so excited! However, our excitement was shortlived, as I began bleeding at eight weeks. At first, noone could explain why I was bleeding, until I changed doctors. I was then diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma, which is basically a tear in the placenta. I was told that there was the possibility that it could continue growing, and eventually would be fatal to the baby. For now, they would put me on bedrest and keep a close watch on it. We began praying that God would heal it completely. For weeks I bled, sometimes it was light, but most of the time it was very heavy bleeding.
At 11-13 weeks, we went in for a nuchal transluscency and some blood work. Our baby was always curled up in a ball, so the doctors were not able to perform the nuchal transluscency. We did the blood work and went home. Several days later we got an urgent phone call from my doctor's office. They had discovered that my blood work was very abnormal, and tested high for a chromosomal disorder. The nurse thought it may be Down's Syndrome. We were alarmed, but not completely convinced that anything was wrong. Besides, we knew that we would keep our baby even if he did have Down's Syndrome.
A few weeks later we were sitting in the office of the maternal fetal specialist, waiting for the ultrasound tech to come in and check our baby out. We were a little concerned about the results of the labs; however the excitement of potentially finding out the baby's gender overruled. Our tech (Julie) came in and explained to us how she would be able to tell the gender, and then we began the examination. After a few minutes, Julie got very quiet- and Kris and I looked at each other, our faces mirroring our concern. After awhile she also did an internal exam just to be sure she was really seeing what she was seeing. By this time, I was scared to death and begged her to tell us what was wrong. As compassionately as she could, she told us that the baby was extremely small, and seemed to have some problems that the doctor needed to explain to us. She explained that the doctor would need to look over the ultrasound pictures himself so it would be several minutes before he would be able to see us. As soon as the doctor came in, he asked that Julie take our Jacob out to give him something to color. If we had known what we were about to learn we would have never brought Jacob to our appointment. We just wanted him to be in on the excitement of finding out who our baby was.
Our doctor told us he was very sorry to have to tell us this, but that our baby had a fatal condition. The ultrasound images showed a cyst in the baby's brain, common in a condition known as Dandy-Walker Syndrome. There was also a possible heart defect, lack of a nasal bone, and very low amniotic fluid. Everything together, including the bloodwork, pointed to either Trisomy 13, Trisomy 18, or Triploid Syndrome- none of which I had ever heard of before now. At this point he began to tell us that there was no way our baby would live, because these defects were "incompatible with life". The options were to carry our baby to term, only to see him die within minutes or hours of his birth, or terminate the pregnancy. He said that most people choose to terminate the pregnancy, that the next pregnancy would no doubt go a lot better. I screamed at him then, "What next pregnancy?!- there won't be any next pregnancy. I can't get pregnant, this was a miracle, a once in a lifetime chance and now it's gone!" I broke down and sobbed. Kris was sitting next to me, crying as well. Our baby was kicking the daylights out of me... They wanted me to do an amnio, to confirm everything; but I wouldn't let them touch me. I told them to leave our baby alone; let him be in peace and let God decide when to take him. (I'm saying "him" b/c our baby turned out to be a boy; however, at this time they still couldn't tell us the baby's gender)
We left the office that day in tears, and in a horrible state of shock and pain. I immediately called our pastor, and asked him if we could meet with him. After this we spent the next several weeks praying and hoping, yet preparing for a funeral. It was unspeakable, incomprehensible anguish. We could not understand why we would have to go through this, after everything we had already been through.
Soon we had an appointment with the baby's cardiologist. Through ultrasound, he was able to determine that the hole in our baby's heart was so small that it would probably close up before his birth. He told us there was no need to be concerned about this pregnancy anymore. So we held on to that little bit of hope, that maybe our child would be okay. Maybe, the other problems would be able to be fixed and he would live. He might be sick, but he would live.
Three weeks after this appointment, we went in for a checkup. Julie turned out the light, and turned on the ultrasound machine. Our baby was lying there- still, so very still. And we knew. We knew that God had called him to his heavenly home. I turned to look at my husband, and he was already crying. Two days later, after unending hours of labor and pain (my body does not respond to epidurals) and a Csection, our little boy's sweet tiny body was delivered. As difficult as it was, as soon as I saw him, I knew I would do it all over again, that I would do anything and everything for him.
I have sweet memories- no, I never got to meet him face to face, or feed him, or change his diapers, but I was given the gift of his life-- his little kicks and hiccups. I saw him waving on the screen, I saw him hiccuping and sucking his fingers. I sang to him, read to him, and told him all about Jesus, and Heaven, and how much fun he would have when he got there. I told him just how much he was loved by us, but yet how much more he was loved and would be loved by his Heavenly Father.
This is the story of Grant Thomas- named after his grandmother Helen Grant Abernathy; and his grandfather William Thomas Horton. A little boy who touched many people's hearts all across the United States. A little boy who is still touching people's hearts today; and because of his life we are able to help and comfort others who know pain. I know that he would never want us just to curl up in a ball and die because he cannot be with us; he would want us to go on, and to share his story, and let others know that they can survive this; that there IS...hope. As long as I live, HE will live; and as long as I have breath, I will share this hope-- Grant's Hope.
3 weeks ago