Today is a day of celebration in our family! For one, Callie Anne turned 9 months old today. How in the world has it already been 9 months??? I desperately want time to slow down. Way down. She is doing so wonderfully and growing like a weed. I feel so blessed to be spending this time at home with her so I can see all the changes in development that happen every day. She never ceases to amaze me and every milestone is happening so much sooner that we had expected. It’s truly a joy to watch her explore her world with fascination in her eyes.
Today also happens to be exactly one year from the worst and scariest day of our lives. On August 30, 2012 David, mom, Butch, and I were in Little Rock for my first level 2 ultrasound. I was 25 weeks pregnant and we were following up on a routine ultrasound in which CA appeared to have clubbed feet. Nothing in the world could have prepared us for what we heard that day. All week, knowing that this “anniversary” was coming, I have been reliving that day and the terrifying 3 weeks that followed. I’ve cried myself to sleep and prayed and prayed and prayed thanking God for how far we’ve come.
On that day, we saw a prenatal geneticist who told us that she most likely had one of three genetic problems. In addition a hole in her heart (VSD) and a part of her brain missing (we now know it was probably the thin corpus collosum), they didn’t see any digits and assumed it was due to brain damage and her brain not communicating with her hands and feet. He told us that is was most likely Trisomy 13, Trisomy 18, or Down Syndrome…two of which are fatal conditions. In complete shock, I think I said something like, “What do I do?” What I meant was, what can I do to make her better. As a mother, I felt like I needed to do anything and everything in my power to make her be ok. And of course, I blamed myself…but that’s a whole other story that I’d rather not revisit. (I don’t anymore, btw) His response? “It’s too late to terminate.” Just like that. Like I was asking how I could fix the problem with my cable package. Then, without missing a beat, he looked at my mom and said, “…in the state of Arkansas.”
As you can imagine, we left there that day with completely broken hearts. One of the hardest phone calls I’ve ever had to make was when I walked out of the building and called my dad. Telling him was heartbreaking. He was in Branson and I remember asking him to stop by our house on his way home the next day because I just needed a hug from my daddy. Then explaining it all to David’s mom in Florida…I can’t even think about it without feeling nauseous. Then there was a conversation I remember vividly when I called my best friend, Laura, and was crying so hard that I couldn’t breathe. She had JUST brought her baby girl home from the hospital and I felt such a feeling of jealousy. Would I ever get to bring my baby girl home from the hospital? Would she even make it that long? I didn’t know. We didn’t know. No one knew the answer to that question.
They performed an amniocentesis in the office that day. I had always said I would never have one because of the risk of miscarriage and I would just be grateful for any child God gave me. Period. Well…that changed really quickly when I was faced with the thought of never getting to bring my baby girl home to the beautiful owl themed nursery that was already awaiting her arrival. We decided that we needed to know. If it was Trisomy 13 or 18, we needed to prepare ourselves for losing her. We couldn’t go the rest of the pregnancy not knowing.
We quickly rallied our prayer warriors and headed home to wait. It would be 2 weeks before we got the results of the amnio. That’s 2 weeks of not knowing if our baby girl would live and if she did live, what quality of life she would have. There’s really no way to describe those next fews week. And, honestly, there’s no reason to. In the end, it brought David and I closer to each other and to God than anything else ever could. It also brought our family so much closer. As the first Razorback game is coming up tomorrow, David and I reminisced about the first game last year. It was the weekend after this dreadful appointment. We had already planned to have all of our family over to watch the game on PayPerView. We decided to go ahead because it was better than sitting around crying all day. Before everyone left, my stepdad, Butch, asked that we all hold hands and pray together. We’ve always prayed before meals, but this was different. Before we knew it, Butch was leading the family in a prayer for Callie Anne. What I didn’t know was that he had NEVER prayed out loud before. It just wasn’t something that he did. But, since that day, I can’t even tell you how many times he has led our family in prayer and Callie Anne did that. She has done so much for the spiritual lives of so many people. She will never know how far her impact reaches.
So, while one year ago today was truly the worst day of my life, I look back and cannot help but thank God. I thank Him for all he taught us during that time. We are truly better people because of it and we will be better parents. I look at my sweet baby girl now and cannot believe how far we’ve come. She’s a miracle child and has taught me more already than I ever could have learned in a lifetime without her.