We found out at the end of January that I was pregnant again, and we were overjoyed! My due date was September 25, which was then moved to October 3. We had hoped that our children could be close in age, and Calvin would only be 20 months when our next child was born! The beginning of the pregnancy was very typical. I did have some spotting that caused us some concern, but it went away after about two weeks. On May 12, the day before our fourth wedding anniversary, we went for my 20-week ultrasound and found out we were having a little girl!! We were ecstatic. After the ultrasound when we met with my doctor, she told us that they found some cysts on our baby's brain so they were referring us to a specialist to do a Level II ultrasound. She told us not to worry about anything and that the cysts are fairly common and don't cause any damage by themselves.
May 19 at 7:30am we showed up for our next ultrasound. After about an hour of studying our baby's brain and heart, the ultrasound technician stopped and said "I'm sorry, but there's something wrong with your baby's heart." I had done a bit of research online about the cysts on her brain and what they could possibly indicate, but the chances that they actually meant there was a serious problem were so small that I had basically decided to stop looking into it and hope (and pray!) for the best. However, when she spoke those words, I just burst into tears. I know she was not supposed to say anything to us, but I'm so thankful she did. She was so kind and just patted my leg, said she was so sorry, handed us a box of tissues, and left to get the doctor.
The doctor explained to us that because of three major signs (the choroid plexus cysts, the heart defects, and the fact that our baby's hands were clenched), it was very likely that our little girl had Trisomy 18, a condition he termed "incompatible with life." He was very professional and kind and fortunately did not press the issue when he offered "termination" and we told him that wasn't even an option for us. After our appointment when we first got in our car, Todd stopped and prayed as he has after every single doctor's appointment we've had since I was first pregnant with Calvin. I don't remember now exactly what he prayed, but I do remember that he praised God for this trial and I remember thinking at the time that I wasn't there yet emotionally; I didn't feel thankful for this turn of events at all, but I knew in my head that Todd was right and that eventually we would see the blessing in all of this.
That was over a month ago now. The day after our appointment, we decided to name our daughter Emma Grace. I had thought all along that we wouldn't be able to decide on a name until she was born, like we did with Calvin, but we changed our minds when we realized that the time she spent growing inside me could be the only time we had with her, and we wanted to connect with her as much as possible during that time. The weeks following the news were full of friends - wonderful, faithful friends from our incredible church family who surrounded us in encouragement and prayer. We were truly overwhelmed to see Christ's love poured out on us through His people.
Our next appointment with the specialist (perinatologist) was June 17. We were told that we would have another ultrasound to take a closer look at our baby's heart. They did the ultrasound and when the doctor came in, she threw us another curveball we never expected. She said that my cervix was very short and I needed to be "admitted." Todd asked her to clarify what she meant; certainly she wasn't talking about going to the hospital! But that's exactly what she meant, and she said we didn't even have time to go home and get some of our things first. They sent us to Banner Desert in Mesa because they deal with a lot of high-risk pregnancies and they also have an excellent NICU. After being admitted and given a room, everything was going fine so Todd decided to go home to shower and pack some of our things. The nurses put me on monitors to check for contractions. A little while later, a nurse came in my room and said I was having contractions 3-4 minutes apart and they were putting me on magnesium. I was able to call Todd just before they came to put the IV in me, and he rushed right back to the hospital. The magnesium did get my contractions under control, praise the Lord! Emma needs to stay inside me as long as possible!
I've now been here at the hospital for almost two weeks. Not much has changed. Some days I have more contractions and they adjust medication accordingly, but it doesn't appear like I will go into labor anytime soon. We are definitely praying that I just stay pregnant right now. There is so much more to say, but it's getting late tonight so I'll wrap it up. Our lives have changed so much in the past few weeks, and one of the most comforting things in the midst of this is knowing that we serve an UNCHANGING God! He is good, and He is faithful. I am learning, as I probably will for the rest of my life, that my joy should not be dependent on my circumstances, because my joy comes from the Lord! We have had days of tremendous sorrow, but "joy comes in the morning" and right now we can praise God for that.