January 9th

I squeezed my husband’s hand, as he prayed out loud over my round belly. Moments later, the warm yellowish fluid accumulated into the sterile syringe. Shallow breaths, and the fears of “what if” pulsing through my mind. “These things only happen to OTHER people!!?” I frantically reassured myself. We left and we waited and we waited. Five never-ending days later, January 9th at 1:30 pm, the phone rang. We hadn’t thought to be together on the expected day of the call, because certainly “everything was completely fine.”

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My eager optimism was shattered into a million pieces as the geneticist sorrowfully explained to me that our baby’s amnio results showed a triplicate of the 18th chromosome. Trisomy 18. I don’t remember anything else she said as I crawled screaming out of the bathtub into a hysterical heap in the middle of the bathroom floor. I laid there numb, with my heart ripped out of my body. Why. Why. Why, oh, God, WHY. In those fresh, horrible moments we suddenly became trapped in a world of horrible and vague uncertainty. There would have been no way of knowing what a precious gift lay curled up, snug inside me. That I regarded her as some terrible genetic disaster makes me weep sad and bitter tears. I won’t beat myself up over those illogical apprehensions. How could I have known otherwise? As the agonizing layers of days, weeks and months were peeled away, our gift was revealed.

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Not a diagnosis. Not some horrible anomaly. A beautiful, precious, angelic, amazing, wonderful and perfect little girl. She might not have been perfect according to medical standards, but she was beyond perfect in our eyes. As I look back at today, 2012, my eyes well up with tears. Yes, I’m sad to have said goodbye to my own hopes and dreams of a “typical baby”, but once I held Nora in my arms, there was no other baby I would have traded her for. God had a much greater plan for me – for all of us.

I love this quote by Pope Francis that my friend Maggie shared with me this morning:

“Health is certainly an important value, but it does not determine the value of a person. Furthermore, health in and of itself is no guarantee of happiness: for this may occur even in the presence of poor health. The fullness towards which every human life tends is not in contradiction with a condition of illness and suffering. Therefore, poor health and disability are never a good reason for excluding or, worse, for eliminating a person… A society truly welcomes life when it recognizes that it is also precious in old age, in disability, in serious illness and even when it is fading; when it teaches that the call to human fulfillment does not exclude suffering; indeed, when it teaches its members to see in the sick and suffering a gift for the entire community, a presence that summons them to solidarity and responsibility.”

How blessed I am to KNOW this firsthand. Thank you, God. Thank you, Nora.

10 thoughts on “January 9th

  1. One day…..we’ll be together again…arms full, hearts no longer aching. Hugs…and endless thanks for allowing me the opportunity to live vicariously through your ability to tangibly parent that amazing child!

  2. Your first two paragraphs brought me back to my experience in 2012. I too was pregnant with a baby girl with t18. We did the amnio, we waited for the call. Stunned silence. Mind racing. I didn’t get to experience life with my baby outside of my womb. She passed naturally at 31 weeks gestation. The day we bought recorders at Build-a-Bear to record her heartbeat during the scheduled ultrasound is the day we heard those horrible words. “I’m sorry. There’s no heartbeat.” I wanted her. I STILL want her. I will ALWAYS want her no matter how “imperfect” she was to everyone else.

  3. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing your perfect gift with us. She changed this world for the better in a million ways.

  4. Oh my goodness, thanks so much for writing. I still check in on your blog, thinking about you…
    This is SO beautiful. We are all so touched by this little angel. Like so many things we cannot imagine, I am in awe of your beauty and strength too. I think I am going to light a candle tonight in honor of precious Nora and her sweet family. Thank you always…………….<3

  5. I also can relate to getting the “bad news.” I carried our little girl to 36 weeks knowing she probably wouldn’t make it through delivery. By the grace of God, she was alive. She lived for 5 minutes. That was when I realized our “bad news” was a precious little girl that filled our hearts. It didn’t feel like “bad news” when you hold them and they feel “perfect.” I have learned so much through reading your blog. Thank you! You have helped me grieve through my own experience and you inspire me to be a better person. I hope you know that I will continue to pray for you, Nora, and your whole family.

  6. Beautifully said. I remember that day for me too. No one can prepare you for it but the plan of God is most certainly much bigger then we can understand. One day we will see our sweet completed children again, who suffered little and grew up at the feet of Jesus. Blessings. Stacy ❤

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