Some of you may know what’s going on with our little Gabriella and many may not. This is a blog to document her journey for a few reasons:
- So she will always remember what a fierce warrior she is.
- So I can empty my mind, aka therapy.
- So that others may find inspiration if they too are going through hard times.
- So I never take a single thing for granted from this day forward.
- As a reminder to let go of all expectations and replace it with gratitude.
Before I continue, let it be known, I have never considered myself a “writer” and I basically type whatever comes to my head, so fair warning. I don’t overthink, I just type from my heart. If there is a typo, I don’t care. There will probably be way too many commas in the wrong places, way to many …’s and sentences that start with And or But. I strive for authenticity, not perfecton. (you pick up on that one- I forgot the ‘i’…cause I don’t care) I want this blog to be enjoyable, not just another thing to cross off my never ending to-do list. If you read it, I hope you find something that resonates with you and if you don’t, I’m cool with that too. At the very least, maybe you now at least understand what craniosynostosis is.
Let’s go back 3 years. April 14, 2015.
It was my 11-week ultrasound with baby #3, so as you can imagine, I walked out the door, told the hubs I’ll be home in an hour as if I was going to get a cup of coffee.
So I get to the ultrasound and expect to be in and out. I know the routine by now. Looking back, it’s funny how we always expect things to go a certain way in our head, but sometimes God has different plans. And on this day, he most definitely had a different plan. Life LESSon: LESS. Have LESS expectations – they only sets you up for disappointments. If you can find something to be grateful for instead, EVERYTHING will change. And there is always something to be grateful for. Always..no matter what you’re going through.
This ultrasound was anything but normal. The nurse was quiet and I didn’t like the energy in the room. She told me there were a few concerns and went to get the doctor. A wave of worry came upon me…no, more like a tsunami. The doctor came into the room, did his own scan and then said, “You should have your husband here”. I can still hear him saying that sentence when I close my eyes.
With a pit in my stomach, I called Steve and told him he needed to come to the hospital. My sister, aka my second half, brought her 4 girls (all under 5) to my house to watch my girls (yes, between the two of us, we have 7 daughters).
They brought us into this overly bright, small, ‘ewh’ room…yup, ‘ewh’ is the best word I can come up with to describe it. I hated it. We sat around this tiny, round table and the doctor had a folder with several papers and started with, “I’m sorry to tell you this news” which for the record is the WORST way to start a sentence to a pregnant mom. How about, “Okay mom, let’s not worry, let’s just go over some possible scenarios that could happen when we see similar ultrasounds”…just throwing that one out there.
All I heard was this:
“I’m sorry to tell you this news, but due to the very thick nuchal fluid in your child’s neck, he/she has a high risk of several complications. Your child has a 50% chance of a severe chromosomal disorder (and then she rambled of some of them), a 25% chance of a heart or liver problem and a high risk of not even surviving the pregnancy”…and she continued to list off more “issues”, but at that point, everything became foggy. Her lips were moving, but I wasn’t picking up anything she was putting down. I only remember her finishing up by saying, “You need to decided whether or not you want to continue the pregnancy.”
Just like that…
I have to say, I am blessed to have a strong faith and know in my heart that our babies pick us…we don’t pick them. This was God’s plan and no matter what possible chromosomal disorder, heart or liver problem, we’ve got this. This was our journey. We both strongly agreed without a doubt to continue the pregnancy and this was where our unscripted life was about to begin.
And that was the best decision we ever made.
On our drive home, an uncontrollable flood of tears poured out of my eyes. I didn’t even know I was capable of creating so many tears. When we got home, I walked in the house and remember seeing my sister’s face looked shocked and I went straight upstairs to my bed where I pretty much cried myself to sleep.
The next day, my sister called me and said, “I want to tell you something that Austyn (my oldest daughter, 3 at the time) said when you came home. When you pulled up to the house, Austyn looked out the kitchen window and said, “Look at all the angels with Mommy”. Then the other girls jumped up and said, “where, where?” Austyn yelled, “in the tree behind her!” but the other girls didn’t see anything.
When I heard this story, I immediately felt this peace within me that I knew in my heart this was going to be a long, hard journey, but it was the exact journey I was supposed to be on. We were being watched over. That night, I tucked Austyn into bed and asked her if she saw anything when I came home and she said, “yes, Mommy, I saw angels in the tree” and when I asked what they looked like, she responded, “they are like butterflies with people on them”. Chills.
So as much peace as that gave me, I also was flooded with fear of the unknown throughout the rest of the pregnancy. It was an incredibly stressful 9 months filled with scary tests, dreaded appointments and a lot of unknowns. We finally had a beautiful baby girl on November 2, 2015 and named her Gabriella, which means angel and strength from God. And what a gift she is.