Friday, May 6, 2011

Our daughter

Isn't it amazing the things they can tell you about your child, long before you get to meet them face to face?  About two weeks ago, I had a sonogram.  It was amazing to look into a television screen and see my little one moving about. 

My older daughter is two.  She recognized the images from her own sonogram pictures, which are in her baby album.  "Is that me, Mommy?" 

"No sweetheart, that is your sister."

At only eighteen weeks, I know got to see my tiny daughter dance about as the doctor tried to take pictures of her.  They can count her little fingers, and her little toes.  I watched her heart beat.  They can see that she does not like to sit still, at least not when they want her to sit still.  They can see her tiny clenched fists and measure the length of her nose.  I, along with my husband and older daughter, watched with amazement the live video of our newest family member.

They can also see the veins and the brain.  They can identify organs, which look like gray blurs to me. 

A few days after this profound experience, I got a phone call from my doctor.  Apparently, on examination, they can see even more in those pictures.  They had seen some "abnormalities."  With nothing to go on except these supposed abnormalities, on doctor's orders, I made an appointment with a specialist. 

As we drove away from the office, feeling stunned, afraid, confused- really not sure what we should be feeling or were feeling- a song came on the radio:

"Would I believe you when you would say,
Your hand will guide my every way?
Will I receive the words You say,
Every moment of every day ?

Well, I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see."

A few tears slipped as I tried to give my fears to the Lord.  I cannot see.  I trust that my doctor knows how to interpret those pictures.  Can I possibly trust less the Lord, who created the subject of those pictures.  I know that God loves me, but more importantly, I know he loves her.  Faith may not erase my fears, but it will inform my path. 

Time passes slowly when you fear something is wrong, but cannot know what.  Three days felt like months, before I met the next doctor.  I wish I never had.  He treated me like a carrier of an interesting speciman.  My daughter is not a person, but a curiosity.  I watched him poke my belly for an hour or so, (with the ultrasound wand) every once in a while making inarticulate half sentences to encourage my fears.  "Yeah.  But where is the?  I cannot find?  Does this go to the heart?"  He was speaking to the ultrasound technician.  She, though kind, could not answer his half questions. 

When he finally chose to speak to me, he told me what he was worried about.  Trisomy 18, maybe.   A heart defect, possibly.  Clenched fists are not a good sign.  The brain is not quite right.  Veins are perhaps not doing what he would expect.  Although he spoke pretty clearly, it was a good deal more than I could take in.  I did the best I could to commit his words to memory, so I could later figure out what he said.  My mother was there, and she remembered more than I could later. 

The doctor explained that if it was this defect, which he would test for, than we would certainly want to abort (though he would not advise us) and if it was not he would test for this other defect.  If it was the other, we would certainly want to abort (though he did not want to push us) and if it was not than he would do other tests.  All the tests should be rushed because it is already 20 weeks (read: already late term by most defintions)!  And if we are still listening, not totally convinced or frightened, it is possible that nothing is wrong at all. 

So, we are in the middle of getting a whole slew of tests done.  We do not have results of any and I have not checked on some to see if my peace of mind is worth the risk. 

We are, remarkably, at peace.  We are not ignoring the possibilities.  My husband and I are not trying to predict, but we are praying.  We are placing our fears squarely in God's hands.  We have asked a few people for prayers.  We know they are praying, because we can feel the shelter of grace.  We are asking for prayers.  We love our daughter.  We trust that she is in the Lord's hand even as she grows in my womb. 


  1. My beloved sister... Yesterday was my 15th anniversary (quincineros!) as a widow. Let me say to you what I said many years ago to my two babies (they were 3 and 5 when their daddy died).

    < Don't cry, my angel babies, don't cry! God didn't send you a plague or mean for you to suffer. No, what our Lord God did was to choose two small boys tobe sons to a man who could love him enough for a whole lifetime in just the few short years that would be given to him. >

    All of our children are gifts: we are all like St. Joseph, receiving fatherhood and motherhood as stewards for God's own little ones.

  2. God bless you guys! We will pray for you. You are a beautiful witness to life! -- Becky & Greg

  3. You are in our prayers--thank you for the beautiful post about your daughter's sister, whom she'll always love.

  4. Pardon the intrusion. You do not know me, and I certainly do not know you. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ryan and I have Aperts Syndrome like your sweet little daughter. I'm 25, a college student, and living in the NW. I was watching a trailer of a upcoming movie about the Columbine shooting called "I'm not ashamed". I happened to notice that one of the actors had Apert's Syndrome. I wanted to find out his name so I looked at google and came across your blog. I too had multiple surgeries (23) and yes I do have four fingers and fused toes. But I still live and I still love my life. Yes as a kid I did feel pain because I felt alone. Yes kids would stare or point or make fun of, and I reacted harshly (which lead to multiple meetings in the principles office). If I wasn't at home, I would be in the hospital (surgery, asthma). I believe that everyone has a different story to tell. My story has pain, rejection, hurt, but also there are happiness and peace that fills it. I love my family for they have accepted me for who I am, and I love my friends because they too love hanging out with me. I know I am a stranger to you, but I just wanted to reply to your post and say that I can relate to what she's going through. It is rude to point and stare at people who are different but so what?? We can't all be the same. We're all imperfect. I've never really got to connect with someone with my disability and to hear about your daughter makes me cry because I have compassion for her. I pray she will grow into a nice young woman. Again I apologize for the intrusion, but I wanted to say something. Thank you for your time.

    Ryan Soderquist

    1. Thank you, Ryan. Sarah is four years old and she's wonderful! She is a very happy and well loved little girl. Thank you for reaching out!