Many people have asked us how we are dealing with things since the diagnosis, and the main thing I always say is "we are taking it a day at a time". Each day is different-sometimes I feel pretty good and other days it is hard not to continuously cry. Thankfully Drew and I tend to switch off on our hard days, so when one of us is having a tough time, the other one can support and comfort them. It is amazing to me how God gives us those extra glimpses of His love on especially hard days-a text, a card, just someone checking on us-they all remind me that He is here and He is walking with us on this journey.
We saw the specialist again on Thursday the 25th-baby has grown quite a bit! They tried to see if they could determine if we were having a little girl or a little boy, but baby was being "modest" as I put it and crossing his/her legs ha! The heart rate was a strong 143, so we were happy about that. Unfortunately the abnormality on baby's head has grown, which the doctor says is part of having encephalocele and acrania (as baby grows so does everything else). That was disappointing to see, because even though we knew it wasn't likely that it would have shrunk, we still were hoping. After the ultrasound we were able to have time with Dr. Stanley to ask any/all questions. He was so patient with listening to and answering all our questions-I had many from researching online. One of my biggest questions was if the baby's head was operable-if there was any chance of fixing it. Online I read stories of baby's with encephelaceles that were able to have surgery after birth and survive. Dr. Stanley told us that in some cases that was true, but only when the encephaloceles were small. Our baby's is very large and severe, and since it is already that way so early in the pregnancy, and with the acrania (no top of the skull), it does not look like it is operable. He did say that they would keep looking and that you never know for sure until the baby is born. We are so thankful for our doctor-we know that if he sees any chance of saving our child, that he will tell us and try it. We feel a real peace about trusting him with our child because of his honesty and his hope-we know that the outcome for this will probably not be good, but we are blessed to have a doctor that is open to a miracle.
We also learned at the appointment that I will more than likely need a C-section to give the baby a better chance of surviving delivery. Dr. Stanley explained that babies with these conditions don't survive a typical labor a lot of the time, so to give the baby a less traumatic delivery and hopefully give us a bit more time, we are taking his advice and scheduling a C-section.
We left the appointment sad, but at the same time we feel a sense of peace. Does that sound strange? It does to me. The only explanation I have for that is Jesus. When I stop to think about this whole thing, I get overwhelmed. Yet through all that we have joy talking about baby and looking at the pictures in the ultrasound. What a gift the Lord has given us in this child, that even though we "walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff comfort me" -Psalm 23:4.