I was going to carry William, no matter what the diagnosis.
When your baby is given a fatal diagnosis during pregnancy, the conversation tends to immediately go to termination. Not only are you processing truly devastating news, but then you are faced with a life or death decision. If you don't walk into the situation with a firm understanding of your feelings on terminating a pregnancy, it can be overwhelming and confusing. Even though my husband and I knew that termination was not an option for us, I am truly sensitive to the struggle people have in this situation.
No one is prepared to face this type of news. The world you were in before walking into that office feels unrecognizable when you walk out of that office. Nothing is the same. You are in shock and battling hopelessness and confusion.
At the beginning of my pregnancy, I remember looking at the screen through eyes filled with tears. There was our baby. There was a little black circle with a small white light blinking right in the center of it. The heartbeat. I was mesmerized. I remember so clearly how I felt. In a voice softer than a whisper I said, I will love you forever. I knew in that moment that I was willing to do anything for this precious baby.
As our story unfolded I was faced with doing the most difficult thing I could ever imagine. Even though I feel absolutely privileged and grateful to carry William, the pain of my role in this situation is excruciating.
The reality is that I am carrying a baby that is believed to be dying. We know that God can heal him, but we also know that He could welcome baby Will into Heaven now instead of later.
The room we had been cleaning out to be his nursery now goes untouched. We don't pick out paint colors. We don't register. Our families don't plan baby showers. We don't read books about having and raising babies. We don't do the things we thought we'd do at this point.
Instead, we go to appointments and I lay in silence listening for his heartbeat, is today the day? We go to appointments where they give us details about how to prepare to have a still born baby or a baby who dies shortly after birth. We choose a funeral home. We choose a cemetery. We are given information about the grieving process.
Instead of preparing for a new life, we prepare for a likely and untimely death. We aren't preparing to say hello, we are preparing to say goodbye.
We live in constant tension between hoping for a miracle and facing the possibility of a bitter reality.
And in the meanwhile, I carry William. I carry him and love him and cherish every single moment. Even through all the pain, I have no regrets. I know with all my heart that God has chosen William just for us. He has chosen my husband and I specifically for William.
The decision to continue a pregnancy that the doctors have deemed a "failure" was not a hard decision for us. We pleaded with God to give us a child and choosing to end our baby's life because of his diagnosis was not an option.
But does the ease with which we made our decision make this journey any easier?
It's important to me that I am honest through this journey. I have no desire to appear self-righteous. I don't want to act like I am a pillar of strength who gets up each day bravely facing the road before me, confident that everything will turn out alright. Even though I believe without a shadow of a doubt that we made the right decision, I am still a disappointed and frightened young mother. I still shake in the middle of the night at the thought of going through labor and delivery for the first time under these circumstances. I still cry angry tears, asking God why He doesn't change this situation. I still doubt my ability to actually walk this road.
I want to carry William, God. I am honored to carry the gift you have given us.
But who will carry me?
I don't think I can really do this, God. I feel like I'm stumbling and falling.
I'm not strong enough...who will carry me?
As I face my own weakness, I have to cling to God's promises and His strength.
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed" Psalm 34:18
Please rescue me, God.
I need You to carry me.
I can't do this on my own.
I will carry William while You carry me...I trust You to carry us both.