Today is Wednesday, and tomorrow, it will have been a week since our baby Caroline's diagnosis of anencephaly. I'm pretty sure it's been the longest week of my life. I have faced more emotions than I even knew existed. I have been amazed at God's grace and peace and humbled by the love and support of family and friends. And I've struggled a lot. The next few blog posts will probably outline some of what's been going on in my head over the last week or so, although I'm not sure I've really processed everything enough to share everything. But I'll start at the beginning.
Last Wednesday, October 5th, we got a phone call that Caroline might have anencephaly, but that we needed to go see a specialist to confirm the diagnosis. My poor husband Cameron had to break the news to me, because he was the one that talked to the doctor. We cried a lot that night, and I prayed desperately that they were wrong and that Caroline just didn't cooperate well enough for good pictures. I was a little bit in shock, to be honest, and even as we did research about the disorder, I was rejecting the diagnosis until we got confirmation. My baby didn't have this problem. She couldn't. Everything had been fine, even up to the day before, when we had that first ultrasound. I was outwardly trying to make sense of the whole thing, but my mind and heart were shut down, and wouldn't accept anything as real.
When we got the confirmation on Thursday afternoon, I was numb. I cried and reeled against the shock, but I couldn't focus on what was happening. I went through the motions, and it was like I was watching someone else deal with this situation. It wasn't me. Making phone calls to family was surreal. It felt like time had stopped, and I was repeating a story several times that didn't involve me. I felt like I was suspended in a vacuum, and someone else was making things happen around me. I knew what was going on, and my heart was breaking, but the full import of what was happening wasn't hitting me. It was hitting the pseudo-me I was watching.
That night when all the phone calls had been made and after my husband and I had cried together and tried to figure out what was happening to us, I decided I needed to write down what was happening. For some reason, putting it down on paper made it seem like I could start to process everything. I knew we needed to tell our friends and family what had happened, but I knew I couldn't do it in phone calls or anything. The few phone calls we had made to our immediate family members had been enough for me, thankyouverymuch. Email and social networking seemed to be my best options. I could tell everyone I wanted to tell, while only having to "tell" the story once. So I wrote down what I wanted to say before I went to bed on Thursday, hoping Friday would make it easier to tell.
I didn't sleep very well that night. I woke up several times, and for a split second each time, I believed that the whole thing had been a nightmare, and that I'd woken up from it and everything was fine. Then my mind cleared from the fog of sleep and reality hit me again. That was a very long night.
When we were finally able to drag ourselves out of bed that morning, Cameron and I tried to do what needed to be done. Cameron went on a search for information, which was his way of processing what was going on. I wrote the email to family and friends, which was my way of processing. Typing up the words that described in detail what was going on made me break down for a little while. It hurt so badly, and I knew that anyone that read it was going to hurt too. I hated that thought. As much as I was hurting, I didn't want anyone else to have to hurt. But I knew it needed to be done, and for whatever reason, I felt strong enough to do it. I can honestly say that at that moment, I was CLINGING to Christ for His strength and grace. I can just picture myself like a scared animal digging claws into the one thing it thought could make it safe. If Jesus was here in the flesh right now, he would have bruises from my fingers...that's how tightly I've been holding on to him. And he's been there for me.
Throughout this whole situation, I have felt the supernatural presence of God. I have never felt more peace given to me than I have during this past week. I have never felt more grace given to me. I've never felt the truth of the words, "When I am weak, He is strong," as much as I have this week. It has literally blown my mind. There are times when I think I should be crumbling under the weight of this diagnosis and its prognosis for the little girl I want to keep so badly, and who I already love so much. Somehow, even when I'm weeping at the thought of losing her, I feel a deep-seated, underlying peace that truly passes my understanding. It's like I'm a small child afraid of the dark, with a strong daddy holding me in his arms, comforting me and telling me it's alright. I know, without the shadow of a doubt, that Cameron and I will make it through this. I'm praying fervently for a miracle of healing in little Caroline's body (which I will talk more about later), but I know that even if it doesn't happen, I'm going to be ok. That doesn't make it hurt any less, and I still hate to think about the "inevitble" future we are going to face without that miracle. But I know in the end, I will be ok. And when nothing else can make things manageable, Jesus is there to share the burden.