Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spina Bifida Awareness Day 28 : Annabeth's story

Dear Life,

Here is another sweet little one.  I love seeing their adorable faces and imagining all of the amazing things they will do.  Meet Annabeth Hope.

On July 7, 2011, my husband, our 2 sons, and I went for a routine anatomy scan at my obgyn. Within seconds of starting the ultrasound, we were told that our family would be welcoming a little girl. The technician went through several scans and measurements, finally mentioning that something "wasn't right, but nothing to really worry about." My obgyn congratulated us on the little girl, but said that it was likely she would has hydrocephalus, and that there may be other concerns, but were not presently visible.

On July 11, 2011 we were sent for a level 2 scan to make more accurate measurements. It was at this appointment we were told that our daughter has hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida. Not knowing too much about what Spina Bifida was, we asked the obgyn what that meant for our daughter. At that point he said people with Spina Bifida generally do not walk well, are usually confined to wheelchairs, however our daughters lesion was in the lowest portion of her spine, but he would still recommend a termination of pregnancy. What this doctor did not understand was that our daughter was a very long awaited princess, with 4 older brothers. She had a name, she was a baby sister, she was a daughter -- OUR daughter, she had a FAMILY waiting for her arrival into this world. We were so distraught  and emotionally, we were a mess. I was a mess for 3 weeks. For 3 weeks doctors, friends, and family gave us many times their unwanted opinions on bringing a child with special needs into the family, but we made our choice and no amount of research or argument could deter us, we were choosing life. 


Between geneticists, neurosurgeons, and increased ultrasounds, it was a long 20 more weeks of pregnancy. It was a long 20 weeks of keeping our princess safe, both inside and out. We told very few people of our daughter's conditions. We not only felt that it was private, but I personally wanted the first thing people said to us was "Congratulations," not "I'm sorry." There was nothing to be sorry for.

On November 18, 2011 our family welcomed our beautiful little perfect warrior princess via c-section in the later morning hours. Immediately after she was born, the nurses wrapped her tightly and let my husband was able to hold her. The tears that we thought would consume our faces, did not. Instead we had few celebratory tears of joy, not sadness or fear. Between my husband and I, we spent as much possible time in NICU. I would go early in the morning and stay until he had gotten off from work, we would enjoy our dinner together with our boys, and then shortly after he would spend the remainder of the night holding our daughter, just to wake up and do it all over again the next day. Finally, on December 6, 2011, Annabeth Hope came home.

It is now October 2012. Our daughter will celebrate her first birthday in 3 short weeks, and I find myself emotional thinking about not only the past 49 weeks,  but the past 70. Since July 7, 2011 our life changed, and we couldn't imagine it any other way. Our daughter is a perfectly healthy little warrior princess, and though her milestones are often slower to reach, she is reaching them all amazingly.

For anyone who receives the heart wrenching news that there is something "not right" with their unborn child, choose life. Choose that little baby that will rest so well in your arms, on your chest, and in your heart. 
Choose that little baby that will grow way too fast, and exceed all expectations that everyone limits for them. 
Choose the prince or princess who will make you cry in ways that you have never known, but who will also make your entire life beam with pure, unconditional, and unadulterated love, joy, and happiness.

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