This post took me longer to write than usual. I thought a lot about how I wanted to tell Prudence’s story, I reread things I posted when it was happening, and I just couldn’t get myself to sit down and write a new post about it. This is probably partly because we’re nearing her birthday, so emotions are all over the place. I have decided not to put any pressure on myself to write in a certain way, or to post on a particular day, but rather to write as it feels good to write and share my story. If it fuels my soul, I’ll continue, but if it doesn’t, I won’t. (What a concept, right?) When I first started researching how to start a blog and a social media presence on FB and IG for one, I took note of all the rules. “Post consistently” was the common thread. I suppose if you’re trying to grow your business online, that is an important factor. But I’ve decided to instead focus on what is best for me and my heart in this process, and I’ll admit that it might end up looking fairly random. But I hope if reading my story inspires or encourages you in anyway, that the shift in schedule won’t deter you. At this point, I do plan to finish telling the full story of Prudence and how she completely changed the course of our lives before I end this series. And then I have some fun things in the works that I can’t wait to share with you. Without further ado… here’s when we found out we were pregnant with Prudence.
We found out we were pregnant (with no medical intervention this time) the day of our son’s One Year photo shoot. It was also the week we lost my grandma. We waited until we got through the funeral and everything, and then decided to announce our good news, hoping to bring a little joy back into our family by sharing early. We told the rest of our family on Thanksgiving, dressing our son in a onesie that said he was being promoted to big brother. To say we were excited was an understatement. And then, we found out something might be wrong.
We had gone in for a regular appointment, and they saw something in an ultrasound that made the nurse tear up and hug me, and the midwife refer me to a specialist at a larger facility. This did not look good. Three blood tests and lots of tears and fears later, we found out that we were having a little girl with Trisomy 13. Though some miracle children make it to adolescence with this genetic disorder, most don’t make it to 2, and many don’t survive birth. The doctors told me that most would terminate the pregnancy, and that would be the lowest risk option for me, so that is what they recommended. But I knew, without needing even a moment for consideration, that we were going to do everything in our power to give our little girl a chance. So I immediately said no, glanced at my husband who nodded in agreement, and asked to please support me in my decision. And they did. So we continued on with regular doctor’s appointments, had frequent talks with a genetic counselor, met with a palliative care specialist who specifically supports families likely to experience pregnancy or infant loss, and I did my best to stay positive and healthy.
We met with our pastor and his wife to plan the funeral – yes, we planned it while I was still pregnant. It was suggested in one of the resources I was given for people in our position to have some plans in place and make the tough decisions ahead of time. I also wanted to ask some questions about Heaven, because although I was attending church regularly (for the first time in my adult life), I still didn’t know if I actually believed. I doubted everything, but went through the motions, because I had finally found a pastor and church I liked. But at this point I realized, if I don’t believe in God, and if Heaven doesn’t exist, then where is my baby going when she dies? I told my pastor this fear, and that I would do whatever it takes to get to Heaven and see my baby again. He surprised me by telling me that I couldn’t become a Christian for someone else (even my own child), and I took all of this in, but still wasn’t entirely sure how to shift my beliefs in the way I needed to. I didn’t come to this realization until much later (but I did get there and will likely share that moment at some point).
I wasn’t entirely sure of anything at this point, other than the fact that this little baby was changing my life forever. I no longer cared about all the things that used to matter to me so much. I quite literally didn’t have the energy to worry about the small stuff anymore. I didn’t want to be around anyone other than my people (a very small circle of close friends and family), which was quite easy to accomplish because all of this was happening at the height of Covid. Since I couldn’t really go anywhere, and didn’t want to see anyone anyway, I started in on something I could do. I dove in and started decluttering my entire home (all 6000+ sq feet of it) like my life depended on it. And in some ways, I think it did. Simplifying my home was something I could do to keep me busy that would have a positive impact on my family. Even if everything else was out of my control, this was something I could do and see the benefits of almost immediately as I progressed through each drawer, closet, room… I figured if we did get our miracle and got to bring our baby home, our house would be much less cluttered with more space for our two young children, and if we lost her, our space would be a more peaceful place to rest and recover and mourn our loss. Decluttering, praying, and keeping to myself seemed to work to give me a small sense of comfort, so I did those things fervently and continued to hope for the best.