They say when you can tell your story and no longer cry you have healed enough to tell it.
It’s staggering how you never feel it will happen to you. That one phone call. A whole 47 seconds that change the course of your life forever. The realization that in a instant everything you held close and believed in would come crashing down.
20 weeks pregnant we went in for the typical blood work and ultrasound to tell us the sex of our new bundle of joy.
We walked out knowing we would be having a girl. A GIRL! I had never wanted a girl. I wanted only boys but my husband was on cloud nine and right away says ” guess we should start saving for the wedding now😉” … he kept right on musing about potential boyfriends and having his own little princess …
2 days later my son and I were just getting in the car from grocery shopping when a number popped up and I answered. ” ma’am your doctor wanted me to call you and tell you there is concern over your babies blood work, we feel strongly that she has trisomy 21″
Lost in a fog of incomprehensible emotions I began profusely crying, thinking this can not be.
I think God allows your body to go into shock at points in your life because He knows you can not handle all that is coming your way.
I remember calling my dearest friend and my sister asking them to pray in between words and tears that weren’t making any sense. My parents were in Paris and I remember frantically telling the concierge at the hotel to please find them I needed them.
I don’t remember how Steve found out. I know I told him but I don’t remember how or when.
The only thing I remember is once he found out, my world as I knew it ended. Before I tell you the story let me preface it by saying ” never judge a person by how they respond to fear because until you have been dealt the same cards you have NO idea how you will respond. ”
Steve and I had been together since we were kids. He was 18 when we met and we dated for 7 years. From the moment we met I knew he was the love of my life. He likes to joke that I finally wore him down and when he realized I wasn’t going anywhere he married me 😉
Steve has always been a perfectionist. He also loves to create harmony at all cost and keep out anything that will alter his state of control and peace.
This news was everything he had built his life trying to protect himself against.
From the get go of our relationship I have been the one with faith. Steve believed faith is a unessential, that the educated can dispel such fantasies.
We told very few people our news. I told my immediate family and my one friend. Steve told his family and a few people he worked with. It was just too dark and too heavy a burden to trust people with. The grief was too real and raw to share. It was like one minute I was having this glorious little princes and the next she had died. Literally, and now I was going to be giving birth to the unknown. What I could have never seen coming is that I was going to make this journey alone. My best friend and partner in life was broken. He couldn’t fix this problem, it didn’t fit into his world of “perfection” and no one he spoke with thought keeping our daughter was the best course of action. The counsel he received was that no marriage survives this kind of thing. That we could get rid of her and try again. This life that was forming would ruin us. It is amazing the seeds that fear will sow.
We went in the following week for amniocentesis. The following day I spent all day at my parents waiting for the call. As the time grew closer for the call i made my way home.
Alone in my living room the phone rang. Ma’am I’m sorry to tell you the blood work is accurate. Your daughter does have trimslmy 21.
I dropped to my knees and sobbed. Why?! Why is this happening to me. To us. What did I do wrong.
The next day the Dr phoned again to inform me that it wasn’t too late in the preganancy to abort our baby. If I wanted to terminate it she could set that up for me. Terminate this? It wasn’t even an option for me. My husband came out and said ” was that the dr ? I said, “yes she wanted to know if I was going to abort our baby” he said what did you say “. I said. I told her no.
I will never forget that look. I had never seen that look. In all our years together , at this point 16 years now, never. His eyes had tears of anger in them and he said ” I can’t believe you would choose this baby over us, grabbed his keys and left ”
I can’t even begin to tell you the extraordinary pain in finding out news like this about your baby but to loose your husband and best friend and have it all disappear in what felt like moments. Walking around our home of memories and milestones and the one person you want to run to for comfort just walked out the door ….
I went through the pregnancy alone for the most part after that. He came home but he wasn’t there. He wouldn’t look at me, he wouldn’t speak to me. I was just so numb, in shock and alone that I kept just doing the next small thing to make it through. I can remember thinking will there ever be excitement around this baby again. Trying to figure out how I restart my life without Steve in it. What does that even look like we’ve been together so long. I can’t even begin to describe the visceral hate that would radiate off Steve for me. For weeks on end nothing but hate and silence. It’s amazing how much you can say to a person without even speaking.
We went to florida for a trip we had already planned. We faked it all so well for our son. And for a brief second I caught myself thinking… he does still love me he is going to stay … I was wrong. We spent 5 days faking it and finally got back home to reality.
Oddly enough we had date night that night. Back then we had regularly scheduled Friday night dates because Steve traveled often and we had made it a priority.
I remember walking into the living room before our date and Steve was by himself. I sat down in front of him and he unleashed every ounce of anger, hurt, fear and hate that he could possibly get out of his mouth. I tell everyone when I tell the story that it was as if the Holy Spirit just rested on me at the moment because if you know me, you know, if you start attacking me with your words I will not go quietly. I have never been one to hold in my thoughts. But as he lashed out all his animosity I just sat there. I didn’t move and I never responded. When he finally finished I got up left the room and went to go get our son ready for the babysitter. All of the sudden I felt this presence behind me. I turned and it was Steve. He looked at me and said ” okay.. if you have that much faith that it is going to be ok we will do this. ”
My doctor, who delivered our baby girl, said it was the most beautiful moment she had ever seen in all her years of delivering babies. She said the look that Steve and I shared when our daughter came out was like one she had never seen before.
We named her Zoey. Zoey means Life and we had fought so hard for hers and ours. We fought our fears and everyone else’s too. We fought for her life from those who wanted us to end it. And we continue to fight for it medically and relationally speaking, so many people to this day don’t see value in her Life but her daddy and I think she hung the moon. As the verse says in Gen 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” And saving lives is exaclty what her life has done.
Steve and I could have never known the profound impact our little girls life would have on so many. She has taught me more about Jesus and his love in her short 9 years than any other avenue in my life.
She was the breaking point in our marriage and the catalyst in our new life together.
I heard Steven Colbert once, when speaking of the hardships of the death of his father and brothers at such a young age, that he has learned the gratitude of life. To be grateful for one’s life. And if you are truly grateful you must be grateful for the bad and the good. I am grateful that Steve and I almost lost our marriage because in almost loosing it we found it. And it is better now for the pain.
Our daughter’s middle name is Holynn. Named after the poem ” Welcome to Holland “. If you haven’t read it you should.
Thanks for listening