Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Guest Post: Marissa

Today we are lucky enough to have Marissa with us Guest Blogging - she is an amazing person who was willing to share with us all her story. Please take a moment to read her post and feel free to leave comments in response on our Facebook page

My husband and I were married two years before we became pregnant with our first son. Out of our friends and family we felt as though we were expected to get pregnant right away before anyone else, but we were were one of the last. It was finally our turn to go through all the ups and downs of being pregnant together and dreaming of this little baby growing inside of me. With the support of our loved ones we looked forward to being parents and adding a third member to our small family. 

We attended our anatomy ultrasound at 5 months with excitement only to leave with conflicting feelings of uncertainty and doubt about the health of our baby and happiness to learn we were having a boy. The ultra sound technician noticed some problems right away and called another doctor in for a second opinion. We knew when we left the office that our baby had a cleft foot and that there were other parts of the baby that weren't up to speed in terms of development. After waiting 2 long and grueling days we met with a neo-natal specialist who performed another silent and long ultrasound. He explained to us all the problems that the baby had as he evaluated each part of his body. In the back of my mind I had hope and knew that these were complications that could be fixed and I could live with as long as I could keep this baby. I would love him no matter what. My husband and I were escorted to the doctor's office and sat down with him and a pathologist where they proceeded to explain that all those complications meant one thing. His condition was not 'compatible with life' and we had two options: terminate the pregnancy or carry as long as we could. 

My worst nightmare came true. I recall a real conversation I had with my husband before we went to the anatomy ultrasound. I expressed fear that our child would be deformed or have a mental retardation. Which he quickly shot down with phrases like, 'don't think like that' and 'that's not going to happen.'  I couldn't believe that not only was our child deformed, but he was not fit to live outside the womb. He had a rare condition called Body Wall Complex or Body Stalk Anomaly which can include a number of problems. Our son had an extremely large omphalocele with his bladder and liver growing outside his abdomen, his spine was underdeveloped, he had a club foot (which was the cutest little foot I have ever seen), and a short umbilical cord. What were we supposed to do now? With our dreams crushed and our hearts broken we were forced to decide whether we would abort the pregnancy or continue with only a 2 week time frame. No pressure.

With much prayer and counsel with friends, family, and church leaders we decided to continue the pregnancy for as long as we could. I felt him moving inside of me everyday. Each time I went to the doctors after this news I had an ultrasound and saw his heart beating. He had a perfect heart so how could everything else be so wrong and how could I bring myself to end this pregnancy sooner that his little heart would stop beating? Why couldn't I keep him with me? These were constant questions. 

I ended up carrying to 39 weeks and had an elective c-section to allow him the best chance to survive the delivery. We wanted to meet him and say goodbye. Joshua James Mortensen was born September 13th, 2011. He lived for 40 minutes and died in my arms where he belonged. It was peaceful and quiet. He was beautiful. I wish I could go back to the moment when he was first born and relive it over and over again. It makes me feel close to him even though it hurts to think about it. Forty minutes is just not long enough. I still try and put myself emotionally back in the hospital when he was born and I was holding him and looking at him. I don't remember all the things that I said to him, but I know it wasn't a lot and I want to say so many things to him. The hardest part is the uncertainty of why he developed this particular problem or why any baby does, whether he was in pain or not, if he was scared, or most importantly if he knew that his mom and dad loved him so much. The only thing I'm certain of is that no matter what choice we would have made that it would be hard. I knew we would live with the consequences good or bad, but that life would be ok. It has been more than ok. I love my life and I can honestly say I find joy in it everyday, but I think about that experience and still feel sadness. That will never go away. I also believe that I will have the opportunity to be with him again because I have a loving Savior, Jesus Christ. We now have another baby boy who has filled our home with that sweet spirit a newborn brings and we can't wait to tell our little Clark all about his older brother Joshua James