The Start of Grief

(This is my son, Elijah’s, story.)
We ended up going to get my ultrasound done on Tuesday. We were having a hard time knowing what to do since our van was in the shop and my usual babysitter wasn’t available. We decided to drive the jeep (which was on its last leg and is now in the shop) to my in-laws and leave three of the kids with them and take Abigail with.

Joey was planning to stay in the jeep with Abi while I went into the ultrasound alone. Joey hasn’t been able to come to any of my kids’ ultrasounds except Josiah’s, so this was nothing new.

I was really struggling with him not being with me this time, though, so we decided last minute to leave Abigail with her grandparents as well so that Joey could come to the ultrasound. This baby hasn’t been as active as my other kids, so I was a little nervous something was wrong… but I have been a little nervous with each pregnancy since Abigail, so figured this was just my nerves.

I am 22 weeks pregnant but have always waited until around 20 weeks before getting my ultrasounds (my pregnancies have all been healthy). The doctor was running 30 minutes late so we had a long wait in the waiting room. Finally, we got called back to start the ultrasound. Within seconds of starting, the doctor stopped and turned to me.

“Take a deep breath,” he said, “your baby is not going to make it.”

He then went on to say that there was no amniotic fluid at all and baby’s kidneys were huge and there appeared to be cysts in the kidneys. It seemed obvious that the kidneys had stopped working. Amniotic fluid is the baby’s urine produced by the kidneys, so that was why there was no fluid. The doctor also thought he saw additional problems, but wasn’t sure. He recommended we get a second opinion. So we scheduled a second ultrasound to be done at the hospital on Wednesday. We were told pretty much the same news… baby won’t survive, it could live anywhere from a few more days to full-term… it could be born stillborn or be born alive but die within seconds/minutes/hours.

Main problem: kidneys are huge and not working. Without amniotic fluid, the baby’s lungs will not develop therefore even if it survives being born, it wouldn’t be able to breathe once born. There is also something going on with its brain, possibly hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain). Doctors have said that they can not give a diagnosis or know for sure what is wrong with baby or what the prognosis is through an ultrasound only. But they want us to be prepared for baby dying, since they are quite certain that baby will not make it. Once

Once baby is born, things could be different, but they can only go off of what they see in the ultrasound. They don’t believe it has anything to do with Abigail’s diagnosis of a Mitochondrial Disease.

I can feel baby moving about inside of me… its heart is pumping along… I am over 22 weeks pregnant…. yet we are making funeral arrangements.

They offered to kill the baby right now (they called it termination), of course, we said no. As long as it is alive in me, there is hope… we will wait and see what the Lord has in store. God is the One who gives and takes life, I will not make that decision.

Honestly, I don’t expect a miracle… but this baby was created in His image, it has a soul, it has a purpose… and if it never takes a breath on earth, it will still have served its purpose. I know that this baby was created to glorify our Lord!

I don’t understand the why of it all and I find myself getting caught up in the “why me?” state of mind… but I can not quiet the promises of God. I can not be angry when His Truth. His Word is always faithful, never failing, always there.

Who am I to question our Lord? Who am I to wish that He wouldn’t show His power and glory to the world? I do not see the big picture, I do not know His plan, I do not know the reason. I can only hope and pray that somehow, someway, it will bring honor to God. May He be praised!

I have thought of this scripture and been encouraged by it many times since having Abigail. I believe it applies to our unborn baby as well:

John 9:1-3
“And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

I am encouraged because I know that just as the man in the Bible who was born with disabilities, this baby was created so that the works of God should be made manifest in it. It was not a mistake. God knew all along.

Another scripture I cling to is this:

Psalm 139
1O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
5Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
12Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
13For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
14I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
19Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.
20For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.
21Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
22I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
23Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

I love this baby and I am thankful for every moment I have with it. If it is called Home, then I will look forward to the Reunion Day, where all of God’s children will be together again.

We are not doing a home birth as had been planned. We now plan to deliver baby in the hospital and go from there. If baby doesn’t make it, we will have a quiet graveside ceremony and bury it near my mom. At this point we do not know the gender of baby, but are hoping to find out in a future ultrasound. Whether it was a boy or girl kind of got lost in the mix once we realized there were problems. But, we do hope to find out… or we will find out at the time of birth, of course.

In all honesty, my mind is kind of a jumbled mess, so I hope I haven’t gone in circles. I am trying not to let my mind think too deep… I just want to cling to our Lord and His promises.

To God be the glory!

13 thoughts on “The Start of Grief

  1. Wow. I'm sitting here alternating between tears, wanting to hug you, and praising God. You are such an amazing, beautiful person. You are such a witness and I am humbled and grateful that the Lord decided we should be friends. Always praying for you every time you cross my mind. May the Lord hold and comfort you, Joey, Princess Abigail, Mr. Josiah, Hadassah, Marcus and your dear Baby. John 16:33 brings me much comfort… despite it all fear not. He has overcome the world!

  2. Praise God! When the Spirit speaks it is not a jumbled mess. God uses these earthen vessels to proclaim His Word, and at this time He has chosen you Clarissa to be His mouth piece. It is very humbling for those of us who seem to be complaining about such trivial things, to see and hear God speak through you. All glory, honor and praise to God. He is calling each of us to come and gather under His wings, there we can find comfort and peace. God be with you my dear daughter Clarissa. We love you dearly. God will carry you all the way! Look ever to Jesus! God bless! Love Dad & Sue

  3. Clarissa~ WOW! What can I say?? You have been blessed with amazing faith!! I thank and praise God!! I love you and I will be here for you in everyway possible,just a phone call away,for babysitting or whatever you might need or want.I am praying always for you and Joey and all your precious ones…God's Peace be with you!! ~Elisa

  4. I am so sorry!! Your family will be in our prayers!!! May the heavenly father wrap his lovingly arms around your entire family and hold and comfort you all.

  5. Clarissa,
    Many mothers here are holding you and your family very close to our hearts in prayer. Many of us have going through these things, but right now, yours in yours and we know that also. As I mentioned to Georgiann (another lady as you have read by now who just lost a little one) to hold fast to your little children there. I know you are. Hold them close and your husband and let them hold you. Whatever, it is in God's Hands. No one knows except that love is there and He had not left you alone for long and you cannot know the plans He has for you! This is what kept me and keep me going. We lost a precious 22 mo. old. He taught me many things and I owe him a great deal! Yes! Your baby's life has had meaning since the day he/she was conceived. You are a smile to the Face of God for trusting Him and loving who He has given to you..this baby and all of your others and husband. You have a precious family! 🙂 Love and prayers, Suzanne Lord Jesus, have mercy! Amen

  6. I'm so sorry. 🙁 I *know* what you're going through. In 2005 we lost our baby girl at 20 weeks. She had "Cloacal dysgenesis sequence"… she had no urethra, anus or vagina.

    She had swallowed all her fluid, and had no way to eliminate it.

    I know she's in her perfect body in heaven, and I can't wait to meet her someday!

    May God continue to hold you close, and let you feel His presence.

  7. I'm sorry that you must travel this road. My daughter received a fatal diagnosis over 2 years ago and was born still at 37 wks. I do not regret carrying her to term. In fact, I treasure the time we spent. Makes as many memories as you can with your baby. You can never have enough. Praying for you.

  8. Oh, sweetie! When I saw your comment on the blog today, I had to come over here. I am so sorry. Yet what a blessing this little one has you for a mommy…a mommy who will carry her for as long as she can. I am sure every moment is precious, yet painful. Many prayers for you tonight. {HUGS}

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